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Other It's time to go rafting!

Discussion in 'General' started by casey_cole, 16 Aug 2010.

  1. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    As you may have noticed, it's summer, and sometimes it's also sunny. What better way to celebrate than building a raft to launch on the river that is <100 yards from my house?

    The raft will sail on Saturday afternoon (weather permitting) - so the race to finish on time is on!

    This weekend my trusty accomplice, Alex, and I started the build!


    We began by producing a strong frame from planed 3*2 from the local timber yard which will be strong enough to support the stresses involved. The rest of the construction will be fixed to this frame.

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    A bicycle (from my wasted youth) was then appropriated from the shed. We stripped it down, and sawed it up! Poor thing.

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    The axles were replaced with a length of M10 stud, which was mounted in blocks. Lengths of 2*1 were screwed directly to the wheeel rims between the spokes. These will have paddles mounted to them for AWESOME POWER! (maybe).

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    Finally, we got the chain in and tensioned (pretty sure the derailleur isn't meant to be like this) and mounted the whole thing. The bike will be hand powered by the lighter member of the crew (Alex) - as the bike is mounted on one side of the raft.

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    The "to-do" list is getting shorter...

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    ...and I found time to make a set-square. The old one is missing, presumed eaten.

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    So, power is sorted - but as we all know, power is nothing without control! This means rudders! 2 rudders will give us more control as it will channel the flow of the paddles between them, so we will still be able to turn even when we're planing at 35 knots (maybe...)

    The rudders were made up from 2*1 and some 5mm MDF.

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    But how to mount them? 4 bar linkage?

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    Or old school narrow boat styleee?

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    Well, we'll come to that tomorrow, it's time for some tea!

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    And to put the raft to bed

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    I was really buoyed up by the progress we had made, I don't want to inflate my ego - but you will be impressed. Maybe I should stop blowing things out of proportion...

    Actually, flotation is the subject of tomorrows post, in which you can hear how to really embarrass yourself in Sainsbury's, and how to grossly violate the instructions of an airbed :D

    Plan for tomorrow is to mount the rudders, make the pontoons and (hopefully) mount the seats. Then we can start thinking about comfort, and bling (also, how to power a 12V beer fridge from a propellor driven dynamo).


    Suggest your names for the mighty vessel below! :cooldude:

    CC
     
    crazyg1zm0 likes this.
  2. crazyg1zm0

    crazyg1zm0 Well-Known Member

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    Im liking this :) theres a big raft race every year in one of the villages i used to live in and it was always fun to watch though most rafts were just barrels and rope
     
  3. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    Yeah there used to be a raft race in my village to the local town in aid of Crohns Disease, but it's stopped for some reason.

    There were two divisions - serious and fun. The serious guys had catamaran things and went like stink. The fun guys wore fake boobs and kilts, and were normally sat on not much more than a pallet! They took a good hour to get down the river!

    Pity we couldn't enter that - but what better way to spend an afternoon than lazily paddling down the river with a beer or two?

    CC
     
  4. stuartpb

    stuartpb Well-Known Member

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    The best raft I ever had as a youth was from a massive block of polystyrene that I found stuck in the weeds of the riverbank. You used to get all sorts of industrial waste and rubbish floating in the River Don back then, my guess is that was what this big chunk of poly was. It was around 10ft long, and about 2ft sq h&w. I cut it into three lengths, nicked some of those spiked rods from the roadworks near my house, sat two together lengthways, and the other length on top overlapping in the middle. I fixed the two bottom pieces with the rods, and used some stripped branches to fix the top bit in place. You sat on the top bit, with your feet on the two bottom bits. I made a paddle from an old bit of wood, to which I had nailed a motorbike numberplate. I used to mess around for hours on the river on that thing, until some of the older lads from round our way found out where I kept it, and smashed it all up. I was devestated tbh:waah:

    Looking forward to seeing the final result on this raft, much more elaborate than the one I made!
     
  5. hyder

    hyder horrible horrible horrible

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    Looks groovy :)

    I have made many a raft with the scouts but only from barrels, ropes and staves.

    You should get some expanding foam to use for floatation.
     
  6. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    The MDF will expand like a tampon if its in water.
     
  7. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Might move this to modding or project logs tbh.
     
  8. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    So on Saturday, Alex and I went crusing around the local scrappies trying to find some barrels. Nowhere we went had any, so we gave up and fell back to plan B - a shed load of water bottles!

    We went to sainsburys and bought them out of Basics 2l Table Water (both still and sparkling) which ended up to be exactly 50 bottles - or 100kg of upthrust (if fully submerged).

    We pushed it all to the checkout, getting a lot of funny looks, eventually persuaded the checkout guy to let us buy it all (£9 !!!) + some jaffa cakes and had our receipt checked by every security guy. Do they get a lot of people trying to steal a trolley full of water?

    We then proceeded to chuck it all down the drain in the carpark, and threw it in the back of the car! Next stop was tescos to repeat.

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    However, at Tescos we decided that a better solution might be needed - so we bought two airbeds for £5 each. Jackpot.

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    The airbeds should provide over 600kg of upwards thrust (if fully submerged) but shouldn't get anything like that much on them - they'll burst if they do!

    To protect the thin skinned beds, we packed the outside edge with a double layer of 2L bottles.

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    We wrapped the whole lot up in a tarpaulin.

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    Ravioli anybody?

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    To accomodate the pontoons, the frame was raised on 2*2 legs in a cross shape. This would allow the airbeds some relief when on land.

