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Old 03-03-2020, 11:26 AM   #1
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Tools - First, next, etc

I'm not positive this is the section, and I don't want to jinx it for myself, but I have a bid in on a bus, and I'm starting to think about what I'll need when to do the conversion. I've seen the step by step suggestions for what to do first, next, etc., but after searching I haven't seen something comparable in terms of acquiring tools needed for the work.

I was thinking it might be helpful for me, and others to hear from experienced converters what tools are most important, and which you need at what stage in the process.

I'd also be interested in input about what I really need to buy, what I can either rent or outsource, and what would be nice, but isn't really essential.

Thanks,
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Old 03-03-2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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Destruction phase:
eye protection
hearing protection
face mask
gloves
angle grinder
pry bar
electric drill/screwdriver
fan or heater, depending on season/climate
wrenches/sockets
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:03 PM   #3
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The power tools I've found invaluable have been a cordless drill, angle grinder (with a wire wheel attachment for rust treatment, as well as cut-off wheels), and in the build part a table saw, circular saw, jigsaw, and power sander. I borrowed a sawzall to help with bolts in my floor during demo, as well. I'm not a welder, and haven't done any welding on my bus (other than farming out the hitch install), but I would suspect if you're welding that this list of necessities would grow a bit. For the power tools, I bought a nice cordless drill, and then cheaped out on the angle grinder (I owned the rest already). In retrospect, I would have preferred a slightly better table saw than the one I have, but I'm fine with it (and it was a gift, so I really can't complain!).

Most people say a cordless impact would be just as valuable as the cordless drill, but I don't have one and can't comment.

I've found that using Torx bit fasteners has been FAR better than Phillips. I'm assembling my interior with #10 construction screws rather than sheet rock screws, which seem to be common. Possibly overkill, but I don't want anything coming apart given the bus will be trundling down the highway, and the Torx bit is so much easier to deal with on install (and removal for the mistakes I've made).

I invested a couple dollars (not much really) in quick-change bits and the bit holder, as well as a quick-change 1/8" drill bit, and it's been a real time saver. i.e. something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Bosch-ITBHQC2.../dp/B06XYFXD56 Oh and for drill bits, don't get the cheap ones. Spend a few more bucks and get at least half-way decent speed bits.

For the build, I also have found a Kreg pocket hole jig invaluable. I got the one below, with the clamp. Kreg sells more efficient kits if you're doing lots of these, but for more money. I'm not in a hurry, and this is sufficient for what I'm doing.
https://www.amazon.com/Kreg-R3-Pocke.../dp/B01G3VP3N8

I've done little wiring, and no plumbing yet, but those jobs come with their own tools, namely appropriate crimpers, which I thankfully already have. If working with wire larger than 10 gauge, then the plans change yet again.

I've had a lot of other basic hand tools already, and bought very little on that front. Hope this helps!

Chris
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
Destruction phase:
eye protection
hearing protection
face mask
gloves
angle grinder
pry bar
electric drill/screwdriver
fan or heater, depending on season/climate
wrenches/sockets
Yes! +1 for the safety gear, which I didn't mention. Get good eyewear, something that shields from the sides and not just the front, i.e. Z87+ glasses or better. For angle grinding, I prefer a full face shield as well, and make sure you are wearing good gloves, long shirts, pants, and boots.
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Old 03-03-2020, 03:49 PM   #5
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If your build is going to involve cutting sheet metal, these shears from Harbor Freight are well worth the $50.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:15 PM   #6
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So, Already people have been talking about which tools in which phase of conversion.
Here are the phases/subphases I've come up with.. maybe can look at tools per phase?


