Need Help Fabricating Cataraft Frame - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-30-2016   #1
 
Port Angeles, Washington
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Need Help Fabricating Cataraft Frame

Hey everyone, I am in need of some serious help and information from everyone. I am trying to get my first cat and Ive been looking at used ones and just cant seem to really find anything that suites what I wanna do. I am a Welding fabricator, I do mostly tig welding at work everyday 5 days a week and I have all the equipment to make a cataraft frame. With that being said I dont really have very much knowledge about cataraft frames, and I know most everyone is going to recommend going with a NRS frame or buying my first frame. But i dont see the point in doing that when I can cut the cost of the frame down by a lot if I do all the work myself. Plus it would be a fun little side project. I plan on using either 1 1/4 sch40 6061 t6 aluminum or 1 1/2 sch40 6061 t6 aluminum and I plan on having a full floor to have something stable to stand on while fishing. I am planning on getting 14' tubes. Since I have never really looked at a cataraft up close I need help with all the dimensions. I researched around quite a bit but didnt quite find everything I need. So I was wondering if I could get some of you to post your cataraft frame dimensions on here so that I can get started on mine in about 2 weeks. I was planning on running like 9.5ft oars so I am guessing around 66 wide frame would be good? How far between the tubes should I do? And whats a good length on 14' tubes? Anyone have any recommendations on fabrication design? I was thinking of putting in diamond plate floors and having one cooler and on dry box for storage, any other ideas? I only wanna have to build one frame, so Id like to do it right the first time. Has anyone ever gotten their frames rhino lined? At my shop right now we have an aluminum structure and a big base that all got sent out and got rhino lined and came back super nice. It is crazy tuff stuff and I was wondering why I have never seen it on catarafts? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! 14' cataraft owners, i need dimensions and pictures if your willing to help me out. Thanks again everyone!

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Old 01-31-2016   #2
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Tabernash, Colorado
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I don't have a 14' cat, but 66" is pretty standard width for a 14' raft frame. 9.5' oars is about right for a boat that size. Tube diameter will play a big roll in your ideal frame, once you buy your tubes, setting up your frame will be a lot easier.

Probably the best way to determine distance between tubes is to build your frame to fit the cooler and dry box you want to use provided they are a reasonable size for the tubes you have, 120Qt cooler is pretty normal for 14' boats, for instance.
Basically you want the rails of your frame to line up on the center line of your tubes, wider is ok, but not narrower.

If you are able to add a bay for some rocket boxes, or water jugs, it would make your rigging easier, a row of rockets can be a nice place to strap a table. Also, having slots to strap down a rocket box on each side of you is handy for the floor.

Check out the" let's see them rigs" thread on this site using a search, lot's of pictures to give you ideas there.
And you can also get ideas for dimensions from the web sites of oar frame and cat manufacturers.

Good luck on your frame, hope this helps some.
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Old 01-31-2016   #3
 
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frame

My 2 cents

I think 6061 is a mistake as it is limited in its ability to bend. Having rounded corners is more important on a cat frame than a raft. Consider 6063 instead. Having welding skills is a big plus but you need a good bender as well like a jd2.

Size your frame based on your tubes. The rocker may limit the practical length of a frame on one boat vs another. You really need to think hard and long on a 14ft cat as to where your going to put your passenger... as in behind you or at the front. It is critical to know what you will be carrying, because a unbalanced cat is a real drag to row.

If you will not have passengers, a shorter frame is nice because you can shift the frame on the tubes. A trailer with a short day frame is a nice way to have versatility here.

Welding can be a liability for your first frame if you do to much of it because you will be wanting to change the dimensions or move the towers frequently. Consider some tees on side bars for adjustability, and do not fix your towers.

Also, to much floor is a mistake on a cat. Weight is a critical factor, as a heavy cat quickly becomes a pig to row.
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Old 01-31-2016   #4
 
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Denver, Colorado
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I'd stay away from rhinos lining, the frame rubs the top of your tubes. Just some sand and small rocks in there and you can do damage to your tubes, I imagine rhino would be hard on your rubber. If you want her to be pretty, just get it powder coated.

If this is primarily a fishing frame, you'll want a much different set up than if you just ran rivers. In addition to the floor, you'll want to think about thigh hooks to get you stable when standing, an anchor, a place to dress fish, rod holders, and a place to keep the fish you catch.
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Old 01-31-2016   #5
 
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I went with 1-1/4" pipe. The support pipe is 1" 6061. All the straight pipe is 6061. The bent pipe is all 6063. I had the frame built to fit a 14' cat 22" diameter tubes. The frame is 66" wide with 38" btwn the tubes. Click image for larger version

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Old 01-31-2016   #6
 
Port Angeles, Washington
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Thank you everyone on your input so far! Every bit of information helps a ton! Mattman- I plan on running 25" diameter tubes and thank you for the suggestion and tips, I like your idea of building the frame to fit exactly what you want on there. Festivus- Thank you very much for your input and advice. I was thinking in the beginning of just using 6061 and instead of doing rounded corners I was gonna do two 45 degree angles to make a 90. I saw one guys frame like that and I thought it looked pretty good that way. Does that not work very well? Do I need to do rounded corners? K2andconnoli- Thanks for the info, that makes total sense! rhino lining is very ruff and your probably right, it would wear on the tubes a ton. I will look into powder coating! Rockgizmo- Great pictures and very nice frame! Thank you very much, I love the idea of the 6063 for the bent pieces and 6061 for the straight pieces, I also love the 1" tube for the bracing. Is that 1" tube plenty strong enough? Thank you very much everyone, great full help11
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Old 01-31-2016   #7
 
Port Angeles, Washington
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This is the frame that had the 2 45 degree joints to make a 90 degree. I am either going to do that, or I might go with the 6063 just for the bent pieces like Rockgizmo did. Is there any pros or cons between the rounded corner and the 2 45's?
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Old 01-31-2016   #8
 
Port Angeles, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockgizmo View Post
I went with 1-1/4" pipe. The support pipe is 1" 6061. All the straight pipe is 6061. The bent pipe is all 6063. I had the frame built to fit a 14' cat 22" diameter tubes. The frame is 66" wide with 38" btwn the tubes. Attachment 10962Attachment 10963Attachment 10964


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Rockgizmo, I noticed you put some gussets under some of your joints, was that to help add strength to that joint? Or is it for the tube to kind of sit on those gussets?
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Old 01-31-2016   #9
 
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IMHO, the 45's work the same way as rounding it with a bender. I have frames built both ways. The thing you don't want is a sharp corner you can hurt yourself on when pushing or loading.

I have a 14' NRS cat. IMHO, The big thing with cat's are balancing your load proper. You can't just throw everything in and go, like with a raft. The other biggie is not getting it too heavy that the floor ends up really close to or under water. As soon as the floor hits the water......it turns into a slug. The higher you make the floor......the more wieght you can haul and still maneuver

Good luck. That blue frame is pretty sweet looking.
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Old 01-31-2016   #10
 
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Need Help Fabricating Cataraft Frame

Felton,

Marshall welding used to make frames like the pic you posted. I know a few boaters who row them and love it. As for the rounder corners I like them for strapping the frame down. Not sure if it makes a difference just more welds.

I had DRE weld the frame up to my design. I added the 1" and gusset to added for strength.


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