Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rotomolding process video

a sped up video that gives a good overall view of the molding, cooling, and assembly process (as well as a bit of clowning around at the end)

here is the direct link
but it should play in the embedded video below for you just fine

this was found at Corran's blog at 2Imagine.net

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reaction vs. Vortex

very similar volume, almost exactly the same length, same cockpit size
The Vortex has less rocker than the DragoRossi Reaction.
The Vortex carries the stern volume in it's width
The Reaction carries the stern volume on top with a bit of a crown for shedding water after punching holes.

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reaction vs. Critical Mass

for the sake of scale, note that the DragoRossi Critical Mass (green boat) is just about 9' long

The Reaction is voluminous enough to be a creeker, and sleek enough for old school play. Think.... more nimble Pirouette.

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eli Has Fun

one of the DragoRossi demo center guys from Asheville has recently begun a trip that has nothing to do with boating.
So, why would this get posted on a whitewater site? Because, whitewater boaters are often among the most adventurous types of people, and I trust that those who would read this blog find a larger variety of traveling adventures exciting.

Check out Eli's blog at this address if you feel motivated to follow his adventures.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where to buy DragoRossi now?

Take a close look at Donkey Flip
it's a boating portal for the northwest U.S.
AND, it's an easy place to order drago rossi kayaks in America
Just click on the e shop at the top of the Donkey Flip page or use the direct link from here

It's still worth taking a look at 100Waves.com for some information
or you can still buy factory-direct from DragoRossi
and of course it's worth keeping track of research, design, and development as the new boats evolve at 2Imagine.net

This is a low-key, local boater, non big corporate adventure, brought to you buy boaters in the U.S.A. who just want to keep bringing in the boats that they really want to paddle. If you find yourself wanting to join in on the fun, then click one of the links and say hello.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

production Mad Boy announcement

by DragoRossi

updates will happen very soon on the designer's website

Monday, October 13, 2008

Plastic Slalom Kayak

by DragoRossi

more info will be announced soon on the designers' website

the stats so far
length: 355cm
paddler weight range: 140 - 200 lbs

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reaction vs. Transition

a side by side comparison, just for kicks!

the Reaction has more rocker, length, and volume. The Transition in this photo is my old one (now owned by a friend). It is a bit over 10' long. Having paddled both, I think the Reaction is easier to paddle and handles with more predictability. They roll about the same and the cockpits sizes are almost identical.
The feel like they are the same speed on flat water, but the Reaction feels faster in whitwater because of a drier ride (probably a result of more rocker and volume)

Reaction vs Transition
Reaction vs Critical Mass
Reaction vs Vortex
Reaction vs Dancers
Reaction vs Lazer
Reaction vs AQII

how many creek boat options can you find?

for a limited time sale
on the DragoRossi creek boats that Tony has.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

DR Reaction (my first pics)

I picked up two of these new/retro boats this week on my way out to Colorado. Tony had sent them out with Jason, from Stony Boater paddle wax, who was nice enough to meet me out on the highway near Pittsburgh on my way west. (thank you Jason)

Tony Z. had a few of these on the latest container of DragoRossi kayaks that he had imported. Currently, he has all the new boats for the U.S., so be sure to check his site DonkeyFlip.com

Since many people are paddling retro boats for fun, the discovery of this old mold at the DragoRossi/Eurotank factory was fortunate.

The mold is in excellent shape, so Corran decided to spin up a few boats. This yellow one is the first one out of the mold. Minor imperfections, but since I wanted the first one, I don't care about imperfect.

What IS perfect about this boat is the fact that it is a retro design, but in brand new, super strong fresh plastic. I had been eyeing an old Pirouette, but who knows how brittle the plastic is, and just how long the thin spot under the seat was going to last. New plastic give me confidence.

These days, most of the hype around long boats centers around the Green Race. It's a fantastic event, and the resultant boat (which bears the same name) is a nice design that rides high and dry.

But, the reality of the much larger paddling community is that most people don't run long boats down the Green. And, in fact, most people don't run the Green at all. There is still an appreciation for long boats, and the speed and fun that they bring to boating. Old-schoolers who still paddle their beat up long boats, and new-schoolers who are looking to do something exciting on their local runs (find a change of pace).

How many people are looking for long boats (that are not rec boats) for their trip down the Grand Canyon? Longer water lines make easy work of all that flat water, while true whitewater designs make the surfing fun, and the rapids easier to handle.

I can only imagine the number of people who have old, long boats in their yard, sun faded, getting increasingly brittle, who wonder what it would be like to get back into that boat. Take it on easy water at first to make sure that it will hold up. Or, if you have any doubts (like I did) then (to be sure) consider getting something in new plastic, like this Reaction.

Of course there will always be people who run long boats down the steep and crazy. Rocker and volume will help with that (among other design features). But, the point is to have a good time no matter what boat you are in. Making moves in a long boat is a completely different sensation than making moves in short boats. Not better. Just different (and exceptionally fun)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Boat Welding (plastic welding)

Boats break. All sorts of plastic eventually breaks. If you learn to weld with a heat gun, you can keep a boat going for a long time.

