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Old 11-12-2005, 12:34 AM   #1
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Tools Needed

I am interested in starting my conversion project this coming summer. What tools should I be stockpiling for the job? I have basic wood working tools (baby table saw, drill press, chop saw, air compressor).

Thanks
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Old 11-12-2005, 10:05 AM   #2
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don't forget the Sawzall!!!
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Old 11-12-2005, 10:09 AM   #3
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Angle grinder if removing seats!
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Old 11-12-2005, 12:19 PM   #4
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What software did you use for your floorplan?
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Old 11-12-2005, 01:16 PM   #5
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good wire strippers and an electrical tester
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:04 PM   #6
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Hearing protection. Power tools inside a bus are quite loud.

Angle grinder with cut-off, grinding, and sanding (wire brush or other) disks.

Stout prybar.

SAE wrenches & sockets (never heard of a metric skoolie), ratchet & breaker bar.

Digital camera and dedicated notepad for sketches, shopping lists, wacky ideas that need to be fleshed out, etc.

That should cover day 1.
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fankhaj1
What software did you use for your floorplan?
I got the demo of Home Plan Pro off http://www.download.com and liked it so much, I bought the program for $40.00. Worth every penny! I've used it for other projects, too. This link will take you to the page where you can download the demo: http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0....35&search.y=12.

I had previously been using Home Architect 3D v3.0 because it had a virtual walk-through feature, but that version is no longer supported and I bought v6.0 Special Edition thinking it would be better than v3.0, but was quite disappointing. Turns out, it was just like a demo version of a full blown v6.0 costing MUCH more.

I decided I didn't need a virtual walk-through as I will be mapping the floor plan shown in the gallery on my website so that the hot-spots will redirect to actual photos / video walk-through, and Home Plan Pro has a COMPLETE tool box that allows you to create your own objects to place in your plan. I heartily recommend at least giving the demo a try! IIRC, the demo is fully functional allowing you to make & save plans during the demo period (15 days, I think).

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-13-2005, 07:03 PM   #8
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Safety equipment FIRST. Goggles/glasses, hearing protection (already mentioned in another post), dust mask, gloves.

Consumables: paper towels (the blue automotive shop paper towels last a long time, and are excellent for applications where you won't be throwing them away immediately, or for hard scrubbing when you need a disposable scrubber); rubber/latex/vinyl disposable gloves -- buy in bulk (you'll need it) and save money in the long run. Depending on how you plan to paint, inexpensive disposable brushes save a lot of clean up time. A gallon of mineral spirits for cleaning parts to be painted. A couple of those pour-lids for paint cans. Disposable paint tray liners.

Disposable stuff, if used judiciously, can save you a lot of clean up time, and that means you can get more work done in the same amount of time.

Blades/bits for your power tools. A nice driver with changeable bits and sockets is good for screws and nuts. A decent pocket knife is indipensable.

If you're going to use dry-wall screws to screw things to your sheet metal internally, buy in bulk. It is a little bit cheaper, but mainly it saves time -- no running to the store when you run out of a box.

Shop around for your consumables. I found drywall screws a lot cheaper at Tractor Supply Company than at Lowes or Home Depot.

A small jamb plane (little plane for shaving door jambs) is handy, and a small jack plane would be useful, too, if you're doing woodworking on the interior.

For plumbing and wiring, one of the most important things is to PLAN your installation VERY CAREFULLY. This way you avoid a lot of waste. If you try engineering it on the fly, you will end up with parts you couldn't use, parts that were spoiled because something didn't fit or work quite right.

Scavenge pallet and other industrial packing material for cheap lumber that you can use in places that are not visible.

