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Old 05-22-2017, 12:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Top ten tools!

I'm a thirty year old single mom getting ready to buy and covert. What are your top tools hacks or time saving devices. Like a top ten of things I need to do this efficiently.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:44 PM   #2
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Welcome

Oh, you're going to be popular on here with an opening like like that.

The tool you'll need depends a lot on what type of build you're doing. Weekend camper type build primarily in warm areas, or a live in made for harsher climates?

You'd need wrenches and/or sockets for removing the seats, prybars for pulling up the floor (full build), either hammer and chisel or pneumatic chisel for removing rivets. Cordless tools are really nice but they limit how long you can work.

The tools you'll need are something you should probably buy as you move along through your build. The decisions you make about how you're going to put together you bus will determine what tools you need.

A good size canister vacuum will be your friend when you're cleaning up.

Have you decided what type of bus you want yet?
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:41 PM   #3
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:42 PM   #4
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:09 PM   #5
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My Fein comes in first
Those fein multi tools are pretty bad-ass.

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Old 05-22-2017, 02:46 PM   #6
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First tool any bus conversion needs is gonna be an angle grinder.
Air chisel and impact are pretty essential as well.
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:29 PM   #7
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A credit card?

Seriously, what tools you buy depends on your skill level and what needs to be done. Making a bus into a tin tent for occasional camping won't need much more than basic tools such as those from Home Despot, but if you plan on doing more you'll be amazed how many you'll end up buying! Even if I only need a tool once, I never begrudge buying it - I think of tools as an investment that will always pay for itself. For example, I bought a very pricy crowfoot wrench just to tighten one hydraulic fitting about an eighth of a turn, but I had no choice, and maybe I'll need it again at some point.

Harbor Fright has some decent tools and some utter crap - you just have to be selective what you buy there. HD has sales when their prices are crazy-low, so I stock up then even if I won't need it for a while. Oh yes, almost forgot - buy good eye protection; your eyes are irreplaceable.

Tools are good! (And opposable thumbs, but they're free.)

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Old 05-22-2017, 03:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Welcome

Oh, you're going to be popular on here with an opening like like that.

The tool you'll need depends a lot on what type of build you're doing. Weekend camper type build primarily in warm areas, or a live in made for harsher climates?

You'd need wrenches and/or sockets for removing the seats, prybars for pulling up the floor (full build), either hammer and chisel or pneumatic chisel for removing rivets. Cordless tools are really nice but they limit how long you can work.

The tools you'll need are something you should probably buy as you move along through your build. The decisions you make about how you're going to put together you bus will determine what tools you need.

A good size canister vacuum will be your friend when you're cleaning up.

Have you decided what type of bus you want yet?
I'm currently bidding on a 1999 blue bird 40 footer. I will be converting to off grid and living in the bus in Colorado so some hot lots of cold. I'm mean the bigger purchases simpler tools aside. So what kinds of tools that make lots of noise so to speak!
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Slinky View Post
So what kinds of tools that make lots of noise so to speak!

The ones you want to make your life easier. I've spent a fair bit on tools but they are an investment and having the right tool makes things easier and better.

Angle Grinder
Impact Drill
Sawzaw
old fashion wrench with an elbow
Local Harbor Freight for destroyable tools

Later I found these tools needed
20g Air compressor
Chop saw
Table saw
Jigsaw
all sorts of saws
Corded powerfull drill
Air tools
Youtube
Skoolie.net

If your serious you can accomplish anything. Great knowledge on this subject between this forum and Youtube.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:36 PM   #10
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The ones you want to make your life easier. I've spent a fair bit on tools but they are an investment and having the right tool makes things easier and better.

Angle Grinder
Impact Drill
Sawzaw
old fashion wrench with an elbow
Local Harbor Freight for destroyable tools

Later I found these tools needed
20g Air compressor
Chop saw
Table saw
Jigsaw
all sorts of saws
Corded powerfull drill
Air tools
Youtube
Skoolie.net

If your serious you can accomplish anything. Great knowledge on this subject between this forum and Youtube.
This is exactly what I'm looking for thanks so much. I may be behind the converting curve but I know I can do anything if I fail long enough first.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:41 PM   #11
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"I know I can do anything if I fail long enough first."

Brilliant! You are gonna do just fine.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:47 PM   #12
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Face shields and safety glasses, and a respirator or at least a face mask if you're sanding or messing with fiberglass. Don't forget ear protection! I'm only 19 and I already have slight hearing loss from using the angle grinder without it. I've never been in a shop where they use it but it is immensely important.

The angle grinder is definitely the most versatile tool for the bus project other than the drill. Die grinders are also good for getting in tight spaces and over your head, since they're smaller.

For wiring, get a wire stripper, crimper, and cutters. Or you can get an all-in-one 12V wiring tool. Electrical work is further on in the build but I found that I needed to do work on the vehiclular wiring.

