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Old 05 November 2018, 08:15   #1
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Best way to reinforce console around helm unit?

Hi
Was hoping to pick people's brains on the best way to reinforce my console around the helm unit. Pic of front and back attached.

As the boat has bench seating not jockeys the skipper inevitably puts a fair amount of force through the wheel to balance. This has led to some cracks around the helm.

I was thinking of a fairly chunky bit of ply epoxy'd to the console behind to spread the load out a bit and then a laser cut stainless steel plate on the front to hide the cracks and reinforce. There is over an inch of thread on the studs left so I could use 21mm ply.

Anyone got any better ideas?

Needs to be done without removing the hoses from the helm unit as it's quite an old boat and the steering currently works so don't want to mess with the seals.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05 November 2018, 08:34   #2
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If you want to do it properly...Powder Coated SS plate (Cut to shape...Helm ect) glued and Bolted ( pan head nylox ) on top of existing consul...that area takes a lot of stress...hence the problem in the first place!..
It's the only way to re-enforce effectively..economically and aesthetically!... once the Plate is cut....ACCURATELY, it's an easy fix you can do yourself
I know a good fabricator I can put you in touch with if for a price if you pm me.
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Old 05 November 2018, 12:15   #3
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Maximus has a good solution but being a fabricator myself and knowing the hassle of having a shop fabricate a part I suggest a simpler reinforcement.
Looking at the existing console's condition I would think using aluminum sheet stock about 1/8" thick sandwich. One on the outside the other inside. The inside sheet should get glued or I have used a thin layer of bondo auto body filler. This not only attaches it but it creates a full contact to the often uneven inside fiberglass. The outside sheet can get brushed with sandpaper and cleat coated or sprayed with some color, or textured spray paint. The two aluminum sheets need some outside edge bolting to squeeze them together in a tight sandwich.
Now why use aluminum instead of stainless? Aluminum can be cut on a table saw with very clean edges. easy to drill, sand with wood working tools, and will be plenty strong.
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Old 05 November 2018, 12:58   #4
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If you don't remove the helm hoses, you are going to have to cut a 'notch' in the re-inforcement to slot it over the hoses. I don't think it is too much of an issue to do that however.

I'd agree on the aluminium and as Pagick says it can be cut, sanded and drilled more easily than stainless. I'd probably go a bit heavier and use 5mm thick plate. It is still only just over a kg for a square foot. Put one on the inside and one on the outside and don't align the notches. Outside notch at the bottom, inside notch at the top. Use as big a plate as you can between the switches and the console edge.

Clean up the surfaces as much as you can and glue the whole lot together with epoxy or Sika 292i (or similar)

You can bolt the two plates together with machine screws which could be countersunk or slotted pan head screws. I'd suggest the latter so they don't collect sea water. If you want a more professional look, have the plate anodised probably in black. Make sure all your holes are drilled first.
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Old 05 November 2018, 13:21   #5
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Thanks all for the thoughts. Some good points. Will have to get measuring! How far do you think I should be going out from the helm unit?

I need to get some plates cut anyway for the rest of the console. Will drop you a line Maximus re fabricator.

I am a design engineer (buildings though before you wonder why I'm asking basic questions!) so happy drawing it up in CAD and getting laser cut which I would prefer to the DIY cutting approach just for accuracy and finish. Will prob need to bend it to match the console though. Appreciate stainless may be more expensive but hopefully laser cut with myself doing the drawing will help. It's an ugly boat that gets worked hard so not that bothered about the aesthetics as long as it's neat.
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Old 05 November 2018, 13:25   #6
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As large as possible to cover the flat surface. Stopping just before the switches on left.
Any less won’t be easier or cheaper.
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Old 05 November 2018, 13:26   #7
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Thanks!
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Old 05 November 2018, 14:02   #8
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P
Quote:
Originally Posted by CUSAC View Post
Thanks all for the thoughts. Some good points. Will have to get measuring! How far do you think I should be going out from the helm unit?

I need to get some plates cut anyway for the rest of the console. Will drop you a line Maximus re fabricator.

I am a design engineer (buildings though before you wonder why I'm asking basic questions!) so happy drawing it up in CAD and getting laser cut which I would prefer to the DIY cutting approach just for accuracy and finish. Will prob need to bend it to match the console though. Appreciate stainless may be more expensive but hopefully laser cut with myself doing the drawing will help. It's an ugly boat that gets worked hard so not that bothered about the aesthetics as long as it's neat.
No problem...my Guy is "Ace" at Boat related stuff!

I saw him hand fabricate a complete precision SS Jig for making a REPLICA Aluminium RIB Hull (7meter) for one of the Top Fibre glass RIB makers
Is A thing of beauty,..I can't imagine the skill to take a Hull (Fibreglass)and then copy it and build a Jig to weld strips of Alloy together to make an Exact replica of the same Hull!...
...Shape/Deadrise/Chines ect ect with no warping or other issues!

He did also did full over SS sleeve to go over and strengthen the Transum of a Big racing RIB for a friend on here ...with all the bending + angles/+engine bolt holes all from measurements... and it fitted like a Glove!

You could certainly go the Alloy Route which Pagic suggested if you wish ...and I'm sure it would work..and it's cheaper material ..but you'd need two plates instead of one but it would defiantly still need coating or would soon deteriorate.. for the extra....and the ease of fitting (one plate only laser cut and pre drilled) ..on the Outside surface)
I'd go SS.It is also plenty strong!..I've seen it done before and once stuck and bolted in place It looks pretty good too
Just pm me at your convenience and I'll give you his details so you can speak to him direct.
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