Raft frame material opinions, please. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-18-2010   #1
 
Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: May 2009
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Raft frame material opinions, please.

I'm looking for some opinions on frame materials. My boat... well I'd rather not mention my boat because it's a joke by most standards, but it does get me comfortably down gentle rivers with the requisite amount of beer.

Anyway, I currently have a very simple single bay frame made from 1.25" nominal sized galvanized steel pipe. It's basically just an attachment system and a framework to attach my home-made seat/table. I'm looking at ways to reduce the weight of this frame and looking to source materials locally. I'm looking at 1" nominal pipe sizing (1.315 inch outside diameter), and while I can find aluminum stock in schedule 40 (1/8" thickness) it's not anodized, and the anodizing costs I've speced out are too expensive to justify.

A local "everything" store carries anodized aluminum tube in a 1.25" ACTUAL diameter (no nominal sizing here) with a 3/32" thickness. This seems close enough in size to still work with aluminum railing fittings that are designed for schedule 40 since they attach with an ajustable set screw.

My question is whether or not this will be strong enough?

Schedule 40 is thicker, but not much. I've flexed schedule 40 pipe in 1" and 1.25" nominal sizes and they felt similar, and had a noticable give in them... more give than the galvanized steel I currently use... and schedule 40 1.25" is what is used by NRS and called "unbendable". There is definately some flex to the tube I'm considering, but the longest span across the tubes is about 39" and it isn't supporting my seat or my weight (that is supported by the side rails resting on the tubes). The heaviest item attached to the fram is my cooler which is strapped to the side rails, and that weight might be an issue in the case of a flip (very unlikely on the rivers I use this on).

Holy crap... what a long question!

Any thoughts?

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Old 05-19-2010   #2
 
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Greeley, Colorado
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Holy F dude! You sound like a psychiatrist who has answered your own questions. You have no money, but enough time to dwell on this issue. Call NRS, Clavey, Down River, Cascade, etc. and spend the $150 after you get a job.

E-
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Old 05-19-2010   #3
 
Calgary, Alberta
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^^^ Well that was helpful.
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Old 05-19-2010   #4
 
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Fresno, California
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1.25 inch OD tube won't even come close to fitting those (holeander?) fittings. 1.25 inch pipe is 1.625 OD...3/8' bigger! That's a HUGE difference.

NRS's "unbendable" pipe is grade T6061 and called unbendable because it collapses or crushes when you try to bend it. They use bendable T6063 to make all of thier bent parts, like footbars and cat frame yolks.

The good news; For your purposes 1" galv pipe will be fine, and proly cheaper than any other option.
If having aluminum rub grey color onto your tubes and stuff is your only concern with anodized you can just wrap it with pipe insulating foam on all the areas that will touch stuff.

BTW, look at my cat frame in the photo gallery. It's made from T6061 AND T6063. The -61 is 25% cheaper
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Old 05-19-2010   #5
 
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Old 05-19-2010   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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We extended our 16' cat frame for more realestate using galvanized fence posts. It's a bit flexy, but dang it was cheap. We ran straps from the aluminum crossbars to the floor rails for extra support. One float/drag on the Ark so far and it held up. We'll see how it does on a good head-dam.

We figured since we read about it on the internet, it must work- right?

How to build a river raft frame
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Old 05-19-2010   #7
 
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Eagle, Idaho
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Alright, I might take the cake for being the biggest cheap ass on this site....not that I can't go out and drop the $$$ on a fancy frame, I just prefer to find "alternatives" that'll work just as well.

Here's what I did....went to Lowes, picked up some 1 3/8" OD top-rail fence pieces (bout $60 worth)....ordered fence fittings from here Rail Fittings, Slip-On Hand Railing Fasteners, Quick Speed Pipe Connecters, NJ, NY .....(bout $50 worth).....and I have a durable, light, 3 bay frame that works great for us. $120.
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Old 05-19-2010   #8
 
Calgary, Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
1.25 inch OD tube won't even come close to fitting those (holeander?) fittings. 1.25 inch pipe is 1.625 OD...3/8' bigger! That's a HUGE difference.

NRS's "unbendable" pipe is grade T6061 and called unbendable because it collapses or crushes when you try to bend it. They use bendable T6063 to make all of thier bent parts, like footbars and cat frame yolks.

The good news; For your purposes 1" galv pipe will be fine, and proly cheaper than any other option.
If having aluminum rub grey color onto your tubes and stuff is your only concern with anodized you can just wrap it with pipe insulating foam on all the areas that will touch stuff.

BTW, look at my cat frame in the photo gallery. It's made from T6061 AND T6063. The -61 is 25% cheaper
Sorry... I might not have conveyed this properly, but the 1.25" galvanized tube that I can get is called "tube" because it is not related to the standard "pipe" sizing you're refering to. Measured with a micrometer, the 1.25" tube is exactly 1.25" in diameter... so it's a difference of 0.06 inches compared to the 1" schedule 40 pipe. I think the 1.25" tube I can get my hands on is 6063.
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Old 05-19-2010   #9
 
Calgary, Alberta
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My desire to try this is the same as you, GoodTimes... I COULD buy something, or I could have fun building something different.

I've read both the "games with frames threads"... lots of good info there for sure. I don't recall seeing anything about smaller and thinner diameter aluminum tubing there, but maybe I have to take another look. The weight savings between 1.25" standard aluminum pipe in schedule 40 and the 1.25" galvanized fence post I used currently is actualy quite minimal... maybe 1 pound per linear foot. But the weight savings between the 1.25" fence post and the 1.25" aluminum tubing is huge... over pounds per linear foot (less than half the weight).

I used that "how to build a raft frame" link to build my frame last year before reading the "games with frames" threads for other ideas. I suppose I could use the smaller diameter top rail instead of the larger diameter post material that I did use, and that would probably save a bit of weight. I guess I was thinking that it's not worth trying (from a financial perspective) unless the weight savings are substantial... especially since getting oar locks on the smaller diameter pipe/tube is possible but not trivial. The frame is functional in it's current form... just looking for improvements.
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Old 05-19-2010   #10
 
Front Range, Colorado
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Have you seen this?

Raft Frame - Mountain Buzz Gear Swap
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