Pontoon Shopping/Building

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Wirednoodle, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Wirednoodle

    Wirednoodle wanderlusted

    So after checking out local craigslist ads and talking with Jerry D about the one I found (thanks again Jerry!) I headed down to Andy and Bax this afternoon.

    Is it just me or do they have an overinflated (excuse the pun) sense of what their stuff is worth? I looked at their 12' package with maxxon tubes. It was $2500. Galvanized frame with a floor woven from webbing much like older lawn chairs were. Took a closer look at the frame and I was a bit shocked. The welds were horrible.

    Bottom line is I guess I am going to have to just build one up from scratch. I looked at titanium tubing for a frame, but they wanted $14 a foot. Of course if I want a 12' toon then it looks like I will be spending at least $2k minimum (judging from prices I see), so I might as well have exactly what i want.

    Has anyone built a titanium frame? I weld it daily, but never a boat frame. Anyone know how they would react to rock impact or other river hazards?

    My idea is to use a 60/40 welded/modular frame on 12' maxxon tubes. May have to get the tubes used if I can find them. A&B wanted $750 for a set. For some reason I thought they were a bit cheaper than that.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    My thoughts center around experience with bicycle frames only, not pontoon frames as my experience there is limited. I do not believe that if any impact risk is anticipated that Ti would be a good idea. Despite its very positive weight factor, the deflection of the material is genearally not much different than Al but by far less tolerant than Fe. I've had bike frame in a couple types of Fe, Al, two in Ti and plenty in Carbon. What do you weld the Ti for and how is that material to impact forces? I think it would be cool as hell, but I think that coated steel, aluminum or stainless steel would be great frame materials.
     
  3. Wirednoodle

    Wirednoodle wanderlusted

    Thanks Mumbles!

    I weld aerospace Ti parts mostly. My thought was that using Ti I would get a happy medium between Al and Fe in regards to weight, yet maintain a higher strength ratio. I could be way off on my assumption, but from a layman's point of view it seemed like a logical idea.

    As far as I now the only issue with Ti is extreme bends will cause cracking and all bends should be done with heat. Neither of which are a major obstacle.

    I like the Al mod frames that NRS has, but hearing all the talk about galv being much better has me thinking I should shy away from them.

    I guess the main thing is I want to build this once and have some adaptability and longevity built into it.
     
  4. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    If you are around Seattle/Everett, send me a PM I am building right now an aluminum breakdown frame for 12' maxxon tubes. I built some aluminum "NRS" style yokes but for smaller diameter tubes (cut all the pipe, but had Glens welding do the welding fab). I can hook you up with my plans, especially if you might spend a half hour welding up a casting deck for me (I would have all the pieces cut).
    Jason
    send me a PM if you want to get together (p.s I am a long time boater and know quite a bit about frame stuff)
     
  5. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    Again, with regard to toon frames I'm really not the one in the know. My former frame was a powder coated steel one. My current is aluminum. Many have spoken out against Al, but I'm impressed so far with its weight and rigidity, the welds are nice looking too. I've yet to float a river and bash it on any rocks, so the verdict is still out. That being said there are many steel, stainless steel and aluminum frames out there for different applications. I'd find out which material matches the type of use you expect. I think that Titanium is a very cool material, but my concern is that it is strong and light but not very impact tolerant. If your aerospace location can get you materials, why not get a sample of all materials and beat the hell out of them. Now I'm quite interested in your project. I hope there is a periodic update and even some video footage of the materials gorilla bashing test.

    I have seen dudes with pontoon frames made of conduit, gas pipe and PVC. No idea how those perform or weight, but I'm sure each has different benefits and drawbacks.
     
  6. Wirednoodle

    Wirednoodle wanderlusted

    Shapp-PM sent

    Mumbles- I now have that stupid hillbilly redneck sort of grin! I am going to get a test piece and beat the hell out of it and see what happens. I'll make sure I get a video camera set up for the test! Need a hammer, ax, big rock.... LOL
     
  7. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    How about simple fulcrum test. Mass on two ends with immovable object (rock) in the middle, just like your frame taking a rock shot on the float. They do a lot of testing methods similar to this (only high tech R&D stuff) on bike frames. Check out how Cervelo tests their integrated head tubes by dropping weights on them. I'm seeing you starring on youtube soon, right?
     
  8. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    I don't know all the talk that has gone on on this site but conduit or aluminum frames are about equal in my book with their own pros and cons, been whitewater boating and boating for fishing all over the NW for about 25 years and have lots of experince with both types of frames. They both work well. I am getting the impression from looking at the water craft forum there are a lot of people that spray on this site, but don't actually have much boating experience
    Shapp
     
  9. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    Shapp, I don't float much, mostly in lakes when I do, but my new Al frame sure seems every bit as nice as the steel frame I had before. I've yet to bash it on rocks in heavy flow and hope to avoid it. Nice to hear that you think that Al frames have some pros and cons. I'm glad I made this choice, now I'll do my best to field test it and see how it and I do during the trials.
     
