Welding tips - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-16-2009   #1
 
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Welding tips

I welded up my boat and it held out for a Big S run, so that felt pretty good. I do have a question though, the beginning of the crack was easy to weld and looked really nice. However, once I got towards the center of the crack it started to spread apart and one side would raise above the other. This caused a less than desirable weld, where my plastic rod was slipping in between the crack and I basically had to smear the plastic. Any idea how to avoid this or is that just what happens with big cracks?
The crack was about 8"

Thanks

Ian, get on in this thread

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Old 07-16-2009   #2
 
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Nice work Kevin.

What I have been doing for big cracks is put a cam strap around the boat over the middle of the crack and crank it down until the crack sides are mated up. I weld from one end to withing a 1/2 inch of the cam strap, and then on the other end close to the cam strap, let the weld cool a bit, and then take the strap off and finish up the rest of the weld.

Welds are stronger if you make one continuous weld, but if its a wide open crack, its hard to weld it.
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Old 07-16-2009   #3
 
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Try putting a small weld in the center first, then more tack welds along the crack. These small tack welds should hold the sides in alignment while you weld the crack.
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Old 07-16-2009   #4
 
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Just got done welding a 10" crack. Tried the cam strap method and it was ok. I did burn through my strap though. It still cam out ugly though. Those biggins are hard to do. Thats what she said.

I will try some tack welds. Any ideas on how to do drill holes? Most of my boats have been drilled out and bitchathaned so that has also been tricky.
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Old 07-16-2009   #5
 
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I guess I should have noted to use a beater strap and to always hold the welder pointing away from the strap, otherwise you will burn through the strap quickly.

For the drilled out holes, I usually start welding 1/2 inch in front of the hole, and when I get to the hole I try to heat up a bit more rod than the boat and twist the rod to leave a larger bead to fill in the hole. You may have to come back later and do a second pass on the hole to complete fill it in.

Large cracks are more difficult to weld. I haven't done the tack welding solution, the strap deal worked pretty well for me.
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Old 07-16-2009   #6
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I like the tack weld idea. I haven't had any that large or displaced to deal with, but I agree the larger they are, the worse they seem to turn out.

For drilling, I've been drilling small holes (pretty much the smallest bit I have) so filling them in is no problem. Maybe you need larger ones if you have a really displaced crack, but I would make them only a little wider than the crack itself. As for ones that already exist, I wonder if you could just tape some foil to the other side so that you can fill them without them dripping out of the other side.

Other things I've noticed is that the hull seems to melt much quicker than the rods I use. I've been cutting out rods from the back of an old boat and the plastic back there seems to be much thicker. Also my cutting tool (jigsaw) isn't great for making really thin rods. Plus boats that are cracking seem to have a much thinner hull than they used to anyway. Anyway, I've gotten better welds by first heating up a good portion of the rod so that the tip is melting and then working it onto the hull with a lot more time spent heating up the next part of the rod than heating the hull itself. Also, I assume you're doing the "twist" as you melt the rod into the crack? That seems to help a lot. The magic spot seems to be when you can keep things heated such that you can twist it in with very little pressure, but you're short of things smoking or turning into runny plastic. I'm kind of surprised you're having trouble filling in the crack, as I usually find I'm melting too much material for the crack size, but again mine haven't been displaced. Those have been my amateur observations.

Another alternative that may be good for the super large daddies is the Tom/Christian method of taking a big chunk of plastic and plastering it over the entire area, in which case all the issues of filling in gaps in the crack and such become pretty irrelevant.

I tried their technique on my first weld ever and it didn't hold, but I think it had more to do with me screwing it up than their method. I overheated the hull plastic (see above - hulls melt much quicker), and not sure the plastic was an adequate match.

I've done lots of 1-6 inchers using the rod method and they seem to be holding great, although one of my hulls seems just to be done and I open up new ones frequently. My hope is one day the entire bottom will be a giant weld and then maybe there will be no new places for it to crack.
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Old 07-16-2009   #7
 
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Yeah Kevin, my small cracks and start of big cracks sure are pretty. Its the middle of those big ones and the drill holes that get me. It is kinda fun to do besides getting pissed of trying to screw the seat back in.
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Old 07-16-2009   #8
 
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Ha! Taking the seat in and out sucks, agreed. Bolt access is engineered for fingers the size of santa's elves. If you take your seat out multiple times in a couple of weeks to weld, like I unfortunately did this season, you start getting pretty quick at the seat/weld job. Beer helps.

Put some pics up on your blog. Maybe you can get 50 cracks in your boat and add that to your goal this year.
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Old 07-16-2009   #9
 
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Could you guys post some links to any webistes that detail welding? I just know my boat is going to take a hit soon that will require some work and I've yet to weld any cracks.
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Old 07-16-2009   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
It is kinda fun to do besides getting pissed of trying to screw the seat back in.
My thoughts exactly - esp. that last f-in screw putting the seat back in. I seriously think they intentionally made it difficult to put that seat back in so you wouldn't try to fix the hull and just buy a new one. Incidentally, my two seat bolts were getting stripped and I think the little block that you screw the bolt into was sitting lower than it was supposed to in its track and I just couldn't seem to get the screw in. I went to the hardware store and got a couple new screws 1 1/4" long instead of 1" and those things were way easier to get in (you didn't have to push the seat up into the cockpit as much) and screwed in flush. Why they don't just come in 1 1/4" to begin with I'm not sure. That's the old outfitting, but I assume the seat attachment is the same w/ the diaper outfitting.
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