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Non-Gun DIY Projects and Customizations This section is for your DIY spearfishing projects and customization other then spearguns.

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Old 01-03-2017, 11:14 PM   #1
lagfish
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Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

With an upcoming trip to Bali in mind, I wanted to have a hard float with enough volume for landing some bigger fish while also having a compartment that I can put my stuff in for shore dives. I also wanted to get a long bag with wheels as it was a pain in the butt carrying 40 lbs of gear in a long duffel bag. I bought a 166cm long snowboard bag with wheels from Burton on sale for $110 but it doesn't have any backbone - fine for carrying a snowboard but not good for spearguns and carbon fins.

Here is the bag I bought:


Closed:


So the idea was to make a travel float that can be configured to act as a backbone for the snowboard bag and collapsed and reconfigured to make a hard float. The bag is 5"-8" tall, which is big enough to put all the other gear that I have and I only need to check one bag which saves money and is convenient.

The total displaced volume for the float is 19L. With an estimated finished weight of 10lbs, it will provide 30 lbs of lift once completely submerged .

Here is the concept drawing for the float:
In bag configuration:


In float configuration:


The two pieces will be connected via bolts.
Other features:
-Bungee web over compartment
-Drain hole on compartment
-Removable large diving flag
-Removable Backpack strap on bottom

Last edited by lagfish; 01-03-2017 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:28 PM   #2
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

The core of the float will be made out of 2" thick 60PSI Expanded Polyurethane (XPS). XPS can be found at Home Depot or Lowes but up to 20-30psi. I've selected 60psi so that it will not crush down to 40m depth and will stand up to abuse. The outside will be covered with 1 or 2 layers 6oz fiberglass reinforced epoxy for water proofing and extra strength. The thin parts around the compartment and where the two pieces join will be reinforced with pine.

Here is all of the pieces purchased and cut to the right size. The XPS can be cut using a table saw but as I've learned you have to cut slowly or the foam will melt and stick to the blade and scream at you.



Here is the mock up of the float with all the pieces



and inside the bag



The float in bag configuration is exactly 62", which is the limit most airlines set before charging you extra.

Next step is the glue everything together and secure T-nuts to the one of the horizontal wood piece for joining in bag configuration.

Last edited by lagfish; 01-03-2017 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:07 AM   #3
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

Good stuff there. Something to consider is getting a golf club bag. They are instantly accepted by any and all airports and ports. They are stiff, light weight and big enough to carry plenty of gear with simple and few mods.

No one charges for clubs. but when you have a bag that 'boards' go into, they tend to not be nice to them, and they run a big risk of getting damaged. Unless of course you do what you did.

When I traveled with a ton of kite boarding gear it was the same MO...pretty sure Paul Menta told me this.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:02 AM   #4
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

Be sure to wrap your reel in bubble wrap. My reels have taken the brunt of all my shipping woes with soft bags. I use a Sportube 3 now whenever I can.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:37 AM   #5
lagfish
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

Kwtony, the biggest golf bag I found wasn't long enough. Plus now I have a bag I can also use for a real sport.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:47 PM   #6
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

pvc pipe for gun and shafts will give support to the bag as well
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:29 PM   #7
lagfish
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

For joining in bag configuration, stainless steel T-nuts are used on one of the horizontal wood pieces. I epoxied wire nuts to the end of the T-nuts so that the foam and glue would not be exposed to saltwater. The epoxied part was placed on top of a heater to make it cure faster.


The wood and foam pieces have their exposed edges and corners sanded down and joined together with carpenter's glue and screws/nails and clamped. Everything is fitting together nicely!


Next step is to lay up the fiberglass!
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:22 AM   #8
phil herranen
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

Looks good but I would use eps not xps ,xps is very prone to delamination and also needs vent holes threw out the board or the temp and pressure changes will puff the glass off the foam .

3# eps is good to over 100' without damage and much deeper with some compression
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:40 PM   #9
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

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Originally Posted by phil herranen View Post
Looks good but I would use eps not xps ,xps is very prone to delamination and also needs vent holes threw out the board or the temp and pressure changes will puff the glass off the foam .

3# eps is good to over 100' without damage and much deeper with some compression
Man where were you 2 days ago before I started

After doing some research it seems like I can get around the degas problem by sanding it down to 60 grit and exposing it to some heat beforehand to off gas the foam before laying it up.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:18 PM   #10
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

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Man where were you 2 days ago before I started

After doing some research it seems like I can get around the degas problem by sanding it down to 60 grit and exposing it to some heat beforehand to off gas the foam before laying it up.
The company's that make surfboards out of xps and xtr use hot needles to poke holes everywhere to control the offgas , don't worry the foam doesn't suck water and the glass doesn't give the foam any more depth rating than just raw foam (unless you make the glass 1/4 thick )

The air in the foam will allways expand in the sun when the board warms up and any water that gets in threw a pinhole or crack will makeep steam and cause delamination ,no amount of sanding will prevent that , but you should still.sand the foam so the glass has a good surface to bond to , and then after its all glassed heat up a needle red hot and poke around 20 holes threw the glass and you should be fine
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:02 PM   #11
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

