Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-01-2020, 05:39 PM   #1
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
skoollie business idea - tell me what you think

hey all!!

i got an idea im considering and would like some feedback.

could i sell it? would you buy it? would someone buy it?

i've been thinking about making a "Skoolie Kit". not everything, just the carpentry.

i think i could turn any floor plan into a CAD / CAM file and and cut out any bus interior on a CNC router table.
the computer can label the parts and draw up construction plans. you could flat pack a bus in a few boxes, ship it and assemble like you bought it at IKEA.

the pieces would assemble and be intertwined so that everything is connected together. hvac, wiring conduits pre planned.

cost wise for a bus... maybe it takes 15 sheets of plywood. 15 x$100
maybe 15 hours machine time - 15 hr x $100
double that number for overhead.
then shipping
assembly

would you pay $6K-ish for a machine cut cabinet like interior?
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 05:43 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Smyrna, TN
Posts: 61
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: Chevrolet 427
That's an interesting concept for sure. Me personally, I'm trying to go cheap as possible, so 6K would be way over-budget for my wood work. But then, I've also never made a cabinet and I'm going to learn-as-I-go.
Placeholder Bus Name is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 05:46 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,292
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I like it. I definitely would buy some pieces for my lil 5 window shorty.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 07:22 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
Posts: 540
Coachwork: In the market
I like the idea. The catch may be building a library of designs specific to different models of buses.
Sehnsucht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 09:48 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,956
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
and either you or the customer screwed up the measurements. What then?
useless pieces at that point, no?


John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 08:18 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,122
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
all busses vary.. they all vary from year to year to manufacturer to individual unit.. they really are cut-to-fit, you'd almpst need to build a laser measuring system that you would send out and then hopefully get back.. something cloud based where a person getting it couldnt use it if you remotely disabled it.. it would measure the interior of a bus and then theyd send the device back and get their plans and pieces..
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 09:14 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
banman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,456
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
What Cadillackid said!

Imagine my surprise when I learned if you added up all the total variances of the major stations (stations are how/where aircraft are measured at from tip to tail for precise reference) on my beloved UH-1H something as precise as a helicopter could be almost 2" shorter from one to another!

Now, if a given bus could come to you for precise measurements you could build the kit and pack the boxes on their bus and away they go...

Otherwise I fear much sadness between you or the customer with that...

Another anecdotal problem (my data set of one...)
Where my bus body welds over the Freightliner wheelwells -- the multi-layers of metal on metal have generated exfoliation or layer corrosion -- the result is ľ" or more of uplift in my floor just behind the wheel wells. The Thomas floor itself is still very solid -- it's just the Freightliner box tubing below it that's gone to hell -- the freightliner tubing is superfluous with the thomas body on top so not much to repair metal wise but this would bugger up fitting a floor to ceiling panel for sure... That wouldn't be your fault but it would be an unhappy customer...
(I notice a ľ" of uplift looking at the floor cause I've looked at metal framing for 30 years (if it was an aircraft, I'd ground it!) but most people wouldn't see it till something didn't fit...)
__________________
David

The Murder Bus
banman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 10:52 AM   #8
Bus Geek
 
ol trunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,772
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
I'll skip the political correctness aspect--

It won't work no matter how much money you throw at it.

Jack
ol trunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 09:12 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,701
Not a big enough market to be viable.

But if including the high end #vanlife crowd, yacht renovations, cargo trailer conversions

prolly still not enough.

Have to measure yourself, for sure.

Each job a once-off.

Would be a lot more work and lower net income IMO than almost any other skilled profession.

But if you love doing it, had a real drive with passion, maybe could evolve into something sustainable?
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 11:29 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 108
1. Too many variables to get any economy of scale.
2. Too small a market and not enough real spenders in it.
3. Not much savings for the customer, especially if anything doesn't fit.

The van guys already have companies trying to provide prefab stuff for them that "bolts right in..." There's a Sprinter bathroom kit that, surprise, surprise, doesn't fit well and makes poor compromises. They are a much bigger market, and apparently hard to address with kit/prefab products.

So many reasons why this wont work on the merits, but just look at it as a business, or as a banker would do. Say it costs $10k to get this business going. Probably takes ten times that, but no matter. The key question is- is this business likely to return that investment sooner in earnings or increased value of the business than if we invested the $10k any other way?