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    The rudders were mounted in their 4 bar linkage, and hinged to the frame.

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    Rope was run via pulleys in a circle around the raft to allow steering from any point on the boat!

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    The paddles were remounted as well.

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    The pontoons fit at the sides of the raft. They will be roped on.

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    A mast for the jolly roger!

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    We also cut the front face of the beams with an angle to allow a bow plate to be screwed onto each pontoon. The off-cuts were used for lower attachment points.

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    Lastly, we built guards for each wheel to prevent the pontoons from shifting into the wheels, and to keep sticks out !

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    The driven side had to be cut out a lot to miss the spokes. :wallbash:


    Tomorrow Alex should arrive in the evening with seats, more wood and possibly some boarding. We'll then board in to give a better surface for the top of the pontoons, mount the seats and make the bow plate! I need to go and ask the neighbours if I can nick some floorboard off-cuts from their skip too. The raft should be a long way on by tomorrow night. If not, then it's gonna be a struggle to finish by saturday :(

    Names needed too!


    I'll examine the MDF situation tomorrow too, might need replacing with ply. Cheers Bindi, I wasn't too sure.

    CC
     
    Last edited: 17 Aug 2010
  9. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    Excellent project. Following this :)
     
  10. line2008

    line2008 What is this "dremel" you speak of?

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    me and my mate got a small inflatable raft with engine (cant use it most of the time, usually abit to shallow) which we go down the river in in the summers, we usually go from our village all the way out to sea, takes around 4-5 hours :D box of cans and sum pasties and we have a good laugh
     
  11. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    Paddles have been appropriated and buoyancy aids found :D

    I asked the neighbours for some floorboard offcuts - and they said we could have some real length stuff from inside. Turns out it's defect shed walling (tongue and groove) and they had a load kicking around! We used it for the pontoon boarding in to allow the beds to press against something, and put in some boards from some pallets for the seats. If we can get some seats from Alex's work then we'll bolt them on, otherwise we'll be sitting on the boards.

    To prevent power struggles, I am now Bosun Cole, and he is First Mate Alex. A cuddly toy of some sort will become the captain - they can be inserted on the flagpole :p

    CC
     
  12. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    So last night Alex finally came round, and we got the pontoons boarded in.

    Here is the elusive Alex!

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    The pontoons now look like this:

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    Sorry for the rubbish photos, it was getting very dark!

    Today I experimented to see what happens if you leave MDF in a sinkful of water for a couple of hours

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    You get an annoyed mum of course!

    Or...

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    Or actually...

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    Not a damn thing.

    Problem solved!

    Tomorrow I'll mount the bow plates, and get some good photos of the progress so far. D-day approaches!

    CC
     
  13. DaveVader

    DaveVader Fast Action Response Team

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    Dude! this is awesome!
    Hope you smash a bottle of champers on it on the maiden voyage.
     
  14. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    No more pics today as it was pissing it down, but the paddles and bow plates have been cut out. I really need it in the water to see where to mount the paddles though!

    Tomorrow, I will either be kicking back on my sweet ass raft with a beer...or I will be laughing my head off as the pile of wood sinks in front of my eyes with a beer. Should be eventful either way!

    Wish me luck.

    CC

    PS. Captain Hedgehog says hello!
     
  15. EvilMerc

    EvilMerc Well-Known Member

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    This looks epic!

    You should totally put it down the River Severn for funsies with currents.

    Hope it went well regardless!
     
  16. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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  17. DaveVader

    DaveVader Fast Action Response Team

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    We want more raft!
     
  18. casey_cole

    casey_cole New Member

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    Did we sink? Did we swim? Did it work?



    ...




    How the raft looked a few days ago

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    How it looked before the maiden voyage! Check out those shorts :cool:

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    It floats!

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    ...and it still floats with two people on it!

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    Screwing on the paddle extensions

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    Breaking open the champagne (Tesco Value Cava) while my mum blessed the ship (and all who sailed on her)

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    UGH! Horrible stuff.

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    We set off, using old bessie (the paddles) to start with. We were going upstream, so that we could coast back with the current in case anything went wrong.

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    We switched to paddle power, as old bessie worked, but was not highly effective. We realised we'd forgotten captain hedgehog, so the screwdriver was voted in as a stand in. Aye aye cap'n phillips!

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    We decided we'd gone far enough for the moment (30 mins paddling), but cap'n phillips was mute when we asked him what to do. This was not in the interests of the queens navy, so we mutineed, and Alex was instated as captain. Under his command, we made a neat about:

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    Alex got shot by a sniper

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    But recovered (unfortunately).

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    To port at last!

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    Back at the house.

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    We decided to remove the paddles and rudder, and install other vital equipment for a trip downstream.

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    We headed out once more

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    But we got quite tired so we headed back in. I'm a lot fatter than Alex, obviously.

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    So, it worked! It made good headway, though there was a strong wind which made it tiring to paddle against. The bow cut quite nicely through the water, but needs some thought. It was highly stable, and you could walk around on top without too much problem. The tarps collected a bit of water (heavy to lift out) but this caused no problems when underway.

    In all, a great success! Mark 2 will be coming soon :D

    Thanks for all your support,

    CC
     
    g3n3tiX likes this.
  19. sibster

    sibster New Member

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    amazing lads, i was out in my kayak today had a good time, but looks like you had more on the raft. Good job.
     
  20. DaveVader

    DaveVader Fast Action Response Team

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    Frappin epic!
    Glad it worked, looks like you had a good laugh!
     

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