Tools:
Interior:
Phase: Demolition
Sub Phases: Seats
Flooring
Windows:
Panels
Wall
Ceiling
Driver section
Surface Treatment/Interior Paint
Insulation
Framing
Plumbing
Electrical
Construction
Metal
Wood
Other materials
Exterior:
Window/Door replacement
Storage compartment(s)
Paint
Solar Installation
Decking/Back porch/carrier
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:33 PM   #7
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As of now, I have the following....... Mig,tig,arch welder, plasma cutter, metal break, tubing bender round and square, metal chop saw, multiple drills, multiple saws alls, clamps(lots) table saw, mitre saws, panel saw, tile saw, compressors(various sizes)air impact tools(and getting more) varieties of sanders, grinders, various paint sprayers, and.............. Well you get the idea. Think I might have a tool addiction?
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:35 PM   #8
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Do yourself a huge favor and get good safety glasses with a foam gasket. 3M makes some good ones for about $15. When you’re cutting with an angle grinder, metal filings have a way of finding your eyeball and you do not want that to happen!
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:05 AM   #9
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Never under-estimate the power of a hammer and cold chisel!
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Do yourself a huge favor and get good safety glasses with a foam gasket. 3M makes some good ones for about $15. When you’re cutting with an angle grinder, metal filings have a way of finding your eyeball and you do not want that to happen!
I wear glasses. What do you think of these?

https://www.amazon.com/Sellstrom-S80...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:26 AM   #11
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re: Angle Grinder: Corded or Cordless? I'm assuming this is an access/portability vs power trade off. Any specific brand recomendations?
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:37 AM   #12
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If you can, use a corded angle grinder. A cordless angle grinder wears out the battery quickly. It is not impossible to use, just easier if you have the power avaiable.
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Native View Post
If you can, use a corded angle grinder. A cordless angle grinder wears out the battery quickly. It is not impossible to use, just easier if you have the power avaiable.
That's what I thought... a pretty vast price range, with quite a few in the $50 range, and another bunch in the $100 range... I'm assuming this is a place where it's worth buying a more powerful tool....
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:31 AM   #14
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I have a milwaukee angle grinder. A word to the wise on angle grinders many have a switch that is meant to be turned on that stays on until you turn it off, really bad idea. Others have a trigger that you hold on, and if you get in trouble simply releasing the trigger and it goes off. Sooner or later one of these will leave your hands, nothing worse then it still running after it has left your hands and then trying to pull the plug quickly to turn it off while it skitters around the floor. I'll give you operating lessons.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
I have a milwaukee angle grinder. A word to the wise on angle grinders many have a switch that is meant to be turned on that stays on until you turn it off, really bad idea. Others have a trigger that you hold on, and if you get in trouble simply releasing the trigger and it goes off. Sooner or later one of these will leave your hands, nothing worse then it still running after it has left your hands and then trying to pull the plug quickly to turn it off while it skitters around the floor. I'll give you operating lessons.
Great.... some of the trigger tools I've had before (drills and such) also have a trigger lock... probably a bad idea for the same reasons..

Sound like in Phase one, the grinder, a cordless drill with screw/unscrew attachments, a pry bar, and protective gear are the must haves.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:35 AM   #16
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Lets not forget the basic tools as well. Screwdrivers, pliers, a few adjustable wrenches, I like a 6" and 10" adjustable for most stuff. Basic socket wrench set. 1/2 drive, smaller ones are nice too. Hammers 1 lb claw hammer, 3-4lb mini sledge.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Lets not forget the basic tools as well. Screwdrivers, pliers, a few adjustable wrenches, I like a 6" and 10" adjustable for most stuff. Basic socket wrench set. 1/2 drive, smaller ones are nice too. Hammers 1 lb claw hammer, 3-4lb mini sledge.
Ahhh mini sledge for persuasive tasks?
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Beachvbguy View Post
re: Angle Grinder: Corded or Cordless? I'm assuming this is an access/portability vs power trade off. Any specific brand recomendations?
Cordless cost too much and don't go long enough on the batteries. I have one and its handy but the $15 harbor freight one with a cord is hard to beat for the price.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:48 AM   #19
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Great.... some of the trigger tools I've had before (drills and such) also have a trigger lock... probably a bad idea for the same reasons..

Sound like in Phase one, the grinder, a cordless drill with screw/unscrew attachments, a pry bar, and protective gear are the must haves.
Don't use a drill to screw or unscrew. Use an impact driver for that.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:51 AM   #20
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I wear glasses. What do you think of these?

https://www.amazon.com/Sellstrom-S80...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
They're Z87 rated that's all that matters.
For grinding use glasses AND a full face shield.
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