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Thread: DIY Airbags

  1. #1
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    Default DIY Airbags

    Has anyone ever tried to make their own Airbags?
    Surely they couldn't be that difficult to make? I quite like the idea of having a go at it.
    Having viewed the link showing the guy who made his own inflatable Kayak, it got me thinking that the same principle could be applied to Airbags.

    Lets hear your opinions please.

    Big Al.

  2. #2

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    Well in the olden days we used to just get a tractor inner tube and partially inflate them in the ends of the boat. Lash em in job done.

    Cheers
    Rich

  3. #3
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    Its a great idea, esp. if you can get a more tailored fit than commercial ones.

    I have never found a bag to fit the Spirit 2; they are all too blunt for the fine ends of the canoe. They are useable and safe enough, just look untidy. I'm going to have the same problem with the Solo+. Mini centre bags fitted into the tumblehome would be really nice for this canoe.

    I can make seats, yokes and thwarts............but not air bags
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  4. #4

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    I made my own flotation bags for an Old Town Allagash 174. I've posted an article in the gear section "here". It contains a number of photos. I've not tried them yet , but hopefully they'll do the job.

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    Following on from Alan's excellent post I wonder if it is possible to buy a solid lump of closed cell foam and cut it to shape. Well actually I am sure it can be done but I wonder how economical and practical it is.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

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    Actually taking this a bit further is there any advantage to filling your standard airbags with expanding foam? My thoughts are along the lines that it will stop any chance of leaks.
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

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    Default DIY airbags

    I have a pair of airbags which leak and are in effect useless so I have cut an opening in them and stuffed a old single air bed inside which when inflated fills the airbag to its original shape - well more or less. Not perfect and there is a slight increase in weight but it costs nothing. I did consider using pool noodles - long pieces of bouyant foam which could be cut up and stuffed inside the airbag.

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    I was coincidentally wondering what a pool noodle was, Ta.

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    Default Air bags

    Glad to be of service re the pool noodles - I bought some last year at Decathalon in France where they cost next to nothing but I expect here the cost may be prohibitive - does any one know a good source of bouyant foam which would seriously undercut the cost of ready made solid bouyancy?

  10. #10

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    Thought I would resurect this thread rather than start a new one. Has anyone thought about using expanding foam from a can?



    Im thinking about filling a cardboard box with the stuff, once hard cutting it down to size, waterproofing it with lots of duct tape, then making a nice nylon outer cover.
    Last edited by Adam S; 10th-February-2009 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Add more

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    i like my plastic drums, one in either end of the boat, cheap(free), easy to get, and with the added advantage of it being possible to put an access cover into them (cost about 6 quid) and then they become handy dry storage for cameras, phones, dry clothes, lunch etc, and when used as such, theyre still pretty much as good as bouyancy as when empty!

    then just lash em in!

    i did both ends of mine and the total cost of the lot was about 15 quid, most of that was for the rope!!!

    sod work, im off for a paddle.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam S View Post
    Thought I would resurect this thread rather than start a new one. Has anyone thought about using expanding foam from a can?



    Im thinking about filling a cardboard box with the stuff, once hard cutting it down to size, waterproofing it with lots of duct tape, then making a nice nylon outer cover.
    Ahhh, yes: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...highlight=foam

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    I cut down a full plate footrest in a kayak and filled it with foam, worked fine, but you would need quite a few cans for canoe buoyancy, it wouldn't be particularly cheap.

    Mike
    " Never knowingly under equipped! "

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    I cut down a full plate footrest in a kayak and filled it with foam, worked fine, but you would need quite a few cans for canoe buoyancy, it wouldn't be particularly cheap.

