Well this past few weeks have been cluttered with last minute summer fun, but a little bit of progress since my last update. After 3 years of reading through builds and hating myself for not being able to weld, I finally got myself a modest lincoln MIG Welder. I went ahead and practiced by welding the top horizontal sections of my bus skin to the bus. I would say I got some but not ideal penetration, and some great practice. I look forward to getting some more welding done, but I will do my best to avoid structural welds without more practice.
What have I done!? (port side window holes), I zoned out with my angle grinder and accidently cut too far on the small left window. I was delighted and empowered to patch this up with the MIG.
Cleco’d in place, bless those clecos
and replace those cleco’s with some 3/16 pop rivets
Cleco’d starboard window
I also used some super strut (unistrut knock off I think found at home depot)to extend my roof deck to accommodate solar panels.
I still have one “or two”(I only have one, but I keep telling myself I’ll get another) windows to put in on the port side of the bus-hopefully tomorrow. The procedure I use is pretty simple and ripped off straight from the broccoli bus. He did a much better job both explaining and executing the procedure, however I will still break down my process here for the sake of providing a wholesome build explanation. After typing out all my commentary you are really better clicking that link which will take you to page 63 of the broccoli bus and following his well written guide, rather than following my sloppy process.
0. Predrill holes using #10 bit in drillpress.
1. Use a framing ruler to make a parallel line from the rain catch, then jam a window in there and demand my wife to stabilize it while i try and trace around it and passive aggressively complain about what a bad job we are doing. Disregard almost everything we did and draw over the lines with a sharpie. Then flip flop and draw more lines and scribble old lines out until I find my ideal shape in a mess of sharpie lines and scribbles on my wall. At some point I will determine my final shape, take a reassurance sip of beer and say all is good.
2.Cut the 90% of the straights with a cutoff wheel, and follow up with cutting the curves with a jig saw. (cut a little short so I can expand later)
3. Angle grind the interior until I can fit my window in, occasionally curse to myself about why I can’t just measure properly the first time.
4. Once the window fits I go back and forth between drilling new holes and cleco the window on.
5. After all the holes are drilled I deburred and cold galvanized all the holes and interior cuts to assure myself the metal is protected. Rather than covering my windows to protect them from the galvanizing spray, I sloppily forget and disregard the wet silver stars on my beautiful windows, drink a sip of beer and pat myself on my back for doing things the right way.
6. I apply butyl putty to the window flanges while the galvanizing spray dries.
7. I cleco the butyl applied windows to the frame of the bus and admire the view for a couple days as I await my rivets to come in the mail. (Also waiting helps the butyl tape get fully compressed, you’ll see it pop out more and more over the course of about 24 hours)
8. I attempt to rivet the windows in and hate myself for using the wrong bit on the holes, instead of regalvanizing the holes I choose to call it an experiment, drill the holes and just rivet it as is.
A few notes: Being lucky enough to expierment with solid and pop rivets, I am really glad I was able to experience solid rivets for the skin of the bus. Despite my piss poor job rivetting a lot of the rivets, I feel really comfortable and assured that the skin is fastened on the bus really securely. If I were to do this again, I would definitely use solid rivets for the structural aspects of the bus. Also the aesthetic looks much better. However I also really enjoy pop rivets, and would totally use them if I were to half ass the project. The HF riveter works very well as far as I can tel, and it’s really nice to not have to beg people to hold a bucking bar.
The future forecasts as followed.
1. Get my next window on.
2. A water test (which I’ve been dreading), to prepare for the fall.
3. Insulate the bus.
4. Begin framing the interior.
5. should bring us near october.
I don’t want to flake out on this so I’m going to declare it now, I would like to try and frame the kitchen with steel. I believe I’ll need 1″ tubes and a little more practice welding. From there I will debate the materials I intend to use for the rest of the bus.
As always thank you for following, and I welcome your opinions, advice, and words of caution.
The “second to last” of the windows is in!And a pic of the starboard side, (angle is due to spacial restraints, not artistic vision) You can’t really see it but I welded a sheet of scrap over a small hole that’s been bothering me for about two years. and sprayed over it with cold galv spray. Very satisfying.