Norwester

Steel and aluminum boatbuilding. See: "Boatbuilding Methods", in left-hand column of the Home page, for information about alloys.

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Lucian
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Norwester

Postby Lucian » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:22 pm

Hello to anyone, who would like answer my question!
Question: What type of aluminum grade can be used to build a 24' to 28' norwester?
I just discovered this informative site and the fact that you can actually build your own boat and i'm new to all the things that I read in here. Iwould like to build a norwester and I read on the plan that you can use 3/16 for the hull. I know the most popular aluminum grade is 5052, 5083, 5086. In my area, Toronto, is hard to get 5086. So I tought maybe I can upgrade 1/4 5052 or 5/16 and build the hull and 3/16 for the side. Is this ok , or i should get the 5086?

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Norwester

Postby Bill Edmundson » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:06 pm

Lucian

Welcome!

My fuel tanks are 5052 H32. The motor mounts in my runabout are 6061 T6. I don't know off hand what is best for "planking". But, we do have some guys here that really know aluminum. If they don't come in soon, we'll give you names and you can send them a PM (Personal Mail).

Bill
Mini -Tug, KH Tahoe 19 & Bartender 24 - There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up.
Tahoe 19 Build

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kens
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Re: Norwester

Postby kens » Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:57 pm

I think his name is Kevin Morin. He is a forum member and knowledge of aluminum.
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

Kevin Morin
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Re: Norwester Alloy Choice for Building

Postby Kevin Morin » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:25 am

Lucian, IMO it's worth the effort to get the 5086 for the main hull panels. 5052 works OK but there are many reasons to take the effort to find and use 5086; its stronger for the same weight and is more corrosion resistant. All Aluminum gives up its original strength in the welded areas (Heat Affected Zone ; HAZ) so starting out with the stronger alloys seems to make sense to most builders.

Conserving dollars on something as major as the hull alloy will end up being a choice you regret when you built a boat that large. When you look back you'll think the decision to go with '52 instead of '86 was 'not worth' any savings in costs.

Hull and all internal framing that is possible including bulkheads and any longs or transverse members that you can make of 5086 will be money well spent. The deck house, tanks, locker doors, and some less structurally critical elements can be easily done in 52 which bends easier in a press brake without special tooling. Longs maybe only available as 6061 extrusions but sheared 5086 is a better choice if you can afford the cost? The boat should be welded with 5356 alloy wire unless you choose 5083 alloy (usually harder to get in N.America than 5086) and you should avoid 4043 wire/fillers all all costs.

I don't know the alloys called for in the BOM of the plans package you're planning; they may have been drawn for 5052 alloy which will make up for the softer/less stiff/less rigid alloy by increased framing over what may be needed if 5086 were designed into this boat? If this is the case, the boat will still be fine in the stronger alloy but not the reverse case.

Cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kevin Morin

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Norwester

Postby Bill Edmundson » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:43 am

Kevin

Thanks for coming in. I don't pretend to know Aluminum. I'll go make some dust now.

Bill
Mini -Tug, KH Tahoe 19 & Bartender 24 - There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up.
Tahoe 19 Build

Lucian
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Re: Norwester

Postby Lucian » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:07 pm

Thank's for all your reponses guys! I've ordered the study plans for the norwester. Should come this week. That will give me an idea about the cost of the aluminum. I think 5086 it's double the cost than 5052. Can you weld 5086 with a different grade? like 5052 or 6061? Is it possible for me to learn to weld or i sould get a proffesional welder?

Lucian

Kevin Morin
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Re: Norwester

Postby Kevin Morin » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:40 am

Lucian, it's possible for anyone who does not have extreme physical challenges to learn all skills involved in the trades. The question is do you have the time and resources to learn and a willingness to spend them to achieve that goal?

If you want to learn you will. You can enroll in a government school program in most areas of the US/Canada, although you can't schedule that type of learning to suit your own timing. If you set up the learning process for yourself, you can probably find someone to check with after you have a power supply and wire feed and some initial welds. And there are more than a few sites online where people post learning stage welds to get advice from others with more experience.

5086 will weld to both '52 and '61 with 5356 weld filler in both MIG and TIG. If the costs are actually double then spending time looking for a separation between the two alloys will be worthwhile. Bottom and topsides, main structural elements of 5086 and less structurally critical elements of 5052 may be a significant savings without compromising the final boat.

cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kevin Morin

Lucian
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Re: Norwester

Postby Lucian » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:37 pm

Hello!
I received the study plans. They recomend the 5086. Which is the better way to weld 1/4 5086? Tig or Mig? I've read that tig will do a better and nice looking weld and someone on the forum said mig will avoid distortion. I'm planing to buy a welding machine, and i'd like to know wich one. Thank you.

