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Old 04-06-2015, 11:18   #1
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DIY flexible water bladders

We have an existing water bladder located in a space under the cabin sole of our trimaran. Due to the shape and size of the space the bladder is a terrible fit and is prematurely wearing due to creases/folds in the material. There are no commercially available bladders that would be a better fit and the access through a smaller hatch precludes the installation of a solid tank (at least without major demolition of the cabin sole).

Has anyone tried making a custom water bladder to fit an odd sized locker and if so what were the results? I would assume this would entail cutting the appropriate material to size and either gluing or heat welding togeather. Is this even possible?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:47   #2
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

I helped some folks heat weld heavy Viscueene for a domestic water tank once. It only took a little practice to get the technique down. Used a clothing iron and a wash cloth to keep it from sticking. Getting the speed and temp figured out was the key. It was a very simple shape. Far as I know it worked just fine.
Now that I know more, I would use real wool felt as the insulator under the iron and catalyzed Aqua Seal for fittings.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:29   #3
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

CG-
It certainly should be possible, but you would want to get access to the proper plastic welding equipment (professionals use radio waves, home kits would use a thermal "iron") and practice on it to get clean solid welds. Then you'll need FDA-approved "food grade" plastics for all parts, so plasticizers don't leach out into your water.


You don't say what size you need, but the food service industry supplies milk and other commodities in 5 gallon and larger disposable bladders. Restaurants and diners here in the US normally drain them, then throw them out, and they're glad to give you empties for free when asked nicely. That might be too small for you, and perhaps not durable enough for "any" years, but free is good, and you can always combine them on "t" fittings for more capacity.


You might also find some of the manufacturers are willing to make up a custom size, if you tell them "No rush, do it when you can" and "I won't hold you to millimeter accuracy on the dimensions".(G)
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Old 04-06-2015, 16:09   #4
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

CGirvan,

If I were going to attempt this, I would use hypalon and SC4000 for the glue. I am sure it is possible to do. Your design should incorporate flanges with grommets for securing the tank, although with a tri, it shouldn't try to move as much as on a mono.

FWIW, our first Insatiable had custom Vetus water bladders, and they worked fine for about 15 years, and then chafe got to them. Subsequent attempts at bladders, welded, by the way, all failed, and eventually we had s/s tanks built.

If you go ahead with it as a project, line the compartment with cast off indoor/outdoor carpet that you've cleaned.

Also, make the bladder a little smaller than the compartment, because the hypalon will bulge in all directions when it is full.

You might research it to see if there is a bladder tank maker in Canada; there is one in Australia, and it might be more convenient for you to just have it made.

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Old 04-06-2015, 16:25   #5
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

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Old 04-06-2015, 16:46   #6
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

I have seen a custom tank made. They used a very thick "blank" of HDPE plastic and heated it in an oven. They then insert it in a mould and used compressed air to inflate it to the custom shape of the mould.

If you could find someone willing to do this onsite, you could have a custom tank "blown" to fit your compartment. Seems like this would be the ultimate solution.
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Old 04-06-2015, 16:54   #7
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

Quote:
you could have a custom tank "blown" to fit your compartment.
Man - that sure sounds like a business just waiting for the right guy or gal to make a buck or two in. Custom on-site blown tanks like you describe - imagine the possibilities.
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Old 04-06-2015, 17:53   #8
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

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Originally Posted by shufti View Post
Man - that sure sounds like a business just waiting for the right guy or gal to make a buck or two in. Custom on-site blown tanks like you describe - imagine the possibilities.
It wasn't hard. I asked a few questions about the process and he said the secret is selecting the right sized and thickness of blank.

Could be a solid business for someone to start in south Florida. Pretty sure you would have no issues charing $3-500 a tank..
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Old 04-06-2015, 18:01   #9
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

You have gotten some good advice from others. (Gotta love this forum when the members put their heads together on a challenge or topic!)

I have another idea… (see photo)

Just think of the drinking of the wine as part of the project.
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:34   #10
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

Quote:
Originally Posted by CGirvan View Post
We have an existing water bladder located in a space under the cabin sole of our trimaran. Due to the shape and size of the space the bladder is a terrible fit and is prematurely wearing due to creases/folds in the material. There are no commercially available bladders that would be a better fit and the access through a smaller hatch precludes the installation of a solid tank (at least without major demolition of the cabin sole).

Has anyone tried making a custom water bladder to fit an odd sized locker and if so what were the results? I would assume this would entail cutting the appropriate material to size and either gluing or heat welding togeather. Is this even possible?

Thanks for any help.
Rather than an experiment to "re-invent the wheel" what about the alternative of a custom made bladder tank by an experienced producer such as Custom Bladder Tanks by Ready Containment, LLC. Call NowReady Containment, LLC. There are others as well...
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:52   #11
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

I wasn't trying to 'reinvent the wheel', I was unaware that these commercial options were out there.

Thanks for the link.

Has anybody had one of these tanks made and can post their experience?
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:08   #12
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
CGirvan,

If you go ahead with it as a project, line the compartment with cast off indoor/outdoor carpet that you've cleaned.
There is going to be condensation...so I wouldn't use carpet...it will get damp and go moldy. I would suggest the "flat" variety of pool noodle. Makes excellent closed cell chaffe gear, and is dirt cheap (sold as pool noodle, about a buck each).
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:33   #13
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

There are now some really cool large disposable beer and wine kegs available. I am looking at several to reuse instead of jerry cans. These are being used by restaurants and bars so that would be where I would look for them.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:21   #14
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

Someone suggested using foam float tubes for chafe protection. Perhaps you could try slicing sections of PVC sprinkler pipe longitudinally and attaching it to bulkhead edges at chafe points? Presumably this measure would reduce friction and better distribute the contact over a wider area.

Might this be a cheaper solution to your dilemma.? Wouldn't cost much to give it a try.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:36   #15
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Re: DIY flexible water bladders

I believe Aero Tec Laboratories will also make custom bladder tanks.
Aero Tec Laboratories - Aero Tec Labs - Aerotech - ATL - Aerotec - AeroTech Labs, Fuel Cells_Cell, Bladders_Bladder, Bladder Tanks_Tank, Potable Water Bladders, Pillow Tanks_Tank_Containment, Portable Tanks_Tank, Liquid Storage, Collapsible Tanks_Tan
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