Tools needed for medium scale boat manufacturing?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by stringer bell, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. stringer bell
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    New on here, considering an idea to purchase a mold and start a boat building company.
    I was wondering what equipment would the facility need? I have large shop and two forklifts. Two large fans as well. I am more interested in what resin/glass specific and/or specialty machines are used and I would be needing? Gotta make sure it all fits in the budget.



    Plan to build ~ 19 footer, center console, V hull, outboard powered. Maybe 3-4 hulls per month.

    Thanks so much for your time and help.
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It depends a lot on what the design is supposed to be built like. For example, a hand laid laminate requires only a few hand tools. Infusion and/or vacuum bagging require a lot more tools and expertise.
     
  3. stringer bell
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    Thanks for the heads up. Hand lamination sounds better anyway, from the marketing perspective.
    Boats would be produced outside US, with monthly salary in 600$ range for the worker. If I dont have to invest into chopper or resin/gelcoat machines that would be great

    How much materials and supplies are needed per boat, approx?
     
  4. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    Without more info nobody can give you dollar figure, but around 1,500 lbs of materials would be used, still could go up or down with the exact design though.

    Depending on where you build them the cost could be significantly higher or lower for materials than here in the US.
     
  5. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I see you have an Island Hopper, I lived in Marathon from 77 to 80 and spent a few years building them. One guy did all the laminating and glasswork, I built all the insides, the stringers, bulkheads, keel and workdecks, and then installed all the running gear, shafts, struts, rudder and engine and then one other guy futzed around with the finish woodwork. Sometimes there was a fourth person, sort of a slave that would do nasty work until they had enough and quit. They hadn't made any molds for consoles or top decks or cabins yet, so all that was custom made as the customer wanted. When I started, the number of hulls made was around 30 but people were coming from all over to get them, from the NE and the Gulf Coast, one guy came from Alaska with a trailer. Since the hull was 12' wide and couldn't be easily towed on roads, he chainsawed it in half lengthwise, stacked it on the trailer and 'glassed it back together when he got to Alaska.

    If you hand laminate your boats, you'll just need an assortment of laminating rollers, brushes, buckets, scissors and razor knives etc. A cutting table [​IMG]that holds the rolls of glass and is long enough for the longest length needed is handy. A barrel stand [​IMG]allows you to turn a barrel of resin on it's side and then with a spigot you can draw off buckets of resin. [​IMG] You have to periodically slowly remix the resin as the components settle out over time. A large air compressor, 5 hp or so is real handy as spraying gelcoat is the best way to apply it, and air tools (grinders, buffers sanders etc) are better than electric ones. You'll need all the regular hand tools and hand power tools, saws, drills, sanders, grinders, hammers, wrenches, tape measures etc. A shop-vac or two. Respirators, disposable masks and gloves are usually needed, but make your ventilation as good as you can because all the masks are usually not used. Safety glasses are good and have some first aid ready for splinters, cuts etc and eyewash capabilities and chemical on flesh wash off facilities. Fiberglass work and materials are itchy, scratchy and generally toxic, some of them extremely toxic.

    You'll need some way to lift the hull from the mold, and then cradles to set the hull in until it's finished, everything should be mounted on wheels so they can be moved around. You'll need trailers to set finished boats in and again, some way to lift the boats from the cradle to a trailer.
     
  6. keith66
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    keith66 Senior Member

    What you will need most of all is customers with money.
     
  7. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Keith66 is a genius. He nailed the most important reality with commendable accuracy.

    The tired joke that is not much of a joke in the industry is: "If you want to make a small fortune in boatbuilding, then begin with a large fortune".
     
  8. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Yes, making a success of it is pretty remote. And if they're made in a country where a worker is paid $150 a week, there is no local market so they have to be shipped somewhere to be sold. Selling them could be more work and harder to do than making them. Of course they have to conform to safety and construction standards. Plus "19 footer, center console, V hull, outboard powered" would have to have about the most competition of any boat one could build.

    But, as far as the OPs question, there isn't a whole lot of equipment needed to build the boats.
     
  9. rxcomposite
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    If you are going to build your factory outside, capitalizing on "outsourcing" for a cheaper production, you better review again your business plan.

    Utilizing cheap labor, you get only 1/4 the productivity. The system is highly tiered and you probably need more supervisor and leadman to do a proper job.

    Even if it is hand laminated (labor intensive) the company is going to be power hungry. Cost of utilities is going to be way up if in the ladder.

    Most of the materials needs to be imported or sourced from outside countries. You have to pay additional duties and taxes plus shipping and clearing cost. If the goods are to be exported, you have to pay additional VAT.

    And finally, most companies don't run well if remotely operated. You have to be there, or be there most of the time to maintain the quality you want. Another option is to hire a professional technical manager to do the job which raises the operational cost.

    One small sized boat a week is barely surviving unless you get more orders.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A lot of fortunes have been made in boatbuilding. However, many people are content with making a decent living and don't need a fortune. Finding customers is necessary, but for that there has to be a product to sell. It is very difficult to get someone to buy something that doesn't exist. Particularly considering the competition. Building at least a hull seems to be a necessity, so prospective buyers can see the quality they can expect.
     
  11. aaronhl
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    aaronhl Senior Member

    Great thread thanks for all the input
     
  12. stringer bell
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    Thanks alot guys sorry I didnt reply. Boat will look like this more or less, not same but somewhat similar in that style of center console vessel. This is random pic from the web.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. stringer bell
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    SamSam I have two IH30
    One is 2002 from Fort Pierce
    Other is 1989 and I think came from Marathon?

    Factory is still operational in Sebring FL under SeaHawk name

    As for my hull I plan to wedge into small center console offshore capable boat lineup. As evidenced by boat show, CC market is going towards huge boats with 2-3-4 engines
     
  14. stringer bell
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    Opeartion is going to tax haven area of country looking to attract foreign investment. 5 years no income/profit tax. Employing locals gets you 10grand per worker incentive from the state. All import and export is duty free in this zone. Materials are available locally. Final assembly and all bright work might be done in US, as I am planing how to squeeze 4 hulls into one 40ft container haha

    Engine and most/all hardware will be purchased in US as OEM builder, for warranty and price purposes.
     

  15. stringer bell
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    stringer bell Junior Member

    Skilled labor is $500/mo salary over there. I am talking carpenter or electrician with degree from accredited school. Not a Guat that is illegal. My cousin will run the shop and I will do the sales and customer service in FL.
     
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