Building a frame for a new 16 foot Rocky Mountain Raft - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 05-08-2012   #1
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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Building a frame for a new 16 foot Rocky Mountain Raft

Hi to all,

I am the proud new owner of a Rocky Mountain 16' self bailing raft and am interested in building a frame for it that is less expensive than the NRS or Down River. I have seen some other threads on the topic, but still have some concerns. First, here is what I am looking at:

My idea of a 3 bay frame

2 88 inch sidebars - ($79.20)

4 67 inch crossbars - ($124.0

4 90degree elbows - ($44.04)

4 tees - ($51.84)

2 NRS oar towers - ($74.95)

2 NRS oar locks - ($74.95)

NRS seat mount- ($52.95)

Highback tractor seat (59.99)
Total (not including tax and shipping) -$562.00
Shipping on the pipe is $30
Shipping on the elbows and tees is $17.00
Not sure about NRS shipping

So I think that for just over $600, I could have a customizable full size 3-bay frame. I do have some questions and concerns:

NRS and Downriver use two different types and diameters of aluminum. NRS uses 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum with an outside diameter of 1 5/8 inches (= 1.625 inches). Downriver uses 6063 alloy schedule 40 T6 aluminum with an outside diameter of 1.9 inches.

I Think that it makes sense to choose a pipe that has an equal or very similar diameter as either NRS or Down River so that we would be able to use their oar towers and seat mounts.
The aluminum pipe that I am looking at is the 6061 schedule 40 aluminum pipe, with an outside diameter of 1.66 inches. I think that the .035 inch difference between my pipes and the NRS pipes would not affect the U-bolt style attachments on the oar towers and the seat mount. Let me know what you think.

Also, the pipes that I am looking at are NOT ANODIZED. I think that anodizing allows the metal to be a little more resistant to corrosion, but I am not sure how much of a big deal it actually is. Let me know what you think.

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Old 05-09-2012   #2
 
Evergreen, Co.
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Curious where you can find a high back tractor seat for $60.
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Old 05-09-2012   #3
 
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DGO, CO
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so there is this place called ebay.....

NEW KUBOTA HIGH BACK TRACTOR SEAT! riding mower rider ztr | eBay
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Old 05-09-2012   #4
 
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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I don't see any problem with your plan as long as you pin the corner fittings and don't rely on set screws to hold them together.

With that being said, it dosen't seem like you are saving that much money over down river's three bay single rail for $639 Colorado

or a welded three bay frame from PRO for $527
Professional River Outfitters | 800-648-3236 | [email protected]

I don't really see the need for a seat mount on a three bay frame; wouldn't you just sit on your cooler or dry box? If you want a tractor seat then bolt it to a piece of plywood and strap it over your cooler or drybox.

As far as anodized goes, In my experience the only drawback to non anodized aluminium is that it will rub black oxidation off on your boat and legs. With aluminum, corrosion will not be factor in the integrity of your frame for many, many, many years.

One more thing that I would add. You have a sweet, brand new boat. Don't go cheap on your frame set up. It is just as important as your rubber, and a good aluminum frame will last forever. I don't know what is important to you as far as weight and the ability to break it down, but I highly suggest that you consider a full on double rail diamond plate frame with a rowers floor and maybie a custom table to fit your frame. Why not, you have already bought a sweet boat? Keep in mind the weight of a fully loaded 16 footer and all the stress that will be on those fittings in a flip. If one fitting breaks or comes loose, you may loose more money on gear then you saved on the frame. This is why I have a PRO frame with welded corners, but I don't see a need to ever break mine down.
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Old 05-09-2012   #5
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Why only 3 bays for a 16 ft raft? Doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 05-09-2012   #6
 
montrose, Colorado
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Also, in my experience, the NRS oar towers suck because they have a tendency to spin on the pipe. I'm sure lots of people like them, but not me.
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Old 05-09-2012   #7
 
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loveland, Colorado
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If you are considering building the frame yourself, I'd throw rowframe.com in the mix. You can get parts or have Gary help you with the design and build.
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Old 05-09-2012   #8
 
Kirkland, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpollema
If you are considering building the frame yourself, I'd throw rowframe.com in the mix. You can get parts or have Gary help you with the design and build.
Rowframe.com never returns emails or phone calls
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Old 05-09-2012   #9
 
Conifer, Colorado
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+1 for rowframe.com or check out alreco aluminum surplus for your pipe last time I was there dre size was about 1.66/ft
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Old 05-09-2012   #10
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Thanks for good advice

I really appreciate everyone's ideas on my dilema. Here are a few clarifications:

I guess I decided to build a frame in lieu of buying one from one of the frame companies is that I thought that the frame that I had designed was similar to those made by some of the frame building companies. I was looking at 6061 aluminum (same as NRS) and was planning to use Hollaender fittings (same as DRE).

I think that I would be saving lots of money over NRS and DRE. My full size frame with oar locks, seatpost, and seat, would cost just over $600, but if I purchased from DRE, the Colorado III (designed for 16 foot boats) + the seat mount, seat, and oar locks would cost around $1000. I guess I dont need the seat and could just sit on the cooler...

The idea of getting black crap all over my boat, my gear and myself is not that appealing. On a scale of guy-from-movie-powder to chimney sweep, how dirty am i gonna get?

I suppose it makes sense to go ahead and get the cross bar to make the fourth bay. Again, trying to keep it cheap, figured I could always add it on later.

Thanks again for all of the advice, I will check out the other pipe supplier.

Louis
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