If you think the broken boat is a manufacturer's defect, then BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, take photos of the damage, note the serial number, contact your local dealer and ask the dealer to help you make a warranty claim.

If you were a super lozer and pulled a huge aerial mcgoon that broke your boat on a rock, after you landed from 20 feet up (or if the boat is older) then you're on your own. Gather your tools. It's time to weld.

You'll need a heat gun with various nozzle accessories that will concentrate and shape the heat for better control over your welds. You will also need a flathead screwdriver, a burnisher (if you don't have one of those then an old spoon will work too), some rough sand paper, and the most important material: HDPE plastic cut into very thin strips (the thinner the better)

Drill the corners of the break so that it will not continue to run.

Sand inside the break. This will increase the chances of a good weld. It makes small burrs to melt into the welding material, and if the chemical bond doesn't form, then you'll have more surface area for a mechanical bond.

Be careful if you need to pry the crack open a little bit. The plastic will bend a little bit, but you don't want to push it so much that the crack wants to get bigger.

Heat the inside of the crack, only to the point where you see the white colored plastic (stressed) start to turn clear or back to the color of the rest of the boat.

Give the entire area a couple of passes with the heat gun so it is warm; still warm enough to touch, but too hot for a sensitive part of skin like the inside of your wrist. This prepares the boat's plastic to melt with the repair stick.

Preheat one of the thin pieces of HDPE until it gets glossy and mostly transparent. Only uncolored HDPE will get clear. Colored plastic will be ready when it gets glossy and very flexible, almost runny.

Keep working the repair material into the crack, alternately heating with a heat gun, and blending the two plastics together with a burnisher (or spoon). Don't try to mix too much. This is plastic, not liquid. Just a little manipulation to make the weld stick.

DO NOT let the boat get so hot that the plastic starts to run, or you'll get a concave dent in the boat. It must be hot enough so that it can accept the repair plastic. Too cold and the repair will just come apart. Too hot and the boat is ruined. Have patience. If you try to heat it too fast, you'll burn the boat. It will discolor and start to get brown. Patience.

When the structural repair is done, I like to use ultra thin pieces of plastic to cover an area beyond the damage. This acts like an extra patch for back up. Some people go with a frankenstein's monster stitch look, as if stretching a bunch of butterfly bandages across the crack. That will work too. I prefer the all-over patch because I can eventually add more plastic layers and reshape anything that was distorted.

Once everything has cooled off (give it at least an hour), I like to use a surform shaver to knock down all the odd high points, and make sure that the corners of the repair are sticking to the boat well. Hit the edges of the repair to see if they will peel up. If they do, then go back in with the heat gun and make them stick down.
Once everything is sticking together nicely, be sure to shave the corners of the patch down so they feather into the boat's plastic well. This will prevent any rocks from catching that edge and concentrating any extra force on the repaired area.

Hit the whole thing with a heat gun to quickly melt down any small burrs. You CAN NOT melt it enough to make it all smooth without melting the boat. So, just clean it up a bit and quit. It's a repair with a heat gun. It won't look perfect. If you need perfection, go to a professional plastic welder with your boat and get an estimate.

Welding is, in principle, simple. But, no matter what material, it is also an art. The only way to get good is to practice. Replace your boat every few years. Plastic gets brittle with time. But, don't throw your old boat away. It will be good welding practice.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

custom HELMET making (part 1)

I needed something to approximate the foam thickness inside a helmet as well as become a barrier between my head and the cast tape. Cheap closed-cell blue camping mat works very well. (about $7 at Kmart) Whatever is left over can be used for tweaking outfitting in boats.

Cut 3" strips out of the foam.
Wrap one around your head like a low riding head band and cut it to size.

Next, place the fitted band on your head and do your best Karate Kid imitation. Be sure to ride it low. You'll cut away ear space and eye space later. The idea is to get the correct diameter of your brain bucket. You'll get the shape of your odd mellon later in the process.

The second 3" strip is to make a measurement of the top ofyour head. Measure it. Cut it. Attach it to the headband. Viola!

Take the whole thing off your head. You need to put some kind of protective barrier over your hair. A latex or silicone swim cap is perfect. Since I didn't have one of those, I just stretched a latex glove over my head. (Foghorn Leghorn anyone?)

Wrap the head band with 6 layers of cast tape, and put the thing back on your head. Be sure to squeeze all the excess water out of the tape so it doesn't drip in your eyes or on your clothes.
Let the tape harden before you remove it. You'll have a perfect shape copy of your head.

Repeat the process with the strip on the top and let it harden.

Gently inflate a balloon inside the the crazy looking contraption. This will give you a mock head inside the thing so you can cast other pieces of tape over top that will create good structure for the bondo.

Let everything dry overnight.
The next day you can use bondo to smooth out the bumps and create a custom design on your helmet design.