Saturday, January 17, 2015

Window works

Today started fighting unfamiliar tools but ended reasonably successfully. The goal was after measuring the window apertures for the windows that had been replaced by plexiglass by a former bus owner, to cut sheet aluminum to fill the apertures as a permanent replacement for the plexiglass.

I'd measured the windows several times before but remeasured them just to make sure. They came out at 25.5" wide and 25.75" tall though the height was more of a generous approximation. Then came the marking and cutting. After marking the aluminum sheet which came from the folding shelf on the side of the bus that one of the former owners had installed, the cutting began.

Having used the reciprocating saw once before with a scraper blade (which didn't flex) to remove the vinyl floor tiles, I was unprepared for using it with a saw blade. It was alarming to see the blade flexing violently from one side to the other. Eventually I discovered that starting the cut with a manual saw and pressing the saw hard against the surface of the aluminum while letting the saw cut under its own weight. Then I discovered an even easier way.

Scoring the surface deeply with an angle grinder produced a much straighter cut and worked out much faster than cutting with either the angle grinder or the saw alone. Thus the aluminum sheet was cut into two window-sized pieces. Well, almost. The light went before I managed the second and final cut on the second piece of aluminum. The first sheet was cut to 25.5" by 25.75". Holding it into the back of the window aperture without removing the plexiglass, I discovered my 25.75 estimate may have been overgenerous. Still, it's way easier to cut a shade off rather than put it back on. Measure twice, cut once and undercut rather than overcut.

Tomorrow's task is to replace the first window with an aluminum sheet, to transfer a window from the other side to where the second plexiglass window is situated then to replace the missing window with the second aluminum sheet. This is a task I'd intended to start today but haven't quite finished cutting the aluminum.

It's been about 3 weeks since I last started the bus engine so I'm laying off any battery usage until I crank the engine which, all being well, should be on Monday when I take the bus to a locksmith to see about getting real locks for the front, side and back doors.

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