    Mike
    Large cans of waterproof evo stick expanding foam are around 2 on ebay.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/EXPANDING-FOAM...QQcmdZViewItem

    I also found 60" wide waterproof cordura for 2.80 a metre, now I just need someone with a sewing machine!
    Last edited by Adam S; 10th-February-2009 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Add more

  15. #15

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    remember that expanding foam absorbs water

    and that gets heavy

    have it in a converted C1 and its not nice anymore - need to reoutfit the boat

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by mccabekev View Post
    remember that expanding foam absorbs water

    and that gets heavy

    have it in a converted C1 and its not nice anymore - need to reoutfit the boat
    The evo stick stuff claims to be waterproof, if I completely cover it in waterproof tape and line it with PVC backed cordura it should be ok.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam S View Post
    Large cans of waterproof evo stick expanding foam are around 2 on ebay.
    That is cheap if it stays at 2 but will still cost you 18 for four cans unless he combines postage, and you might need double that. Add on your cordura, not sure you're going to save much. If you have any access to flat expanded polystyrene packing, you could use that for the bulk of the filling, just using the foam to bond the sections together .
    Not sure where you are, but I have some put aside for that exact reason that you could have.
    Mike
    Ok - couldn't see your location until I posted! The thought was there...
    Last edited by Sparky; 10th-February-2009 at 04:09 PM.
    " Never knowingly under equipped! "

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    That is cheap if it stays at 2 but will still cost you 18 for four cans unless he combines postage, and you might need double that. Add on your cordura, not sure you're going to save much. If you have any access to flat expanded polystyrene packing, you could use that for the bulk of the filling, just using the foam to bond the sections together .
    Not sure where you are, but I have some put aside for that exact reason that you could have.
    Mike
    Ok - couldn't see your location until I posted! The thought was there...
    Thanks anyway, I have a 20 month old baby, and its just after Christmas so I have plenty of polystyrene in the garage!

    Decent airbags are 140 a pair so there is plenty of scope to save money, Im skint so if I dont make them I wont have any

  19. #19

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    Well I just bought 3m of waterproof cordura for 7, its 60 inches wide so if my calculations are correct (I just bought it and hoped ) it should do both ends.

  20. #20

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    why not stick a couple of old beanbags in the ends, handy for camping trips aswell.seriously though im considering filling some water proof material with the poly beads you can get for them,maybe sew some lightweight nylon into shape. IAN.


    AHH make do and mend, now thats what im talking about

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    Quote Originally Posted by beercan View Post
    why not stick a couple of old beanbags in the ends, handy for camping trips aswell. seriously though im considering filling some water proof material with the poly beads you can get for them,maybe sew some lightweight nylon into shape. IAN.


    AHH make do and mend, now thats what im talking about
    The main disadvantage with beads is the mess and pollution they will make if the bag gets punctured. Thats why most people opt for solid blocks and carve it to suit. Another option to contain the flotation is extra large dry bags. Look at Webtex ones as they are tough and cheap. They also can be used for camping gear when not required for flotation.

    PS
    (I can't believe how long ago I started this thread)
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  22. #22
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    Strap in an inflatable mannequin!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam S View Post

    Decent airbags are 140 a pair so there is plenty of scope to save money, Im skint so if I dont make them I wont have any

    140 !! What are they, kevlar and gold thread ? With respect, you're looking in the wrong place, a pair of 32" shouldn't cost more than 55.


    Point taken though, times are hard - [couldn't you tell the wife they're the components of a bouncy castle for the nipper?]

    Mike
    " Never knowingly under equipped! "

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    140 !! What are they, kevlar and gold thread ? With respect, you're looking in the wrong place, a pair of 32" shouldn't cost more than 55.


    Point taken though, times are hard - [couldn't you tell the wife they're the components of a bouncy castle for the nipper?]

    Mike
    They all seem to be 40+ each plus a couple of lashing kits and D rings and straps it comes to around 140!

    Lets have some links to cheap kit...

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    Ok Adam, I concede they're more expensive than last time I bought some, but you'd have to pay for the lashing kit even if you make your own.
    You could save a few quid by drilling and lacing the hull rather than buying clips, stronger as well. As you're obviously going to get up close and personal with a sewing machine, why not make some webbing/vinyl strap anchors and save a bit more. A few people on here have done it - I think Silvergirl made some, a search might turn up some tips.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/buoyancy-bag-a...1%7C240%3A1318


    I've no idea of the quality of these though.

