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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering building a welded steel frame for my raft, and I'm curious what size and gauge of steel round tubing folks have used for frames... I'd love to get it within 10-20lbs of my current aluminum pipe/speed rail frame, but I don't want to give up much strength or rigidity...
 

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I've definitely seen lots of conduit frames, but it sure seems to me that would be a major downgrade in strength...anyone making anything with proper tubing?
As an outfitter I owned somewhere around fifty frames, all made of 3/4" conduit, made by Cascade Frames and TMS Frames. I never had any problems with any of them, so I don't see any need for increased strength. All that would do is add weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oarboatman, nothing in particular wrong with the frame (although I don't 100% trust speed rail set screws, even with locktight), but I like welding and DIY stuff, and I have all my gear dialed in and really like the idea of building it super specific and tight to my stuff/boat...
 

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Curious: what possible advantage to steel vice aluminum frame?
Apart from having a welder that works better with steel?
Seriously: I spent way too much time on this issue a couple of years ago, and quickly (after only maybe 20 or so hours of "research") concluded that alu was way better way to go in every respect.
Steel "tubing" (round, hollow stock) is mostly special order - square is much more common. Remember tubing is basically a structural designation vice pipe, latter is used for fluids - but in alu, pipe is more than strong enough for raft frames (which is why NRS has settled on 1 1/4" while DRE and others use 1/2" - note these are IPS nomenclature, not nominal, for ex. the 1 1/2" alu pipe is actually 1.9" OD).
Given electrolytic/galvanic reaction issues and expense of steel (pipe or tubing), I'm still curious: why would you build a frame from steel instead of aluminum?
EMT is whole 'nother subject, addressed above. You are not going to bend 1" EMT with anything less than a jig that will cost about as much as your materials for a frame (mandrel machine bender, as slamkal says) OR a custom rig and EXPERT who can heat and bend at the same time... (only seen this done once back in the 70's by a welder who has gone on to greener - gassier - pastures...). Bending anything bigger than 3/4" EMT is
an art.
Again, what are the advantages of steel over aluminum for any frame application?
 

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As a electrician, I bend up to 1 1/4"EMT manually all day long. No machines necessary. For a case of beer or some "safety gear", most commercial electricians will do the same for you.
 

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EMT is whole 'nother subject, addressed above. You are not going to bend 1" EMT with anything less than a jig that will cost about as much as your materials for a frame (mandrel machine bender, as slamkal says) OR a custom rig and EXPERT who can heat and bend at the same time... (only seen this done once back in the 70's by a welder who has gone on to greener - gassier - pastures...). Bending anything bigger than 3/4" EMT is
an art.



You said EMT. Not IMC, not rigid, etc. Learn your pipe.
 

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Jesus Christ the man bends EMT ( electrical metalic conduit) all day long he knows what he is talking about. There is no thin wall vs thick wall EMT. There is however EMT vs Rigid conduit. Rigid is thicker and at 1 inch probably would need a power bender. EMT or rigid are both conduits and they don't realy fall in the scope of of pipe or tubing. So stop using EMT as a general term unless you are talking about Electrical Metalic Conduit.
 

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As a electrician, I bend up to 1 1/4"EMT manually all day long. No machines necessary. For a case of beer or some "safety gear", most commercial electricians will do the same for you.
Electrician here too. Yes I have built raft frames, fire pan frames, tables, ect. 4" radius bends need a power bender & proper mandrels. The cost of 1" emt x 10' is $ 6.50 at Home Depot so it's cheep to build frames. Just takes time & talent only some people have. As mentioned Harbor Freight benders are junk, kinks all the pipe I have tried. Got Beer?:D












'
 

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EMT is whole 'nother subject, addressed above. You are not going to bend 1" EMT with anything less than a jig that will cost about as much as your materials for a frame (mandrel machine bender, as slamkal says) OR a custom rig and EXPERT who can heat and bend at the same time... (only seen this done once back in the 70's by a welder who has gone on to greener - gassier - pastures...). Bending anything bigger than 3/4" EMT is
an art.



You said EMT. Not IMC, not rigid, etc. Learn your pipe.
NO heat needed and it's not legal for electrical work to use heat to bend EMT . Man up dude you are wrong. Electricians bend 1 " EMT with hand benders every day 1", ridged conduit is a different story. Electricians are artists
 

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3 Cat Frames, 1 raft frame

I have made 4 frames in the last three years. I use a combination of 065 and 095 in 1" tubing. When I need the strength (Spanning) I use the 095. It welds much easier than EMT. I use a pipe bender from Harbor Freight, fill the tubing with sand, then heat it some. Bends great. Still trying to figure out the best paint for it.
 
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