Drift Boat MFG

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by DRD Boats, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. DRD Boats
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    DRD Boats Junior Member

    Hey all, I am new to the site it looks great. I am looking at starting a drift boat manufacturing company. My question is, which is better for volume, cost of build, initial start up costs, and quality of finished product, using a chop gun to mold or making the investment and doing a vacuum resin infused process? Does anyone know of any good resources for laying fiberglass for boat hulls especially someone like me who has never done it?

    Keep in mind start up costs and there will only be two of us working as we start off so which would be best for us. I hope this makes sense I appologize for my lack of terminology since I am new to the manufacturing side of this ( I used to sell boats in Florida not build) Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    drift boats? I suggest you call the Coast Guard office of Boating Safety. Call nd request a MIC application . 202-372-1076 or FAX 202-372-1934. Or E-Mail Mr. Philip Cappel at philip.j.cappel@uscg.mil. They may have some info for you on drift boats. Specifically related to requirements for flotation.

    You also might take a look at my web site http://newboatbuilders.com/

    The chopper gun is cheaper, but the resin infusion produces a better quality laminate.
     
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  3. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    Resin infusion requires less investment than chopped laminate.

    Per mm, a chopped laminate is cheaper. Things might differ if you are in a strict environmental area, or depending on the quality of labour you can get.
     
  4. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    Drift boats don't require floatation.

    If you plan to do it, build the mold for infusion, you can still hand lay, or chop them, but infusion would be the future method.

    It’s a small market with several established builders, breaking in can be difficult, I know people that have tried.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    All small open boats require flotation, read the rules.
     
  6. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    I supply almost every drift boat manufacturer, they are exempted from the floatation rule, a friend of mine is the person that helped push it through.

    Drift boats are designed for use in rivers with rapids and other rough and/or rocky water. The idea is that it is better for the people to get away from the boat and not hang on to it while it is tumbling down through the rapids.
     
  7. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    This is true, but it is not an automatic blanket exemption. Each manufacturer must apply to USCG for a Grant of exemption. I used to sit about 6 feet away from the guy who processed these.

    As I said in previous post, call the Coast Guard office of Boating Safety. Call and request a MIC application . 202-372-1076 or FAX 202-372-1934. Or E-Mail Mr. Philip Cappel at philip.j.cappel@uscg.mil. Ask about a Grant Of Exemption for drift boats. They will send you the appropriate paperwork. (yeaah you gotta tell them why you want one and justify it.)
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I guess I was wrong, my apologies.
     
  9. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member


    Kind of a small niche type of boat and rule exclusion, I wouldn't expect anyone not involved in the production of these boats to know about it.
     
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  10. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I am no expert on fiber glass boat construction but I have done work for several fiberglass boat manufacturers. What I understand is, at least for larger hulls, the use of the chopper gun reduces labor cost. Hand lay-ups are stronger and lighter (less material required for the same strength), but ads a lot of labor costs. Most large production boats use a combination of lay-up and chopper gun to balance cost and weight. In some types of boats extra weight can be an advantage, I do not know if that is true with your intended boat design. Several manufacturers save big money on resin by buying it in bulk (delivered in a tanker truck) to an on-site storage tank. This is a very costly equipment option, but that saves as much as 40 percent of the resin cost as compared to buying it in 55 gallon drums.

    It seems to me that if your first boats are going to be hand built anyway, and there is less up front costs, to design them for hand lay-up. IT will save material costs and make them lighter as well. I would also suggest you make several field trips to places where they make fiberglass boats and ask if you can take a look at how they are made. Most will be happy to show off their facilities. Also you might consider taking a job in one for a short while (several months perhaps), and get to know the process.

    At the very least you need to find someone that has built production fiberglass boats and pump them for information. IT could save you many thousands of dollars in lay-up mistakes, it is well worth paying them for their knowledge if they will not help you for free. Many of the materials suppliers will also have technical reps that will help you for free since presumably you will be buying their products, but I would not rely entirely on a salesman for all of the information you need.

    Good luck
     
  11. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    That is a good suggestion. I don't know where you are in Wyoming. Here is a short list of active manufacturers in Wyoming.

    Custom Fiberglass Inc. they make a lot of Fiberglass stuff including boats http://www.wyomingcustomfiberglass.com/ Caspar, WY

    TDC INC Riverton Wy. http://boat-manufacturers.findthebest.com/l/12850/Tdc-Inc No Idea what they make, couldn't find a web site for them

    I can hunt up some in surrounding states.
     
  12. DRD Boats
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    DRD Boats Junior Member

    Thanks for all the replies. We are looking at pruchasing an existing manufacturer. In this industry how do you estimate costs of fiberglass materials and supplies? I sold boats in FL for a long time and a rule of thumb we had was $6-$8 a laminated pound is this a good theory for estimating build costs on a 350-400lb drift boat?. Are there any fiberglass manufacturing consultants out there?
     
  13. DRD Boats
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    DRD Boats Junior Member

    anyone??
     
  14. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Generally speaking, fiberglass manufacturing consultants aren't cheap, or free. If you find one you are going to have to pay them. But, I am sure there are some available.
     

  15. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    There is no way to estimate the cost of production without knowing your methods, matrials, experience, shop conditions, Volume, design, and many other things.
     
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