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Old 05-07-2020, 09:41 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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The Beginning of a Journey - Building the Busasaurus

I've just bought my bus and started documenting it on YouTube. The channel will be a mix of build videos and chatting buses (Waffle videos).

If you have any tips to add to my first video, I welcome them. Good tips will get put into the next video.

https://youtu.be/0su803kNxR0

Thanks, all!

---------------

I am building a full tiny house into this bus, and using my carpentry skills to do most of it myself. I am a bit of a novice on electrical and plumbing, and a big darn dummy on the mechanics of the bus. I'm learning to weld, though, and I have enough experience and gumption to get started, along with my trusty power tools and laser cutter. I'm looking at a year to two year build.

Because I want the bus to look cool, reflect my wife and I, and be a unique home, I'm fully theming the bus around dinosaurs. The outside will eventually look like the jeeps from the original Jurassic Park, and there will be little dinosaur touches throughout the interior. If you're gonna go custom, go custom, right?

---------------

What I've done so far:
  • A whole lotta research, culminating in around 80 conversations with sellers about their buses, more than 15 hours of driving to look at 4 different buses and eventually buying one.
  • Purchased a 72-passenger 2003 International 3800 with a Blue Bird body from a school bus contractor who was hauling kids in it up until March.
  • Drove the bus 150 miles, including on the interstate. It has cruise control and I am elated.
  • Priced out paint with an auto paint shop. Pure paint is going to be expensive, so I'm pondering painting most of it with truck bed liner, a suggestion from the auto paint shop guy.
  • Cleared out my workshop and sold a bunch of old projects that I no longer need / have time for.
  • Started a YouTube channel and waffled on about buying a bus while looking like a caveman.

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Old 05-07-2020, 09:54 PM   #2
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SWEET!

is this the type of youtube channel that's trying to promote local businesses, or the type that's trying to promote DIY?

with that type of theme on a bus, I don't see why you need a professional paintjob. you're starting a youtube channel, and the only reason I could see for getting a pro to do it is so that I could film him at work. it's a lot cheaper to find a friend, or to collaborate with another youtuber in your area.

there were a few channels on youtube (Roll With It, and The Nomadic Movement) that I think did a good job of growing a channel with a skoolie project. I watched them until they both tried to spin their channels into something weird after they finished construction, but at that point they'd grown a pretty big following. you might want to go back and watch some of their early stuff to get an idea of what they were doing right.

I'm sure there were many others as well, but these guys specifically started their youtube careers doing what you're about to do.

I'm excited to follow along!

Good luck!
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:59 PM   #3
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Thanks, sproutroot! I'm more doing it to document the journey and the process. So often, I do projects and end up with something really nice, and then sell it and move on. Since this is such a huge undertaking, I have to make sure I'm enjoying the process or I'll burn myself out by not being done.

However, as a side benefit, I do hope to help people and inspire people to do this same thing (or serve as a massive warning of what not to do), and hopefully offset some of the costs of the build at some point.

I'll check those channels out, since getting started is the hardest part. Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:35 PM   #4
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For those of us that are not youtube followers, how about a few updates here as well?
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:39 PM   #5
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For sure, Native! That's why I did the quick write up up there and included the logo I made. I'd love more YouTube subs, but the point of this thread is the written account and allow people that don't live on YouTube to pick and choose what they're interested in.
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:00 PM   #6
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Quick update video as we work on prepping for the bus build: https://youtu.be/AdSFB-CAV60

If you're not a video person, I used my laser cutter to create a custom notebook and a custom acrylic logo sign...as well as a replacement for the Blue Bird logo on my bus!





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Old 05-09-2020, 11:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busasaurus View Post
Quick update video as we work on prepping for the bus build: https://youtu.be/AdSFB-CAV60


If you're not a video person,

I do not follow youtube, but I do follow links. Thank you for the link!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Busasaurus View Post
I used my laser cutter to create a custom notebook and a custom acrylic logo sign...as well as a replacement for the Blue Bird logo on my bus!

Darn it all! Now I have to put a laser cutter on my list of stuff I want ... along with a 3D printer!


I really like your "BlueBirdasarus" decal (along with the book and window decal). Perhaps someday I'll get the cool toys too.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:39 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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If you want to do vinyl decals, Cricuts and Silhouettes are much, much cheaper than laser cutters!

