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Thread: Frame material

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Frame material

    Does anyone know where a person can purchase (locally) aluminum bar stock for raft frames? I know Alaska Raft and Kayak sells it, but I'm looking for other options.

  2. #2

    Default

    Don't know the Company name. But go south on arctic blvd. and turn right (west) on w. Potter dr. first place on left. W. Potter is near where the RR tracks cross Arctic Blvd. They have a bone yard of cut-off shorts and slightly bent stuff, or virgin materials.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Alaska Steel

    The place you are thinking of is Alaska Steel. They're on Dowling. Note that there are different diameters and wall thicknesses of aluminum pipe. If you are using either the NRS or the Hollandaer fittings, make sure you get the right stuff. If you're building sleeved breakdown frames, you also need different stock to make the ferrules out of. The pipe generally comes in 20' sticks, but you might be able to purchase shorts.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Hay Mike, glad you chimmed in. I'm actually looking at extending my 9' frame to 12'. So, I'm just needing the 4 bars that run the length of the pontoons in 12'. I'm trying to do this as cheap as possible and I don't need the 12'ers to break down, my 9'ers already do and those are what I'll continue to use for fly-outs. Do you know if Alaska Steel sells that type of tubing? It's the standard NRS frame tubing, same stuff that ARK uses.

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    Default

    Greer tank also has Alum. 243-2455.

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    Default Aluminum tube

    One thing to remember is that you may want to get Anodized Aluminum tubing.
    the plain aluminum schedule 40 will leave black marks on what ever it rubs against. so if you are extending out from existing frames, and it touches your raft, it will cause it to turn black at that area, even if the motion is minimal. You will pay more for Anodized, but its worth it..
    All of your quality name brand Frames are manufactured use Anodized tubing.

    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default

    A 20' stick of anodized schedule 40, 1.25" (the stuff NRS uses) cost a little over $80 last year at AK Steel. The non-anodized was only a few bucks cheaper, and as Max said, the anodized is well worth the small premium. Aluminum is cheaper this year, so you should be able to beat that price.

    You'll need four full sticks to make four 12' side rails, but if you make 3' sleeved extensions instead you could save some bucks, and still just take 9' of it for fly in trips. The plastic end pieces just pop out, so adding on an extra section should be easy enough. Another way to do this is just make a 3' cargo extension that clamps on with a few NRS fittings.

    Either way, you may need to add more cross pipes to your frame, depending on what your configuration is now.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    A 20' stick of anodized schedule 40, 1.25" (the stuff NRS uses) cost a little over $80 last year at AK Steel. The non-anodized was only a few bucks cheaper, and as Max said, the anodized is well worth the small premium. Aluminum is cheaper this year, so you should be able to beat that price.

    You'll need four full sticks to make four 12' side rails, but if you make 3' sleeved extensions instead you could save some bucks, and still just take 9' of it for fly in trips. The plastic end pieces just pop out, so adding on an extra section should be easy enough. Another way to do this is just make a 3' cargo extension that clamps on with a few NRS fittings.

    Either way, you may need to add more cross pipes to your frame, depending on what your configuration is now.
    I currently have a 3' cargo mod. and used the NRS net material for it. My plan, after a lot of consideration, is just to elimate the cargo mod. (when using the 12' frame) and use the NRS cargo net material in combination with my current NRS net material to bring down to the floor level. I also currently have 3 NRS yokes, one on each end of the frame and one in the middle that I use as a footbar. Although I do want to keep it as inexpensive as possible, I think for the 12' frame I would rather have a second set of one piece 12' bars than scab on another 3' to my 9'ers.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Frame advice

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    I currently have a 3' cargo mod. and used the NRS net material for it. My plan, after a lot of consideration, is just to elimate the cargo mod. (when using the 12' frame) and use the NRS cargo net material in combination with my current NRS net material to bring down to the floor level. I also currently have 3 NRS yokes, one on each end of the frame and one in the middle that I use as a footbar. Although I do want to keep it as inexpensive as possible, I think for the 12' frame I would rather have a second set of one piece 12' bars than scab on another 3' to my 9'ers.
    Trout,

    I like the full-length drop floor idea; it gives you more room. But there are some considerations:

    1. Your tubes curve up at the bow and stern. A 12' stick of pipe will take you past the curvature and it will not lay flat on top of your tubes. This creates a wear point at each end of the pipe. With the cargo module separate, you don't tighten it to your frame until it is laying on the tubes, so it can accommodate to the bow and stern rise.

