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Old 09-18-2020, 06:19 PM   #1
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Alternative materials for skinning over windows?

I've seen a lot of people buying sheet metal to cover over their windows. I've also noticed a lot of commercially available Coaches, and RVs dont usually have metal siding at all.

Is there a cheaper, lighter material that can be used other than metal?

Preferably something that can be easily painted along with the metal parts so you cant notice, and hopfully providing insulating properties?

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Old 09-18-2020, 08:46 PM   #2
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I started out with plywood and soon went with metal. Maybe something like polycarbonate would work but I doubt it. Metal is easy to work with and it's easy enough to add insulation behind it.
Jack

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Old 10-28-2020, 05:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I started out with plywood and soon went with metal. Maybe something like polycarbonate would work but I doubt it. Metal is easy to work with and it's easy enough to add insulation behind it.
Jack

.
Is there a reason the plywood didn't work out for you? I'm contemplating this now as a temporary skinning until metal falls from the sky to do it right. I have plywood on hand already and with an 11 window bus I don't want to spend the extra cash right now for the metal if I play to rearrange what windows need deleting later.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:26 PM   #4
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I keep (well kept now that I have a Winnie so no longer contemplate the hurdles associated with a skoolie at least for the time being) imagining instead of great long sheets of metal covering an entire section of windows I would have preferred sheet metal bent and formed into window-sized panels which could substitute one each for each removed window. Since I have never actually done this the idea is only hypothetical but it would accomplish for you the same thing it was for me, mainly that I was unsure of my final floorplan and wanted to be able to delete a window but possibly re-add it again if something more complicated caused a mid-build revision. I'd be happy to share the diagram I came up with to cut and form window-delete-inserts as I called them. Now I'm on the other end of the spectrum, my Winnebago was a mobile showroom so has no windows at all!
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:27 PM   #5
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Just my $0.02, but using anything other than steel to skin over windows kind of defeats the purpose of it being a bus. Most of us convert buses for the added safety and crashworthiness of the steel construction, not to mention they are not quite as weak prone as a typical RV. There's an old saying, "Do it right, or do it twice."
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Just my $0.02, but using anything other than steel to skin over windows kind of defeats the purpose of it being a bus. Most of us convert buses for the added safety and crashworthiness of the steel construction, not to mention they are not quite as weak prone as a typical RV. There's an old saying, "Do it right, or do it twice."
I would agree that the safety factor weighs into the school bus buying decision but the windows weren't integral to the overall structural rigidity so substituting them with another lesser material isn't a compromise. I do however like the uniformity of using steel in addition to agreeing that 'do it right or do it twice' applies in this case.
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:00 PM   #7
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I think most people get on school buses because they are so cheap to start with and then there is the cute factor or nostalgia factor. There is a kick to be able to buy something that big for so little. They do realize that a lot of money and work has to happen. That reality sets in much later. The safety argument comes in to help justify the purchase. With the amount of conversion related accidents...grinder disks...rust dust... it would be interesting to see some of those health hazards... After all most skoolies drive less then 5000 mile / year..so the safety is very limited.
Only Chris uses his buses for daily use taking advantage of the increased safety of an Uber size vehicle.

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Old 10-28-2020, 10:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teknomad View Post
I've seen a lot of people buying sheet metal to cover over their windows. I've also noticed a lot of commercially available Coaches, and RVs dont usually have metal siding at all.



Is there a cheaper, lighter material that can be used other than metal?



Preferably something that can be easily painted along with the metal parts so you cant notice, and hopfully providing insulating properties?
We used DuraPlate to cover our windows (google it). You see it every day and don't even think about it. It is what the sides of all Wabash National semi trailers are made of. It is simply plastic sandwiched between two thin sheets of steel. It is crazy strong.

I wanted some to rebuild my storage area so I called around last week to some semi fleet service places. 360 Fleet Services near me gave me for free 12 sections of semi walls that are 8'x8'.

20201018_131937.jpg
Attachment 50499Attachment 50500
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:04 PM   #9
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An inexpensive method is to make your own fiberglass sheet, and then make a foam sandwich, use luan plywood for the inside if that is the look you want inside.
Youtube will show you how. Could even make one super long single piece for the whole side if you are ambitious or just do each window area.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Bolt View Post
We used DuraPlate to cover our windows (google it). You see it every day and don't even think about it. It is what the sides of all Wabash National semi trailers are made of. It is simply plastic sandwiched between two thin sheets of steel. It is crazy strong.

I wanted some to rebuild my storage area so I called around last week to some semi fleet service places. 360 Fleet Services near me gave me for free 12 sections of semi walls that are 8'x8'.

Attachment 50498
Attachment 50499Attachment 50500
You read my mind! I am totally going to contact 360 F.S. when I get ready to reskin the Tin Winnie! Last time I was over there on business I casually asked and that's exactly what the guy said, use Wabash DuraPlate. Every time they mod or salvage a trailer there's probably tons of reusable sheet metal and that's probably the least reusable thing for them except for the occasional patch job. Don't ask me why but they had whole 20 foot sections of trailer just sitting there where they'd shortened 53' to I guess 33' because I guess if you need a shorter trailer and you have unused longer trailers the mod is still cheaper than buying new 33s!
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:28 PM   #11
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Places are happy to get rid of used Duraplate. It can't be recycled so it has to be cut up and hauled away to a landfill.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:24 AM   #12
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Interesting product!


Here is a product brochure ... a fair read. Does have some marketing fluff.


DuraPlate Overview (PDF)



Here is the fabrication guide. Now here is the stuff skoolies dream about.


Working with DuraPlate (PDF)



The Overview states that DurPlate is 100% recyclable ... so don't tell 360 Fleet Services!
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Native
The Overview states that DurPlate is 100% recyclable ... so don't tell 360 Fleet Services!
Itís probably recyclable like styrofoam and those tetrapak food boxes are recyclable, meaning itís possible enough that they can say so, but economically prohibitive.
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