Introduction: Dive Float/Divers Buoy
Divers buoy and flag build.
So I was looking online at a few round float buoy’s and the majority of them are not considered legal as the flag is too small and by the time you put a larger flag on it they will not stand upright. The ones with a legal sized flag or that are large enough to have one are WAY overpriced like usually around 100 to 150 bucks or so. Like this one https://amzn.to/2SPBdku or this one https://amzn.to/2SPBdku The second one the flag is too small to be considered legal from my understanding as well so will need to be replaced. I would say that I have about 60 invested in this an honestly it could be done for less. Complete with a way to suspend the flag I should be able to be done for about 70 total and bare minimum is closer to 50 by not using the tube webbing or purchasing the buckles.
This could be used with a larger tube or multiple tubes to make a large dive float for a person or gear and if the stitching was done with a heavy thread and needle it could probably be made as a towable as the flat strapping is usually rated up to 900 pounds and the tubing I used is rated at nearly 2000 pounds strength. My use is primarily as a divers buoy but even at this size a child would enjoy it quite a lot. And the tube is easily replaceable but likely will take very little damage during use because of the cover. It could be substituted for a vinyl tube as well to drop the cost farther. And naturally if you are not using it for diving you don't need the flag.
So here is the parts list as I have built so far and the cost at the time of writing.
1" Nylon tube webbing 15.00 https://amzn.to/35NfRJC
1" Nylon strap and buckles 10.99 https://amzn.to/3ceiPtf
Bright orange Cordura 8.95 https://amzn.to/35Lt9GB
Inflatable rubber tube 32” 15.29 https://amzn.to/3clbVSZ
Diver down flag 20" X 24" 10.49 https://amzn.to/3bkaiUr
Other things that will be needed are a way to sew this, it could be done by hand but unless you have tons of time and absolutely no life I would suggest a sewing machine. Thread of some sort as well, and some measuring devices as well as a way to draw a circle on the fabric along with a marker.
As an alternative to the tube webbing and the strap webbing with buckles you can use a simple strap webbing and not get the buckles https://amzn.to/2WjUTz7 which will remove about 20 bucks from my build cost as this is 6.35 vs 25.99 at the time of writing. I had them on hand however and am showing them in my build as I do plan to use the tube webbing to create sockets for the flag holder and the buckles for securing things.
Please be aware that the above links may give the author a monetary gain as they are Amazon affiliate links.
Step 1: Lay Out Your Fabric and Draw Your Lines.
So what I ended up doing was cutting the piece of Cordura into a square and then marking the center point and then drawing a circle right up to the edges. I then sewed this with a twin needle https://amzn.to/2LbjgJ3 on a regular sewing machine. I used the twin needle to strengthen the seams and actually made 3 passes around the perimeter when I was done to insure that they will not come apart. The thread I used was just a regular thread I had on hand and same for the needle. After the first pass I trimmed the edges off and then flipped it over after each pass to make the next pass. Before you start MAKE SURE the bobbin has enough thread to make a complete pass. There is nothing worse than getting all the way around to find out that it quit actually sewing half way through.
Step 2: Cut the Hole in the Middle and Test Fitting
Next I cut a hole in the center large enough to pass the tube in. I basically separated the two layers and grabbed the marked center point and cut a piece off. The hole was not even but it was just to check and see how it looked. I then placed a circular container I had on hand and marked the hole correctly and cut it out.
Step 3: Sew on the Webbing to the Opening
And then it was time to add some of the flat nylon strapping to reinforce the opening and prevent tearing. It was folded in half and then stitched on to cover the inner edge completely. Pinning it was a bit of a challenge but I found that I could pin it every few inches lengthwise and it held pretty well. The end was cut to make sure there was about ¼ inch overlap at the end.
Step 4: Insert the Tube and Air It Up.
Finally the tube was reinserted and aired up. The fit is pretty good and I know it will float well. When the flag comes in I will probably figure out how I am going to suspend it on the float and add some hook points to the sides and one on the bottom for my line to make sure it stays where I want it to with an anchor or by keeping it attached to a finger spool.
Anyway hopefully someone finds this useful, I know it’s not a project for everyone and it does take a little time and planning but why shell out a bunch of cash for something this simple?
What would I change on this. Well I probably would have made the cover slightly larger. The tube is a little bit bigger than the cover when inflated so a couple spots are slightly crimped but at the same time that would require more material and as such means an increase in cost and since the material is 9 bucks per yard and I would have more waste I just didn’t feel it was needed at this point. This thing should stay above water and be pretty stable as it is. And I would probably use a heavier water resistant thread but honestly I was in a rush to get it done and didn’t want to buy a different needle, I can always sew it again later if I need to but I am pretty sure this will last a long time as it is.
When I have completed the steps to add my flag and attachment points I will be sure to upload and expand this instructable.