Kayak To Sailboat Conversion Shows How To Weld Plastics

This kayak to sailboat conversion is well done and makes for an interesting project. But even if you’re not going to be hitting the water on one of your own, the construction techniques are a useful resource to keep in mind. Many of the alterations were done with a plastic welding iron.

[RLZerr] shows off the materials that went into the build right at the beginning of the video which you’ll find after the break. His kayak is made of High Density Polyethylene and he uses other HDPE scraps, PCV parts, and even some aluminum to make everything. To weld HDPE together he uses a plastic welding iron that is like a cross between a soldering iron and a hot glue gun. It has a pad tip that gets hot enough to melt the plastic, but also includes a channel through which additional HDPE filament can be fed to bulk up the connections.

Additions to the kayak include a centerboard, rudder, and mast. The sail is a plastic tarp attached to the PVC mast which has been stiffened with a wooden shovel handle in its core. The rudder and centerboard are aluminum attached to PVC pipes using JB weld. The boat catches the wind easily, but without outriggers [RLZerr] must be careful not to let a big gust swamp him.

[Thanks Bob]

13 thoughts on “Kayak To Sailboat Conversion Shows How To Weld Plastics

  1. Instead of trying to stick random pieces of household plastic in the welder for working on something like a kayak just cut some extra right off the cockpit rim. That way you get the same exact composition and it will bond way better than anything you may find around the house.

    It also helps to preheat the surface you are welding too usually until it just takes on a sheen.

      1. Jeremy: his rec boat has considerable secondary stability, so it’s not beyond reason that he could get pretty close to the wind with the rig pictured. Certainly not as close as a purpose-built sailing dinghy, but he’d have more options for a heading than he would with a kite.

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