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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy folks,

So, I had (what I thought) was a fairly nice boat. 17' War Eagle with a nice deck and all that. Fished well with it but I wanted a little more space, so I (stupidly) sold that this previous Spring to build up a custom 18 footer.

I ended up buying and selling a couple of 18' jons before settling on this one. Its a fairly junky boat at this point, but I have high-apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes for it. I can weld the rivets and cracks it has so I wasn't too worried, especially since I sold the outboard from it that paid for the boat. Moving on...

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I have always really wanted to do a jet jon build, so, I waited until I got my wife pregnant to actually start this project. I don't see the logic their either. I'm just a moron.

Regardless, I hunted down (what I think) is the perfect jet ski for the build. It was a 1992 Sea Flash with reverse and a pump that wasn't glassed into the ski (bolt in). I didn't realize it at the time, but the 1992 models are extremely rare since they came with a 90HP 3 cyl engine (as opposed to a Suzuki 50hp twin) and the manufacturer (Ultra Nautics) went out of business that year. I started to have guilty feelings about tearing it apart for my own selfish build. That lasted until I took it out on the water one time. It handled like a big, dumb animal. A turd, if you like. I got it home and tore the engine and pump out that night.

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So, as it turns out, the gear I have isn't all that rare, except for the fact that it was only mounted in a Sea Flash for one year. The pump and motor are actually a Mercury Sport Jet 90. Parts are available, but not common or necessarily cheap. That being said, I still haven't had a lot of luck with finding a wear ring. I know of some options that I have (read $$$) so I'm tabling that issue until I get the boat running and driving properly, first.

This was the first weekend that I had a bit of time to work on the dang thing. I did'n't get a heck of a lot done, but I cut a hole in my boat, so that's good.

I bought a 3/8" chunk of aluminum to act as the main mounting plate between the engine and pump. I've been trying to find a plasma cutter in the 30-40+ amp range that I can manage to afford, but I haven't found one yet. In lieu of the plasma cutter, I used the circle saw with some carbide tips to cut the rectangle for the gasket to slot into. Didn't turn out half bad, but I'm still keeping an eye out for a cutter, lol!!!!!

The question I have is, what angle do I mount the jet nozzle at? I've decided on making the jet shoot as straight out the back of the boat as possible and use a trim plate to correct for porpoising. Any thoughts on that?

I'm hoping to get the dog house welded up after work this week so I can get the jet mounted and start on the spoon and ride plate. As for the ride plate, I think I'm going to just bend up a custom one and hope for the best. I don't have much hope of using any that the ski came with since they all looked to have been cut with a hack saw by a 5-year-old and held together with at least 3 tubes of caulk. I spent hours cleaning up the bottom of that pump! Looks like the previous guy also went wild with a tap as there are numerous randomly tapped holes. Not an issue except that he used regular steel bolts in the aluminum parts to hold things together so a bunch of stuff has corrosion on it.

Now that I'm past that hump, I can start with the fab work again!

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm planning on a fan setup using a 4A032 military engine. I ordered a 6-blade, 60" prop from Bob at Ultra-Prop last week so I should be seeing that fairly soon. I'm sick of dealing with everything regarding trolling motors but still wanted things to be as quiet as possible so I'll be turning a large reduction (~2:1) with the massive thing to keep the fan noise down. I want to fit under all the bridges I do now as well so I'll be making it so it can drop down to clear bridges.

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(Not mine but you get the idea)

For fan control, I'm planning on having a handle that will automatically position the fan with respect to where the handle is pointing. I don't want to need to look back at the fan all the time to see where its at. I want to be able to swing the handle to the position I want the fan and have it stop where I want it. I have all the gear picked out for that but haven't ordered it yet since I want to figure out exactly how the fan will be mounted with the jet ski motor in place and the tilting operation. I have a good idea but want to see it before I get too crazy in case I need a larger actuator.

I'll be adding pods and stuff when I get the chance. I'm aiming to have everything done by deer season, if I can manage. The new paint or wrap (haven't decided yet) is going to need to wait till Spring, I'd guess. So much to do, so little time.
 

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Looks like a fun project.

Try using a jigsaw for cutting aluminum-it works awesome. The blade Ive been using is a Bosch 101T. When they are new (and sharp), they cut through 1/8" with nearly zero effort, and they leave a very clean edge. Just realize when they begin to dull switch em out, because they are worthless then.

For tubing I use a 10" chop saw with a 60 tooth carbide tipped blade.

Your circular saw looks like it did pretty good I must say. I guess my point is dont stress over a plasma cutter. They are awesome for cutting stuff fast, but definitely not made for precision cuts or clean edges.
 

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^^^^ Totally agree with CarpCommander on the plasma. They are nice to have and have their strengths (I have the Miller 625 Xtreme), but I find myself using the jigsaw, circ saw, and chop saw around 60% of the time....

Like I said above, interesting project! I might consider doing this. I just bought a 1648 that I am going to widen out to 1684 and I am trying to decide what to do for power.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like a fun project.

