what tools do you need to build a tiny home or a school bus conversion

Tiny house school bus conversion

This week we go into what type of tools you may need to build your dream home. I discuss my most valuable tools that I can’t do without and we discuss the difference between power tools and air tools.

Podcast 007 tools you may need for a tiny house school bus conversion transcript

Hey guys, thanks for downloading my podcast. So today I have a pretty exciting episode, at least I think. Or for you men out there, that love your tools. I’m really not going to get into, the whole entire tool discussion. Meaning, I’m not going to get into all the tools that I have. I’m just going to talk a little bit about, the tools that I’m using specifically, in the steps that I’m at right now, in building the bus. If you’re starting to build a tiny home, you might not be doing a lot of metal work. You might be going to the woodwork. I’ll be getting into that later, once I start working on wood. But right now, I’m really doing a lot of cutting of steel, welding, and all of those things. So it’s a lot more metal working type of tools. Also I’m not going to get into, the discussion of what brands of tools. I own a whole bunch of different brands, all over the spectrum. From the really cheap, to the super expensive. Really what I’ve learned at the end of the day, whether it’s a cheap tool, or an expensive tool, is just making sure that it works properly. And that you have the proper tool, for the job that you’re working on, at the moment. So most of my tools, are air powered tools. That’s just because of the nature of the job that I’ve worked in most of my life, which is in the automobile industry. The standard tools used in that industry are air tools. That’s just what everybody uses. So that means, that most of my tools are air powered tools.

I have been recently buying some electric tools. What I’ve noticed is that, they work great in many instances. It works better than my air tools. To be honest, that goes back to what I was talking about, a little bit earlier. Just about having the proper tool, for the job that you’re working on, at the moment. One of the most important tools that I have is, an impact driver, whatever the brand is. My brand happens to be a Ryobi. I used to have a DeWalt one, and it broke not too long ago. The Ryobi one works just as well, to be honest, and it’s about half the price. I got the Ryobi impact tool, plus the good batteries, the lithium ion batteries with the quick charger. All of it for the price that I would have purchased of a DeWalt. DeWalt are great tools, but this Ryobi has been working for me, to be honest. I haven’t had any issues. It’s works out great, because it’s just all self-contained. I don’t have to pull out my air hose, with the air ratchet, not that I don’t use my air ratchet. I still use it sometimes. It’s much more convenient to have it there, and the little power tool. I use it all the time, to take apart cars. To put cars back together. When I’m working on the bus, I’m constantly attaching these metal pieces together. It saves you a whole bunch of time, instead of doing it by hand, with a regular ratchet. It works out great. So that’s almost like an indispensable tool for me. So there’s that tool, the impact driver.

It works out awesome. I use it all the time. Alright. So most of my tools are air powered tools. Now air powered tools in general, are smaller than electric tools. They run at higher revolution, since they’re smaller. They’re usually lighter. Most of the time have more. If you start trying to purchase, higher end air tools. They are a little more expensive than the power tools. What I’ve noticed also is, that they do last longer. I have some air tools that are probably, I don’t know 12 years old, 15 years old, and they’re still there working great, without an issue. I’ve never had an electric power tool, that’s lasted me that long. I’m sure I’m going to get an email, or something from somebody, saying that they have a power tool, that have lasted that long. Just from my experience, usually my air tools end up lasting much longer, than any power tools that I‘ve ever had.

With all those benefits, the down side of these air tools is, that you need an air compressor. Getting the proper air compressor, to work with the wide variety of tools that I have, or that you might purchase. My tools range from paint guns, to paint cars, all the way down to little 3 inch, impact wrenches, drills, all of these things. They need a certain amount of CFM. That’s almost the most important part. Not almost, it is the most important part. When you walk into a store to buy an air compressor, you gonna see most of the time. The selling point they’re trying to get across to you, is how may horse power it has, how big it is, how many gallons of air does it hold, and the PSI. Those things are almost not as important as CFM. PSI, most air compressors they’re all about the same, 100, 120, whatever the case might be. They’re all going to be just about the same. It’s really from my experience, not too important. The same thing as the horse power. The horse power again, something they try to sell you on. It’s really that not important either. The important part is the CFM. The reason that the CFM is important, is for example. My 6 inch grinder that I have, or any 6 inch grinder. You’ll be on an average of 3- 7 CFM to run that grinder. Depending on what you pay for your grinder, and the quality it is. Usually the higher the quality, the lower CFM is required. How much you need, cubic feet per minute of air flowing through that tool, to make it work properly. Most of these air compressors out there that you buy for like in these big box stores, that are $500, $600 bucks. The maximum that I’ve ever seen is usually right around 10 CFM. You can say, that’s more than the 7 to run the grinder, yeah that’s true. In this particular case, the grinder. You’ll be able to run it, more than sufficiently. But once you start getting into, like any DA’s, like sanders, the impact guns. There’s a whole variety of tools, that you start needing about 9,10,11,12 CFM sometimes, to run these tools. What’ going to happen is that, these compressors, no matter how big the tank is, no matter how many horse power it has.