Lucian

mcmbuilder
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Re: Norwester

Postby mcmbuilder » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:33 pm

You are not really going to have a lot of issues with the distoration using 1/4" plate. EIther process would do a good job but with either I will second what Kevin said and really encourage you to go get some training. Most schools will let you just take the training session you need and not have to take the entire program. The problem with welding aluminum is it is easy to make a decent looking weld that is structually unsound. It is imperative you learn to recognize what makes a good sound weld compared to one that just looks OK.

As for purchasing a machine, unless you have plan on spending a bunch I would look for some used machines. If looking for MIG if you can find a Millermatic 250 with the XR spool gun it would be a good investment. I am not a big fan of Millers newer mig machines but the old 250 is still the best cabinet style they made. If money is not an issue go with the Lincoln 350 power mig with the push pull cobra style gun. Nothing better on the market, but new it is $6,000. Used ones can be found for a lot less.
If you go with a TIG machine to weld the 1/4" go with nothing smaller than a 250amp machine. The duty cycle on smaller machines will not be sufficent. Go with the square-wave or precision TIg models if you go with Lincoln, the syncro-wave if you go miller. The Miller dynasty series is a great machine but is overkill for what you need. DO LET A WELDING DISTRIBUTOR TELL YOU ANYTHING LESS THAN A 250AMP WILL DO THE JOB!!! You will not be happy with it.

When you get to the point of starting to weld check back and I am sure Kevin or myself will be glad to help you with advice on gases, wires or other questions you may have.

Kevin Morin
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Re: Norwester

Postby Kevin Morin » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:28 am

Lucian, MIG moves faster than most TIG welds and the speed of welding requires some fairly well trained reflexes. Many steel welders of long experience have difficulty learning to train their reflexes to weld aluminum MIG because of the speed change compared to steel.

The reason to move rapidly is the 7x rate of heat transfer of aluminum compared to steel. Therefore the metal will expand and contract 7x faster than steel from a weld, the welds have to be applied faster in order to proportionally manage the heat of expansion and contraction.

TIG is a higher quality weld because its process does not vaporize the filler added to the weld puddle- so no gases have to escape from the molten filler to chill/freeze/solidify into a solid aluminum weld seam. But TIG welding is usually so slow it almost automatically causes hull seam distortions so it is mostly reserved to corners and detail joints where distortion is canceled by the shape of the parent metal shapes being welded.

Another point MCM made was the used MIG market. These power supplies retain reliable functionality for many years, I've used MIG power supplies recently that were 40 years old and still reliable and consistent. They didn't have the 'bells and whistles' of the newer power supplies but they worked well. So the reason to consider this part of the market is the fact that costs go down while reliable high quality welding power supplies retain their full functionality to weld your boat. So you can buy more welder than the money you spend by carefully shopping the used market. I'd agree Miller and Lincoln is the way to go, but mainly because I've owned both brands for 40some odd years.

A 1/4" hull will require at least a 250 A power supply so look for a 300 or 350 when shopping, so you're not pushing the limits of the duty cycle or 'constant output rating' of the power supply. Some welders are rated to produce 250 A but only for a few minutes of an hour of running. So the concept to keep in mind is to buy the most power (amperage/voltage/weld power) that you can find within your budget. This allows you to run (weld with) the power supply at a lower percentage of its overall rating, longer.

Last, please note the AC TIG function is not present in a DC wire-feed, power supply in 99% of models. You may find a power supply that is capable of MIG AND TIG.... but it will almost always be DC TIG only. I doubt there are reliable power supplies that offer DC MIG (constant Voltage CV) and AC TIG or (Constant Current CC in AC). I could be wrong (often am) but I'm not aware of any name brand power supplies that offer these two types of welding current and control in one power supply.

So the TIG is usually a separate welder and torch not part of the MIG system.

cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kevin Morin

Lucian
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Re: Norwester

Postby Lucian » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:04 am

Hello to everyone!
I have searched my local ad page and found a couple of mig (gmaw) welding machines within the 300 to 650 output amps. Miller : cp 300, 650 deltaweld
Airco : 450 watercooled
Lincoln: cv 300 or cv 400
And Hobart, Esab in the same range of amps.
Wich one should I buy that will do 1/8 to 1/2 or 3/4 inch aluminum and will be able to do long welds without heating up or get on fire. The work on the boat will be mostly 1/8 to 1/4 with some 1/2 inch thick. About the push pull gun, is it a better chance to have one that is watercooled? They are rated at 400 or 450 amps. than the aircooled ones. Also, an aircooled gun will handle long welds? Both comes with a wire feeder box, and man ..... its getting expensive, even used ones. So it will be a not that short project. Thank you.

