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Old 19-02-2006, 12:12   #1
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Opinions: Steel Boats ?

Its me again... finally worked up the courage to ask another question.

What opinions do you guys have when it comes to steel boats? Are there right ways, and wrong ways to build one?

Advantages and disadvantages?

Any book recomendations for building, surveying, or rebuilding?

What type welder is commonly used for construction?

Thanks guys...
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Old 19-02-2006, 12:33   #2
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Steel

Go to the origami site on yahoo. Lots of steel fans there. They are too heavy for me but that is just my opinion.
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Old 19-02-2006, 12:35   #3
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Zach.

Check out this thread?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/showthr...?threadid=2591
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Old 19-02-2006, 12:44   #4
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Also check out these thread?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/showthr...?threadid=1663
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Old 19-02-2006, 13:02   #5
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Thanks guys,

Reading now... Seems to be a topic that has been discussed to death. Thanks for the links CaptainK.

The Origami group looks like a gold mine, thanks Mike!

Zach
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Old 19-02-2006, 13:06   #6
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Anytime Zach, anytime.

I ran my fair share of the gauntlet, of asking the same questions. And believe or not. I'm still learning!!

I'm glad that you enjoyed those links. Wish you luck in your quest for your "choice" of a sailboat!!
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Old 20-02-2006, 11:44   #7
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Definatley right and wrong ways with any material.
To answer our welding question, MIG. It is easy to use. More forgiving in technical aspects than stick. Does not leave slag, unless you are using flux core's which I suggest you don't. But it means you need shelter from wind if you use Gas. The standard fluxless wire allows you to weld a range of steel types and the welds are high strength, were as you have to use purpose design rods for high strength arc welds. And the other major advantage is, no limit to weld length. So you can finish a stitch when YOU want and not when the rod runs out. Which always seems right when you don't want to.
I recommend a 200 -250amp Mig. This is waay more power than you need, but it means you have a really decent duty cycle, can use a 0.9mm wire AND 1.2mm in Alloy if you ever want. Plus it will have a good resale value at the end of the project if you want to get rid of it.
Use a Co2 gas for general run of the mill applications as it is sbstatially cheaper. Use Argosheild or an Argon Co2 mix for the more complex or below water line welds. The Co2 mix reduces the surface tension of the molten material and allows it to "flow" and reduces the porosity of the weld to absolute minimum. Argon is essential if you ever want to weld Alloy.
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Old 20-02-2006, 13:19   #8
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Thanks for the great information.
What do you think about Explosive Welding?
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Old 20-02-2006, 14:11   #9
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Thanks for the links, welding know how...

And a new question!

Explosive welding? That isnt anything like explosive forming of hulls is it? Thats some cool stuff... hydroforming with a boom.

---

Part of my reason for asking about steel boats, is the fact that my project car has some newly uncovered frame issues.

The fact that a mile down the road from me is one of the largest scrap metal yards in the south east... and the need for a welder creates synergy of uncommon, well, strength.

So, on that note the next logical question is... What welders would survive aboard a boat? As I dont like buying things more than once... it'd be a shame to cast off with a perfectly good welder stashed in a garage somewhere.

Dangerous stuff... if I keep this up I'll end up asking about internally ballasting boats with bridgeports. Or the proper storage technique for Oxy/Acetylene setups onboard.
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Old 20-02-2006, 15:09   #10
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In reality, the very rare occasions you would ever need to make a repair, it just isn't worth keeping a welder on board. Just more weight, essential storage room taken up, huge power requirements. Not worth it.I would sell the one in your shed after it is done with and put the money to cruising. Hire a machine when you need it on that rare occasion.
Unless you made it a "cruising income" generater where you can hire out your services. Your biggest money earner will be SST pipe work. If that is the case, then I suggest you buy the biggest single phase welder you can get. That way you can plug into most shore power. But remember, if you are cruising, correct power will become a problem in many countries. Not to mention many Marinas have very small current supply, usually out of reach of supplying the needs of even a small welding machine.
As an aside, SST must be welded with Argosheild(Argon/Co2 mix). It can be welded with Co2, but the looks are deceiving. The weld is very prone to crevice corrosion.
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Old 20-02-2006, 18:23   #11
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Zach, one of the points that have not been mentioned, probably because it is self evident, is if you intend to get a steel boat, strongly consider taking some welding courses. Even if you hire out the work, it will allow you to evaluate the construction and any future repairs far more effectively. This is probably the main reason I do not own a steel boat. I am no welder. My attempts at welding are legendary. I can take any maching, and create the what not to do example efficiently. In a pinch, I have taken a torch and a coat hanger and made metal stick together, but that is the best welding I have accomplished
As for explosive welding, I have a story, but I ain't admitin to it Suffice it to say, even if you follow the procedures, sometimes things just go very wrong.
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Old 20-02-2006, 19:33   #12
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Welders

The origami site I mentioned earlier has the greatest amount of welding knowledge that I have ever witnessed. More than I can absorb.
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Old 20-02-2006, 20:47   #13
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Hey Gord, Explosive welding? ain't that nuclear fussion
No I haven't heard of it. I suspect it isn't the shaping of a hull by an explosive charge in a swimming pool type situation. Sounds like something a little different. Please tell.
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Old 20-02-2006, 21:39   #14
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Zach, as you explore the metal boat idea, there are a couple issues to keep in mind-- 1) small steel boats are not very common, because they tend to be heavy for their size, I think you generally need to be up around 40' or more for steel to start to make sense in terms of construction weight vs. displacement (and keep in mind that larger, heavier boats require larger more expensive gear, cost more to moor, etc...); and 2) I recall reading a thread either here or on the SSCA board about whether or not one could make a living while cruising as a welder (maybe you were the one to ask the question?). IIRC, the consensus was that it would be tough to do unless you were very highly skilled at welding special alloys (e.g. the SS pipes mentioned here).

Good Luck,

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Old 21-02-2006, 09:56   #15
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explosive welding

Can't remember the name of the company, but I think it's French - they make an interface strip that's alloy on one side and steel on the other; the two materials are explosively welded. You can use these strips to weld an alloy superstructure onto a steel hull.

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