  10. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Shapp, I've been whitewatering for over 20, including doing it professionally. My experience comes from frames that have been hit. Not spraying anything here. I've seen it. And I'm not talking structural frames that are intact and freshly built on the water, I'm talking about damage. If you bend an aluminum piece to point where one side of the round tube crushes up next to the other side of the round tube it flexes bad, if not breaks. Galvanized is weakened, but still holds it shape. With our rivers, it' easy for a person who can't read the water to run into a big rock and smash the crossbraces. Now, think about the flex you get sitting on a pair of tubes anyways, let alone with damaged lower braces not supporting the frame. I have a whitewater frame that's over 20 years old I had custom made. Nailed it hard on the Rogue. Floated the rest of the trip and pulled it out when I got home. Still has the dent to this day and has went on countless whitewater trips, including some trips down the Colorado. My buddy in his had to replace his crossmembers. They were toasted and boat was like a wet noodle.

    And to add since you said general boating/fishing in the NW. I've been boating driftboats, prams, inflatable, and fishing the NW for over 30. So I've put more then my time in as well in about EVERY type of boat out there. Including experimentals.

    And I never said aluminum was bad, just that on damage they are shot. Why do you think the carslile oars are shot once they are damaged? They are aluminum shafts with composite sleeve. You bend it, and it's toast. All the hit does is put a dent in it that's similar to the bend. Just you have other crossmembers helping it stay somewhat rigid. But when you damage most, if not all, then you have problems (and in my whitewater frame above, I bent crossmembers in my rowers frame and cargo module). Aluminum is fine if you're just fishing it and taking it easy. But for hard running, I like that extra insurance.

    Lastly, what type of boats were you whitewatering Shapp? Makes a big difference.
     
  11. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, and wired. That's called a trampoline floor. Used alot in whitewatering. Doesn't pool water, and does work. Don't know if I'd want it in a fishing floor though. Does have give, don't want a spongy floor. And, I agree alot of crappy welders building frames for some of these companies. But funny how welders REALLY nitpick the welds. Love that. But had a trampoline floor in an old cat frame I had years ago. Was great for just whitewatering. Just looking back, not sure I'd want it for fishing.

    And with frames, you don't need to go all out. A standard frame is all you need. A top rail and a bottom rail with support rails at your feet. Biggest problem for some guys is building the oar towers. Right height, positioning, etc. Have had alot of custom frames built over the years (since I'm not a welder). But heard some from guys who I had do it who were welders only (not whitewaters as well) complain about the oar towers for some reason. May be the tight curve and not having a hydraulic bender? Not sure. But you can buy the NRS oar towers that bolt on with a U bolt I believe to the frame.
     
  12. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    Hey Jerry, I didn't call you out, nor mention your name. I am not going to get into a who's cock is bigger match with you, seems like you are taking it personal. sufice it to say I have done a lot in all types of craft. lets just leave it at they both have their pros and cons, neither is superior in either depending on the situation, but both work very well.
    Shapp
     
  13. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    No, I wasn't Shapp, taking personal that is. I was just stating I've actually have seen it and have used them both. Most guys come to me for advice or mention me, so wasn't sure if you were talking about me. So was just stating what I've seen first hand. I know you're new to the board, so didn't know who you were talking about. If I was taking it personal, I would've cursed left and right in the post. LOL. If you knew me, you'd know I'm a laid back guy. Why I normally use LOL alot. Shows I'm taking it with a grain of salt, and saying it relaxingly (if that's a word).

    And, I did ask you a question just to see what craft you mostly used. An aluminum frame in a raft is different then one on a cataraft. I know cats weren't used alot until a decade or so ago. So the amount of pressure a raft frame takes vs. a cataraft frame is alot different. I've pretty much exclusively have ran cats since 1989. Why I asked. Rowed my first homemade set of tubes back in around 84/85'. So where my experience comes from.

    This is my old boat, sold it a couple years ago. Kept the frame you see on my 16' Aire Ocelot. It's the one that was damaged. It's set up to fish (before I had my custom frame built for it about 8 years ago). So the rowers module is sitting in back of the cargo module (which was reversed for my whitewatering multiday trips). This was a great boat, miss it.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Wirednoodle,
    This site may be of interest to you. Check out the link to composites, they aren't posted in detail, but they may have updated info if contacted. Some useful drawings, sources, ideas.

    http://www.rowframe.com/
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    pvsprme, that's pretty cool. Was wondering when someone would make a composite frame. Wonder if the holdup was making the connection points. Know my cataract oars have held up to some pretty bad abuse. Have had them a long time. I may contact them myself and see what the priceranges are. Thanks for posting that one pvsprme.
     
  16. Yeah, I was piqued by that. I'm guessing the connetion points will have to be some kind of snap or screw "T" fitting, possibly with internal steel or aluminium sleeve for strength.
     
  17. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, you're probably right. I was thinking those metal pieces that have the threaded post in them. Wonder how much testing they've done with it. I bet they'd have to have an internal piece. Just in case it's hit, there isn't play at all. Shatter is only option (depending on the composite).
     
  18. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    In cycling a direct hit as such is termed "catastrophic failure". Scary when you think of descending a climb at 30-50mph and experience "catastrophic failure". Not sure that I'd like taking my chances in the middle of a river on one based on my current level of experience. I do still have a small fleet of bikes, three of which are full carbon frames and they have made all others obsolete except for occasional nostalgia rides.

    You guys are 'toon frame geeks!
     
  19. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    LOL Mumbles. Ah, ok. Thanks for answering that one for us. I know in the cataract oars they are awesome. But they are pretty thick, and probably the right amount of diameter vs length to add strength. But yeah, if it's that way, think I'll stick with my galvanized. ;)