No matter how much other stats they’re trying to sell you on, you’re going to be sitting around and waiting, for that compressor constantly. And it becomes a big mission, because a 20 minute job can easily start turning into a 35, 45, 50 minute job because you’re sitting around. And you’re waiting for your air compressor, to build up enough power, so you can use these tools. I’m telling you from experience, it’s a nightmare. You get frustrated and it’s horrible. Getting a compressor, that produces enough CFM to run all of these power tools, is important. That’s when it starts to become expensive. Something that you have 15, 20, 30 CFM, you could start getting close to $2000, $3000 for an air compressor. Also you need to think about, are you going to be the only one working with these tools. Are you ever going to have a helper with you, or somebody else working with you? Then you need to think about, are they going to use the air powered tools also, at the same time that you’re using it? So you need to take that into consideration. The last thing you want to do is, go and spend a $1000 or whatever the case might be, on an air compressor. Start working on stuff. Have somebody, your friend or helper, or somebody come along to start helping you. And neither of you can work, because the air compressor just doesn’t work. It’s never going to keep up. That’s an important thing you need to take into consideration. A big upfront cost you need to think about, if you’re going to go with air powered tools. But like I said, I’ve used air powered tools, almost my whole life and they work awesome. They’re built like tanks basically. The air tools that I’ve been using in this built, mostly has been a 3 inch tie grinder. Only use it for to clean up steel, like right before you’re going to weld. That kind of situation. Grinding down, like nails and things like that.

That I was in the bus, like when I was talking about in one of the videos, the wood inside the bus, on the floor. Was nailed down with like roofing nails, was ridiculous. Also the 6 inch grinder. To be honest, I’ve been using that a lot less, ever since I’ve gotten my electric grinder. But I still use the 6 inch grinder, and air sw. The air drill that I have, I use that. All of these tools also, like I said. They’re different brands that I have. For the most part, they’re all on the higher end. Like Snap on or Mac tools. To be honest, the reason that I got those tools is because when you work in the automobile industry. Those trucks drive to all of the body shops, and they’re just like a tool shop on wheels, that shows up. And they offer credit, even though I don’t like to take anything on credit now. But at the time, as a youngster coming up through the automobile industry. You have somebody there, with these shiny new tools, willing to give it to you and you can pay $20 bucks a week, whatever the case might be. So I got a lot of my tools like that. These are basically the air tools that I use. Like I said, I’ve been using them less and less. I’ve been using more power tools. Power tools have been working out great. Alright, so now the power tools. My new favorite power tool is my 4 ½ inch electric grinder. It’s Ryobi, and not to promote that brand specifically. There’s many different brands that you can use.

They’re all probably going to work, some will work a little bit better than the others, but this specific one that I purchased, is been working great for me. I’ve been using this tool, day in, day out, in just about all aspects, of the bus. Not only on the bus, I’ve been using it on automobiles, in place of my 6 inch grinder. For instance, I just started this restoration job for a client, a 1966 Ford pickup. Everywhere that I normally would have used my 6 inch grinder, I‘ve been using this 4 ½ inch electric grinder. It’s been working like a champ, I love it. It works awesome. Like I said, it’s my new favorite tool. It works out great. It was like $40 bucks or something, super cheap. Cheap enough that if it breaks, I just go out and buy another one. It’s not a big deal. So I use that grinder, not only to grind the steel, to get it prepped for welding. I’m using it to cut steel. I go and I purchase 4 ½ inch cut off wheels, put it on there and I end up cutting the steel. And that’s pretty much, replace my air power cut off wheel. So I also have a 7 inch power grinder, an electric grinder. I think it’s a Rigid, works out awesome. I use that for specific things. I’m not able to put on a much bigger grinding disk on it, when I’m trying to knock out bigger areas on the bus. This tool is mostly used, when I was cleaning out the floor of the bus, when I was getting it ready to paint it.

To make sure that rust wouldn’t continue to keep going on there, and it works out great. Alright, so now the I have a, Miller matic 180. I think they’re like roughly about $1000 or so. I mean I purchased this a long time ago. I don’t know what the price is today. I use that also, day in and day out. It works great. My experience with welding is, you definitely need a welder. Not that it has to be a name brand welder, but a welder that has specific tuning on the wire speed, and the heat, the temperature on the machine. Most of these cheaper machines that I see out there, in the big box stores, or in cheaper tool places. They either have like a high and low, or like high, medium, low. If you’re lucky, as far as temperature, and then the wire speed is like slow and fast. Or slow, medium, fast, and that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t give you the control that you need, when you’re welding a wide variety of steel.

