Friday, March 14, 2008

Composting toilet and more walls

(Mostly) Finished composting toilet!

Our vent is a total duct tape explosion. We made it out of an old dryer vent we had lying around. I wrapped it in duct tape because the exposed metal of the hole in the ceiling scraped away some of its plastic sheath and I didn't want to worry about holes in our ducting. It connects to the 12v nearly silent fan we bought for too much money from Sunmar. Switch on the wall to the right. The cabinet doors we got at Bring and the hardware we got at an estate sale earlier today! Still not sure how we're going to finish the top of the composting box - paint? Collage? Tile? Leave as is? Not sure. We are going to give everything in the bathroom a good coat of tung oil for water resistance and easy clean-ability.

Julia cutting a really nice hole for the vent with our new Jigsaw! So much easier than trying to do this with a sawzall...

Here's the vent snaking out of the bathroom and up out the roof. This comes out over our icebox, which is where we're going to build our pantry. The vent will live at the back of the pantry where you can't really see it. I used a little bit of pipe insulation to protect the vent from the exposed metal of the opening. Duct tape strap is temporary. =)

Here's me installing the vent collar... and trying to race the sunset.

There's the vent peeking out the roof. We found the cap at Bring and the collar at the Rebuilding Store in Portland. I think it looks cute! Kind of like the little cousin of our chimney. I'm pretty sure the cap was originally intended to be used for a gas stove but I think it'll work for our purposes.

Here's the inside of the compositing chamber. We are going to have three bins of that size. Each bin sits on top of a tray. The bottom of the bins are perforated and each bin has 2 perforated plastic tubes resting inside of them (and eventually inside of the compositing mass) in order to increase airflow from within. Before you begin to use a bucket, you line the bottom with a good amount of composting mulch and then after each use, you pour enough mulch on top to cover everything over. By the time the all the buckets are full the oldest bucket should be earth. We bought some mulch from Biolet for our first go-round but we plan on making our own mix in the future. #1 is diverted to gray water tank. We had a bunch of heater hose lying around from when we removed the coolant-driven heater original to our bus so we recycled it. You can see it here in our pee diversion system. =) Thanks to Sean for allowing us to borrow his design!

Here's what it looks like with the bathroom filled in! It has really changed the space for us in a positive way. We're going to wait until we build the pantry above the ice box to finish the rest of the exposed wall. Please excuse the mud we've tracked into the bus - it' s been raining a lot lately. =)

Here's the beautiful paneling we used to cover the exposed wall that stretches along most of the right-hand side of our bus.

Here's the cabinet we built to cover the electrical bay. You can barely see it in the pic but we used a nice bar latch to lock the doors together.

The outside of the bathroom/hallway to bedroom. You can't see it in this pic but we used this neat folding door for the bathroom. I think it was made for a closet but it works really well for our purposes. We put handles on both sides with a lock on the inside of the door for privacy. It feels great to have our bed in the bus!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Propane box, Ice box and *the* box

Long time, no post.

Well, we're 99% finished with the propane box except for a few silicone touch-ups here and there. Phew...that was an ugly battle.

In other news, we decided to give up trying to resuscitate our broken fridge. In our year of collecting pieces, we had 2 back up ice boxes just for this sort of occasion! We plumbed the ice box in and even made a nice little s-trap for it by bending up the pex just so and screwing it down with plumber's tape.

We went to Portland yesterday to hit the re-building store there and also to visit the Bins. We scored some really nice hardwood siding at the re building store, as well as a weather collar for our bathroom vent. Oh yeah - I also made some curtains for the bedroom! We are going to move our bed in as soon as we finish the bathroom me crazy but I have a thing about sawdust in the bed.

Me battling it out with the sawzall....don't know why this was so (*&%ing hard.

Ooooh...propane box lookin' kinda pretty. =) We used lots of flashing around the edges in part because my cutting job was not that pretty and in part because it made finishing the whole thing a breeze. Dig the locking hasps. We used some old interior rubber stuff from the bus to create a little "umbrella" above the doors.

The inside. We are going to paint it. Matter of fact, we're going to paint everything - inside and out - white. We caulked the nuts off this box. Weatherization for this thing is turning out be a P.I. the A. because the metal doors we made bow out when we lock the doors. We're going to add some clasps on the sides to make them cleave a little more snugly to the bus.

We tested the propane lines the other day and they are totally holding pressure!! The kind folks at Collin's Bike shop downtown lent us a specialty bike pump that screws on (rather than snaps on...not tight enough for our purposes) and measures the PSI of whatever it's pumping. We did this before we did the old soapy solution test because we thought it was a bit more scientific and to the point. With capped pipes (not hooked up to appliances) our pipes held their pressure which means there's no leaks! We were able to make a bike pump adapter out of a bushing and a little bicycle tire sized nozzle thing from Jerry's.

Here's what the box looks like on the inside of the bus. We raised the bench up a bit so that it would clear the box and not rest on top of it - we thought that the added pressure of our butts might eventually contribute to breaking the seals in the box.

What a disaster area. =) Note the ice box to the right of the stove. Pantry to be built above it.

Drain line coming out of the ice box with home-made little s-trap. The second piece of plumber's tape has a little scrap piece of 2x2 supporting the underside of the pex hose, creating the the "s" shape. I wrapped the pex in little pieces of pipe insulation to keep the tape from cutting into it.
There's the ice box drain coming in on the right towards the bottom of the sink drain. It switches from Pex to PVC at the end because that's what we had laying around the house. =)

The bathroom begins!

More bathroom for extra sawdust below buckets...we're planning on making ours like SeanF's on tested, bus-freak approved....he has a fan driven vent out the roof and lots of provisions for airflow through the compositing mass. He also diverts the #1 into another our case we're going to divert it into the gray water tank. More details on all of this to come.

Here's some nifty stuff we bought at the new green store in Eugene. It seals plywood and prevents off gassing. Even though the plywood in our bathroom is recycled, it's probably still got some more offgassing to do - which is why we sealed it with this stuff before we installed it.

Here's some of the simple curtains I made for the bedroom. Dumpstered the curtain rods a million years ago...finally got to start using them! Note the pile of stuff on top of the bed. =)

Here's the panelling we got at the rebuilding store in Portland - $30 for 30 boards! More than we wanted to spend but it's just too pretty to walk away from.

Next up....installing the vent for the bathroom and wrapping up compositing toilet construction! Woo hoo!