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  • Pontoon build

    A while back I posted about wanting to build pontoon boats. Ive decided I'm not going to build complete boats (for now anyways) but a lot of people in my area did express intetest in buying just pontoons, or maybe a kit or build up to the deck. Being that I'm just starting out my welding shop and things are slow Ive decided to jump into it. Its been a learning experience for sure, and I'm trying to develop methods, fixtures, etc to speed up the process. I bought a slip roller thats probably a tad undersized for the job. The pontoons sections came out barrel shaped due to the rolls deflecting. Ive been doing some reading and have a few ideas to hopefully improve on that for the next batch. The hardest part of this by far has been building the nose cone. Still not totally satisfied with the shape so it will take more expirimenting on the next one. Another tough part is fitting the tube sections togethor. Ive tried a few different things but its still a little tricky. My wife has been helping out with the fit up and such. I appreciate her help but she's no fitter haha. Im wanting to get away from the need for a helper by developing various jigs and fixtures.

    FusionKing I know your the pontoon man so give me some tips on building these things haha.
    www.silvercreekwelding.com

    Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
    Miller extreme 12vs
    Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
    Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

  • #2
    I remember. Our Buddy in BC making progress. Looks like your making progress. Not with your photography, building pontoons, lol. Close ups and higher res..
    Look at you going strong and hard. Jumped in and like most, discovered the work involved before figuring out some of the make it easy methods.

    "The pontoons sections came out barrel shaped due to the rolls deflecting."

    I'm not sure what you have for rolls, but...I'm also going to clarify "barrel shaped". Like oak barrel. Plump in the middle.
    That said, my experience is trying to gain curvature too fast? Pinching and Stretching? Lol. The pressure on the out sides causes the rolls to bow. Something like that right? Slow down, give it time, might be time to make a pizza and see what it takes to get the dough to roll out?

    You know, you could share how you're constructing these things...? I also agree, that nose needs some work. But it also doesn't look that bad. I think your selling short the wife's fitter skills.

    "developing various jigs and fixtures"

    You saying it saved me from typing it. I'd like to see details of the connection and seams. Doesn't cost extra to post pictures?

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    • #3
      Yup barrel shaped like an oak barrel. Its because of the rollers deflecting, not much, less then 1/16 each side but its enough to cause the barrel shape. Going slower and small adjustments at a time doesn't make that much difference. Next time I will expirement with putting some heavy paper shims on top the sheet when rolling. About the pictures... The site doesn't really let you put up high res pictures. If your on facebook then search silver creek welding and fabrication. Theres a few better pictures on there. Eventually I'll put some up on my website...

      The wifes fitter skills, hmmm lol. She's just like an apprentice, thinks she knows it all but hasnt got a clue. Unlike an apprentice I can't tell her shut up and do as I say haha. Its mostly hold this or push here while I tack this. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) She doesn't have enough weight to push hard enough sometimes. Sometimes I wish I could do the fitting and she tacks but I think that would come out worse.
      www.silvercreekwelding.com

      Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
      Miller extreme 12vs
      Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
      Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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      • #4
        Couple other photos. Lets see if they come out a bit better quality. My aluminum welds sure aren't as good as fusion king's (have you seen his facebook page? Holy! Thats nice work) but I think they're ok. Strangely they look better in life then they do in photo's. Usually its the other way around.
        www.silvercreekwelding.com

        Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
        Miller extreme 12vs
        Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
        Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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        • #5
          Edmonton weather... - 23 Celsius today. That's the high temps if you face the sun. It is blue sky cold and sunny out.
          Over night we got 1cm of snow, just enough to make things white again. I'm not only plugging in a block heater I have an in car warmer sucking electricity. If don't dust the car off it melts and freeze's the old Buick's door seals shut.
          Salmon Arm's is -6 Celsius...That must feel frosty for you folks? I sure hope the chill of that doesn't slow you down any? I did see a gas meter and your young enough the blood circulates well so I doubt it slows you down much or is the heater set to tee shirt and shorts?

          Looked over your web site because I'm no longer on Facebook. I like the shop. Living the dream there I'd say.

          I am curious on the fit up of the seams and joints? Square groove or you flanging the seams? Rolling an edge too socket the tubes together? Any thing like that?
          From what I can tell, my magnified view, welding looks fine, maybe when you look at the fabrication, use that to your advantage. I'm sure at some point, making plywood bucks and clamps you'll be up grading wood working tools next. Jigs and fixtures make things easier and minimizing waste by welding a few extra pieces, is an esthetics trade off.

          Fusion King does do excellent work. Honestly, I think it's a waste of talent. I wish he would get a medical degree because the next time I need surgery, I want him stitching things up.

          "thinks she knows it all but hasn't got a clue"
          lol...Happy wife, happy life, remember who the boss is.



