16'-17' aluminum catamaran plans ?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by catman14, May 22, 2013.

  1. catman14
    Joined: May 2013
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    catman14 New Member

    Hi this is my first post here so i hope im in the right spot. Im looking to build a 16-17 foot catamaran, something like the 19' livingston but modified/customized. I cant seem to find plans for somthing like that and was wondering if anyone knew of a place for plans like that? Also is it hard to design and make your own boad plans? Iv never done it befor so im kinda nervous to try. Thanks Bryce
  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Just a brief comment - I would be extremely surprised if you found aluminum cat plans for that size - due to the difficulty of keeping the weight down to be comparable to glass, and the difficulty of manufacture for the 'average' plan buyer.

    Re the design difficulty - you could expect to pay an expert over $US15,000 to provide a brand new, say plywood cat design, and more for one in fiberglass and or aluminium.

    Luckily, you can buy 'off the shelf' plywood and glass plans for a lot less than that.
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  3. Kevin Morin
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    Kevin Morin Junior Member

    Welding aluminum & scale


    I'd remark that welding aluminum is not easily scalable downward. If a MIG torch can weld 1/8" up, it won't weld 0.100", 0.090". 0.080" and thinner metals as well.

    The reasons are legion, but not the least is the skills go up exponentially as the thickness drops below 0.125"/1/8"/3mm then weld scaling becomes less easily done.

    Weld scaling is sort of a hard item to overcome in small welded aluminum boats. If you weld in proportion to the thickness of the metal the welds are very fast, extremely small by most standards and require (as I've experienced with employees for 40 years) the highest levels of skill to deposit correctly.

    Impossible? nope not even really that hard to do once you have a couple thousand manhours under the hood trying. However a new builder welding a thin (<0.125" thick) hulled cat ; is not realistic- in my opinion.

    As a result.... the idea of a welded small boat (18' sailing cat) is not likely to have any plans sets for ready sale; who would the designer expect to build that particular boat? If the number of people interested (limited by the difficult build requirements) was low, then we'd expect a scarcity of market offerings for these plans.

    I've advised several new builders in welded aluminum to give up the misconception that they would 'begin with a small light weight boat' as a beginner's training. I'd say build something of 1/8" or 3/16" to begin; don't try a 0.080" hull 14' long as the first welded project; it would be frustrating.

    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK
  4. carpe_diem956
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    carpe_diem956 Junior Member

    I am very interested in your cat idea... i have been thinking of doing the same idea. I have been wanting to build a 60" by 15' with 12" sides flat bottom with a 3' tunnel... then talked about running the tunnel the whole way down the middle of the boat. We are looking at using 1" X 2" 1/8" rectangular tubing for the frame and with a flat top without any sides for easy quick cleaning purposes. I want to get into 1-man, 2-man and 3-man aluminum bay boats in Texas. In your opinion, is there a market for something like this??? Any and all information would be helpful.

  5. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member


    Have you looked on texasfishingkayak.com ?

    Thems the guys who might care. But aluminum is very noisy, probably scare the fish away just turning around. Sinks fast too.

    Personally I wouldn't buy anything with a flat bottom. Just a personal opinion.
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