Try using a jigsaw for cutting aluminum-it works awesome. The blade Ive been using is a Bosch 101T. When they are new (and sharp), they cut through 1/8" with nearly zero effort, and they leave a very clean edge. Just realize when they begin to dull switch em out, because they are worthless then.
Thanks for the tips! Never even considered the jig saw.


^^^^ Totally agree with CarpCommander on the plasma. They are nice to have and have their strengths (I have the Miller 625 Xtreme), but I find myself using the jigsaw, circ saw, and chop saw around 60% of the time....

Like I said above, interesting project! I might consider doing this. I just bought a 1648 that I am going to widen out to 1684 and I am trying to decide what to do for power.

I wanted to widen this boat as well, but I think the 52" will be good enough (for now :)

Part of the reason I wanted to use this boat is that I'm going to experiment with some underwater lighting. I have always ran HPS, but I'm getting swayed to the LED side of things in not needing to run the genny, build a ballast box, etc. I still haven't taken the plunge on the lights so we'll see where that goes....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Disappointing night. I couldn't lay a nice bead to save my life. The bead kept burning back to the tip and causing all sorts of problems. I went through 3 contact tips and pulled the gun apart 4 times and all I have to show for it are some terrible welds. In hindsight, I don't think the metal was as clean as it should have been so I'll be adding acetone cleanings to the surface on top of stainless brush treatment. I tried messing with contact distance, speed, feed settings, etc. all to no avail. I got spoiled on nicer welders at previous jobs that hid my shortcomings as a welder so any suggestions would be appreciated.

What I did get done was getting the doghouse frame tacked into place before I said to heck with welding for the night:

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I also made some cardboard stencils of the doghouse sides and transferred them to a 1/8" sheet of aluminum. I'll hopefully be cutting and welding those in tomorrow.
 

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Looks like a spoolmate 100. Easy mod. Google it for the particulars, but the long and short of it is to have a machine shop cut new threads on the barrel to fit regular contact tips. The factory set up can't handle the heat, and you will fight it constantly. You have to trim the liner about 1/4" as well. Also, the 100 will only eat 4043 wire. I am a miller fan, but can't figure out why they let this crap out the door.

Awesome project by the way!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yeah, Millermatic 211. Love the welder but it was a pain tonight!

Thanks for the tips. I'll see if I can get it into work and make the modifications.

Thanks for the tips!!!

EDIT: After just some quick searching of "spoolmate 100 modification" I see that this is a HUGE problem for people. No idea how I missed it but thanks again for the tip!
 

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No problem. You should have heard the come apart I had over it. Sounded a lot like Clark Grizwold when he went off about his Christmas bonus. You will save a fortune on tips, too. CarpCommander could probably tell you off the top of his head what size tap to use. I'll look in the morning, but make sure to match it to the tips you plan on using.
 

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This is an awesome project man. Ive been thinking about converting my 1640 into a jet jon as a seond project over the winter. This has me looking at my yammy wave runner like a stack of steaks.. Looking forward to the updates and performance reports!
 

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X100000 on the spoolgun mod!

Ive also had meltdowns when I used to burn through tips....at what-$2.00 each??! Gets expensive real fast. The 211 is the bees meow, but you have gotta do the mod. You dont go through as many tips, and when you do burn one up, chuck it in the grass and laugh because it only cost you $.40!

Take a pack of standard tips to the machinist or check em before you chuck it in the lathe. I think they were 6mm by...something? I cant think this late...lol. At any rate it was a different size than what the web told me to use. Luckily they werent too far off. Also, I seem to have better luck running a .035 tip with .030 size wire. Im using about 25CFM on the gas flow, which is more than enough.

Lets see your settings you're on too. I can give you a ballpark starting point if you're having trouble.

Dont waste your acetone-it wont make your welds any better. Use a clean stainless brush thats ONLY seen aluminum. You can use a flap disk, but make sure you hit the spot with the brush before you weld. And when it comes to brushing aluminim, a few strokes will not cut it! You have to scrub until the metal turns 'white' in color-you'll know when its clean because the brush will start to 'stick' to the surface more.

Dont skimp on the cleaning-if your welds dont penetrate and burn in good then all that work is for nothing. Brush off the soot afterwards too and inspect the weld, dont just assume its good.

Im sure Im forgetting something, but Mr Jones and myself should have you headed in the right direction. The 211 is a sweet little machine for the money when you get it dialed in.
 

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If you go on miller welding form there is a guy that will fix you gun all you have to do is take it apart and send him the parts he needs I did it to mine and it now takes the standard 40 cent tips and welds sweet don't know why in the hell miller doesn't address this problem for the get go oh and the guy only charges like 6 or 8 bucks:D
 

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My friend has a spoolmate, and was having the same problem. I told him to bump up to .045 wire. He said it worked so you might try that.
 

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I don't do a lot of spool gun welding, I prefer the tig, however when I was an apprentice I remember doing an aluminum handrail job with spool guns. We had the same problem, my welding instructor rigged up .045 tips whill running .035 wire and the problem went away.
 
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