That's the opportunity cost hurdle, and this idea won't clear it...
TomA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 11:54 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
thanks everyone for the input!!!

i agree! with everyone

measuring is a problem. i've been looking at the laser scanners like Faro and wow! are they cool.

limited market is a problem. skoolies are cheap bastards that don't want to pay for anything they dont have to. i am a prime example of this.

the simplest idea is generic pieces that don't require anything but a flat floor and straight wall. you can go get pieces form ikea or a big box today and use them. the bed and lower cabinets wouldn't need bus measurements to work.

upper cabinets, bulkheads, bathrooms would need some more advanced measuring that that maybe could be done with a low tech jig.
while the generic pieces are meant for a bus.... its not custom...they will need to be adaptable.

if someone brought a vehicle to my property, that would be the start of going custom, using laser scanners, matching interior profiles to cabinets.

with the right CAD software, you can be a one off job shop. the first bathroom with a pocket door will take many computer hours assigning joinery properties, hardware properties. the second pocket door bathroom will only need to change the dimensions. if you are curious about CAD, check out

I'm still daydreaming.

keep your comments coming!
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2020, 04:53 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,572
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
The latest iPads have lidar built into them (basically radar using light). I'm not sure it would be accurate enough for 3D measurement (or cheaper than a dedicated scanner), but maybe.

I wonder if you could use CNC routing to shape custom blocks of XPS foam board that fit the ceiling curvature (either by shaping thicker pieces or kerfing stuff with the same thickness as the ribs). It seems spray foam costs about twice as much per board-foot as does foam board, so there's a potential 100% markup there, more if you can get a bulk price on the foam board. The fit blocks would be nearly as effective as the foam (more effective compared to spray foam jobs that don't entirely fill the spaces) and would be much easier to install DIY.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2020, 06:44 AM   #13
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,122
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
What Cadillackid said!

Imagine my surprise when I learned if you added up all the total variances of the major stations (stations are how/where aircraft are measured at from tip to tail for precise reference) on my beloved UH-1H something as precise as a helicopter could be almost 2" shorter from one to another!

Now, if a given bus could come to you for precise measurements you could build the kit and pack the boxes on their bus and away they go...

Otherwise I fear much sadness between you or the customer with that...

Another anecdotal problem (my data set of one...)
Where my bus body welds over the Freightliner wheelwells -- the multi-layers of metal on metal have generated exfoliation or layer corrosion -- the result is ľ" or more of uplift in my floor just behind the wheel wells. The Thomas floor itself is still very solid -- it's just the Freightliner box tubing below it that's gone to hell -- the freightliner tubing is superfluous with the thomas body on top so not much to repair metal wise but this would bugger up fitting a floor to ceiling panel for sure... That wouldn't be your fault but it would be an unhappy customer...
(I notice a ľ" of uplift looking at the floor cause I've looked at metal framing for 30 years (if it was an aircraft, I'd ground it!) but most people wouldn't see it till something didn't fit...)

its like building cars.. every fender, door, hood, trunklid, etc are all built with slotted mounts so you can straighten the body lines to match the differences in the frame / unibody after the car comes off the main assembly line..
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2020, 04:24 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
BeNimble's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 149
Year: 1999
Doing the woodwork is something someone without much experience can learn fairly easily. Now if you can do a diesel fuel injector swap cheap online, and rebuild a turbo, or fix the plumbing leaks.

What could be a better idea is to have a website where people can look at different cabinets and textures and layouts and you can send them plans so they can diy it.
So no precise measuring and shipping materials involved.
BeNimble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2020, 05:58 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
AutumnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Regina, SK
Posts: 40
Coachwork: Still looking
I like your concept. I have read all the above comments and l agree with alot of them. I think that the customer base you would be serving would be small. Most people taking this on already have build abilities, and will want to do it much cheaper themselves. I think your product idea would be for the non mechanical non building people or the " l want it without doing it cost doesn't matter " people. The measurements would be a bugger for any bus as even every build is not precisely perfect.

