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MAKE pal Jake von Slatt gives us a video tour of his refurbished Thomas school bus, with much of the interior materials scrounged from the dump or scored through Freecycle or Craigslist.

Bus Tour – Link

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • codfish dan

    this is what I love to see. you can’t buy old buses in the province of new brunswick in canada and I’m pretty sure that goes for nova scotia and PEI as well. they just junk them :(

  • Camilo Santana

    rock-n-roll, man. You’ve got something to really be proud of.

  • CodeJockey

    As a former RV bus owner, I can tell you that, while fun to build, they are a constant drain on your bank account. Every replacement mechanical part, every repair, every tow (and you will need tows if you drive it much) costs a small fortune. And don’t forget the fuel expense! If you decide to build one, the best thing to do it is to park it on a piece of land somewhere and use it as your vacation getaway cabin and never drive it again.

    By the way, did you notice that when he pulled out at the end, that the electrical cord was still attached and he yanked it out and dragged it down the road behind him?

  • Jake von Slatt

    @Codejocky

    School buses are medium duty trucks, not true buses and I’ve found that parts are dirt cheap, I recently replaced the air brake cylinders on the back and they cost $50 each – that what car wheel cylinders cost and the air cylinders are the size of your head!

    Most buses come out of service with about 100K on them and have plenty of life in them – but always buy from a school district direct, never from a private party! That where the bad buses are.

    BTW: The cord got caught on the tow hook when I disconnected it, but I didn’t run out the whole 100′ before I noticed and stopped.

  • Kabuki

    By Jove, Mr. von Slatt! You have succeeded, yet again, in a beautiful retrofit! I am confused on one note, however… Where do you keep your goggles? :)

  • Josh

    If I had the money and time, I would LOVE to do things like this. I congratulate you on another project well done.

  • Caya

    I’m afraid of using power tools and have virtually no skills to build this thing but you make it look fun and simple. OHHHHHH do I want to do this project! What a stunning job you did! Maybe the dozens of handyman books I have will teach me the skills & get me to overcome my fear of tools that would maim or kill me if I use them wrong- The Call of the Open Road beckons-