The BlueBirdasaurus and Busasaurus pieces are made of 1/8" acrylic sheets.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busasaurus View Post
If you want to do vinyl decals, Cricuts and Silhouettes are much, much cheaper than laser cutters!

The BlueBirdasaurus and Busasaurus pieces are made of 1/8" acrylic sheets.
My wife has been wanting a Cricut ... so maybe when we go in we'll go all in for a laser cutter! Power tool!
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:56 AM   #10
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We got the seats out! But it didn't go as planned.

https://youtu.be/zlcddLXRluE
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busasaurus View Post
We got the seats out! But it didn't go as planned.

https://youtu.be/zlcddLXRluE
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
SNIP...
Darn it all! Now I have to put a laser cutter on my list of stuff I want ... along with a 3D printer!


I really like your "BlueBirdasarus" decal (along with the book and window decal). Perhaps someday I'll get the cool toys too.
Love the logo -- all about the whimsy here!

Native, my mother-in-law loves her 3D printer! She's a hoot!
For laser cutting she goes to a "maker's space" that has one. Impressive stuff. If you get settled down near an urban center it will be likely to have one -- guess it depends on how often you'll need/want to use one...
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Love the logo -- all about the whimsy here!

Native, my mother-in-law loves her 3D printer! She's a hoot!
For laser cutting she goes to a "maker's space" that has one. Impressive stuff. If you get settled down near an urban center it will be likely to have one -- guess it depends on how often you'll need/want to use one...
Thank you! The plan is to do little dinosaur touches throughout the interior, and the outside will be painted to emulate these:



I love my laser cutter (Glowforge, and here's my referral link if you like: https://glowforge.us/f/vxUaJ7) but I have to admit that I pretty much find uses for it, as it would otherwise not be used much. I also do custom services with it, if anyone needs anything.

And what it doesn't do is vinyl, which seems to be one of the more requested things. Zapping vinyl with a laser apparently make very bad gasses and risks fire, apparently.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busasaurus View Post
We got the seats out! But it didn't go as planned.

https://youtu.be/zlcddLXRluE
Nice! A very legit video of how much the seat removal process can suck!

Your seats are very different than mine -- my seat bottom cushions flipped up from the back for easy access to the bolts.

Yours are extra ass pain BUT, you now have all that free square tubing for building things like storage under the bus!
My seat frames are circular tubing so the metals not as easily repurposed...
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:43 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks, Banman! And good point about the tubing. These have quite a bit of square tubing in pretty good shape. Might save me some money on building understorage.

I kept going the next day and ended up singing a song about pulling screws out of the floor: https://youtu.be/rLmrMky82fA
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:06 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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The heater is really giving more trouble than I expected.



Any advice? I still haven't quite figured out where I need to complete the circuit of coolant as an insurance policy.
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:43 AM   #16
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What a cool idea for a bus theme, but I worry about weird stuff. You think you're going to have any issues with licensing or trademark? especially because of youtube specifically..
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:04 PM   #17
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What a cool idea for a bus theme, but I worry about weird stuff. You think you're going to have any issues with licensing or trademark? especially because of youtube specifically..
I don't think that stuff happens until the money starts pouring in. Like the $1.37 a month you get when you hit 1000 subscribers.
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:01 PM   #18
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lol understood for sure, i only ask because I sub to a vanlife couple and they just got sued for copyright infringement because of their channel name. However, that being said, I really know absolutely nothing about copyright laws or anything, just trying to offer up a thought I guess. Better to consider the potential issues now than have to rebrand everything later?
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:03 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjess8829 View Post
What a cool idea for a bus theme, but I worry about weird stuff. You think you're going to have any issues with licensing or trademark? especially because of youtube specifically..
I don't think so. I did change the music, just in case, but the logo is different enough that it shouldn't be a problem. Beyond that, there's a huge group of people who have customized their Jeeps to look like that Jurassic Park Jeep and the studios don't care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I don't think that stuff happens until the money starts pouring in. Like the $1.37 a month you get when you hit 1000 subscribers.
I'm oddly really looking forward to getting paid in a few years.
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:05 PM   #20
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Cool! Like I said, I'm not knowledgeable at all about this, just trying to look out!

Overall I love the concept though it seems really fun. Should be an eyecatcher at the skoolie events!
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