I think I forgot to mention last time that I did a hi-tech mockup of my layout just to make sure it felt right in the space. All of my Art Foundation skills snapped back into full use:
Now that I've got a floor plan, I've been able to finally do some stuff with/for the van. For example, ripping out even more stuff from the inside! Thought it was empty before? Nope. To date, I've removed...
the whole backdoor:
and the e-track on either side of the box (32 bolts on each side, ugh):
that middle grate divider/protector thing:
...including the door tracks and big spring
Getting the door tracks out actually gave me my first injury in this project: I burned my little fingies on a bit of metal alllmost cut off that I decided to just grab and pull the rest of the way off. NOPE.
Tryna sell/get rid of all the stuff I pulled off by the way, if any of it looks appealing.
All of the above took the help of some awesome friends: Thom and Tom and Ruben and Matt! I'm borrowing a lot of tools and advice for this so far, and I haven't even built anything yet.
Now that everything is off, it's time to put some stuff on. I took my first trip to a junkyard to find some odds and ends, and scope out the glass situation. I found one place with one step-van; enough for me!
I ended up with mirrors, sunshades, handle, and an engine cover strap. The first trip really just got me accustomed to a junkyard, which was a totally surreal place. I can't remember anywhere I've been recently that's simultaneously so dangerous and so unregulated.
The second trip got me some WINDOWS! I got three windows out of the one step van hiding in the way back of the lot: one windshield, one triangle, and one manual sliding window. Set me back $99, rather than at least $100 each. It was actually super easy to get them out: score the rubber gasket along the scored center on the outside, then cut across enough to grab it with some pliers, then pull pull pull until the gasket is off enough to get the glass out! This worked for the blank glass as well as the framed window below. I think now I can just order new gaskets and... well, I have a plan.
Basically, I don't want to try and cut the very exact hole these will need into the side of the van. BUT if B&C Creations will cut that perfect hole for me out of some loose aluminum sheet, I can install the window in that, cut a "close-enough" hole in the wall of the truck, and bolt the aluminum-framed window into the wall through that hole. I'm hoping that's a reasonable idea, but I'm going to talk to an auto-glass person before I cut any holes.
The last thing I got was new windshield wiper blades (not from the junkyard, from a store, like a normal person.)
I realized I have yet to drive in the rain with the Metal Baby. Upon testing out the new blades, I realized I should probably keep avoiding it for the time being. One arm jumps the edge of the windshield and the other never goes quite low enough to get out of the driver's view, and only one of the two speed settings really works.
I also spent some time just hanging out under the hood with the engine cover off, getting acquainted with things. I took off the a/c controls and found out that the a/c is a little broken (a lot broken) by some rusted-shut valves.
On the bright side, a random internet person (thanks Byron!) directed me to what might be the mechanic's manual for my chassis, which would be pretty helpful. Either way, I'll be calling my mechanic again soon to ask about this stuff.
Still on the bright side, I bought a sink!! It's big and deep and was TEN DOLLARS. All the sinks I'd been looking at were $50-$250, so I win. The stuff around the top is from where someone had it undermounted - some leftover adhesive and granite chips. I'm honestly thinking about undermounting it too, so no harm no foul. With my gravity-water plan, I don't need the faucet stuff, so just a big basin is exactly what I need.
Okay, got some stuff off, put some stuff on, now it's back to planning. Thom Stanton came out again and rigged up a perfect model of my empty box in SketchUp, which will let me do some actual building planning (my model was really inexact and doesn't help with the nitty gritty numbers for buying and cutting material etc.)
I also got some assistance from the Richmond Street Art Festival in planning my paint design for the outside:
Yeah, it does look like a pile of junk. But! It won't soon :)