Composite Raft Frame - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-14-2015   #1
 
Bozeman, Montana
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Composite Raft Frame

Hi all,

I am a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Montana State University. As part of our curriculum we are required to participate in a capstone project. My group will be working on the design and prototyping of a composite raft frame and we are looking at the possibilities of carbon fiber for our material selection. I would love to get any feedback if anyone has experience in this area or suggestions. Thanks!

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Old 09-14-2015   #2
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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I'm interested.
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Old 09-14-2015   #3
 
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Why not a carbon fiber dory? Just a raft frame seems blah. But a 17ft double ender carbon fiber whitewater dory sounds bad ass. If u do the frame atleast do matching dry boxes and cooler.
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Old 09-14-2015   #4
 
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major benefits of a composite frame would be weight savings. People with a big 18ft raft are probably accessing a river with a good put-in or ramp with close vehicle access. Weight saving on the frame would be insignificant.

Boaters that like to carry smaller rafts or cats to remote or hard to access locations, or via plane or small Volkswagen Jetta would love too see a light weight frame. Even better....a modular compact composite frame. Boaters that are taking planes to a river probably can spare some cash for a sweet frame for their Aire Super Puma.
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Old 09-14-2015   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
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I have been looking into building a carbon raft frame for a while now. I'm a prosthetist (i make prosthetic limbs) and I build lots of custom carbon stuff. I'm not an engineer, so I probably don't have that nerdy engineering knowledge that you do but I'll tell you what I've come up with so far.

So I have been looking at ways to do this and I have been shopping around for pre fab'd carbon tubing. I think thats probably the way to go, bc it takes some serious equipment to make good tubing. But I have also been thinking of ways to build a frame using the regular carbon mat fabrics and carbon sleeves that I have at my disposal. One thing to keep in mind is that carbon is not that strong unless it is in a 3d shape or unless it is laminated around a foam core. This creates an I-beam like structure for strength. The core could also be a hollow, wood or whatever, think about how skis are made for example. The other option is just a F*** ton of carbon layers but thats outrageously expensive.

Things I have been trying to figure out is how to connect different pieces of the frame or how to connect frame accessories. Set screws can not be used on carbon. In fact I wouldn't trust connecting carbon to carbon unless metal pieces (threaded plates, or metal bushings,ext) were laminated into the carbon. If you look at any carbon parts for cars/motorcycles or in my case prosthetics, the articulation parts or connection pieces are metal lined. For example, there use to be a carbon fiber knee frame that was popular but they now make it out of aluminum bc over time the motion on the articulation points hollowed out the holes. What Im trying to say is that if you drill a 1/4" hole in carbon and put a pin or bolt through that hole and then put it on a raft that will flex and move, that hole is going to measure 3/8+" pretty quick. So I would think that to do this all the parts have to be either laminated together or use metal fittings that are laminated into each part.

I'm not sure how to attach things like oar towers and foot bars to the frame because its very difficult to get strength and adjustability with carbon. In fact, I think it would be extremely hard to build a carbon frame that had any adjustment at all and I certainly have not thought of a way to make a frame that would break down either.

Another downside of carbon or composites is that it wears easily. Things like dry boxes would wear their way into the carbon over time. Also sand between the frame and the raft would easily sand away the carbon. Things like boots, rocks and ammo cans would scratch and scuff the carbon pretty easily. So you could not really expect the frame to have a nice carbon weave look for very long. If you have something made of carbon finer around just lightly sand on it and you can easily see how quickly black dust starts going everywhere.

So far I do not think that the weight to cost ratio would be worth it, however I still want to give it a shot someday just for the challenge of making something cool.

Anyway, Would you be using prepreg or wet lay ups? I certainly don't have the equipment to heat cure prepreg pieces as big as a raft frame. Are you thinking of a tubular frame or something more box like?

I'd like to hear more about this project if you continue on it. Also if you need any help let me know, just remember that Im just a dumb limb maker and not an engineer
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Old 09-14-2015   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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Just a side note; You better be putting this bad ass carbon frame on a new Sotar, it would be a shame to see this monumental project floating by on a Saturn.
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Old 09-14-2015   #7
 
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Contact the legend Jim Snyder on Facebook if you want to pick his brain about the one he built.

This is the ultimate light weight fishing rig. Carbon frame and custom inflatables urethane custom build raft....the one in the pic is pvc actually
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Old 09-14-2015   #8
swimming
 
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Find the guy who use to build for canyon, they built hybrids out of titanium and carbon fiber. I remember them saying they were their own personal boats for when tested to catastrophic failure it was dangerous with the carbon tubing turning into a razor knife so they only used carbon on certain parts of the boat. They did build the lightest usable cat frame ever made. That being said it has already been done. I belive the tag was at 4200.00 for their Ti frame.
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Old 09-14-2015   #9
Shapp
 
the grove, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikeoutdoors View Post
Hi all,

I am a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Montana State University. As part of our curriculum we are required to participate in a capstone project. My group will be working on the design and prototyping of a composite raft frame and we are looking at the possibilities of carbon fiber for our material selection. I would love to get any feedback if anyone has experience in this area or suggestions. Thanks!
Why pick this as a project? What is the purpose/need for such a product?

I would suggest you figure out what mechanical shit needs done so we can get Toyota diesel engines legal in the United States. A composite raft frame I do not need.


Couple other things a lot of boaters might like:
Square beer cans, scat machines that can actually handle more than just shit and not get clogged, lighter weight dry box, super cold and light weight coolers that don't cost a fortune, re-produce the Rome combo aluminum deep fryer (i.e. that killer rectangular deep dish dutch oven not made anymore), square pots and pans that fit in a square dry box better, plastic ammo cans that are the same size as 20mm metal cans that are also as water tight as the metal cans. Spray on plasti-dip type product (something like seam grip), that you can spray on a rip or hole in a raft that will dry to full strength in less than 20 minutes, instead of gluing on a patch that takes hours to dry.
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Old 09-15-2015   #10
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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I'm with Shapp on the diesel thing, we miss out on a lot of cool rigs, like a 1997 FZJ80 Landcruiser with a diesel and 5 speed manual trans. I'm thinking dry boxes and coolers myself for lighter weight.
Rotomolded coolers seem too damn heavy. I could see using carbon fiber for rails down the tubes and maybe as a seat area, then using metal tubing for cross bars. A carbon fiber cat frame might be more useful since it is more multi-dimensional in nature. I think I'd put a metal plate in the frame rails for bolt on style oar towers. I'd keep it one piece, seems like trying to make a take down frame would be a waste.
You may want to try and contact Sawyer oars in Oregon, since they have experience in carbon fiber and whitewater. They carbon overlay wood, so that might be a design idea.

Good luck!
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