Lucian

Kevin Morin
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Buying Used MIG Power Supply

Postby Kevin Morin » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:34 am

Lucian, the list you gave is a bit generic to suggest one item over the other among these power supplies!!

What if the Esab were in near perfect shape but the Lincoln CV300 were used for thousands and thousands of dusty factory hours and was nearly burned up? How would anyone know? But if that poster were a Lincoln man, then you'd hear that Lincoln was the way to go, all without knowing any useful information.

How could anyone give you any advice if you don't provide pictures, hours run, age or model year, input wiring voltages, exact mfg.'s model of power supply or wire feeder, and all the ordinary details that allow anyone to help you?

What is a 'long' weld? You can get by with a spool gun, but have not defined the term of your build? if this is only one boat, and you may not be taking into account your own potential resale at the end of the build? What if 75 or 80% of your main welding equipment were well taken care of and therefore were sold at the end of your use? The cost to the project then becomes the few years use you put on that tool.

I'm not sure your post does much to allow the more experienced metal workers/welders to help you very much?

cheers,
Kevin Morin

Lucian
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Re: Norwester

Postby Lucian » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:27 pm

Hello Kevin!
I was asking about the range of the output power supply, if i can by one up to 650 amps output or is to strong for what I need. So I should know in what range to go after. About the quality of the machine, you are right, i will consider all the options that you gave me above. Thank you.

Lucian

Kevin Morin
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Location: Kenai, Alaska

Re: Norwester

Postby Kevin Morin » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:49 pm

Lucian,
300 Amps of MIG welding power is enough for up to 1/2 single pass the question becomes the size of the wire the feeder will handle. 0.045" - 3/64" 5356 wire is the size used for heavier sections but most people find it more challenging to run that size for thinner than 3/16" so they most often drop to 0.035"

I'd say a 300 Amp power supply with a wire feeder/spool gun/push pull that will handle both 0.035" and 0.045" would be the target size for your proposed boat. However, if a 600 Amp power supply is on the market, a few minuted drive away.... and has been for a while then drops in price? Remember that power welder will have no problem turning down to handle the smaller wires.... so it might be 'the best' deal.

Brand, quality or condition of the machine, range of output, single or three phase, types and number of controls, type (transformer or inverter) are probably the most important considerations. Make a table with cost in there at the far right side, and then look up new costs too so you can divide one cost the the current cost. Once all your potential power supplies are lined up next to each other to make a comparison I'll wager you'll see the 'best' deal from what's available to you?

I'd say Brand is first (column/field) since the Lincoln & Miller power supplies will probably retain their value best over time when considering resale. The other welders here may have a better opinion of reordering the other fields to get your table set up but the idea remains the same.

Now once you have all these factors listed, create any kind of 1-10 scale for each value. So if a machine is in 'perfect' shape, almost new.. you'd give it a 9 or 10 in that category. If and old Hobart is pretty beat up and the paint is nearly gone??... maybe that's a 2 or 3 in the 'condition' category/field/column?

If there were a ten year old 650 Amp welder in an hour's drive from your house for 1/3 its original value, that still looks decent and welds OK, then it may turn out you'd save by selecting that welder over a three year old Lincoln for 1/5's its original value that will ship to for almost the remaining fraction of initial price ?

If you'd put in your opinion for each category of each power supply (they'd be 'lines' or records in this table) and include things like shipping/travel to pick up and other items that will end being 'costs' to get this welder, I think you can make a 'safe' guess on which welder is 'best' for your circumstance.

When the table is filled in; add up each record/line across and the 'best' or better will have the highest total of your 'estimate/guesstimate' from your table. Maybe you should subtract shipping or add that as a negative number? Now look at the cost of the initial/new list price for that power supply and the current cost. Divide them to get a ratio. That's important because this shows how fast that brand and model is dropping in price on the used market. Couple in the age of that welder?

I'm suggesting you do your research and compare them all without using 'real' numbers but you assigning values to the table and then using simple add and subtraction to see what your own conclusions really are?

cheers,
Kevin Morin
Kevin Morin

mcmbuilder
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Re: Norwester

Postby mcmbuilder » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:10 pm

Most 450-600amps machines will be 3ph power. Make sure you have it available before making the purchase. Even if it available to you, if it is not already ran into your shop it will be fairly expensive to get it hooked up.


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