If you're planning on using lots of metal like I've been doing, a small welder and a chop saw (miter saw for metal) are good tools to have. If not you can forego these.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:57 PM   #13
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GLOVES!!! you are working around sharp metal.. even if its 90 degrees outside i wear long jacket and gloves... jagged metal can cut right through skin like warm butter...

also gloves are quite handy when filling the diesel fuel as the diesel pumps are sometimes greasy and grimey..

-Christopher
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Old 05-23-2017, 04:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wendysdrivethrudude View Post
Face shields and safety glasses, and a respirator or at least a face mask if you're sanding or messing with fiberglass. Don't forget ear protection! I'm only 19 and I already have slight hearing loss from using the angle grinder without it. I've never been in a shop where they use it but it is immensely important.

The angle grinder is definitely the most versatile tool for the bus project other than the drill. Die grinders are also good for getting in tight spaces and over your head, since they're smaller.

For wiring, get a wire stripper, crimper, and cutters. Or you can get an all-in-one 12V wiring tool. Electrical work is further on in the build but I found that I needed to do work on the vehiclular wiring.

If you're planning on using lots of metal like I've been doing, a small welder and a chop saw (miter saw for metal) are good tools to have. If not you can forego these.
I don't think I'm skilled enough to do welding any time soon but I'm hoping to be able to do wiring and wood work by the time this is over! Thank you for the advice!
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Old 05-23-2017, 04:32 PM   #15
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GLOVES!!! you are working around sharp metal.. even if its 90 degrees outside i wear long jacket and gloves... jagged metal can cut right through skin like warm butter...

also gloves are quite handy when filling the diesel fuel as the diesel pumps are sometimes greasy and grimey..

-Christopher
I work for an ambulance company so diesel, gloves, and cutting through skin like butter is not new to me!
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Slinky View Post
I don't think I'm skilled enough to do welding any time soon but I'm hoping to be able to do wiring and wood work by the time this is over! Thank you for the advice!
A decent flux core welder is pretty simple to use on non-structural stuff. An afternoon on YouTube and a couple of scraps to practice on and almost anyone can weld.

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Old 05-23-2017, 06:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by njsurf73 View Post
a decent flux core welder is pretty simple to use on non-structural stuff. An afternoon on youtube and a couple of scraps to practice on and almost anyone can weld.

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this^^^^^^
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:45 PM   #18
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The top best and most important tool is this forum.
The people here are absolutely wonderful.
These folks will help you with any questions or problems you may have and they will not judge you or degrade you or your questions period.
This forum is the best tool period and thank you to everyone that makes it that way.

My personal top tools for starting:
4 inch grinder
Slim pry bar
Long heavy pry bar
Three Gallon buckets for trash and scrap
Plastic painters sheets
Gorilla Tape
Fan, leaf blower, something to keep you cool and help blow dust out.

You will be sweating removing seats, flooring, interior sheet metal panels, a fan and trash buckets are a must.
You will need pry bars a lot, a 4 inch grinder more than the pry bars.
You will get to a point when you have windows, doors, huge areas exposed that need to be covered by plastic or sheets or anything.
It keeps the dust out and can prevent damage to windshields, areas you need to protect like the cluster, steering wheel, tires, anything and everything.

Top tools for construction:
Go buy a power tool package if you havent done so during removal period.
A good screw driver, impact drill, skill saw, leaf blower, jig saw, something the more you have the better. Again most important so far has been a 4 inch grinder.

Once, you get into the building stages, you will need wood working tools, bits, drills, saws, levels, miter boxes, tons of screws, self tapping and construction. Insulation, tapes, glues, glue guns, everything. You are basically building a home inside of a giant van body.

Then you have plumbing, electricity, living, heating, cooling, after any structural changes to the bus.

My personal top ten tools:
Grinder
AC Buzz Box Welder
Screw Driver
Hand Riveter
3 Gallon buckets
about $3000 worth of steel and materials.

I had to reskin my entire bus and do a roof lift. I had to learn how to weld and do all of this work myself with a ton of help from the great people here. This is your best tool period.
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:28 PM   #19
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Generators!

I say generators (plural) because different sizes have different purposes.

All of my work gets done far from hydro hookup so ......

For even the smallest corded power tools a 3000 watt generator (25 amp) is required, My 6.5 amp grinder will stall out a 1200 watt (10 amp) generator. Larger tools like my 2hp table saw (22 amps @ 120 volt) will run on my 3000 watt generator but it is a losing battle. It works much better on the 5000 watt generator with an extra thick extension cord.

While keeping this in mind I also make sure to use the smallest one possible for the job to save on fuel and our planet.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:58 PM   #20
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And the one tool nobody's mentioned so far - a BFH. Sometimes you just need to whack the living snot out of something, and wimpy little politically-correct hammers just won't cut it (sorry for the mixed metaphor).

Do you realize that the humble hammer may be mankind's supreme technical achievement? What else made by Homo Sapiens always works, without exception? There's nothing else out there that's more dependable. Yeah!

John
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