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For a company accustomed to building fishing boats to order, a U. Coast Guard contract presents some unique challenges. To succeed, the company will have to make the transition from fabricator to manufacturer as well as adopt production techniques that will ensure Xpress Aluminum Boats Reviews 5g repeatability and efficiency.

For instance, instead of sketching everything by hand, he began using a CAD drawings and a CNC waterjet to precisely water-cut the boat components and using steel jigs to ensure conformity.

The transition also meant hanging up the trusty spool guns and traditional welding power sources that had served him well. The result: Metal Shark increased efficiency, doubled production and cut welding time in half for some operations. By using the new Miller aluminum welding systems instead of the old spool gun systems, Metal Shark saves one day per boat in welding time and gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review lb.

The Coast Guard is standardizing its small boat fleet in an effort to reduce crew-training time and improve effectiveness. These new, multi-mission boats will share common systems and reduce the variations between boats of the same type. Eighty of the new standardized TANBs will replace the existing nonstandard boats. Powered by two HP Honda engines, the ft.

A davit, rated at lbs. Jimmy Gravois, who had learned boat making from his father, had more than 30 years experience in building aluminum boats when American Marine Holdings AMH approached.

The contract required the winner to have substantial experience in building similar aluminum boats. Together they would submit a design and bid. Gravois created Metal Shark Aluminum Boats as the trade name for his military craft.

Gravois later bought out AMH. Once the prototype, including its engines, electronics and trailer, was accepted by the Coast Guard, each subsequent boat had to be substantially similar. Bob Post, U. Coast Guard, Office of Boat Forces. For the Coast Guard, standardization is very important.

One day is spent thoroughly inspecting the boat in the shop. The next day, the boat is taken out for a three-hour sea trial. Each piece of equipment, from the electronics to the trailer, is inspected. Even metal shavings left on the deck are enough to cause a write up and stop gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review until the problem is addressed. When the boat is delivered to the Coast Guard, it needs to be road- and sea-worthy and ready for its crew.

Metal Shark owes the Gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review Guard one boat every 18 days. In the beginning, meeting this schedule presented a challenge to Gravois. Even the jig was water cut. When the boat is tacked together, you can throw it in the water and it will float. To maintain quality and keep up with the production schedule, Gravois had to reexamine his welding operations.

Any defect, such as pinholes, overwelding gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review porosity in the weld, will halt delivery until the problem is fixed. When the project began, the Metal Shark team used amp power sources in spray transfer mode and spool guns, which held 1-lb. While this worked well for Gravois when he fabricated boats one at a time, it was not suitable for his mass production efforts.

Because of its low columnar strength, feeding aluminum wire has been likened to pushing a wet noodle through a straw. Clearing it requires the operator to stop welding, cut the wire, discard the wire in the gun, gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review refeed new wire through the liner.

It also may require cleaning or changing the contact tip because of the burn back caused when the wire stops feeding.

A spool gun helps to eliminate some feeding issues, but introduces a few others, most related to the size and weight of gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review spool. A 1-lb. Compounding the problem is that as the end of each spool is reached, there still exists the possibility of burn. When the wire stops feeding, the arc burns back into the tip. Also, a 1-lb. As it feeds through the tip, it has a curve to it, which gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review require the operator to hold the gun in an uncomfortable position to keep the wire in the joint.

The amp power source Metal Shark was using worked as intended; however, it presented some issues. Aluminum, with its higher heat conductivity and its relatively low melting point, is one of the more difficult metals to weld. Gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review is prone to burn through, warping and distortion.

Using a spray transfer process put a lot of heat into the welds. In order to keep the heat at a safe level and reduce distortion and burn through, Metal Shark welding operators would need to move their work around gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review keep the heat from building up. Again, in some applications, these gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review not be issues. Gravois next tried a pulsed MIG machine with a push-pull gun.

In pulsed spray transfer, the power source switches between a high peak current and a low background current. The peak current pinches off a spray transfer droplet and propels it toward the weldment. The background current maintains the arc, but is too low for metal transfer to occur.

This is unlike spray transfer, which continuously transfers tiny drops of molten metal. Pulsed MIG provides good bead appearance because the tiny molten droplets being transferred do not create spatter. Also, because the weld puddle cools in-between pulses, it freezes faster. The puddle is less likely to sag or look excessively convex when welding out-of-position. Operators have so much control gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review the weld pool with pulsed MIG that they can create beads with a TIG-like appearance.

The problem with earlier pulsed MIG machines was their complexity. Gravois and his welding operators discovered that the machines were too difficult to use and provided erratic results. Also, the push-pull gun they gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review still gave them feeding problems, especially when they tried running the guns over the 5-ft.

When the two are combined, they form a complete aluminum welding system that provides smooth and sure aluminum wire feeding along with built-in easy-to-use pulse programs.

It contains built-in programs for aluminum, mild steel and stainless steel to eliminate operator guesswork in setting parameters. A recent software enhancement added series-specific settings for and series aluminum that improves tip life gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review puddle fluidity. Because the motors in the XR-Aluma-Pro and Millermatic P are synced to one another, the gun can be draped over the hull without experiencing gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review feeding problems.

