Aluminum for drop hatch cover - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-01-2015   #1
 
Missoula, Montana
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Aluminum for drop hatch cover

I've been using 3/4" marine grade plywood for my drop hatch cover and am considering switching to aluminum. What gauge should I consider for an 18" span as a passenger seat? Thoughts on weight savings between the two? Side question; does diamond plate add any structural integrity or just for show? Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 08-01-2015   #2
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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I run a diamond plate 1/4" on my big boat. 22" span. It works but plywood is more forgiving on fingers and knees. That said I usually have pacos on top. Very shiny when exposed. Blinding really. I recommenda propper size table. Dual purpose. Wood with aluminum legs. I can build you a table if you decide on that route. You are close so shipping is not an issue.
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Old 08-01-2015   #3
 
Pinecliffe, Colorado
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Had a buddy switch to aluminum and now likes wood better. Weight of wood isn't really much more, wood looks better imo and doesn't get as hot or sharp. No real need to use marine grade wood just a good varnish.
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Old 08-01-2015   #4
 
Missoula, Montana
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Thanks for the offer spider. My hatch cover actually is a wood table already. I have grown accustomed to sleeping on my boat however and don't like breaking down the camp counter just to sleep. A thin aluminum hatch cover could stay on the boat and ride under my table during the day. The low stack height is my primary attraction along with weight. I also thought that it would be fine for day trips when the table isn't needed. I put a paco over it for passengers anyway so not that concerned with comfort. Cheers.
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Old 08-01-2015   #5
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Check out the artisan metal works web site. In their gallery they have several pics of some frames with a hinged metal lid over a bay. I've thought about the exact same thing - keeping a place to sleep with the table on shore.

I'm curious if that is 1/8" or thicker material.
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Old 08-01-2015   #6
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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I use both the wood and the aluminum for sleeping platform. But with kiddo boat sleeping is out so I ditched the aluminum and kept the wood. It is a finger and shin hazard. 3/16 would be minimum for an unsupported hatch. I leave mine un hinged but its also 22"x 7' x1/4" so its a bit heavy in comparison to a typical 14'-15' boat opening lid. Diamond plate adds traction and that's it. You could build a frame to set inside the opening with 3/4 sch 40 pipe and get away with 10 gauge aluminum plate on top. What size boat you running?
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Old 08-02-2015   #7
 
Cottonwood, Arizona
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I'm pretty sure that 0.125 (1/8") is what PRO and the like use to make hatch lids, decks, and tabletops.
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Old 08-02-2015   #8
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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My bad, 10g steel is just over 1/8", 8 g aluminum is approximately 1/8".
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Old 08-05-2015   #9
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PRO and the like use .190" aluminum for their hinged hatch covers that they put on frames. They are sweet if you dont need to run a box or cooler in the bay. Perfect for sleeping. Perfect for running a table on top of.

IMO diamond plate would tear up your paco and skin. I'd go smooth
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Old 08-06-2015   #10
 
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Hi,

I had a hatch cover/table/sleeping surface cut from 1/8" aluminum, the same size as my Paco Pad. I then reinforced it lengthwise by bolting on two parallel aluminum channels. I also bolted on fittings that would take screw-on steel legs made from standard pipe, so it can be removed and used as a large table. As well, I drilled a few strategically placed holes to take straps, in case it needed to be used as a back board.

Never used it as a backboard, but otherwise it works very well for me.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
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