busmod planning

On Friday afternoon Geoff and Tim (my busmod dreamteam) came to have a look at the bus. With the festival season looming both are getting crazy-busy. Limited time and budgets mean the plan is to keep everything very basic to begin with.

While we haven’t settled on the look & feel yet, the basic functionality will be as open-plan as possible. Here’s our current thinking.

Power

The biggest issue for me is power. Despite Genevieve Bell’s suggestion that I try the gekgasifier (which I fear would kill me!) I’m going for some kind of solar system. The roof is big enough for some decent panels, but I probably won’t be able to afford too many from the get-go. I’m taking advice from Off Grid EnergyHackerspace and adltechmeet and I’ll update more when I know more.

I did a followup presentation about reallybigroadtrip at adltechmeet last week. A few of the folk there are into ham radio and are trying to encourage me to have a UF system. It’ll be useful for safety (since I can’t afford a satellite phone!), to have random chats with nerdy nomad folk, and to be some kind of useful point on the system for their tests.

The rest is yet to be determined :)

Interior

tim checking behind the aircon

tim checking behind the aircon to see what space might be there

The current aircon was designed for a bus with seats and isn’t so useful for an open space, especially when the engine is off. I doubt I’ll be able to afford a new aircon system immediately, but for now space is at a premium so these will be ripped out.

We’ll cover the whole interior with some kind of lining (fake turf was mentioned!) and build a bed base. There will be a couple of storage units over the wheel arches, and the aircon space will become shelving with a cover (so things don’t fall out while in motion).

Current thinking is to keep the rest of the interior really minimal, with just beanbags on the floor. There won’t be a ‘kitchen’ as such. It will be more like a tent-camping scenario, with a gas stove and a box of pans/crockery stuff stored under the bed and a couple of flat-folding chairs (all stored under the bed, accessible via the boot). Eventually I’d really like to get a decent fridge but for now I’ll have to cope with an esky.

We’ll probably turn one of the passenger bench seats around so it faces into the bus, and then fit proper seatbelts. That way it can be used for extra passengers and also informal seating.

We will start with this and go for a few test drives and see how it all goes. Anything else will just be added over time.

Exterior

First things first – a respray (not quite like this though, thanks anyway @elroyonline!).

the ART team by @elroyonline

the ART team by @elroyonline

This bus is going red – just like my logo! I’ve been offered a good deal on the primer and paint, and I’ll do all the sanding/priming/masking prep work myself. I’ll even have a go at the actual spraying too – as Jimmy says “the more you do the more ownership you have” :).

Secondly, it’s a reasonable size already, but extra space will make life a great deal more enjoyable. So… I’m getting an annexe! It’s like an awning but it also has sides. (And yes, I do realise I sound like I’m building a house… I kind of am!). We think a fold up table attached to the outside of the bus will be useful as a kitchen bench.

Thirdly I’ll need a bike rack so I can go off on little jaunts when I’ve parked up.

Finally, there are currently no security grilles or flyscreens on the bus door or windows. I really need flyscreens because mosquitoes just adore me (I’m known as the human insect repellent, because they always come and bite me not anyone else, grrr). I’ll definitely also need decent security but I have to be careful not to go over a total weight of 4.5tonnes (or I’ll have to get a different driving licence). Ideally I’d get these made bespoke by some local craftsperson so they look fabulous. These may also have to wait, though, because it could well be expensive.

Want your name in the bus?

During the Pozible crowdfunding campaign, I offered a reward for $100 whereby your signature could become part of the bus. Thanks to FabLab I’m planning on laser-cutting these into a door, window frosting, or something that can be a real feature. I’ve asked those who had pledged to send me their signature so they can be compiled.

There were originally 100 of these up for grabs with 40 claimed. I’m still up for offering the remaining 60 if you fancy adding yours. Just contact me for details. UPDATE: I now have a Pozible shop where you can buy this.

Can you help?

In true “crowdsourcing life” fashion I would love to hear from you if you can help with the following. I would rather buy from friendly, local people than major chains and if they happened to also maintain an ecological responsibility that would make me extremely happy.

  • metalworkers who might be able to make me beautiful but lightweight flyscreens that can also act as a security grilles.
  • annexe maker/fitters (e.g. I’ve requested quotes from aussietraveller, allseasonsvinyl, australiawideannexes but they’re a bit, um, ‘normal’!).
  • at some stage there’s likely to be a working bee; feel free to contact me if you’d like to join in!