Maybe you could do a drop it off and you would build the interior option?
__________________
If l can't fix it, it's not broke!
Duct tape!! Who knew!!
If l don't have that tool... they don't make it!
AutumnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2020, 10:01 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 44
If you had the ability to scan and cut custom cabinets I would consider driving out for a few custom pieces. But I wouldn't want to spend $6k on a whole build.
MNbusboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2020, 11:00 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
T-Bolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 221
Year: 2003
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Even different areas on the same bus don't match. I cut a perfect template for my first cabinet and had to adjust it for every other one I made. Very frustrating. Even more so if I paid 6k.
__________________
https://eternitybus.com
T-Bolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2020, 01:32 PM   #18
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
thanks for all the feed back!

so...
i've been chasing this idea down and here is where i am at.

there is no economical way to scan a vehicle for measurements.

the 2 suggested lidar methods...#1 lidar sensors - create point clouds, then convert to cad. its doable, but not cheap. to buy the sensor($50k+) this is the BKL360 or the BLK2Go. very cool stuff! the software on top of the sensors is pretty expensive as well. for $100K you could measure a bus to with a 1/16th of an inch.

not very practical

the second method via the new lidar ipads. this is more doable, but not in house. you have to scan you scans and send it off to be converted to cad for a fee.
maybe more practical - to new to know.

the limitations however is that the software that build the cabinets doesnt care. it assumes that you are connecting a flat backed cabinet to a flat wall. this is why carpenters have jobs.

so the idea of a laser cut interior is nice but not real practical. it could be done, its just not cheap or practical at the moment. and you would still have to shim it to the insides of a vehicle.


so what could i do?

right now, i see making kits and furniture. they may or may not need some trimming/shimming.

i could take your floor plan, from a drawing or sketchup and turn it in to a digital 3d model. break that model into individual components. Figure out the joinery of everyone of the components. nest it all the parts on as few sheets of wood as possible and cut out.
voila.... precut skoolie kit.
bunks, storage, closets, bathroom, counters, couches,

do you want:
40 or 50 dove tail drawers? no problems
island bed with lift up storage platform? no problem
secret hidden storage compartments? no problem
you want it in a week or less?now we are talking!

**the upper radius curve of the bus will have to be close or test fit individually.** the rest assumes you are working off a flat wall or floor.

software is able to model the parts (projected up from a 2d floorplan). cnc is able to precisely cut out the parts. the only parts that would have to be figured out onsite would be a bulkheads and upper cabinets.

you could turn a digital model into the real thing in a few days time. not weeks or longer. with minimal carpentry skills.

the cad model would give you a list of all hardware... a bill of materials.. the nesting software would stack the parts to minimize waste and you'd cut out everything at once.

I'm going to try and model this out and see what happens.

please comment and Stay tuned!
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2020, 01:45 PM   #19
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,701
If this overall idea could become a viable "business"

and that is "a big if" afaic

even just in the sense of providing a decent living for the people involved, who enjoy that specific work, not comparing to other more lucrative niche markets for their skills

then I reckon forget the high tech*, forget the idea of mass markets

pursue local markets where wealthy people want to get into #vanlife and are willing to pay the world for custom once off work.

You will need to go to them, I'm thinking Bay area, San Jose environs, maybe Seattle, maybe Portland or Austin.

And forget skoolies, think Euro vans like Sprinters.

Might even make money buying low, converting and selling high, but very risky, the high-touch design taste and luxe quality finish standards would need to be top-notch.

*except where the up front investment would pay for itself in 1-2 gigs, compared to the old-school ways
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 11:16 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Evansville, Indiana USA
Posts: 58
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: Cummins 3126
Rated Cap: 66
Okay, so I'm new to the Skoolie world, but I've solved lots of design problems over the course of my life. I think there is a way to make this work.

The obstacle that most people see is the variations in bus dimensions, particularly at the roof line, but also at the wall. Here's the trick. Don't try to fit the existing roof line or wall line, but create a comfortable margin that allows the components to all line up from the floor, leaving a small, manageable gap at the wall and ceiling, then fill the remaining cavity between the component ceiling and the actual bus ceiling contour with insulation.

With this approach, you might lose something in ceiling height and maybe a couple inches in the aisle between the walls, but you would gain components that fits most busses pretty well, once a nominal ceiling height is determined.

Am I missing something, or why would this not work?
CoffeeGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×