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Houdini fitting on the cheap.


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So... I have these on upstands.

IMG_20180806_182616367.jpg.187c2836b0564116238c1b1bd4f8c71b.jpg

 

As you can see, the roof profile is quite shallow.

I have another identical one to fit so I have the option of...

Getting another upstand fabricated and welded in place - too much disruption and cost.

Getting a similar one from Kedian that bolts on - Less disruption to the paint, can self fit but still quite pricey and not keen on the "afterthought look" of it.

http://www.kedianengineering.co.uk/uploads/3/4/5/0/34501419/7355516_orig.jpg

Cut the hole, kind of bend it into place - I saw this on a thread here but I don't think the type I have would take kindly to that.

Sooo...

I have the idea that I could make something to fit between the hatch and roof with the roof profile / flat on top. I could do that quite easily with timber... but... hmm - I don't think that would be a great idea so I thought maybe get a 20mm thick 600mm sq piece of nylon-ish stuff, cut to match the frame, bend it (screw it to the roof) and sand the top flat.

Can anyone see a problem with this idea? Are some types of PVC more suitable in terms of sealant bonding to them?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Edited by Slow and Steady
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Don't botch it on a nice boat, get a bolt on or make one yourself

 

Easy enough to make, bit of angle iron, cut and weld 4 mitres. Fillets in corners. Cut hole in roof (avoiding cross braces! ), some brackets bolted on, bit of filler, lick of paint.

The top HAS to be flat for the Houdini, they will not close if you bend the frame and the glass can explode.

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4 minutes ago, Slow and Steady said:

So... I have these on upstands.

IMG_20180806_182616367.jpg.187c2836b0564116238c1b1bd4f8c71b.jpg

 

As you can see, the roof profile is quite shallow.

I have another identical one to fit so I have the option of...

Getting another upstand fabricated and welded in place - too much disruption and cost.

Getting a similar one from Kedian that bolts on - Less disruption to the paint, can self fit but still quite pricey.

[img]http://www.kedianengineering.co.uk/uploads/3/4/5/0/34501419/6020484_orig.jpg[/img]

Cut the hole, kind of bend it into place - I saw this on a thread here but I don't think the type I have would take kindly to that.

Sooo...

I have the idea that I could make something to fit between the hatch and roof with the roof profile / flat on top. I could do that quite easily with timber... but... hmm - I don't think that would be a great idea so I thought maybe get a 20mm thick 600mm sq piece of nylon-ish stuff, cut to match the frame, bend it (screw it to the roof) and sand the top flat.

Can anyone see a problem with this idea? Are some types of PVC more suitable in terms of sealant bonding to them?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

I have identical hatches. Bending the hatch frame is a no no. You wouldn't get it to bend uniformly and even if you did the wouldn't dog down and seal. I started off with mahogany plinths with proper corner joints using West System epoxy adhesive. They didn't like the constant expansion/contraction of the roof. In the end I had them fabricated out of sheet steel in such a way that they could be bolted to the roof from the inside . Can't remember the cost cost but not cheap. On the other hand fitting was a DIY job.

 

 

 

 

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You could you get something like that Kedian bolt on frame fabricated, but with a narrow bottom flange on the inside, rather than the outside. The bolts would would be covered by an internal timber lining, with nothing to see of the fixings on the outside.

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12 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Don't botch it on a nice boat, get a bolt on or make one yourself

 

Easy enough to make, bit of angle iron, cut and weld 4 mitres. Fillets in corners. Cut hole in roof (avoiding cross braces! ), some brackets bolted on, bit of filler, lick of paint.

The top HAS to be flat for the Houdini, they will not close if you bend the frame and the glass can explode.

Not sure I can quite picture that Tracy - mainly the bracketry to fix it to the roof. Like this I guess, but where would you fit brackets so that it looked tidy?

You wouldn't think I was a full on CAD designer for 30 years would you? Facepalm Ha-ha - No CAD on my PC.

upstand.jpg.2f28a4dd9ab800bd4bd5dc5d156e263e.jpg

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If you cut the hole with round corners to match the Houdini frame, the fixing brackets can go in the corners inside and be hidden by the lining and still have a full size opening.

