Sunday, February 14, 2016

New ideas keep hitting me!

Two members of the genus Sasquatch strolled past as, wrapped up against the arctic cold, I stepped into the freezing outside world. The aim today was to work on the breaker box compartment with a sub aim of marking the steel to cut to infill the rest of the hillbilly hole.

Last night, as I dreamed of things to be, things that might be and things that couldn't possibly ever be, I had an idea. Why not add brackets to the back of the box in order that extra securing points may be employed. Thus, the first order of the day was to locate some suitable steel, which I derusted manually, welded into place and sprayed with rust killing spray.
While I was at it, I re-welded the seam that was a bit loose that I'd welded yesterday. Yesterday I tried using my welder at the lower amperage setting since I was using thin rods and having a problem of burning through steel. That kinda-sorta worked. 40A was too low to be really useful. 70A is a bit high because extreme care needed to be taken that the rods didn't burn a hole in the steel.

Hunting around, I found my white paint. I set to and gave the assembley a white topcoat, hoping that it really won't matter much that some of the undercoat got burned off by the welding process. As rain is forecast for tomorrow, I placed an upturned planter over the assembly.
Then, looking at the sheet steel I placed behind the hillbilly aperture, I realised that it would probably support the edge of the compartment. I also realised that by being very careful I could probably stitch weld the steel into the hole after it's cut to size.
At least I found a use for the duct tape I had in the bus. It was well on the way to not being at all sticky! The steel for this operation was donated by a seat back from the bus that the hillbillies had not removed. Those with longer memories will recall that I removed it and the handrail that was attached to it in around April.

I sprayed around the perimeter of the aperture with orange paint in order to make an outline for cutting. Then, mindful of the fact rain was forecast and this is probably not galvanized steel, I sprayed inside with white paint.
The loose breaker box and cable are resting on top of an upturned trash recepticle underneath the bus. I must admit they look a load better since they were taken out of the nasty environment of rotting wood. Speaking of rotting wood, I did find some light surface rust where the wood had been in contact with bodywork steel. I treated it with anti-rust spray.

The next step will be to mount the breaker compartment in place and secure it from the front and the back. I had planned to drill holes in the tops of the sides but there isn't room to get the drill inside the box to be able to drill vertical holes. That's as of right now. In the future I might find a smaller electric drill and be able to do it.

If I put the steel infilling behind the bodywork panelling then I could weld it to the edge of the flange on the compartment and it would act as a support. I could rivet the steel over the front of the aperture too. That would solve the problem and old vehicles do have patches riveted over them. This bus is a splendid example, what with all the patches I've rivetted over hillbilly foolishness. I could butt-weld the whole patch into the aperture with the aperture (albeit with a cutout for the breaker compartment).

As far as locating the inlet box, that could be placed under the compartment or to the side. At the side, it could point downwards or go out through the side of the bus. The advantage for going out through the side is ease of access. The downside is it looks like a power socket. On the other hand, from 20 feet not many people would really notice anyway - particularly with a grey vehicle.

The paint is definitely peeling in places. I did read that somebody prepped their bus by wiping down the paintwork with paint thinner. That sounds promising and I might try that where the paint peels off. In fact that sounds easier than brushing down to bare metal, priming and painting. I can try it and if it doesn't work, I can try something else. It's not as though it has to be instantly perfect. It has to be comfortably livable inside - which it will be when the shower curtains are in place and it's all cleaned up.

12v electricity is a long-term project that will be installed at some future point. After infilling the hole in the side and installing the breaker compartment I might move on to installing the waste water barrels. I have considered various options and come to the conclusion that nylon cargo straps are the way to go. There seem to be three ways of securing barrels. I have seen some ideas that use plywood cradles but that just seems nuts having seen the way plywood under the bus just rots. 

The three ways are to use chains anchored to the skeleton and wrapped around the barrels, to use nylon cargo straps and to use plumbing strap. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Cargo straps are pretty universal, easy to install and easy to obtain. Chains are equally easy to obtain but harder to tighten and install. Plumbers strap probably needs a special tool to apply that I don't have. 

Discounting plumbing strap, I'm left with chains or cargo straps. Chains are excellent and very strong but only as strong as the weakest link. As the tanks will be pretty close to the back wheels (unless I can situate them further forward) then there is a possibility that the chain could drop down and get wrapped around the wheel with catastrophic consequences. Nylon straps would just snap at 300lbs pressure. They'd also be kinder to the plastic barrels. Thus, catastrophic failure is not as likely. Some question how well the straps will last but protected from UV and kept dry (the only wet will be road spray) there is no reason why they should not last a good long time. Doubling them up would add extra security. The attachment points for the straps could easily be steel plate with a hole drilled in it that's simply riveted to the body skeleton.

Tomorrow, if it's raining as promised, it's unlikely I'll be able to do much outside the bus. As far as I know, the rivnuts and screw eyes I ordered on Friday won't be here tomorrow. Those will complete the shower curtain attachments. Another thing that could be done is to work out some way of raising the 3 gallon cooler that forms the basis of my shower in order to increase the efficiency of the impeller pump.

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