Just a quick update on the bus progress – not much to show in terms of physical changes, but I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes planning and designing and thinking.

I had the vehicle modification inspector out this week to look at my plans for installing a passenger seat at the very front of the bus. I need to be able to build in a slide-out section of floor for the passenger’s feet to go as they would otherwise be hanging over the stairwell. He was happy with my plans and I have a clear idea now what he requires to sign off on it. I can’t really do anything else on the bus until I fix that rust in the doorway and rebuild the door and steps, which requires being able to weld.

I did a class in MIG welding last weekend, which turned out to be very disappointing. It wasn’t very well run and the teacher was terrible at explaining things. I honestly learned more watching Youtube videos! But the good thing was I had my own welder to play with for a few hours, so at least got a feel for what is involved. It is much harder than it looks. I realised I would have to do many many hours of practice, so was thinking about buying a welder. But they are not that cheap.

Quite a few guys in my bus groups are old-fashioned stick welders and they say it is just as strong as MIG welding. It also seems less complicated and cheaper so I thought I would give that a go. I bought myself a basic stick welder from Bunnings. Along with the necessary safety gear (I made sure to get a quality helmet) it has cost me all up about $400. It is quite a bit of money but this is a skill I am determined to learn and if I can master it, it will mean being able to do my own work on the bus, instead of having to pay other people, so it will save me money and pay for itself anyway.

Me wearing all my welding safety gear
So I’ve been teaching myself by watching Youtube videos. Have only spent one afternoon so far, practicing on some pieces of scrap steel leftover from my floor rebuild, but can already see an improvement so I’m confident I will get there eventually.
The top piece in this photo is the very first welds I did, and the bottom piece is after a couple of hours practice. Still a long way off being able to weld bits of my bus together, but at least they are starting to look like proper welds and I’m not burning holes in the steel!