    Mike
    Last edited by Sparky; 11th-February-2009 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Add info
    " Never knowingly under equipped! "

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    Ok Adam, I concede they're more expensive than last time I bought some, but you'd have to pay for the lashing kit even if you make your own.
    You could save a few quid by drilling and lacing the hull rather than buying clips, stronger as well. As you're obviously going to get up close and personal with a sewing machine, why not make some webbing/vinyl strap anchors and save a bit more. A few people on here have done it - I think Silvergirl made some, a search might turn up some tips.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/buoyancy-bag-a...1%7C240%3A1318


    I've no idea of the quality of these though.

    Mike
    Those look ok, if I screw up i'll bag 'em. I really enjoy making things for myself, its much more satisfying!

  27. #27

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    Hi All
    when I built my pirogue I tried to make flotation devices by squirting expanding foam into bin bags then wedging them under the front & back decks, this was a disaster as the foam did not expand enough too fill the viod. Coming home from a paddle I found half a sheet of expanded foam insulation board in some bushes by the roadside, this I cut up into triangles to fit in the bow and stern, bonded them together with expanding foam. Once this had cured I fixed them into the bow & stern with more expanding foam then cut 2 pieces plywood to act as bulkheads which I then epoxied in place to make it a perminant feature. I hope this makes some sort of sense.

    Jamie

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    Hi All
    when I built my pirogue I tried to make flotation devices by squirting expanding foam into bin bags then wedging them under the front & back decks, this was a disaster as the foam did not expand enough too fill the viod. Coming home from a paddle I found half a sheet of expanded foam insulation board in some bushes by the roadside, this I cut up into triangles to fit in the bow and stern, bonded them together with expanding foam. Once this had cured I fixed them into the bow & stern with more expanding foam then cut 2 pieces plywood to act as bulkheads which I then epoxied in place to make it a perminant feature. I hope this makes some sort of sense.

    Jamie
    That is what I plan to do now, I can always get hold of loads of polystyrene.

  29. #29
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    Default DIY airbags - are polystyrene insulation sheets waterproof?

    Does anyone know if the polystyrene insulation boards from my DIY store would be OK - the material seems quite cheap for the quantities I need.

    While I am covering them with a waterproofing layer and a ripstop outer, I don't know if they would absorb lots of water if this got punctured? Anyone know or tried it?

    The main purpose of the block would be to fill the spaces in my open to stop water sloshing around in it and making it unstable when negoitating white water.

    Thanks,
    Brevan
    Brevan,
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  30. #30
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    If you want really cheap airbags, try a pair of Wilkinsons Kid's spacehoppers! 3.99 each for 30 litres of bouyancy, virtually unpoppable, easy to remove and great fun when you stop for a brew! They work a treat in my boat.
    Alternatively, a mate of mine fibreglassed a bunch of empty 2litre plastic coke bottles into his boat. It looked a mess, but it worked.
    "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

  31. #31
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    if you are talking the super light white squeaky insulation stuff that flakes up a bit like snow then no it doesnt absorb water - stick a bit in the sink and it will just get wet not heavier

    this stuff is 8 a sheet
    http://www.wickes.co.uk/Polystyrene/invt/210802

    I am intruiged by the idea of glueing together inner tube rubber (or pond liner). It is usually butyl and will presumably stick really well with the right adhesive. If you start with a couple of lorry inner tubes and build in one of the valves that is a home made airbag of any shape you can design/make for not much (so long as you make sure the inner tube has no punctures

  32. #32
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    Default DIY airbags - polystyrene blocks

    Thanks.

    I was thinking of the Jablite ones - only 3.50 from B+Q at the moment.
    Probably the same thing.

    They'd be wrapped in a waterproofing layer (bin bags and tape) and then ripstop fabric.

    Webbing straps to hold them in place attached to yoke and seat - they are for the middle of the boat. I'd be able to take them out for summer use.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
    1664 - a great year for river access
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    Twitter: BrevanM
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  33. #33
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    Actually Polystyrene does absorb water but only after prolonged immersion so what you plan to do should be fine. But if your outer isn't totally water proof, you could find that after a while the buoyancy will start to feel heavier.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  34. #34
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    Default DIY airbags - airbed

    I've just bought a 11 single airbed (from a large supermarket) which I intend to inflate, fold in two, cover (to prevent punctures) and secure into my boat between the yoke and front seat, to act to prevent water filling the boat so quick on white water.

