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Old 10-23-2019, 03:00 PM   #41
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Join Date: Jan 2019
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Hey, Musigenisis...what's your bolt hole welding technique? Just picked up a stick welder...maybe I'll give it a shot!
For the bolt-holes (3/8") I basically run a bead along one side, let it cool, then run another bead next to that one (basically across the middle of the hole), let it cool, and run a last little bead to close it up. For the smaller screw holes, one little tack-type shot fills it up. For holes larger than 3/8", I enlarge the opening so it's rectangular then cut a patch that overlaps 1/8 to 1/4 on each edge, then I keep that pressed down with my knee on a crowbar and weld the edges of the patch to the floor.

It's definitely not easy, so you'd want to practice your technique on some scrap first. If the metal around the hole is rusty, it's even more difficult to get it down right and coax that stuff into the melt pool. I do mig so I'm not really sure about what you'd have to do (for mig sheet metal work you want a pretty low voltage and wire speed, and thin wire).

Good luck, though! I think welding is pretty important for skoolification, really opens up the possibilities of what you can do and keeps you from getting screwed over by the local vultures.

Edit: one tip I got from someone here (that I haven't tried out yet) is to hold a block of copper up against the hole from the underside, as this will keep the melted metal from dropping through (something that happened to me a lot when I first tried doing this). You'd need a helper underneath to do this, though, which is why I haven't even tried it yet.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:18 PM   #42
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Chicago, IL
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Time to recap from my last post through the end of the year!


Started to get the rails to hold the solar panels in place. This is superstrut from Home Depot, and I have enough that'll run the length of the bus.





Next up is getting the bus emptied and putting up plastic sheet to cover the windows and other areas for spray foam. In hindsight, I wish I would've gotten some sort of construction-paper to roll down over the floor, the spray foam made QUITE the mess. I used the four of the kits from Home Depot. I know that it could've been put on thicker, but I think that I've got plenty enough in for the budget I have.







Used a piano-hinge for the propane tank holder cover. I need to install some sort of locking mechanism still, so it doesn't bang around all over the place while driving.



Next up was getting the subfloor installed. I know there's a ton of back and forth about if you need to lay down "studs" in the subfloor, I just felt that it was appropriate and I haven't regretted it yet. Can't hurt to have a little more strength. Created a little bit more work but that's fine with me.





If I remember correctly, everything is 1/2", leading to a total loss of 1" on the floor.





It's a wonderful feeling getting the floor in and kind of starting to see things all come together.



Started to get the side walls up. Most of the walls won't be visible so I went cheap with the plywood used. For whatever would be visible, I spent a little bit more money for nicer sanded plywood.



I still need to finish getting the rest of the walls up as it was getting really late the last time we were out there. Walls are attacked at the top and the middle with the furring strips, and then pocket holes at the bottom.



We still need to finalize a few parts of the design, namely the bathroom and the shape that it'll be. I've been trying to get better at SketchUp so we can visualize what we want, and then use painters tape to kind of "see" it in the real world.

Next up would be finalize design, start on my couches and bed, framing out the walls, and finalize my solar/electric setup. Thanks for the read!
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:13 PM   #43
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Nice progress, looks good. I'm planning on the same sort of piano-hinge flap door for my propane storage - it's nice to see the concept working well in advance. I don't know how I'm going to keep it closed, either. I'll keep an eye on what you end up doing.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:42 PM   #44
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Nice progress, looks good. I'm planning on the same sort of piano-hinge flap door for my propane storage - it's nice to see the concept working well in advance. I don't know how I'm going to keep it closed, either. I'll keep an eye on what you end up doing.

Thanks! I imagine I'll use some sort of latch to secure it. Haven't spend too much time thinking about it yet, I've got plenty more to tackle before then
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:06 PM   #45
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Quite the update since my last post!


Installed some marine Kenwood speakers on the passenger side of the bus. Should be able to stand up to the weather since they're meant for boats. The idea with these speakers is that they'll be ran off of a Raspberry Pi running Android Auto. I'll have a three-way switch so that audio can be routed to inside, outside, or both at the same time.





Also ended up getting my 50 amp inlet installed. I was debating between 30 or 50 for a while, but figured why not go big and give myself room to expand if necessary. For the cord itself, I just used an extension cord I found on eBay and cut off both ends. It's routed into the future electric cabinet towards the back of the bus on the drivers side, by where the bedroom will be.





First wheel well box done. It ended up getting filled with more insulation after this picture was taken.



Both boxes done and the frames for two benches getting fitted before being screwed in. The idea here is that we'll have two benches on either side, each being 6'9". They'll both pull out to meet in the middle and create just about a king size bed. Ironically enough, that's for guests, and the master bed will be only a queen.



At the very least, the passenger side bench will not only pull out, but also lift up to access storage as well. I wanted to buy a folding table to put under there, but I don't think I left enough clearance, so I'll probably have to build one myself. No biggie. Not sure if only one bench will lift up or both, still on the fence there.

To make sure we had the idea down, we made a quick proof of concept to ensure things worked out before building out the real deal.









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Old 02-05-2020, 10:13 AM   #46
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Way to get on it, that's coming along great! Those first pictures bring back memories of building in Chicago in the winter. Fun times, and yes it can be done. I like the lift up storage, that's a clever idea.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:29 PM   #47
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Join Date: May 2018
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Way to get on it, that's coming along great! Those first pictures bring back memories of building in Chicago in the winter. Fun times, and yes it can be done. I like the lift up storage, that's a clever idea.

Thanks! Yeah converting in the Chicago area during the winter does suck at times, but I'm glad I got a propane heater. Though honestly, at long as I keep moving, the cold doesn't bother me anyway.


The lift up storage was pretty clever I thought. I saw someone on YouTube do something similar and just adapted it.


I've got a question for you, did you happen to find your solar panels in the Chicago area? Would you have any recommendations for shopping around here for?
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:38 PM   #48
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I've got a question for you, did you happen to find your solar panels in the Chicago area? Would you have any recommendations for shopping around here for?
We got our solar panels in Grand Rapids. The guy advertises on Chicago craigslist for DIY Solar, though I don't see an ad up there right now. I can PM you his number though if you're interested. He's had an ad up for years and I checked a few months ago and he was still selling them. He provided us with the charge controller and all the wiring, breakers, connectors, etc. we needed. He sells out of his garage and it looks like he does pretty good business, judging by what he had on hand. We got 4 280w panels, charge controller and all the wiring for just under $1500.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:43 PM   #49
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Join Date: May 2018
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Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
We got our solar panels in Grand Rapids. The guy advertises on Chicago craigslist for DIY Solar, though I don't see an ad up there right now. I can PM you his number though if you're interested. He's had an ad up for years and I checked a few months ago and he was still selling them. He provided us with the charge controller and all the wiring, breakers, connectors, etc. we needed. He sells out of his garage and it looks like he does pretty good business, judging by what he had on hand. We got 4 280w panels, charge controller and all the wiring for just under $1500.

Yeah that'd be wonderful, thank you! I gotta drive to almost Detroit in a few weeks for work, making a quick stop in GR to get some panels wouldn't be an awful idea!
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