cullen wrote:what would you recommend buying for the buses destruction and rebirth?
i was thinking
i know i'm missing stuff suggestions?
Perhaps you could start by deciding what needs doing to the bus. Next you would consider what tools are needed for your first task. I donâ€™t mean to be a smart-aleck -- I just want you to approach this with logic. For example, if you are going to raise the roof, you might want four jacks. If not, well, then you wonâ€™t need them.
That said, for all manner of steel de-construction and fabrication, I use abrasive cutting tools a great deal; chop saw, 4 Â½ inch angle grinder, and sometimes an abrasive cutting wheel in my skil saw. I donâ€™t know how I ever fabricated anything without a chop saw to cut the materials to length.
As the above (staged for fun) photo suggests, there is a price to pay for all this spark-throwing efficiency. The angle grinder is specially dangerous, both for cutting your fingers off, and for taking your eyes out with red-hot steel chips.
As in the photo -- no joke --I wear BOTH goggles and face shield when I use abrasive cutting wheels.
The saws-all (in the photo) is a useful tool, but I think of it as a last resort because it is so uncontrollable. It is violent in a different way from the abrasive cutting tools -- it jumps and bounces around from the moment you pull the trigger.
Drill press. Get the biggest drill press you can.
Air compressor. Sure. Big one -- not the little buzzing kind. Even if only to run an impact wrench -- which is a huge work saver.
I bought an el-cheapo paint sprayer a while back but may never use it. You can paint an old school bus with brush and roller.
Cordless drill/driver with two batteries. Big one. I use my 110V drill also, but letâ€™s face it, the cord is a perpetual nuisance compared with a battery drill. Lots of nut driving bits for sheet metal screws and such.
Shop vac -- oh yes.
I had a sand blaster 35 years ago and found it not very useful. It's probably great if you are restoring vintage machinery. But for a Playa-grade skoolie conversion, I don't know what I would use it for.
Pop rivet tool(s). Depends on what you are going to do, but sheet metal screws tend to fall out from the vibration of a moving bus. I have found that consumer grade pop riveting tools are junk. They are for Grandma who needs to put two rivets in a flower pot. For any serious riveting go to a commercial fastener store and buy commercial stuff. Same with the rivets themselves -- big difference.
I could go on forever, but there are others in line to post their own suggestions. When it comes to tools, you will no doubt get as many opinions as there are people -- and much of the information will be conflicting. There is no substitute for your own experience.
As for the famous angle grinder, I have burned up several of the $39,- ones, just on Millicent. Probably better to invest in better ones right up front. And I keep two of them; one with a cutting blade and one with a grinding blade -- saves a lot of time swapping blades.
Here's a clever tip -- no extra charge: For cutting large thin sheets of aluminum, you can use a plywood blade in a skil saw. INSTALL THE BLADE BACKWARDS. And rub cutting wax lubricant on it. And be sure the work is firmly supported. Again, the blade goes in backwards or you'll murder yourself the instant it hits the work.
Welder, if you need one. A topic in itself -- and there is a whole thread about it. A MIG welder, most likely.