DIY Raft Pads - am I nuts? - Page 2 - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-08-2016   #11
 
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Yeah, the more I think about it...

Even if you had a connection to get PVC at wholesale pricing, you'd still be over $100 in fabric alone.

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Old 01-08-2016   #12
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Well, from personal experience, if you think you might be nut's, you probably are.
But all kidding aside, think it's awesome you are tackling that project.

My advice from things I've taught myself to do, is spend plenty of time on the research phase of your project, that can save you a lot of time and extra work later( days and days and days )

Think jack started out making paco pads, guessing that is probly one of the simpler plastic welding projects to do. By the time you put your time and effort into making sleeping pad's, my guess is you may not save that much, but you will have a preaty awesome skill, and a lot of pride when you go to bed on a river trip!
If you put a lot of value into learning new things and doing stuff for your self, then I say go for it.
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Old 01-08-2016   #13
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Hmm.
Now if you had a pvc raft or two that were beyond repair, and a non ribbed floor, but still had decent material....
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Old 01-10-2016   #14
 
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Thanks for the feedback! Based on feedback from folks that have tried similar projects it seems like it's reasonable to proceed.

So I went down to the tarp supply company (Tarp Fabrics) and they sold me a 3x5 sheet of 18 oz. PVC tarp (same as paco pads) for $5 for me to practice on, so I may be underestimating the cost of the tarp some, but I'm not using raft material so I don't think I'm off by an order of magnitude. (My original post assumed costs for making one, not all the pads) The product comes in sheets as long as I want that are 61 1/4 wide, so it looks like I can roll it over and make the long seam without any trouble. Assuming 3" thickness, overlap for the seam, and some extra space for a little wiggle room inside, that would put my max width at 26 inches which will feel luxurious after using a 20 inch Thermarest.

After calling several local upholstery places it looks like I'll be sourcing my foam off ebay. Who knew foam was so expensive? I'll be using foam like this: 3"x 24"x 72" High Density Seat Foam Cushion Replacement Upholstery per Sheet | eBay or this: 3 x 27 x 82" Foam Rubber Sheet Cushion Replacement | eBay . Based on the prices, I underestimated my foam costs too by 6 to 15 dollars, depending on which I get.

This brings me to the question of valves. I've only used C7 and military valves (Riken Nez Perce - still going strong, don't fail me now! I said I was starting on the cheap. Once I'm out of grad school I hope to upgrade). I can source other valves at much lower cost than the C7. I know it's the Cadillac of valves because everyone uses them all the time, but I don't even need to inflate these. Would a Halkey Roberts or other valve do the same job? Is there a compelling reason to use the C7 or is there some other valve out there that would work well?

I'll be getting the heat gun soon and ordering some foam once I've perfected my technique with the heat gun, so keep and eye out. I'll be happy to post photos. Just don't tell be cheap rafters shouldn't be on the river.... it makes me feel bad.
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Old 01-10-2016   #15
 
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i would love to see them when you get started. i have had the same thoughts of making some for my dogs, and a truck bed sleep pad. I do have two Jacks Pacos, and love them.
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Old 01-10-2016   #16
 
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Also, if you hit this link: Tarp Fabrics it will show you the colors I can choose from. A friend has a dark green pad and his kids hate it because it gets too hot. What colors do you guys like? If you could make your own pad, what would the color be? The Riken is grey (of course) so I was thinking light Grey, maybe a Yellow, and if I get all kinds of crazy I might do an Orange. From experience, are there colors I should avoid for heat reasons?
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Old 01-10-2016   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altaholics View Post
This brings me to the question of valves. I've only used C7 and military valves (Riken Nez Perce - still going strong, don't fail me now! I said I was starting on the cheap. Once I'm out of grad school I hope to upgrade). I can source other valves at much lower cost than the C7. I know it's the Cadillac of valves because everyone uses them all the time, but I don't even need to inflate these. Would a Halkey Roberts or other valve do the same job? Is there a compelling reason to use the C7 or is there some other valve out there that would work well?
I can sell you some used C7's for a low price if you're interested.
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Old 01-10-2016   #18
 
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If you want to avoid heat, white is king.

Also, I don't know what they are called, but the simple
Little twist valves like your kayak float bags have is what I would use.

Those bigger valves suck to step on and like you said, you won't be pumping them up, you just need them to be able to let air out so you can roll them. Some of the Pacos have two to expedite this. Depending on the foam, some folks leave them open to sleep on or they can be too firm.

If you can figure out cheap lager valves, installing them at opposite corners might help facilitate drying the inside, if they ever get wet in here. With the one valve model, I know folks that have cut them open to let them dry, after getting them soaked due to an open valve or a leak.

Good luck, sounds fun. Custom parts are sweet if done right, though the savings usually aren't as much as initially hoped/ expected.


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Old 01-10-2016   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altaholics View Post
Also, if you hit this link: Tarp Fabrics it will show you the colors I can choose from. A friend has a dark green pad and his kids hate it because it gets too hot. What colors do you guys like? If you could make your own pad, what would the color be? The Riken is grey (of course) so I was thinking light Grey, maybe a Yellow, and if I get all kinds of crazy I might do an Orange. From experience, are there colors I should avoid for heat reasons?
White is by far the best and coolest color you can make it in. I have both a white and yellow paco pad. If I could do it over again.......both should have been white. The yellow one gets noticeably hotter. My son have the new light grey one and it stays cooler than the yellow one. I don't think they make white paco pads any more. Go white if possible.
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Old 01-10-2016   #20
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My dark blue pad gets way to hot, white or off white would be ideal.

Aw, comon', a sleeping pad made out of an old used raft would be awesome! Like a red neck boaters tribute to the old mother earth news!
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