You will also need horizontal fillets in the top angle to fill the corners up, the Houdini has quite a large radius.

You do then have to use a lining with round corners, I do them with stainless steel sheet, it reflects the light inside better too.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, David Mack said:

You could you get something like that Kedian bolt on frame fabricated, but with a narrow bottom flange on the inside, rather than the outside. The bolts would would be covered by an internal timber lining, with nothing to see of the fixings on the outside.

Quite expensive when I talked to Martin, his web prices are out of date and then there's the delivery problem/cost - I'm trying to do this on the cheap because... well... I don't have ANY income whatsoever, just disappearing savings. Annoyingly I could have fabricated this for material cost myself when I had a workshop. :(

 

17 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

If you cut the hole with round corners to match the Houdini frame, the fixing brackets can go in the corners inside and be hidden by the lining and still have a full size opening.

You will also need horizontal fillets in the top angle to fill the corners up, the Houdini has quite a large radius.

You do then have to use a lining with round corners, I do them with stainless steel sheet, it reflects the light inside better too.

Thanks, yes I forgot the fillets! I was wondering about the practicalities of brackets inside. You know, if I got that far I suppose I should really bite the bullet and get it welded on or I'd probably regret not doing so. And there we have the quandary - I'd have to pay someone to both fabricate and weld and we're back to "expensive" in my terms. This is why I was looking for an alternative approach of sandwiching a one piece shaped nylon fillet between the roof and hatch. No leaks, no rot, no welding, all DIY so no labour costs. Even if the fillet material was £100 I'd be quids in.

I do have a lot of experience and patience sanding body panels flat so that part of it doesn't concern me. I know steel would be better but...

Edited by Slow and Steady
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Nylon will expand 'orribly  with summer heat, how do you seal it or fasten it? You will be amazed how much you would have to grind off to get it flat. The curve doesn't look much until you put a straight edge over it bearing in mind the size needed for a 500mm Houdini frame.

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3 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Nylon will expand 'orribly  with summer heat, how do you seal it or fasten it? You will be amazed how much you would have to grind off to get it flat. The curve doesn't look much until you put a straight edge over it bearing in mind the size needed for a 500mm Houdini frame.

I was thinking window foam tape and sealant on both sides, clearance holes and clamp it down with tapped houdini fixing screws. Expansion would seem the unknow (to me) but there are many types of plastic sheet so I can look into finding one with the closest expansion rate to steel if such a thing even exists. Maybe I've got my rose tinted glasses on in that respect, I'll have to do my homework.

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If you don't have the facilities yourself and don't want to pay a welder, then I would go for hardwood. Four piece frame, fillets in the four corners, all glued and screwed together. Shape the bottom to match the roof profile - you could even use an angle grinder for that if you don't have access to a bandsaw. Fill all the joints and over screwheads with something like Ronseal High Performance Wood Filler, sand down, prime, couple of undercoats, at least one topcoat all done on the workshop bench. Then cut the hole in the roof, appy plenty of Marineflex or Stixall to the bottom surface, then fix with woodscrews from the inside. Tidy up the sealant around the joint and another topcoat for good measure, then fit the Houdini. With a bit of luck it will look no different to your existing steel upstands.

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3 minutes ago, David Mack said:

With a bit of luck it will look no different to your existing steel upstands

Until the modern paint decides that sticking to a decent piece of exterior quality hardwood is not its thing. In about 2 years my guess.  Nothing seems to stick properly these days. Now if you could get some proper white lead primer that might make a difference.  Farrow and Ball sell it, but you need a listed property or some such before they will let you buy it.

 

Several coats of good varnish well thinned might do, but then it will not look like the rest.   OTOH a nylon filler isn't going to take paint either, so that would also look different.

 

N

 

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5 minutes ago, David Mack said:

If you don't have the facilities yourself and don't want to pay a welder, then I would go for hardwood. Four piece frame, fillets in the four corners, all glued and screwed together. Shape the bottom to match the roof profile - you could even use an angle grinder for that if you don't have access to a bandsaw. Fill all the joints and over screwheads with something like Ronseal High Performance Wood Filler, sand down, prime, couple of undercoats, at least one topcoat all done on the workshop bench. Then cut the hole in the roof, appy plenty of Marineflex or Stixall to the bottom surface, then fix with woodscrews from the inside. Tidy up the sealant around the joint and another topcoat for good measure, then fit the Houdini. With a bit of luck it will look no different to your existing steel upstands.

