Wednesday, August 03, 2005

How a kayak is made. Part 1

I get a ton of people asking me how kayaks are made. I put together a video today about the first part of the process which is molding the kayak. Click the link below.
How do you make a kayak?

The mold is made of alluminum. The graphics and attachment points are put in and attached to the mold.
The graphics are placed in the mold and will bond with the plastic as it molds over the graphic in the mold. The metal inserts are screwed into place in the mold so that they will be molded over with plastic and become dry attachment points in the boat. Check out the size of the attachment points in your boat. We use extra large inserts so that our attachment points are super strong. This is a hugely important part of the boat because everything you tie to the bar or webbing or wire is attached to the plastic by these things. If its small it is much more likely to pull out of the plastic.

The plastic we use comes in a powder form. You can see its a light granular form. We weigh it out and pour it into the mold.
The heat in the oven cooks, or melts the plastic as it goes. The mold is rotated in the oven so that the plastic will slowly roll along the mold and coat evenly along the surface of the mold.
There are a few things that people don't know about plastics that are easy to tell when you look at them.
If the boat is brownish or slightly brownish on the inside it is over cooked.
If the inside of the boat is shiny it is over cooked.
If the inside of the boat is bumpy its undercooked.
The difference in strength of plastic is greatly impacted by how it is cooked.
If it is overcooked its brittle and ifs its undercooked it is also a problem with strength.
What we have actually found is that each color and each size boat actually needs a different amount of cook time.
So we have programmed each boat and each color of each boat a different cook cycle so that we can produce the strongest boat possible. One of the places this could really show up is in a multi colored boat. If one end of the boat is yellow and one end is orange you are cooking the boat only at one cycle time so therefore one part of the boat isn't cooked properly because of the different colors. That is why we don't mix colors.

The boat comes out as a hollow closed piece of plastic and all you have to do is cut out the cockpit area and you are ready for the next step which is assembling the boat. But that is for the next episode. I will do that later this week.
We have been working on our latest version of our new boats this week pretty psyched they came out great.

I will fill you all in as we get closer to the show. I have a couple more days here at the plant and then I am driving out to Salt Lake City for the show. If you have any questions let me know.

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