Originally Posted by UseTheSpinMove
I have never cut a DRE frame, but I did cut my NRS frame a couple years back to accomodate a slightly smaller boat that I got. I guess my takeaway, for me personally: measure three times and cut once!
A good handy-person can figure it out, but I certainly regretted rushing through a couple of pieces. Firstly, I didn't get the cuts super square (should have been easy -- I just rushed it). Secondly, the NRS pipe ends for the cross-bars need two holes to accept the bolt that holds the pipe ends on... and those two holes need to be parallel on both ends of the cross bar, which can actually be a tricky thing to get right. Again, I rushed that and figured "good enough" and now for the rest of its life, it's a little bit... um... "crooked". Works fine but I personally would recommend being more careful than I was! Worth the extra time to keep your frame square and straight, and they are expensive parts to replace. Have fun!
DRE is a bit easier since they use the fittings that go outside the tube instead of slipping inside. Definitely a lot more fudge room with that style. They cross drill holes in the Hollaender fittings to keep them together so its as easy as cutting the cross rails to the length you want, fit everything together with the set screws tightened and then just use the cross drilled fittings as their own jigs for the bolts to go through.
NRS style, along with Whitewater Machineworks, style frame fittings are definitely tricky to line up the holes. Certainly try to get it as straight as possible on the ends of the pipes...though I've struggled even when I'm trying. Probably better to use a chop saw or something that can hold then at a 90 degree angle...I just used my Portaband Saw.
I've found that rather then trying to drill both holes in hopes that they line up... drill one hole lined up as best you can and then put the fitting on and use it to line up the 2nd hole. In other words, drill through the first hole and the fitting to make the 2nd hole.
An alternative is to just drill new holes. NRS actually has an option to purchase their Lo-Pro fittings with no holes...and then you just drill all the way through with the rails slipped over the fitting. You can emulate this by just drilling a second set of holes in the fitting that already has been setup once. Just make sure you are a half inch either side of the original holes so you don't get overlap. I think this might be how they do it at the factory too...or at least used to. I cannibalized an old frame for its fittings and foot bar a while back and the holes definitely weren't in the same place from fitting to fitting.
I've always though that NRS should sell a jig for marking and drill the holes to fit their fittings. Cut the pipes to length, attach the jig that lines the holes up perfectly, drill the holes...bolt it together. Wouldn't be hard to make one yourself.