Floating Wet Lounger Water Pad/raft for 6, Under $100

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Intro: Floating Wet Lounger Water Pad/raft for 6, Under $100

I saw a floating lounger big enough for 6 adults online for about $700. I thought it was pretty cool, but way too expensive. Plus it weighted over 40lbs, not a very user friendly toy for dragging in and out of the lake by yourself. I really liked the idea, but I had to fit it into my budget for toys, so this is what I came up with. Its just about 10lbs, and made with pool noodles, some sewing, and glue. I made mine 7' by 10' but you can really go as big as you want by adding more noodles.

UPDATE!!!!

After a weekend of a dozen people, the raft basically held together, however the glue between the noodles is failing. My belief is the following adjustment to the design:

the gorilla glue on the hose worked fine, the gorilla glue on the noodles doesn't work. After all the noodles were sewn together, the noodles all stay in place, but if you sit on the seam or fold the raft, the hose in the noodle will pull out as the glue doesn't have any strength. I believe if I just extend the hose pieces a lot longer, say 6-10 inches into each of the noodles instead of just 1-2 inches, there won't be any way the lip of the noodle will slip off of the hose. Also the loops in the middle go a long way to keeping your butt from breaking through, and I'd recommend more of them.

Step 1: The BOM and Gluing

So here is what I used:

74 5' pool noodles from five below (I got lucky and they were 25% off so I got them for $0.75 each)

1 10' section of 1" outer diameter hosing from Home depot.

3 50' lengths of polycord from the dollar tree

Gorilla Glue

a 16" piece of 10 gauge copper wire as a needle

some sewing thread

The first step is to cut the 10' section of hosing into 37 pieces about 2-3" long put some gorilla glue on the inside hole of one end of noodle, and insert the piece of pipe so that it is glued in place with most of the hose sticking out. Let dry

When dry, you repeat the gluing process on another noodle join the noodles together. This effectively makes the noodle 10 feet long, they work really well. Repeat this for all the noodles thus creating 37 10' noodles.

Step 2: Sewing Them Together.

I added comments to the pictures, but what you do here is make a needle out of the 10 guage wire (yiou can use a coat hanger if you like,) and then sew across the noodles puncturing the noodles in the middle, and making loops around the end noodles so the rope won't pull back through. the noodles. The last picture shows the pattern I followed.

If you look carefully, you'll see I went all around a noodle in the middle every 10-20 noodles to lock things in place. After I floated my raft, I realized adding more of these loops would probably be a good idea.

Step 3: Finishing Touches, and Have Fun!

when you make the final loops in the corner, I made a bigger loop (a bowline) so I have a place to attach an anchor so the raft won't float away on the lake. I am pretty happy how well this stayed together when we climbed on board, now this raft is nowhere near as strong as the $700 one, you can't stand on it, but for laying out is was perfect. You do have to lye perpendicular to the noodle or else you will squish the noodles open. If you make more loops in the middle this might stop this problem.

What is really good about this design is the the noodles rolls up real easy and one person can easily handle pulling it out he lake rolling it up and storing it.

- Jonathan

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    34 Discussions

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    yammer

    Tip 6 weeks ago on Step 3

    Not a tip really. However, I have used flex tape on a lot of things, it's awesome. I emailed the company to encourage a double sided flex tape. That way instead of glue, as it tends to eat foam, it paybe possible to use the flex tape double sided inbtween the noodles. Dunno, just a thought. Maybe if you use the single sided they have now and ran it down the water side of the raft that might work too. Anyhow great idea on using the noodles!

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    MicahKV

    6 weeks ago

    This is pretty sweet! You say "after a weekend of a dozen people", do you mean you had a dozen people on this thing at one time?

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    jleslie48MicahKV

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    let me clarify. It was a weekend with kids and teens, who were rather rough with the raft. I'd say there were 4-6 on the raft at a time with another 2 or 3 hanging on to the sides. The point was it took some abuse and that is when the joining of the tubes in the center started to fail.

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    MicahKVjleslie48

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    That makes sense. 4-6 people at a time is still pretty good capacity, thanks for clearing that up!

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    jleslie48MicahKV

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    just sew more rows in if you really want 12 people on it though! or join 3 tubes for 15 feet instead of 10'

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    jleslie48

    6 weeks ago

    Got lucky yesterday. My work was replacing and throwing out a 50' commercial grade air hose that supposedly had dry rot. I grabbed it instantly and tried out new longer connectors on some spare noodles I had.

    I redid the connector with a lot longer section of hose and gorilla glue and it seems to be in there quite tight. I'm wondering now if the issue is that the glue is brittle, and as a result of flexing snaps off.

    I also did a test with 5 minute epoxy, that was done with no connector and seems to be really well attached, so for the repair I'm thinking of much longer connectors with gorilla glue, and then 5-minute epoxy on the flush mount ends of the noodle.

