Aluminum Fabrication 5086 Aluminum Keys That Open Doors

Aluminum fabrication with 5086 Aluminum and 5000 series, the keys to where we are. This whole journey so far has been a winding uphill climb. Great thing right now is we are finished. ***Aluminum boat building we took serious, for the hull we used Aluminum 5086, there were keys to our success...

Welcome and just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is a boating story about our blood, sweat and tears building Magic Dragon and she is a sloop sailboat. But I know you want to know, how we built her our sailboat? Aluminum boat building page...

The dictionary states, Fabrication to mean:

1. To make; create.

2. To construct by combining or assembling diverse, typically standardized parts: fabricate small boats.

Another way of saying it is, "If you can dream it you can fabricate it." 

Below is aluminum fabrication of ribs, bulkhead, placed on the keel.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Video Above Where The Aluminum Process All Begins

All welded aluminum boats have to be made with marine grade it is totally corrosion resistant, easy to cut with common woodworking tools, bend, and weld.

Aluminum boat building for us meant we added all the design elements that we were dreaming of. Just like working with any kind of metal, you do have to take some steps that will create a solid foundation. Building this sail boat we decided not use rivets, but all welded construction for every part of this boat.

Aluminum alloys, we choose to have an aluminum hull. Art had worked with marine grade aluminum 5086 when he rebuilt Mariner. My background was in the general contracting business so I was use to using all the tools and so the transition from commercial construction projects took on a brand new meaning, as we ordered the sheets to build this aluminum boat hull.

You do not have to go out and purchase all new tools to work with this material. It's easy to work with and for the aluminum bending we did find a roll bender, it came from Virginia and we loaded it up on our trailer and headed back to Florida and set up shop.

For boat building diy information this page goes into detail on the 5000 and 6000 series.

Below aluminum 5086, aluminum fabrication, 1 inch bottom plate keel, the foundation, the beginning of Magic Dragon

Steps to aluminum fabrication and aluminum boat welding using a spool gun you have got to make sure you clean, clean, clean the metal to be welded using first the stainless steel brush.

Make sure your setting are correct and you need to be very careful not to melt or blow through aluminum itself. You can tell when the aluminum is too hot when it transforms quickly from a dull metallic solid to a shiny metallic liquid. If you are unsure, practice the welding technique on some scrape aluminum sheeting that is about the same thickness as what you are trying welding together.

Make it easy on yourself and gather everything you will need and have it close at hand. Safety is another issue, flying sparks, spark can travel up to 35 feet and watch out for your shop rags and your clothes that happen to catch fire.

Acetone is a fast evaporating, powerful solvent used in body shops and boatyards, that cuts all greases, and other hydrocarbons which can contribute to gas pockets in Mig welds if not removed prior to welding. De-greasing is removing all traces of oil and grease (even relatively clean surfaces have oils from fingerprints). Remember: all surfaces need to be dry before welding aluminum.

Below aluminum fabrication, and there was cleaning constantly going on every piece about to be welded.

Weld aluminum page starts going into more detail on Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Argon gas and what on earth is shielding gas? Don't miss these tips...
MIG welding, is used for all of our building ribs, skin deck and the joining in a welded aluminum hull because it is much faster than GTAW.

GTAW means: gas tungsten arc welding. Aluminum welded hulls are proven to last. Maintenance and repair cost records of these hulls, which have been in service for 20 years or more, are impressive. In many respects, preparation of aluminum hull plate for welding is simpler and more flexible than preparation of steel plate.

Mig welding aluminum, not just for newbies, go ahead and take a look. We never stop learning!

We are going deeper with aluminum fabrication and aluminum Mig welding, learn those keys to creating high quality welds. I'll wait for you right here. go ahead click on the link.

Are you tired yet? Well that's too bad we are just getting warmed up...with more aluminum fabrication and aluminum welding learn.

Keys to your success. Its getting Hot, Hot, Hot...

Just when you thought you could not take any more here comes another vitamin you would rather not swallow. But it's Oh so good for you. Aluminum Welding straight talk. Don't leave me hanging click on this link...

One of the important things I wanted to stress is mainly aimed at controlling distortion during the weld-up of the hull structure. The bulkheads were put in place with the rest of the ribs, every single piece of aluminum was marked for it's placement on the hull. Like a great big puzzle. All the tanks, from gas, fresh water, grey water, waste water, added later.

Below is the warehouse that we rented, aluminum fabrication and dealing with distortion played a huge roll in this picture...tac welding to the max so distortion was under control.

Welded Aluminum Boatbuilding...an introduction by Ken Hankinson
(Based on an article that first appeared in BOATBUILDER Magazine)
First, there is no one, superior way to build an aluminum boat. In fact, there can be many suitable approaches and variations.

Aluminum welding, first things first, ribs were placed one by one on the keel, then longitude (lengthwise) stringers were added. It's an art form of out smarting the way the boat will contort to each small tack to hold things in place.

Aluminum fabrication and the welds that will cause the most distortion should be tackled first , working toward those that will cause a smaller amount in terms of distortion.

Let's keep everything well grounded here and remember this all started in our garage...there is no, superior way to build an aluminum boat. In fact, there can be many different designs, needs and variations.

Second, there is no reason why you can't build your own aluminum boat in your own garage or backyard that looks identical to one produced in a factory.

Below our garage, where we began this whole project of building this sailboat...Hmmm...I think I just got home sick.

Below...rented warehouse...

Key...Aluminum Fabrication

Key: There should never be a series of long welds made "all in one place." Welds should be balanced port to starboard and top to bottom, and should be made in a controlled sequence.

I cannot stress enough of how important it is to keep the areas that you are about to weld clean. So I created an article just for that subject. If you have any other suggestions, tips, stories on cleaning aluminum, please feel free to tell us about them at the end of that page.

Lets take a look at ways to work with a used  sailboat mast.

Sailboat spars mast head DIY projects, I plan on keeping you guys busy, busy, busy...

Sailboat spars Magic Dragon Take a look at the mast head Art designed. Close up pictures of the mast head building procedures.
Whats this about 500 pounds?

Sailboat mast by this point I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, working on the sail boat masts has taken us 7 years to get here.

Our aluminum boat hull, built to the same strength that is acceptable as steel hull will weigh 45% less. What's not to like? Let's take another look at aluminum being subject to electrolysis, pitting, crevice corrosion, but these aluminum corrosion in my eyes are not reason enough to shy away from all the benefits of building your boat with marine grade aluminum.


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -

Arnold Schwarzenegger


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