Mostly, you need the basic tools you have and those mentioned here. Saving time and not wasting resources will be very important to you in the long run, so consider those factors at each project you tackle.
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Old 11-13-2005, 08:56 PM   #9
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Cordless Dewalt Drill!

self tapping screws are also really good friends
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:40 AM   #10
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If there's one single thing that I can think of that would have made things easier for me, it's an additional drill (or a quick change chuck on my drill). It was very cumbersome to have to drill holes (or a hole) and then change from a drill bit to a driver bit. If you have an additional drill (or quick change chuck), you can work faster.
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Old 11-14-2005, 02:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
If there's one single thing that I can think of that would have made things easier for me, it's an additional drill (or a quick change chuck on my drill). It was very cumbersome to have to drill holes (or a hole) and then change from a drill bit to a driver bit. If you have an additional drill (or quick change chuck), you can work faster.
self tapping screws decrease the need for changing from drill bit to driver bit... That's why they make such good friends!
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:31 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your sage advice! I have made notes. I think most of these things are doable. The welding issues are the ones I am worried about! How often are people welding?
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:33 PM   #13
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Griff:

Quote:
I got the demo of Home Plan Pro off http://www.download.com and liked it so much, I bought the program for $40.00. Worth every penny! I've used it for other projects, too. This link will take you to the page where you can download the demo: http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.htm ... earch.y=12.
I downloaded this version and am trying it. I am having challenges getting the walls to size right?

Oh well, I will keep fiddlin!
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:27 AM   #14
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Are you having trouble with the thickness, or the length, or. . .? If you select "Preferences" from the top menu, you can set wall thickness, framing thickness & spacing defaults, i.e. I set my wall thickness to 2", framing thickness to 1-1/2" and framing spacing to 28-1/2" to match the ribs in the bus wall.

There is a lot on that Preferences menu that you can pre-set to make actual drawing easier. The program, like any other, will take a little time to get used to. I was used to AutoCad, and it took me a little while to familiarize myself with HPPro and all of its capabilities.

Have fun!
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:28 AM   #15
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Tools

I would highly suggest a good shop vac. There will be times you have such a mess (saw dust, wood chunks, metal shavings from using the sawz-all, stripped wire insulation, Jack-in-the-Box wrappers, dirt, rust dust, paint chips, small pieces of insulation) in the rig that you can't work. You will have to clean up just so you can find your buried tools and continue.
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fankhaj1
The welding issues are the ones I am worried about! How often are people welding?
welding makes alot of things easier and faster, but where there's a will, there's a way..... meaning you can improvise alot of things without welding if you're creative. I think eventually, you'll find something you will need to weld, you can always farm it out or buy a new welder, we all love new tools, don't we?
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:34 AM   #17
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I’ve found a really good quality Dewalt construction grade drill to be a necessity for my work….
They have enough intestinal fortitude to make it through bus walls, roofs and floors using a hole-saw without bogging down.

Another great tool to have is a good grade miter saw….I couldn’t believe how much time my Dewalt miter saw saved me in making cuts for cabinets and such in our bus.

Like other folks here mentioned, you really need a Sawzall and angle grinder if you’re going to do any major cosmetic work on the bus….stuff like taking off the roof or cutting out side panel sections for installing necessary bits and pieces.
A few days ago I cut off approx. 8 feet off the roof and yesterday the sides of our bus and couldn’t have done it so quickly without the sawzall.
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:46 PM   #18
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A heat gun ins't a bad thing to have for removing the decals of the bus. Heat them up and peal them off, and for any adhesive left over I like to use carb cleaner and a old wash rag/towel. I used about 3/4 can for the "SCHOOL BUS" on the front.

Something that I like to do when drilling into thicker metal such as the frame is to use some oil on the drill bits. The drill bits cut so much better this way. What the oil does is helps cool the bit helping it last longer. Now a good cutting oil works best but I don't have any so I just use some 10w30 oil or what I happen to have.

Anyone else use this method when drilling?
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Anyone else use this method when drilling?
Yep! All the time. . .same viscosity, too!
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:19 PM   #20
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The shop vac is an excellent idea - plus I plan to have one perma-installed anyways
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