    I also ordered 40 of the koozies: the sleeve for beer cans. I think they will be a perfect wrap for the joined ends, and will try and use the 5-minute epoxy to bridge the two noodles with them (cutting the bottom off of the koozie.)

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    Kink Jarfold

    7 weeks ago on Step 3

    The talent on Instructables, the out of the box thinkers, the amazing ideas is why I am an a avid fan of Instructables. What a great idea. Wonderful presentation. Andy, yes, your wife definitely added to the presentation. Well done, my friend.

    KJ

    Nailed It!.jpgHOWARD CARTER.pngSheena-you don't monkey around.png
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    jleslie48Kink Jarfold

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    so far the rope is mostly buried inside the noodles so I'm not so worried about that, and it is holding well. the gorrilla glue is failing though. it just doesn't stick to the noodles. The repair will be to use longer joiners, instead of 2-3 inches, use 8-12 inchers.and do a cross stitch at the seam.


    Fishing line Im afraid will cut right through the noodles like a wire cheese slicer. plus fishing line stretches a lot.

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    kathynvjleslie48

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    How much the line stretches is entirely dependent on the line you use. I use Spectra line for beadweaving, which isn't one ofthe usual uses of fishing line. I get no stretch at all, even though much of the line is under tremendous tension. Spectra line (Power Pro, FireWire or SpiderLine - and many others, but these are the ones I have used) is not subject to UV breakdown, mildew or rot, and is very thin for its line strength, so you will need to use a very strong line for your project.

    Have you thought about wrapping the line around every noodle? If you do that on both ends and the middle, it would be unlikely that the float would come apart as people rest on it. Another thought would be weaving the pool noodles and the line together, with the noodles as the warps and the line as the weft. Line is usually much less expensive than cord (per foot). I went to a sporting goods web site and searched on Spectra Line. I found a line meant for bowfishing that had 100 ft.spool of 600 lb test (very thick) line for about $25. I have no idea how that compares to your cord, but that line would outlast your pool noodles by eons.

    I love your float The idea is amazing, and you could do all sorts of customizing and still come out way, way ahead of $700. (I thought of weaving a seond layer at one end to use as a headrest)

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    jleslie48kathynv

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you for the compliments, and your ideas are all very good. What I wrote up was my attempt to make the floating raft, and by and large, it works and is only a starting point on design. Improvements and refinements (and repairs!) will most definitely be the natural course of this project. I highly recommend trying out alternate ideas and reporting back on the results.

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    mknollhoff

    Tip 7 weeks ago on Introduction

    Another idea to keep the hose inside the noodle is stitch through the hose. You will need a small drill bit to pierce the hose but run your cord through it and the noodles will be secured.

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    jleslie48mknollhoff

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I actually did that with one side of the hose. Alas the other side....

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    MelanyZ

    7 weeks ago

    What a great idea. I might try weaving the noodles instead of having them all one way. Then you only need to sew the ends. Since the gorilla glue is failing (mentioned above) what would be a good replacement?

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    jleslie48MelanyZ

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I don't think the glue is all that important except to hold the connector loosely in place. If the connector tube I used was longer, the noodle end wouldn't be able to slip off the connector. If I were to redo this, I would just make each connector 18" long instead of just 3". this will allow 9" of overlap between the noodles and the connector and after you sew, you would never see a 9" shift in the noodle whereas with the weak sewing I did I easily have a 2-3" "wiggle" laterally with the noodles. when the glue separates, that amount of wiggle allows the noodle to slip off the connector. The next time I will still do the gorilla glue on the connector as it expands and does a decent job of holding the connector in place, its just not strong enough to really attach the connector to the noodle.

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    BigAndRed

    7 weeks ago

    if your rope perishes then redo with braid fishing line, I got a 1000m roll of 40kg line from China for $20, its very strong, wont disolve in water and is easy to stitch through this sort of thing cos its thin.

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    cerberustugowarBigAndRed

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I don't know for sure, but I would guess that the braided line would cut in to the noodles if pulled to hard or if too much weight was in one spot. I guess it could maybe be negated if you went to town on the sewing and weaving

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    BigAndRedcerberustugowar

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    weaving under and over each noodle might be better rather than stitching through

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    jleslie48BigAndRed

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    I agree, but was scared about what that would feel like and figured I would try stitching first.

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    jleslie48BigAndRed

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    fishing line is designed to stretch (when the fish yanks,) rather than break. I believe that would not be desirable in this situation. If it is strong enough, it will also act like a wire cheese slicer and cut through the noodles.

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    BigAndRedjleslie48

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    braid wont stretch like mono line and the 40kg (90lb) is about 2mm thick. Ive used this line to repair an outdoor swing seat, material like shade sail. Maybe using it weaving under and over each noodle might be better rather than stitching through.