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          • #6
            Is it only -6? Feels colder haha. Its been a really mild winter up to a week ago. We do get cold weather here too, biggest difference is 3-4 months of winter vs your 6+. The fit up is just a square butt. Pretty easy to gey full pen on it. The welding part of it easy and even though there is alot of it, it goes pretty quick. The hard part is getting each section lined up since theyre not perfectly round. Next one I will be trying a backing ring rolled to the ID of the tubes. Before putting it in I will weld a circular plate (baffle) to the piece. Now when I put it in it should line the two pieces up pretty good. Then I will probably put about a 1/8 gap between the tubes, welding the two sections to each other and the backing ring all in one shot. That is the plan anyway.
            www.silvercreekwelding.com

            Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
            Miller extreme 12vs
            Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
            Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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            • #7
              Willvis,
              I am truly impressed!! That is some really nice work!!
              What you have done is make a log that very closely resembles Aloha made in Arkansas, Both in the nosecone and the multiple sections. Check out their stuff.
              I like the bulkhead idea to. Much better than foam IMO. If you drill the bottom of them you can have a drain plug in the rear.
              Great pics always show defects. We only post the pretty ones.
              What thickness are you using? .080 is pretty much the baseline standard and always 5052. We try to use .100 as a minimum. Our lake is brutally rough.
              The barrel shape is virtually impossible to eliminate.
              If you want to enjoy some longer lake times you could always move here and work with us

              www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
              Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
              MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
              Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
              Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

              Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
              Miller 30-A Spoolgun
              Miller WC-115-A
              Miller Spectrum 300
              Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
              Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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              • #8
                Thanks for the compliments! That means alot coming from you. These ones are 0.080 5052. As you said that seems to be the standard from my research. I was hoping this roller would do 0.100 but I think it's at it's limit with 0.080. If someone was interested in thicker pontoons I could always sub out the rolling. Interesting you mention drilling the hole at the bottom of the baffle. I was wondering if I should do that but I figured it sort of defeated the purpose of multiple chambers, where if one leaked then the others would still float. What I did with these ones is put a hole near the top of each section but far enough down to be out of the way of the m brackets. I will put a 3/4" npt half coupler on each one.

                Thanks for the offer on the work too! Unless I get divorced and re marry someone down there I don't think theres anyways easy for us Canadians to simply move there permanently haha.
                www.silvercreekwelding.com

                Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                Miller extreme 12vs
                Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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                • #9
                  If you drill the baffles at the bottoms it won't sink unless there is a hole at the top of that section. That is how boat lifts actually function.
                  A couple of companies drill at the top. That's how the titanic sank!!
                  If you want to pressure check for leaks (on yours) you have to do each section individually when separate. It's a PITA is it has a wave shield. The brackets is where they all leak normally. 3/4 is too big. 1/2 is good enough and readily available plugs. 3/4 is harder to adapt everything to. 1/4 would fit nearly all equipment, like air whips and such. We normally go with 1/2 or 3/8 because of ease of local availability.
                  Drain plugs are a great way for everyone to check for leaks and know if there is a problem somewhere.
                  Your way is the ultimate. Just a harder way for everyone involved in the repair process.
                  Lots of thinking here...….. Imagining you are the end user is the perspective you need IMO.
                  I hear all their complaints

                  www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                  Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                  MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                  Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                  Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                  Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                  Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                  Miller WC-115-A
                  Miller Spectrum 300
                  Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                  Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Interesting. I would have assumed if there was a hole at the bottom of the baffle if that section had a leak the water would flow into the other sections. Or does it allow the water into the other sections but it can only fill up so much do to the air pressure? Kind of like when you take a empty bucket and push it into a pool upside down, the water doesn't enter the bucket because of the air pressure? That sounds like a much easier way to go, just one drain plug at the bottom of the back plate then? Save's a lot of time and money on plugs as well.
                    www.silvercreekwelding.com

                    Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                    Miller extreme 12vs
                    Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                    Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Willvis View Post
                      Interesting. I would have assumed if there was a hole at the bottom of the baffle if that section had a leak the water would flow into the other sections. Or does it allow the water into the other sections but it can only fill up so much do to the air pressure? Kind of like when you take a empty bucket and push it into a pool upside down, the water doesn't enter the bucket because of the air pressure? That sounds like a much easier way to go, just one drain plug at the bottom of the back plate then? Save's a lot of time and money on plugs as well.
                      The water would plow freely but would "glug" while doing so as pressure was effecting the difference between the chambers.
                      It really works well as long as the brackets don't break loose and crack the tops. Then it can only fill the chambers that have holes in the tops.
                      Average pontoon has 6 chambers while tritoons have 9 for the entire boat. This number varies between brands and lengths.
                      It works just like an old diving bell.
                      Lots of boat lifts are a big square tank with a completely open bottom.

                      www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                      Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                      MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                      Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                      Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                      Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                      Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                      Miller WC-115-A
                      Miller Spectrum 300
                      Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                      Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Always an education.........

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                        • #13
                          There are several brands that do put a plug at the top with no drain.
                          Several trains of thought are going on at the same time in the pontoon world.

                          www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                          Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                          MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                          Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                          Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                          Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                          Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                          Miller WC-115-A
                          Miller Spectrum 300
                          Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                          Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lots of different ways to skin a cat I guess. I like the idea of putting the hole at the bottom of the bulkhead and having a drain at the back. If going this route does the bulkhead have to be air tight (other then the bottom hole obviously) or would it not matter? Im still trying to figure out the best way to put the sections togethor. The easiest way Ive found so far is to roll some flat bar and put it on the inside of the tube like a backing bar and tacking it all around. Then putting the baffle plate in from the back side and sliding it down tight to the flat bar. Then I can weld the baffle plate to the flatbar, but that doesn't make it welded / sealed to the tube. Doing this allows me to slip the next section overtop the flatbar which lines the two tubes up, saving alot of time and difficulty trying to line up the tube sections. So now I'll have to crawl inside and stitch the baffle down or weld it full. I'd much prefer to just stitch it then lol.
                            www.silvercreekwelding.com

                            Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                            Miller extreme 12vs
                            Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                            Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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                            • #15
                              Make sure you supply yourself some air if your in there, inert gas in enclosed small space.

                              ---Meltedmetal
                              ---Meltedmetal

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