    Ironically the safety warning states ' not for use on water' and 'keep away from fire' ( in my boat? not likely!) but it is waterproof

    I'll post some pics when it is fitted and let you know how well it works.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
    1664 - a great year for river access
    Romsey, Hampshire
    Twitter: BrevanM
    Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/

  35. #35

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    Hiya,

    I would put it in the canoe first with the inflation valve on top before inflating. Then lash it in, then finally inflate it to fill the space available.

    If you inflate it first you might not be able to fold it over or lash it down without causing pneumatic pressure and possibly blowing a seam

    Hope this helps

    Tim

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    Hi I'm new here, just bought my 1st canoe. I know this is an old post but thought id add my twopence. Did quite a bit of research/review searching before buying my canoe and during my research saw a post somewhere about diy airbags. They bought a cheap gym ball and dry bag put gym ball inside dry bag, put it in front/back of canoe and inflated it. Apparently it fills the space quite well and then they lashed it in. The dry bag just adds some protection to it. I've just bought 2 gym balls and 2 dry bags for less than 25, will see how well it works tomorrow when I put them in my canoe!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
    Hi I'm new here, just bought my 1st canoe. I know this is an old post but thought id add my twopence. Did quite a bit of research/review searching before buying my canoe and during my research saw a post somewhere about diy airbags. They bought a cheap gym ball and dry bag put gym ball inside dry bag, put it in front/back of canoe and inflated it. Apparently it fills the space quite well and then they lashed it in. The dry bag just adds some protection to it. I've just bought 2 gym balls and 2 dry bags for less than 25, will see how well it works tomorrow when I put them in my canoe!
    Welcome to SotP Birdy... Yeah I think Mr Bhoffman used gym balls?.. I'm using these inflatable sit up wedges and they are pretty good.. If it works then alls good ..if it don't then you've got a couple of gym balls to give away at Christmas.

    Why not pop over to the introduction section and say hello...

  38. #38
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    I saw Cankay the grey use gym yoga ball thingys. Looked pukka to me.
    Don't hate the player just hate the game!

  39. #39
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    Just don't over inflate them!


    Now paddling a Gumotex Palava 400 and LOVING IT! (I should have bought one years ago!!! )

  40. #40

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    I have used Land Rover Inner Tubes with success in the past.

  41. #41
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    What about a buffalo bladder?
    Don't hate the player just hate the game!

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    Space Hoppers! A video of the Tay Descent has a couple of jokers with them wedged under the thwarts - I don't think that would get past scrutineering this year - but would be nice and tough if lashed in - bit heavy though.

  43. #43
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    We have some Aldi 2 exercise balls. (The things pregnant ladies roll around on in hospitals to aid getting everything ready for births).

    Half inflated they give a nice buoyancy in the boat center where my son sits on a removable plastic seat and support under the seat. They work well under netting on the boat ends as well

    Fully inflated they make a terrible weapon for games of knock people out of the canoe......

  44. #44
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    Well they went in a treat! Could maybe have done with a slightly bigger dry bag to put them in but they will do the job and look ok, will post a pic of maiden voyage tmrw

  45. #45

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    Would it be feasible to fill a punctured air bag with polystyrene balls?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagnut69 View Post
    Would it be feasible to fill a punctured air bag with polystyrene balls?
    No, think of the pollution should you get a tear in the bag.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  47. #47
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    Here are instructions from Mik Storer for DIY air bags

    http://www.storerboatplans.com/wp/bo...es-and-canoes/

  48. #48
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    I got some sheets of polystyrene insulation from builders merchants (but you can use any old polystyrene) cut it to shape and parcel taped it together then covered the blocks with Karrimor Rucksack Covers. Lashed them in...........jobs a good un. Cheap as chips, even cheaper if you already have a stash of polystyrene for recycycling

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