The cheaper welders, I’ve seen them out there, for maybe like $300, $400 bucks, maybe $200 bucks. There are some pretty cheap ones out there. But in my opinion, it’s definitely better to find something that give you precise adjustment, on these things. Gonne save you a lot of time, a lot of headache. It’s important, because when you’re welding all these different grades of steel. You need to have just more than high and low, like you just have to. You need to be able to adjust that, to make sure that you’re not melting through that steel. Or that you’re getting hot enough to weld this heavier steel. It’s super important. If you don’t have the $1000 which I understand, cause its expensive. I’m sure you can find one used. I’m sure you can go through Craig’s list. I’m sure you could look around. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that’s not a $1000 that has that adjustment on it. I think I remember seeing their house brand at Northern tools. That had that adjustment, and it was roughly $6000. I know $600 I still expensive, but just shop around. And just try to find it, with that adjustment. It’s super important. Also I have a plasma torch. It’s a Miller Spectrum 375. This also was roughly about $800, $900, $1000 right around there. I don’t remember, because these tools I purchased, maybe like 8 years ago, 9 years ago, something like that, 10 years ago. It’s been such a long time. I really don’t remember. That stuff also, I’ve been using it a lot less. That tool has been replaced, with my electric 4 ½ grinder. Not that it’s better. The plasma torch definitely is much more, refine cutting, and refined and specific kind of situations that you need to cut things. Has many things that it’s much better, than any grinder that you use. But the steel that I’ve working on, right now at this moment on the bus, is much thicker than that plasma torch can handle.

So not that it can’t cut it, it’s just the cut come out raw, if I need to fight with it too much. Like I said earlier, it’s not the proper tool, for the job at this moment. It has its place, it’s just not right now. Also a good set of hand tools. I’m not going to get too deep into that, because you know, it’s like screw drivers, hammers, that kind of situation. I have like higher end ones again, because that was just the name of the game that I was in at the time. So I have like Snap ons, and stuff like that. I do have some Craftman tools at home, and they work great. They work just fine. As a matter of fact, when we start getting close to getting on the bus. I’m going to evaluate what tools are required, for me to do work on the bus. Because it does require a little bit bigger, type of ratchets. I’m going to probably buy Craftsman tools for that. I just don’t want to spend 2, 3, and 4 times the price on Snap on, or Mac tools. When I could go get Craftsman tools, and they’re going to work great. So that’s basically the main tools that I’ve been using in this project. Oh and one more thing. I can’t forget this. You definitely need safety equipment, like the googles, the dust mask, gloves, and those kinds of things. Safety equipment is not something like glamorous, to talk about. But one of my favorite tools, that I’ve started to use recently is, that whole face mask goggle situation. If anybody out there listening to this, and works in a humid place, that’s really humid. Like here in South Florida.

It’s difficult to wear the googles that just go over your eyes, and then a dust mask. What starts to happen is that, the dust mask, when you’re breathing inside of there. Your breath comes out the top, like by your nose, and gets into your googles and fogs it all up. So it becomes a big pain in the butt, where you just can’t see. So what ends up happening, is that either, for me at least. Either I would have to end up choosing. Do I wear my dusk mask, or do I wear my googles? I would kind of pick and choose, depending on the job, what I would use at a certain time. Because I couldn’t see when I was working. With the full face googles, for the most part. That whole fogging situation is completely taken care of. I can wear my mask under it, have that full face protection, and it does not get fogged up. I could say that 95% of the time, I don’t have to deal with fogging up of the googles, of all. It works out awesome. They’re a little bit more expensive, but it’s definitely worth the price. That’s basically a roundup of the tools that I’ve been using in this project. I’ll get deeper into all the tools that I have, on a later date. I just didn’t want to start to have this, huge discussion about all these tools that really I’m not using right now. Like for instance the power tools, all the wood working power tools. I’m not using any of that, at this moment either. I hope that soon I’ll be getting into that. If you guys want me to do a podcast, and talk about these specific tools, all of them I will. Because you now, just send me some feedback, and I’ll get a little bit deeper into it. What I’ve learned so far, this is something that I’ve known for many years, is that you definitely need proper tools for the job. If the job requires a certain drill, make sure you get that drill, and use it. Go and purchase it. If it cost $50 bucks, if it cost $100, whatever that tool is. If you’re like anybody else nowadays, time is of the essence. You’re working on very little time between jobs, the family, if you have kids, all of these things. The amount of time that you have available, to work on these things, is very limited. Being able to finish a job in 20 minutes, instead of fighting with a tool because, it’s not working properly.

It’s halfway broken, or it’s not the proper job for the tools. A 20 minute job, turns into a 45 minute job. Just not getting stuff done. You’re never going to finish this thing that you’re trying to work on. At least that’s how it is for me. Like I need the tool, so I can move this project along faster. Be able to get done with these things, just try to knock them out. For me, even though I don’t have all of this money, that I just go out and buy all of these things. The reality is that, it’s worth me going and buying, and paying the $100 for this tool, so I can get it done quickly. Than sitting there, and fighting with something that’s halfway broken, or just not the proper tool. The tools that you own, or that you need, are super important, for the specific job that you’re doing. That’s about it. If you guys have any questions, regarding the tools that I’m using. Or any other tool that you have a question about. Feel free to ask. Send me an email, at [email protected] Contact us through the website, lemonheadpress.com, or go through YouTube. Also on Twitter, Pinterest, blah, blah. The whole shebang. Just contact us, wherever you guys, whatever is more comfortable for you. That’s it. Thanks for tuning in. See you guys next time.


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