    2. The 12-footer gives you a lighter frame, because you use less fittings. If you're not using breakdown 12-footers, your weight drops even more.

    3. I do not recommend 12-foot bars for flyout trips as a general rule. They don't fit in the smaller aircraft very well at all, and they're a real pain to ship as cargo if you're chartering out of a village somewhere. It's just a matter of time until they get bent.

    4. I don't prefer the NRS yokes because they don't break down, and don't load well in small aircraft. They are also heavy. IMHO you are better off with straight crossbars on top, short crossbars on the bottom, and vertical risers to secure the top and bottom together. This is a standard option offered by Alaska Raft and Kayak. The downside of their setup is that you use more fittings, and some of those fittings will rub against your tubes because of the way the frame is designed. So their frame may be heavier than the NRS yoke. But even then you still have the bulk issue to deal with.

    5. If you're determined to build it yourself, I second the advice to go with anodized pipe. Two of my frames are not anodized but I would have gladly paid extra for that. The regular stuff turns your hands (and everything else) black after a while.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  10. #10
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Trout,

    I like the full-length drop floor idea; it gives you more room. But there are some considerations:

    1. Your tubes curve up at the bow and stern. A 12' stick of pipe will take you past the curvature and it will not lay flat on top of your tubes. This creates a wear point at each end of the pipe. With the cargo module separate, you don't tighten it to your frame until it is laying on the tubes, so it can accommodate to the bow and stern rise.

    2. The 12-footer gives you a lighter frame, because you use less fittings. If you're not using breakdown 12-footers, your weight drops even more.

    3. I do not recommend 12-foot bars for flyout trips as a general rule. They don't fit in the smaller aircraft very well at all, and they're a real pain to ship as cargo if you're chartering out of a village somewhere. It's just a matter of time until they get bent.

    4. I don't prefer the NRS yokes because they don't break down, and don't load well in small aircraft. They are also heavy. IMHO you are better off with straight crossbars on top, short crossbars on the bottom, and vertical risers to secure the top and bottom together. This is a standard option offered by Alaska Raft and Kayak. The downside of their setup is that you use more fittings, and some of those fittings will rub against your tubes because of the way the frame is designed. So their frame may be heavier than the NRS yoke. But even then you still have the bulk issue to deal with.

    5. If you're determined to build it yourself, I second the advice to go with anodized pipe. Two of my frames are not anodized but I would have gladly paid extra for that. The regular stuff turns your hands (and everything else) black after a while.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike

    I'm not worried about the weight of the frame or the awkwardness of being able to fly it out because I'll only use this frame for road accessible rivers that I can trailer it to (keep the 9' break down frame for the fly-outs). No problem with the frame digging into the pontoons because there is little to no curving up of the pontoons on the top side and 12' when centered on the 18' hulls works fine. I will definitely go with anodized though. Alaska Steel is closed on the weekends, but I'll give them a call on Monday and see if they have what I'm looking for. Also, if I do have to buy 4-20'ers and if there's anyone out there that is looking for some frame material, I'll have 4-8' sections to sell.

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Leopard frame issues

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    I'm not worried about the weight of the frame or the awkwardness of being able to fly it out because I'll only use this frame for road accessible rivers that I can trailer it to (keep the 9' break down frame for the fly-outs). No problem with the frame digging into the pontoons because there is little to no curving up of the pontoons on the top side and 12' when centered on the 18' hulls works fine. I will definitely go with anodized though. Alaska Steel is closed on the weekends, but I'll give them a call on Monday and see if they have what I'm looking for. Also, if I do have to buy 4-20'ers and if there's anyone out there that is looking for some frame material, I'll have 4-8' sections to sell.
    Hi Trout,

    Makes sense if you're trailering' that's what I do in the summer as well. But you might consider resale value; many folks fly out with their cats, and the breakdowns are all but essential for that.

    We'll have to disagree on the curvature issue. Doesn't matter which cat you have, except perhaps the original Leopard, with the mitred tubes. They all have an upward curvature at the bow and stern, and it is fairly significant. I'll attach one of AIRE's wireframes of the Leopard, onto which I laid a 12' heavy line to represent your stick of frame pipe. You can see that you've got a gap of about 2" or so under that pipe for much of its length. If you lay this pipe on top of the tube, it will sag and follow the contour of the tube. But once you secure all your fittings, it will straighten out if your frame is properly braced, and will be square again. Then when you snug your tubes up to the frame, it will pinch at both ends and you'll have a rub spot at either end. It's not too bad, but it is a rub point.

