Introduction: Raft Action!

Picture of Raft Action!

Here's a raft I made a couple years ago to navigate the toxic waters of the Chicago area when i lived there. There are a couple holes in my documentation of building this, I didn't know about instructables at the time, so if you are unclear about anything let me know and I'll try to edit it.

Step 1: Cutting the Pieces.

Picture of Cutting the Pieces.

So I found these three 4X8X2 Extruded Polystyrene sheets in a dumpster, the ends were all raggedy and busted so I cut them down to six feet long. Good luck finding your sheets in a dumpster however, I've never found this many relatively full size foam sheets anywhere ever again...sorry to say. Anyway, cut them up into one foot wide sections.

Step 2: Glue That Shit!

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Check out the notes.

Step 3: Let It Sit.

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Step 4: Well This Is Just Plain Unecessary!

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Step 5: Cut That Out.

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Check out the notes.

Step 6: The Wooden...things.

Picture of The Wooden...things.

Check out the notes.

Step 7: More Wooden...things.

Picture of More Wooden...things.

Check out the notes.

Step 8: Make Believe This Is a Real Boat.

Picture of Make Believe This Is a Real Boat.

Check out the notes.

Step 9: Make Your Raft Into the Merrimac.

Picture of Make Your Raft Into the Merrimac.

Check out the notes.

Step 10: Nice Raft, Sort Of.

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Step 11: Done.

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Check out the notes.
The S.S.Bear-Audrey on her maiden voyage, do you sense another plot hole? It's true, I didn't take any pictures of building the deck, you could just put a big piece of plywood on there, I made my piece so it would fold and sit in my car.

And thus ends my first Instructable, thank you for reading.


kimprojects01 made it! (author)2015-12-14

ust made a very cool Buoyancy calculator for barrels , water level is adjustable with a slider or with manual input .

EaglesSoar09 (author)2011-06-15

could you use hot glue? or would that not work

sleeping_gecko (author)2007-11-07

Looks like a pretty nice raft! I built one a couple summers ago from some salvaged lumber, miscellaneous bits and bolts, and a couple purchased items. The pontoons were each a double-row of empty freon tanks (about the size/shape of the small propane tanks, but much lighter, since they are made to not be refillable) attached with plumber's tape. I got the tanks for free from a guy who does/did (retired now, I think) commercial refrigeration. What were some of the voyages made with this fine craft? After the illustrious plans for a 3-day, 3 or 4 man trip ~60 miles down the supposedly dangerous Wabash River fell apart due to other crew members withdrawing, it sat dry on the banks of a local lake for almost a year, at which point it was moved into the landlocked lake, and a few days later, towed across to its current resting place.

MN218 (author)sleeping_gecko2007-11-11

My first raft I ever made was made with freon tanks, I had the good luck of growing up with a welder on hand so that made it easier I think. This fine craft just did some small trips down rivers and canals around chicago, I even got it licensed, which I though was pretty funny.

dragonsniper (author)MN2182011-06-14


teslafan100 (author)2010-10-09

How much do you think the polystyrene sheets would cost?

proffesor cuddles (author)2010-04-28

hey i was just wondering, do you have an aproximate load limit for this?

dj8002 (author)proffesor cuddles2010-06-18

Probably about 3840lbs. It's volume of hull(s)*40 to 50 - this gives you the amount of weight it would give you when just below the surface of the water. So I halved that and got 3840 :)

aedman (author)2010-02-15

Stumbled upon this. You are everywhere! I seem to remember the raft working better than the antique motor...

Squid Tamer (author)2009-06-14

I've always wanted to make a raft, but I don't live anywhere near a lake (Or at least one with boats).

I do have a small stream in my back yard, but it's only a foot deep at most, and is about an inch deep in others... Still want to try, though.

Bando_Red (author)2009-03-03

Any idea of its weight limit before it sinks?

Zuma07 (author)2009-01-01

I have a question. I was wondering where did you get the glue that you used because I can't find it anywhere.

MN218 (author)Zuma072009-01-01

I got it at a home depot in Chicago, it's specifically for gluing pink foam. I just wandered around by the calking tubes reading them all until I found something that seemed good, maybe ask somebody at the store. Good luck!

Zuma07 (author)MN2182009-01-02

I see. I was thinking to use construction adhesive but it didn't say if it would work on polystyrene. It'll probably be a while before I build this, I'm just figuring out supplies now so it will be easier when I do build it. Thanks for your help!

dciocoiu (author)2008-10-28

you should join my group this will make an great thing.

CameronSS (author)2007-11-07

Nice! It looks like you got a nice little cheap-and-dirty raft to mess around with...and...hmmm...let's see, I could mount a jet-ski motor underneath, I could make an air boat, I could mount a big acrylic box that could be lowered to provide a reverse periscope...No, wait a minute...that's it! Find a small tent that is sized right for it, and have a tiny little houseboat! Or, haul your boat ashore, and use it as an elevated campsite! Man, what a cool little experimentation platform! Hint: add some instructions. Yes, I saw the notes on the images, but some steps are somewhat vague, e.g., Step 3 appears to be making a single super-tall pontoon, and Step 7 appears to have unmentioned slots cut in the foam to fit the boards. Overall, great Instructable, especially for your first! I'd definitely build one if a) we lived near any water, b) I had any use for it, and c) I didn't sink to the bottom of any body of water, even with some lifejackets.

MN218 (author)CameronSS2007-11-11

Thanks for the input, I'll take a look through the instructions again.

CameronSS (author)CameronSS2007-11-07

Oh, and a suggestion for cutting the foam...use an electric knife. They cut fast enough that they are usable, but slow enough that you don't lose control or melt the foam.

tyeo098 (author)2007-11-07

Couldnt you use a weed-whacker as the motor (if there is no outboard handy?)

MN218 (author)tyeo0982007-11-11

I've been curious about just that for a long while, my guess is that yes you could (if you put a propeller on the end of course)

marc92 (author)tyeo0982007-11-07

I bet you could if you modified the part that actually cuts the weeds and made it into a propeller you also might need to modify the shaft of the weed whacker depending on design of it

The Rocketizer (author)marc922007-11-11

Yeah my friends and i are making a raft/boat thing and I'm trying to make an outboard type motor using a whipper snipper someone was chucking out at the council cleanups. I've got a small fan blade for the propeller that someone else was chucking out at a different time. If it doesn't work i might try to make one out of some sheet metal from school. I also had to file a bit of plastic away to be able to turn the shaft around and drill a new hole to screw it in. i might put some pictures on if i ever finish it. Nice raft too

marc92 (author)The Rocketizer2007-11-11

Cool! Cant wait to see the pics.

logic bomb (author)2007-11-10

Pretty Cool!! Low cost. I love it...

connorcancount! (author)2007-11-08

i would love to build this, if the closest lake wasn't so far away...

ll.13 (author)2007-11-08


John Smith (author)2007-11-07

I never thought of using foam sheet for a pontoon....good idea.

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-11-07

Very cool..and I like the vest, too!

TheCheese9921 (author)2007-11-07

Sweet! Is the tat on your arm real, whats it mean?

TeacherOfTheWays (author)2007-11-07


xboxteen01 (author)2007-11-07

pretty cool

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