I should say I don't really mind if it matches the others on not. My concerns are cheap, waterproof, simple to make, won't fall apart. Not keen on wood with joints for this purpose. I have to admit I've even thought of getting some thick closed cell foam, some packers and a coat of sealant. I should be embarrassed!

 

2 minutes ago, BEngo said:

Until the modern paint decides that sticking to a decent piece of exterior quality hardwood is not its thing. In about 2 years my guess.  Nothing seems to stick properly these days. Now if you could get some proper white lead primer that might make a difference.  Farrow and Ball sell it, but you need a listed property or some such before they will let you buy it.

 

Several coats of good varnish well thinned might do, but then it will not look like the rest.   OTOH a nylon filler isn't going to take paint either, so that would also look different.

 

N

 

Your thoughts match mine - sounds like it would need maintenance. Yes the nylon thing would look very different but that might be better than "not quite the same". In my minds eye it will be low profile, say 5mm at the thin point. The roof looks nice and clean now but will end up covered in solar panels so I'm not reet bothered about such aesthetics, I just want more light and summer ventilation in the rear of the boat which was a 15ft port-holed bedroom but is now a kind of bachelor pad my son lives in. I will nip out in a minute and measure the roof curve. I'm quite keen for this fillet to be one piece construction, I think it's wise to avoid joints in the expansion plane. Foam tape either side would give some flexibility.

 

Expansion -(10-6 m/(m °C)

Steel - 10.8 - 12.5

Brass - 18-19

Nylon (general purpose) - 50 - 90

Nylon (glass fibre reinforced) - 23

 

Glass fibre reinforced nylon is pretty close to brass but more expensive than having a steel plinth made!

 

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11 minutes ago, David Mack said:

If you don't have the facilities yourself and don't want to pay a welder, then I would go for hardwood. Four piece frame, fillets in the four corners, all glued and screwed together. Shape the bottom to match the roof profile - you could even use an angle grinder for that if you don't have access to a bandsaw. Fill all the joints and over screwheads with something like Ronseal High Performance Wood Filler, sand down, prime, couple of undercoats, at least one topcoat all done on the workshop bench. Then cut the hole in the roof, appy plenty of Marineflex or Stixall to the bottom surface, then fix with woodscrews from the inside. Tidy up the sealant around the joint and another topcoat for good measure, then fit the Houdini. With a bit of luck it will look no different to your existing steel upstands.

each to his own but I wouldn't. I tried !!

 

1 hour ago, Slow and Steady said:

Not sure I can quite picture that Tracy - mainly the bracketry to fix it to the roof. Like this I guess, but where would you fit brackets so that it looked tidy?

You wouldn't think I was a full on CAD designer for 30 years would you? Facepalm Ha-ha - No CAD on my PC.

upstand.jpg.2f28a4dd9ab800bd4bd5dc5d156e263e.jpg

 

1 hour ago, Slow and Steady said:

Not sure I can quite picture that Tracy - mainly the bracketry to fix it to the roof. Like this I guess, but where would you fit brackets so that it looked tidy?

You wouldn't think I was a full on CAD designer for 30 years would you? Facepalm Ha-ha - No CAD on my PC.

upstand.jpg.2f28a4dd9ab800bd4bd5dc5d156e263e.jpg

What you've drawn. Imagine (in 2-3mm sheet steel) an inwards facing lip all the way around where it would rest on the roof. Position on roof, clamp firmly then drill upwards through roof and lip. Bolt down. Then sit Houdini on frame and bolt down from the outside. Seal as appropriate. Make up internal lining in such a way as it can be dropped down from the inside exposing all the bolts for access. If you can draw with accurate measurements, including the radius of the curve then just take it to any half competent sheet metal worker and he'll make it up without difficulty. Can't comment on costs. It would be made using a guillotine, folders, brake press and a little welding.  (my dad was a sheet metal worker)

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Slim said:

each to his own but I wouldn't. I tried !!

