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Old 04-07-2018, 03:26 PM   #1
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Painting Inflatable Tubes

As part of a longer project to set up my RIB for fishing this summer, I wanted to patch a leak and try to do some cosmetic work on the tubes. I have a quote for $4k for new tubes, which is a good price for a re-tube, but with that safety net in place I decided to try to paint the tubes to get through this summer and maybe beyond.

I chose Liquid Rubber by West Marine in grey. Like most painting projects, most of the work was in the surface preparation, but this is a very thick product and it took a bit of trial and error to make it efficient. The best process was to thickly "paint" an area with a cheap chip brush, and then use an epoxy compatible paint roller to spread evenly for good coverage. I was able to paint half the tubes in just over an hour. It took about a calendar week for the full project (including patching), but only about 8-10 total man-hours, as the rest of the time was waiting for things to dry.

I don't know how well it will hold up, but it was surprisingly impressive in the garage and on the trailer!

I have a full write-up on my blog if you're interested (https://mvcesc.wordpress.com/…/who-s...nt-paint-an-…/) , but here are some photos

Before:


After:


Using the chip brush:


Using the Roller:
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:50 PM   #2
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Your dinghy looks like new! I will probably attempt the same thing next year. Good to know how you accomplished this project. Thanks for passing the info along!
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:19 PM   #3
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Wow! It looks great! If you continue to have to inflate after a couple of days, there’s a sealer I would try before you replace the tubes. We’ve used it three times; 2 dinghies and in an inflatable keel. It’s a sealant you put in the tubes through the valves, roll the tubes around, do an air exchange and do it again. The stuff works great imho. Polymairne use to seek it but it looks like they may have sold to West Marine.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...kaAjwhEALw_wcB
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:57 PM   #4
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Sorry totally off topic, but I'd like to make some custom-shaped inflatable outdoor furniture, much more durable than that stuff from the 70's.

Rubber boat material, repair adhesives seem just the ticket!

Links to sites, pointers for research, keywords for googling materials and DIY techniques?
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:37 AM   #5
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I don't have many suggestions...

Hypalon and pvc are different materials with different adhesives. Maybe starting there would guide you down the right path?
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Old 04-21-2018, 01:54 PM   #6
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Do as the Australians do and put covers on the tubes to stop UV degradation !
If you look on my blog Paddy's Flyin, go to the section dealing with the Whitsunday Islands and there a photo of a RIB with covers.
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