A LITTLE ABOUT
If you are planning to build a boat you probably already have some type of workshop geared to wood, metal, or composites. If so your workshop may have many of the tools required to built a Bézier curve aluminum or steel boat. Lets look at what we need to build a Bézier curve aluminum or steel boat.
Tooling for Steel
Before going on to the tools needed to build in aluminum, lets touch on steel boatbuilding tools. From my personal experience in building a hard chine 34 footer in steel all you really need is a straight AC arc welder, an oxygen-acetlene cutting torch, 7" grinder, Electric hand saw with a metal cutting grinding blade, and a variety of clamps and wedges.
Limited tooling requirements is one of the benifits of steel construction. Aluminum on the other hand requires a little more in the way of tooling. Go to this link on the benifits of steel vs aluminum
Tooling for Aluminum
If not already in your workshop the principle equipment needed for aluminum construction are:
- Mig and or Tig Welders
- Vertical Band Saw
- Small Four Inch Hand Grinder
- Die grinder
- Variaty of Clamps
Additional tools to make the fabrication easier:
- Drill Press
- Stationary Disk and or Belt Sander
- Hand Finish Sander
- Hand Circular Saw
- Hand Reciprocating saw
Consumables Items Include
- Aluminum Cutting Disks
- Aluminum Grinding Disks
- Aluminum Blending Disks
- Aluminum Sanding Disks
A closer look at aluminum tooling
The biggest investment is an aluminum welder or welders. There a two types for welding aluminum. Mig or Tig. In my experience you need both to build a proper aluminum boat.
Generally speaking the Mig welder will be used for structural work, and the Tig for finish work and light shell plating.
I recommend that you visit the many other web sites available about the differences and pro's and con's of Mig and Tig welding.
Pictured below on the left is a typical Mig welder. Notice the spool gun. In most cases you will need a spool gun to weld aluminum. On the right is a typical Tig welder.
Cost: New Mig welder with spool gun - $1500.00 to $2000.00
Cost: New Tig welder - $1000.00 to $1500.00
Vertical Band Saw
A vertical band saw is the first piece of equipment needed in the construction process. The Bézier curve method provides the builder with an array of full size pattern that need to be cut and formed before any welding takes place.
Below is a 14" vertical Band Saw of the 1960'a vintage. This band saw cuts 1/2" aluminum like butter. Cost - $300.00 - Used
Small Hand Grinder
Right up there with a vertical band saw is a grinder. It will be your best friend. It is used for cutting, heavy removable of material, light removable of material, Sanding, and polishing. Cost - $50.00 to $100.00.
Below are the different type of disks for use with a 4" grinder.
- Top Right - Heavy Material Removable Disk
- Top Left - Finish Surface Sanding Disk
- Center - Cutting Disk
- Lower Left - Light Material Removable Disk
- Lower Right - Sanding Disk
A must have is the Die Grinder. Used mainly for removing material and cleaning up mig welds. The Die grinder can get into small areas. Notice the acorn shaped bit. There are many shaped bits available for a particular need. Cost - $100.00 to $200.00
What can I say. You always find the need of one. Cost - Free from friends to Whatever.
Stationary Disk and or Belt Sander
You will need to deburr all those parts cut with the vertical band saw and grinder. Cost - Free from friends to whatever. Maybe you do not need it at all. De-burr and those parts with the hand grinder with a sanding wheel. Here is what I use.
Depending on your work habits - Maybe you need them - Maybe you do not.