    As I mentioned before, you can mitigate the issue somewhat by going with a shorter frame and cargo modules at one or both ends. This is probably why AIRE makes shorter frames than 12', btw.

    Take care,

    -Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi Trout,

    Makes sense if you're trailering' that's what I do in the summer as well. But you might consider resale value; many folks fly out with their cats, and the breakdowns are all but essential for that.

    We'll have to disagree on the curvature issue. Doesn't matter which cat you have, except perhaps the original Leopard, with the mitred tubes. They all have an upward curvature at the bow and stern, and it is fairly significant. I'll attach one of AIRE's wireframes of the Leopard, onto which I laid a 12' heavy line to represent your stick of frame pipe. You can see that you've got a gap of about 2" or so under that pipe for much of its length. If you lay this pipe on top of the tube, it will sag and follow the contour of the tube. But once you secure all your fittings, it will straighten out if your frame is properly braced, and will be square again. Then when you snug your tubes up to the frame, it will pinch at both ends and you'll have a rub spot at either end. It's not too bad, but it is a rub point.

    As I mentioned before, you can mitigate the issue somewhat by going with a shorter frame and cargo modules at one or both ends. This is probably why AIRE makes shorter frames than 12', btw.

    Take care,

    -Mike
    I see your point Mike in your diagram. In this picture here, although you can not see the front of the boat, the frame is actually 146" this is including the cargo mod. and this 146" total frame is centered on the pontoons. If you look close (if you can) you can see that the rear end of the bar is not touching the pontoon as it is held off of the rubber by the seat pedestal lowpros.
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  13. #13

    Default what type of tubes

    Depends on the brands. I read the post and didn't see what type of tubes they are (maybe I missed it) (edit after the oritional message: oops I wrote this post before I logged in and could see the photos) NRS tubes don't really have any up curve on top and can take a much longer frame per given total tube length than aire tubes.

    NRS yolks are the same weight as a top cross bar plus vertical stabilizers plus a bottom cross bar (and may be lighter if the vertical risers are supported using lopros and are not welded).

    My 2 cents.

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    Default

    Thanks guys. Alaska Steel has it for $3.00/ft. in 20' lengths and will make the first cut for free for each 20'er. Just a little FYI incase anyone else is interested in doing some modifications to their frame.

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    Question cutting

    Troutbum,
    When I scanned these posts I did not see (and might have missed) how you intended to cut the 20 foot sections into exact, specific smaller frame pieces. I use a high quality hand held pipe cutter. The type that you manually turn around and around the pipe, constantly tightening the cutting deal until the seperation is completed. After each cut I then carefully clean up the ends with a fine file. It is time consuming, but it works for me. Of course Tracy at AK R&K has the absolute correct cutting device. What do others use to cut their frame pieces to precision lengths???

    Thanks, Dennis
    AK TAGS

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    Lightbulb Reviewing this thread a bit...

    Couple things worth consideration:

    (A) You will want the proper T-rating on the anodized aluminum schedule pipe!!!! Too low a T-rating will appear a bluish tint --- it's to soft & will look like spaghetti poles after you inflate the boat. Makeeeesure it's more yellowish/grey and Know the T-rating before purchase.

    Going 12' on the rails length is only so-so... BUT a few things to address -

    1. In the schedule pipe you/we are talking ('easily' compatibility w/ NRS inner-diameter fittings) you will get an upward flex on the top rails. The air pressure of the boat alone even on dry ground w/ no load will cause pronounced arc/flex to the pipe (THAT's THE TOP-RAILS). You can put more drop-downs into the frame design (at least 1 set hung from your seat cross-bar). Still this is not quite the solution (you have just added more weight, complexity, more fittings/hardware, assemble/ disassemble time, and expense), yet it will look like you've evened up the overall geometry and made it somewhat stronger.

    Another solution is to go w/ much thicker wall thickness and turn down the NRS fitting in a lathe or go to different fittings altogether for the 12' sections.

