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Old 16-09-2020, 17:40   #1
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DIY inflatable boat tubes

Hi all,

I have a 3.1 m inflatable of totally unknown age/make/model, with a fibreglass hull and what are probably PVC tubes.

The tubes are pretty tired, but the boat itself is one of the most well-mannered, light and comfortable small boats I have ever met. It jumps up on the plane with my not-insignificant-weight with only 6 HP, and my current 7.5 HP has it doing 12 - 13 knots with ease. Waves don't upset it, and it doesn't dig in or skate the way some small dinghies do in a turn when planing. It is one very "composed" little boat.

I recently bought a much newer and smaller Caribe in much better condition, but I was shocked at how much heavier it was. I was forced to sell it straight on because it was clear it was going to ruin my davits.

So, I am considering making my own replacement tubes. I can source all the materials (in hypathalon) for a tiny fraction of the cost of replacement tubes for any of the known brands (which most likely wouldn't fit anyway).

It looks like it will be a BIG job, but I have plenty of time up my sleeve and not a lot of better things to do.

So has anyone tried this job themselves, or have you seen a web site where someone has shared their experience?

Any tips?

Matt
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Old 16-09-2020, 21:56   #2
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

I'm sure this is like teaching grandma to suck eggs, but have you tried this: https://www.google.com/search?q=How+...hrome&ie=UTF-8

Three videos on the first page, and lots of info.

Ann
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Old 16-09-2020, 23:34   #3
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
I'm sure this is like teaching grandma to suck eggs, but have you tried this: https://www.google.com/search?q=How+...hrome&ie=UTF-8

Three videos on the first page, and lots of info.

Ann
Thanks Ann, yep, those were familiar. As can be seen from the second video, there is a LOT of work involved, and some manual dexterity that probably comes from years of practice.

I am curious to see if any mere mortals have attempted this. (Those ladies had better bicep definition than me, if they demanded my money with menaces, I'd be handing it over fast.)

The tools and materials seem reasonably straight forward, and I can use the existing tubes as a template if I take great care removing them.

But I just can't work out if I can master the skills fast enough to avoid wasting what will be about AU$2.2K worth of materials.

But to put that money in perspective, if I get this right I get an insanely light weight (32 kg) RIB with lots of space, excellent sea manners and another 10 years service at the very least, 15 or more if I am lucky.

To put that in perspective, the Highfield Ultra Light 3.1 would set me back AU$6K and weigh 18 kg more.

I hope I can do this...
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Old Yesterday, 14:25   #4
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

Matt, that job is gonna drive you batty. I suspect, on the basis of years of patching older Hypalon dinks, that you will be really hard pressed to get all the seams both correctly aligned and leak free. A daunting prospect...

Have you solicited quotes for re-tubing by a pro? When we got ours done several years back it was ~3k AUD for a 3.5m dink. That was in a high quality PVC material which has held up well so far, despite our normal abuse. Did put chaps on very soon after delivery.

Jim
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Old Yesterday, 14:48   #5
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

Matt, the kinds of glue one uses are not forgiving: once piece one touches piece two, they stick together, irrevocably. When we just patch, we mark carefully where the patch has to go, we mask with regular masking tape (because it looks messy if glue goes out beyond the patch), and we use waxed paper to keep the bits from sticking accidentally before they are correctly aligned.

Our tubes that were professionally done, there was some difficulty with the attachment on the starboard side, and it has slowly been bubbling up. When it lifts, we'll try to glue it back down, but it's really tricky.

Preparation is key, and finishing the ends of the tubes, very tricky. Even the pros can have problems with it.

At the end of the day, if you're only going to save 1k, I'd have to second Jim's suggestion to find a professional re-tuber. There's an outfit in Hemmant, Qld. that bought our friends' dinghy repair business.

It will be far less stressful to do a job for someone to pay a pro to do it than to do it yourself, imho.

Ann
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Old Yesterday, 15:21   #6
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

I did get some quotes and the best I was getting was close to $5K. The stated issue in each case was the need to template from scratch as the make was unknown. Iíll see if I can find the QLD outfit you mention.
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Old Yesterday, 17:15   #7
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
I did get some quotes and the best I was getting was close to $5K. The stated issue in each case was the need to template from scratch as the make was unknown. Iíll see if I can find the QLD outfit you mention.
Big Duck in Brisbane make dinghys for around a Grand,
2.3 2.9 and 3.3 Metre,
3 Piece aluminimum floor, 6 HP outboard, and 3 people,

I had a quote to fix mine in Melbourne and they wanted a grand to repair it,

Mine, The glue holding the tubes onto the pontoons had let go,
I could get it repaired, But I still had a 20 year old dinghy,

So I bought a new Big Duck one, 2.3 metre,
Its hanging off the Davits on my boat,
Mine cost me a Grand Delivered to Melbourne, ,
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Old Yesterday, 18:45   #8
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

Looks to me like the smart move would be to send your old tubes to the women in the orange top and let her make you new ones. Get an easy job like digging ditches until you've made enough money to pay to have the new tubes made. It'll be less work and less frustration at the end of the job.
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Old Today, 03:23   #9
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DIY inflatable boat tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr B View Post
Big Duck in Brisbane make dinghys for around a Grand,

2.3 2.9 and 3.3 Metre,

3 Piece aluminimum floor, 6 HP outboard, and 3 people,



I had a quote to fix mine in Melbourne and they wanted a grand to repair it,



Mine, The glue holding the tubes onto the pontoons had let go,

I could get it repaired, But I still had a 20 year old dinghy,



So I bought a new Big Duck one, 2.3 metre,

Its hanging off the Davits on my boat,

Mine cost me a Grand Delivered to Melbourne, ,


Great price, though the 3.3 weighs 50 kg. Not bad, but not great.

It will be interesting to see how it lasts. I admit, at that price, any more than four or five years and you are onto a good thing.

Actually, maybe I could buy one and transfer its pontoons to my hull....?
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Old Today, 03:29   #10
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Re: DIY inflatable boat tubes

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Originally Posted by fgd3 View Post
Looks to me like the smart move would be to send your old tubes to the women in the orange top and let her make you new ones. Get an easy job like digging ditches until you've made enough money to pay to have the new tubes made. It'll be less work and less frustration at the end of the job.


Yes, but I think Iíd have to dig rather a lot of trenches.
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