Salmon Seeker's folding arch for his Arima!! Beware - PIC HEAVY

Discussion in 'Das Boot! Boating discussions' started by Steve Ericsson, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. Steve Ericsson

    Steve Ericsson Well-Known Member

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    Got a PM from Salmon Seeker awhile back about building a folding arch for his little Arima, I said I'm sure I can, just need to source the hardware/tilt hinges. Once I found what I wanted and got it ordered, we made arrangements for him to get me his boat. He had a few specific requests - must not extend back behind the line of the top as to not encroach on the fishing deck, six rod holders, two antennas, radar mount, deck spreader light, mast light and no taller than a few inches above the windshield when folded forward so it will fit under his carport/cover, low enough to easily reach the rod holders but tall enough for the top to be taken down with the tower up. Sure, simple - HA!!!

    He gave me some pics of a few he had found online that he liked, but really the shape and size would be dictated by his requirements when folded. I wanted the arch to follow the lines of the top when it is up, I hate to see arches on boats that don't appear to be built for that boat. I believe in function over form, but the form still has to be pleasing and something I would be happy with if it were my boat.

    The tubes were rolled from the center out to match the curve of the back edge of his top.

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    Then they were bent to follow the lines of the top, the back tube legs were bent to follow the top of the side windows.

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    It took quite awhile to get the feet to fit properly, not easy to do since the tubes are not straight up and down, which is what the hinges are set up for. With a lot of trial and error, I had the basic arch shape nailed down as dictated by the boat and the top and got is welded up in to a basic tower so I could test the tilt down. I needed to do this to figure out where the radar array would lay when folded.

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    From this point the radar mount was built and I did a test install on the wiring to make sure the connectors would all fit down the tube and would come out at the bottom ok. This test failed miserably, as I had the right size hole but the connectors wouldn't make the turn to come out. I had to then re-drill the hole on an angle so the connectors wouldn't have to turn a sharp corner to exit. I decided to make clamshells to cover the holes to keep water out and to dress up the wire exits.

    Down the starboard side comes the data and power cables for the radar array, VHF antenna wire and two 14gauge pairs for the mast and deck lights.

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    Down the port side runs the AM/FM antenna wire by itself.

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    The large clamshell has a grommet that came with his Garmin radar array, the little one here for the AM/FM I potted with some black silicone to keep bugs out.

    The hinges come from a company by Sacramento California that sells parts for DIY wakeboard towers, nice folks, shipped same day.

    I also ordered a couple of hand knobs from another outfit so he doesn't need an allen wrench to tilt the tower - allen wrenches get lost and misplaced.

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    Once the tower was finished, it was Sharkhided and installed for the final time.

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    Once it was on, I tilted it forward which made pulling the wiring much easier this time and it went in perfectly. This also made it easy to install the lighting and the radar array.

    The deck light is a 5 LED spreader light, the mast light is a basic unit from West Marine. Salmon Seeker provided the radar array and both the VHF and the AM/FM antennas. The antennas fold down straight for travel and storage.

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    When folded, the radar array would hit the anchor and it took me awhile to figure out what to do about this. He was coming today at noon and I figured out a solution and went to work at about 10:00 this morning. It didn't take too long, simple solution really, it is just a nesting bar that hits the bow rails and holds the array a few inches above the anchor when tilted.

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    Anything else I thought of that would be removable could be forgotten or lost, so it needed to be a permanent deal, this worked out perfectly, hopefully it doesn't interfere with his radar picture.

    The underside of the radar mount has a filler panel welded in so you don't see any of the wiring, but it is only welded at the corners so that any water that gets in can drain out.

    [​IMG]

    The wiring for the lights is accessed by removing the radar array, those connections are soldered and heat shrinked so he shouldn't have any issues with it.

    After lots of polishing and a missed delivery date, a couple days later and he came to pick it up this morning. He was here Wednesday for the original delivery which I wasn't ready for, which gave him a rare early glimpse of his arch, which I usually don't allow but he drove a long way.

    We spent a bit of time and I showed him how the tower tilts and he gave it a shot himself to make sure he could do it ok - it's barely a one man job, but manageable by one if your careful - luckily he is pretty tall!

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    Once he was comfortable with everything, we got him hitched up and off down the highway - another happy customer!! One more addition to the Ugly Bayliner family.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  2. oldguy

    oldguy Active Member

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    Very very nice. Workman ship is WOW!

    oldguy
     
  3. wannafish

    wannafish Well-Known Member

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    WOW...amazing
     
  4. oregondragonfly

    oregondragonfly Member

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    Steve very nice. I was wanting one for my boat but my cab has grab rails so it would hit where I wanted to mount it. what type of bender do you have to keep from kinking the sharp bends I have a power conduit bender for bending crab davits but any thing over about a 30° from vertical starts to distort the tubing. again great job. dfly
     
  5. sirfishalotz

    sirfishalotz Member

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    Very Nice Fab job Steve
     
  6. Steve Ericsson

    Steve Ericsson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks ya'll. ODF, my bender is a JDSquared model 32. I've added a pneumatic ram from Harbor Freight so it is powered, the kit came from a guy in Portland, SWAG Offroad. It is pretty slick, I have 2 dies sets to bend 1" tubing, one 3" radius and one 8" radius, a die set for 1 1/2" on an 8" radius and a die set for 2" on a 12" radius, all my dies bend a full 190 degrees. I took a piece of 1 1/2" stainless 1/8" wall and bent it 190 and then split it down the middle to make a shoe to fit in the 1 1/2" die to bend 1 1/4", it works pretty good. All said I have about $2K into the bender and dies and it's been the best investment I've made, paid for itself already. I made the decision when I built my first arch and had the tubes bent at a racecar fab shop and they screwed them up so bad I had to spend two days cutting and re welding them to make the match - they were supposed to be the same, however one was off center from the other by 7". I can understand maybe an inch but 7?? Yeah, ordered my bender the next week.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  7. GregE

    GregE Well-Known Member

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    There's the REST of the story in Pictures. Very nicely documented!!!

    I was looking at the deck mounts on Eric's boat last month trying to envision how this arch would look.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Steve Ericsson

    Steve Ericsson Well-Known Member

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    And?? Like you had envisioned??
     
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  9. GregE

    GregE Well-Known Member

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    Nope- he didn't tell me who was doing the build- If I knew it was you I'd have had a better vision of things to come.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  10. GregE

    GregE Well-Known Member

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    Bump for those seeking quality work
     
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