    2. Mike Strahan is correct on BAD NEWS w/ regards to 12' inner-rails. Curvature of the Cat tube and factory placements of D-rings in relation to 12' inner-rails will very likely be more of an issue than it seems. The pipe will be at a right-angle then extend both forward and behind the factory installed D-rings by probably a foot. This gives your boat a diving-plug-like floor design that will shovel waves effecting performance more than most would think. What also happens is that there becomes 1' of gap (picture sort of a modified triangle shape) on all corners to the inside, but away from the tubes bow & stern construction. It looses common rigidity and contact with the inflated tube making it more prone to bending and a much higher probability of getting caught up in rocks, sticks, sweepers, and logjams. If you ever need a tow having that 1' of diving-plug floor extension... It can dive hard under the wake of the towing vessel,,, bending your whole frame beyond your imagination to do so.... possibly even flipping it spatula style completely over end for end!

    On another note --- you do not use a plumber's pipe cutter on this type of aluminum! It can work, but you make it much more work than it needs to be. Use a saw!!! Manual hacks to radials and miter saws!!!!

    Here's one of your best bets really -

    You may use the NRS Floors already... You also likely see that the NRS floors are designed to to fit the inner-rails (in 4' or 6' lengths) using the width determined by the inner crossbars (right?)... Well, just purchase or make your cargo-mod extension bars at the same inner-crossbar lengths, and your 6' NRS floor will fit perfectly tight.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default LoPro placement and tube damage

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    I see your point Mike in your diagram. In this picture here, although you can not see the front of the boat, the frame is actually 146" this is including the cargo mod. and this 146" total frame is centered on the pontoons. If you look close (if you can) you can see that the rear end of the bar is not touching the pontoon as it is held off of the rubber by the seat pedestal lowpros.
    Trout,

    In the photo you posted, you have the LoPro fittings digging directly into the top of the tubes. I would not recommend this placement at all; besides the abrasion issue, your passengers are sitting way too high in the boat and are right on the edge where they could easily fall overboard. You're better off placing the seat riser on your inner rails, with the LoPro fittings facing the inside of the boat (with the U-bolt touching the tubes, if you take my meaning). Inner rail placement also gets your passengers inside the boat, a better option in terms of safety (in my opinion).

    Even so, raising the bar at each end of the boat by using the LoPros as risers... doesn't that raise the entire rail, the full length of the boat? So instead of the 2" gap at the center, like I illustrated, you end up with 3" or so (adding in the height of the end of the LoPro fitting).

    Hope it makes sense?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by shapp View Post
    Depends on the brands. I read the post and didn't see what type of tubes they are (maybe I missed it) (edit after the oritional message: oops I wrote this post before I logged in and could see the photos) NRS tubes don't really have any up curve on top and can take a much longer frame per given total tube length than aire tubes.

    NRS yolks are the same weight as a top cross bar plus vertical stabilizers plus a bottom cross bar (and may be lighter if the vertical risers are supported using lopros and are not welded).

    My 2 cents.
    Hi Schapp,

    He's got AIRE Leopard tubes; it was in one of the first posts. You're correct about the NRS tubes. In fact one set I saw actually turned DOWN at the ends (slightly). Also you are correct on the weight difference on the yoke system vs regular pipes and LoPros. My point was not about weight, it was more about the bulk of these yokes when it comes to air transport.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  19. #19

    Default cutting and T rating

    NRS type pipe is 1.25 nps or ips depending on your age, schedule 40 6061 T-6
    Cuts great with a regular mitre saw with carbide tipped blade, just cut a bunch up on Saturday for my new cat frame, which incidently I copied the NRS yokes design but made them for 12 foot long and 21.5 inch tubes with a drop of only 10 inches and inside width of 31 inches, quit a bit smaller.

    DO NOT use a twist type tubing or pipe cutter if you are using lopros because that type of cut leaves a flair to the inside and you wont be getting the lopro shank in there unless you do a lot of filing/grinding on the inner pipe lip

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by shapp View Post
    NRS type pipe is 1.25 nps or ips depending on your age, schedule 40 6061 T-6
    Cuts great with a regular mitre saw with carbide tipped blade, just cut a bunch up on Saturday for my new cat frame, which incidently I copied the NRS yokes design but made them for 12 foot long and 21.5 inch tubes with a drop of only 10 inches and inside width of 31 inches, quit a bit smaller.

    DO NOT use a twist type tubing or pipe cutter if you are using lopros because that type of cut leaves a flair to the inside and you wont be getting the lopro shank in there unless you do a lot of filing/grinding on the inner pipe lip
    Yes... that is the terminology I was trying to relate --- NO twist-type w/ cutting wheel and rollers pipe cutter because it will result in "flairing" inside the inner diameter of the pipe something fierce!

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