 

 

What you've drawn. Imagine (in 2-3mm sheet steel) an inwards facing lip all the way around where it would rest on the roof. Position on roof, clamp firmly then drill upwards through roof and lip. Bolt down. Then sit Houdini on frame and bolt down from the outside. Seal as appropriate. Make up internal lining in such a way as it can be dropped down from the inside exposing all the bolts for access. If you can draw with accurate measurements, including the radius of the curve then just take it to any half competent sheet metal worker and he'll make it up without difficulty. Can't comment on costs. It would be made using a guillotine, folders, brake press and a little welding.  (my dad was a sheet metal worker)

Thanks, yes, the extra flange to bolt it down is where it gets more complicated (expensive) than knocking out something from angle. I do like the idea of having that bolt down flange on the inside BUT it would be outside the size of the hole in the roof ply so in practical terms I think I'd have to dismantle the ply roof lining to drill the holes and fix... though it would be close - might be doable. But again, I think the cost of having a more simple plinth made + welded to the roof might not be much different than the fabrication of a curved flange bolt on one as I could actually grind the curve to match the roof myself.

 

No problem with producing an accurate drawing, I used to design very similar things for a living - sheet steel/heavy duty bracketry etc. Later I even made complex curve 3mm sheet steel chassis parts by hand so I'm in the swing of all that. Quite frustrating have the skills but no premises or tools these days!

 

Lots to think about. Thanks for all the ideas folks!

Edited by Slow and Steady
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Possible stupid question alert.... has anybody ever thought about fitting a Velux window in the roof of a narrowboat?  I realise the curve would be tricky but I wonder if a frame could be made to accommodate one perhaps? 

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3 minutes ago, Chagall said:

Possible stupid question alert.... has anybody ever thought about fitting a Velux window in the roof of a narrowboat?  I realise the curve would be tricky but I wonder if a frame could be made to accommodate one perhaps? 

Hellishly complex and chunky things for a narrowboat I think. :)

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Just now, Slow and Steady said:

Hellishly complex and chunky things for a narrowboat I think. :)

Yes, I supposed it might be, but at another risk of eliciting many sharp intakes of breath I wouldn't be too worried about how it looked!  😉

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2 minutes ago, Chagall said:

Yes, I supposed it might be, but at another risk of eliciting many sharp intakes of breath I wouldn't be too worried about how it looked!  😉

You made me look now! 

Maybe I wouldn't care too much about the look if I didn't already have two hatches fitted and an identical 3rd one to fit. Never say never.

Actually apart from the roof curve problem... but then the roof curve problem is THE problem whatever you go for. :(

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Think I need to get a simple one made locally, adjust it to the roof curve myself and find a roving welder to weld it to the roof or hire a mig-welder and DIY. I can't stick weld sadly. I wonder if my travel power would be up to it... hmm maybe not a good idea to have the boat electrics live while mig welding. :thinking:

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7 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Consider the condensation dripping from the Houdini when it goes cold outside. Where will it drip?

Not onto the bed! 

I had a roof curve measure and amazingly the roof is only 5mm higher at the centre than the sides across the plinths I have. Yes that's accurate, not wobbly tape measure. So, back to thinking some cheap-arse foam solution might be on the cards. :D If it didn't work out at least it would have cost pennies and I could do it properly later.

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34 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Have you considered the "do nothing" option? This should always be given serious consideration on any options list.

Having read through these posts, I think I would not bother. 

Would fitting a light tube be feasible

Like the things you see on Grand Designs, or George Clarkes Amazing Spaces?

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3 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

Having read through these posts, I think I would not bother. 

Would fitting a light tube be feasible

Like the things you see on Grand Designs, or George Clarkes Amazing Spaces?

They don't open and tend to have a dome on the top. I've already got the hatch. When I get around to fitting it I'll report back. :)

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5 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

If you cut the hole with round corners to match the Houdini frame, the fixing brackets can go in the corners inside and be hidden by the lining and still have a full size opening.

You will also need horizontal fillets in the top angle to fill the corners up, the Houdini has quite a large radius.

You do then have to use a lining with round corners, I do them with stainless steel sheet, it reflects the light inside better too.

You could even weld a nut inside each corner of the frame and then put 4 bolts through the roof from below

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