I wanted to see what a 4ft by 8ft sheet of fluted plastic would look like folded origami style into a water tight pontoon for a Catamaran boat.
After making a paper model I calculated the sq. ft. interior space to determine the waterline loaded with 200 pounds.
I wasn’t too pleased with the predicted waterline, so I shelved the idea for several years.
But sometimes an itch has to be scratched. I had an extra sheet laying about so I made up the real thing. It looked pretty good. I decided to go for it.
I added 3 bulkheads to keep the interior from collapsing under pressure. A folded three inch wide horizontal flap was added to the top of each bulkhead so I could add mounting plates.
(If you like what you see, remember that checking out the accompanying YouTube commercials will help adding to my revenue for future builds 🙂
I opted for a front engine configuration first, which falls into the KISS principle, (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
This gave many benefits verses a rear mounted motor; Engine starting is simpler, the steering and throttle linkages are eliminated and filling the gas tank in the middle of a
lake or performing engine maintenance is much easier. The engine keeps you warm on chilly days too. You do get a bit of exhaust when putting, but the added diverter plate works well.
I used 3/4″ electrical conduit you can get at any home improvement store for the frame. It’s cheap and easy to work with. The frame was bolted together.
I used 3/8″ bolts attached to butterfly picture hanging anchors to attach the 1 by 4 inch wood plates. More 3/8 bolts were added on the underside for frame attachment points.
The wing nuts make it fairly simple to dismantle the boat for transport, but I just slide the whole boat in my truck bed.
The up-cycled lawn chair worked great as a seat. Notice the wholes on the legs. The seat slides up and down the frame. This way you can advance the seat for
launching. When underway, you slide it to center your weight. When landing on a beach, just slide the seat all the way back just before touch down.
It rides OK. I did however discovered that high speed steering was useless. You have to crank the motor in one direction while slowly idling to achieve any turn. Dragging a Paddle helps too.
Such is the nature of deep sitting dual pontoons. It didn’t scoot much faster than my other boat, which was a bit disappointing.
I gained maybe 15 pounds since making my model. With the added steel frame and accessories it put the water line at about 2 inches.
Good enough for calm water fishing or just putting about.
I was surprised how fast the boat went when Paddling. I just might add ore locks and ores, similar to your typical pontoon fishing boat.
It would be lighter, more maneuverable, cheaper, quieter, healthier and no gas, noxious fumes or heavy battery needed.