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Boat Dolly

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  • Boat Dolly

    My brother bought a new boat a few years ago and had the boat dolly for the marine railway he uses to pull it out of the water modified to suit the new hull. He has never been happy with the modification, so it was at the back of my mind to build him one. We started discussing design parameters last year. Since we are on wavy lake, I suggested springs to reduce the pounding taking the boat in and out. He opted for the same bunk design as his trailer, and requested an aluminum frame, since the poor 1/2 HP motor and gearbox that pulls the boat out sometimes struggles. He also wanted the horizontal bars at the sides eliminated or lower. I opted for lower, as they strengthen the vertical posts, which we grab onto when coming in and docking, or pulling the boat out of the water.

    The attached pics are the almost finished results. I started the main frame with bolting and MIG's the joints. Then I used TIG for the cross braces and on. Since I don't trust him not to change boats at some time in the future, the brackets for the bunks are all bolted on, so they are removable for future modification. Also adds some back up security to the frame.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I had to make the vertical side posts removable. I put the horizontal bar at what should be below the waterline, reducing the chance of the edge of the boat catching it. I am also looking at strengthening this part, as I figure it makes a good step to grab something out of the boat while in shore.

    The first pic is of the work I did to fabricate the support for the side posts. I fitted a piece of rectangular tubing into the C-channel, and welded it up. Had an awefull time getting decent looking welds in the channel. For added strength I welded a 1/8" x 1" tab on the top, figuring anybody standing on it would put this in tension, and would be the most likely place to break.

    The second pic is one of my recent attempts at welding something from the side, going across a vertical plane. As I am getting more experience with TIG, I am getting more adventuresome. The last one is my first upside down weld, done lying flat on my back on the floor. As always, I am finding getting comfortable, and having something to steady my hand, helpful. It certainly helps avoid crashing the tungsten tip into the weld!

    My plan is to "launch" it next weekend. Then on to the next project(s).

    Attached Files


    • #3
      I havent made the jump to aluminum yet , I hope to soon tho. So I cant say good or bad about the welds. Sorry. It does look like a fun project, with alot of thought put into it first.

      Nice work.



      • #4
        A lot of thought! I have AutoCAD on my laptop for work, so I use it as well for projects. After all, it helps me keep sharp. Even then, I made an error, by trying to mount the bunks too low. When I looked at them, I realized I had to raise everything to avoid the bottom crashing into the cross beams. I was about 3/4" too low, so I raised everything by 2".


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