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Originally Posted by phil herranen View Post
The company's that make surfboards out of xps and xtr use hot needles to poke holes everywhere to control the offgas , don't worry the foam doesn't suck water and the glass doesn't give the foam any more depth rating than just raw foam (unless you make the glass 1/4 thick )

The air in the foam will allways expand in the sun when the board warms up and any water that gets in threw a pinhole or crack will makeep steam and cause delamination ,no amount of sanding will prevent that , but you should still.sand the foam so the glass has a good surface to bond to , and then after its all glassed heat up a needle red hot and poke around 20 holes threw the glass and you should be fine
I've read some successful cases of builders doing XPS boards without pinhole-ing after glassing. It seems like the delamination can be caused by outgassing or shear failure of the interface. The shear failure can be prevented by roughening the surface of the boards as I've done here with a saw:



The outgassing can be prevented or at least reduced by heating up the boards ahead of time and laying up the top and bottom separated by 24 hours. I'm guessing the wait period allows the gas molecules released and excited by the exothermic thermosetting reaction to permeate through the closed cell foam, or maybe just from the surface. I've put the unglassed foam together with a space heater under a blanket and holding it at about 50C for a day to preemptively outgas.



I don't think steam will be an issue because any water that gets in between the epoxy and foam through cracks can leave that way as well as steam.

Anyway, I don't really care all that much if it delaminates. It's just a piece that needs to float and delamination will not compromise that at all.

I really appreciate the feedback though! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:13 PM   #12
phil herranen
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

You would think that the steam would go out how it came in but it rarely works that way , I've had flat floats similar to yours puff up like a football in a mater of minutes in the sun .

It's not off gassing that's the problem ,it's simply the air that's in the foam expanding when it heats up and the contracting when it cools . Starting warm and letting it cool as it cures is the proper way to do it but it won't prevent the air from expanding again when it heats back up (or is in the unpressurized cargo on a plane )

The other problem is there is almost no soak in of the resin like.there is on eps so you are completely relying just the surface . With eps the resin will soak in at least 1/2 to 1" down between the beads making a very strong bond between the glass and the foam
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:39 PM   #13
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

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Originally Posted by phil herranen View Post
You would think that the steam would go out how it came in but it rarely works that way , I've had flat floats similar to yours puff up like a football in a mater of minutes in the sun .

It's not off gassing that's the problem ,it's simply the air that's in the foam expanding when it heats up and the contracting when it cools . Starting warm and letting it cool as it cures is the proper way to do it but it won't prevent the air from expanding again when it heats back up (or is in the unpressurized cargo on a plane )

The other problem is there is almost no soak in of the resin like.there is on eps so you are completely relying just the surface . With eps the resin will soak in at least 1/2 to 1" down between the beads making a very strong bond between the glass and the foam

If it's just air that's expanding, then the temperature change shouldn't enough to delaminate. Increasing the temperature from 20C to 40C while keeping the volume the same should only increase the pressure by about 1 psi. If it's just the expansion of air, then delamination would happen with EPS core as well. What concerns me more is some volatile compounds that is liquid or solid at room temperature but after being heated gets turned partially into gas which has a lot more volume. This is what I'm attempting to prevent by "boiling off" these liquids/solids by holding the foam at a high temperature for an extended period. I don't really have a good answer for ingress of water except to seal everything off well.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:51 PM   #14
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

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If it's just air that's expanding, then the temperature change shouldn't enough to delaminate. Increasing the temperature from 20C to 40C while keeping the volume the same should only increase the pressure by about 1 psi. If it's just the expansion of air, then delamination would happen with EPS core as well. What concerns me more is some volatile compounds that is liquid or solid at room temperature but after being heated gets turned partially into gas which has a lot more volume. This is what I'm attempting to prevent by "boiling off" these liquids/solids by holding the foam at a high temperature for an extended period. I don't really have a good answer for ingress of water except to seal everything off well.
You would be surprised what a couple psi can do ,espicialy when you have a glass to foam bond that is very poor ,it will sometimes delam just from.a hard bump .
Water to steam expands at 1 to 1700 . Making a float 100% watertight is a impossiblity since water can travel down the fibers and will find any pinholes and the inevitable cracks
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:44 AM   #15
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Re: Travel Float / Bag Stiffener Build

Today I glassed one side of the float. These are going to be facing each other, so I used only one layer to save on weight. The vacuum bag had a leak so there were some wrinkling of the fiberglass around the edges but on the plus side I probably ended up with more epoxy on the part rather than in the breather.



I used some leftover vapor barrier duct taped together for the bag, and both the peel ply and breather were bought on sale at a local fabrics store. The peel ply was a dress lining and breather was quilt. Here is the setup under vacuum:



I took the peel ply and breather off after 8 hours curing of the epoxy under vacuum. One layer of fiberglass is definitely not enough for the parts of the float that will see impact as I can feel the deformation if I push it hard with my finger



Tomorrow I will glass the edges and outward facing sides with 2 or maybe 3 layers of fiberglass
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