The aluminum feeding problems Metal Shark experienced with the former push-pull gun, along with the associated burn-back and erratic-arc issues, are no longer an issue for the operators. We would just weld where the ribs were and then put the ribs in, and then have to come back between all of that and climb through each section and weld out the hull. Without the excess heat input, the hull conforms to the jig without the internal ribs.

Now we make one continuous weld and then weld the ribs down later. Of the five days spent putting the gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review together, Gravois estimates the new system cuts at least one day from the process.

Saving one day per boat amounts to about 29 saved days per year. For an operator depositing 10 to 16 lbs. With three operators, that amounts to two to three hours per day, estimates Steven Judice, Metal Shark welding supervisor. Additionally, Metal Shark is now able to use lb.

Using about lbs. Additionally, assuming one tip is changed per spool change, an estimated tips are saved per week. Wire Consumption. Consumable Costs. Return On Investment. Having reached boat number 22, Gravois has successfully made the jump from fabricator to manufacturer´┐ŻMetal Shark Aluminum Boats has doubled their production, and often produce two gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review instead of the required one every 18 days.

While the cost savings are significant, even more gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review is the increased efficiency, which allows Gravois to look ahead at competing for other police, Coast Guard and Navy boat projects.

Confidently weld aluminum all day long. To activate your FREE subscription today, simply select which newsletter s you would like to receive and complete the form. Miller respects your privacy concerns. Read our privacy policy for more information. Already signed up? Manage your subscription s by signing into your account. Or if you don't have a Miller account, create one today.

Thank you for subscribing to our eNewsletters. You can manage your subscription s by signing into your account. When Jimmy Gravois needed to switch from the role of an aluminum boat fabricator to a full-fledged manufacturer, his welding equipment needed an upgrade. Reduced heat input of Miller system allows for continuous welding without cooling.

New system cuts one whole day from assembly of the hull. The Millermatic P allows the operator to easily set the optimal welding parameters and dial in arc length. Stepping Up to the Aluminum Plate Jimmy Gravois, who had learned boat making from his father, had more than 30 years experience in building aluminum boats when American Marine Holdings AMH approached.

By using jigs and the pulsed MIG capabilities of the Millermatic P, operators can weld the hull without having the ribs in place, since there is no heat related distortion. He and Metal Shark have successfully made the transition from fabricator to manufacturer.

Prior to using the Millermatic P, long beads such as this, would have been impossible gravois aluminum boats jeanerette review of the heat input through short-circuit and spray transfer processes. They proved to be the answer Metal Shark was looking .


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The 21 Swamp Shark is available with gas or diesel power and a wide range of custom equipment including LED flood lights, bow hunting lights, rod lockers, coolers, and more. Are you ready to move up to a true high performance shallow water machine? Contact us today to begin the process of building your own Metal Shark powered by Swamp Shark, coming soon to a swamp near you. Click here to download 21 Swamp Shark Spec Sheet.

The 21 Swamp Shark CC boasts a versatile arrangement that may be customized to suit unique requirements and owner tastes, with unique features available for fishing, bowfishing, hunting, or other uses. The vessel shown here was configured in a basic and rugged no-nonsense layout built to withstand a lifetime of hard use with minimal maintenance requirements.

Various T-tops and Bimini tops are available to provide protection from the elements. Rod racks, rod holders, gun lockers, and integrated coolers are all available. Perhaps the most talked-about marine technology to hit the market in years, Swamp Shark is designed to address the many weaknesses of other propulsion types.

Developed and extensively tested in the unforgiving swamps of South Louisiana, Swamp Shark is a high performance propulsion system offering boaters the highest levels of handling and control across a wide range of conditions. A Swamp Shark drive offers many advantages over conventional propulsion systems. Metal Shark, a leading designer and manufacturer of welded aluminum boats and exclusive supplier of Swamp Shark to military and government operators, is pleased to now offer Swamp Shark technology to recreational customers, too.

Read on learn more about our rugged, go-anywhere, do-anything, military-tough Gravois 21 CC powered by Swamp Shark. There are lots of little mud boats out there with puny engines Triton Aluminum Boats Reviews 0th on them, struggling along at putt-putt speeds. Swamp Shark leaves them all in its wake. Swamp Shark handles up to fire-breathing horsepower and a whopping 1, Ft. Other options do not compare. Airboats offer high power but are meant to run in a straight line.

Water jets require large water inlets that often clog, and outboards do, too. Swamp Shark offers the acceleration, speed, and handling of a propeller-driven vessel, it accommodates high power and torque loads, and travels in forward and reverse with equal proficiency. In short, Swamp Shark is the most durable and reliable shallow water propulsion system available.

The patented Rebound System, which consists of actuators inside and outside of the vessel, allows the Swamp Shark drive to smoothly and automatically adapt to conditions.

The 28 Gravois Bay has been designed with a no-nonsense layout that is easy to fish and easy to maintain, with multiple configurations available to suit a wide range of piscatorial pursuits.

Free from the limits of fiberglass tooling, prospective Metal Shark owners can dare to dream. Customs livewells, coolers, and hatches? No problem! The 28 Gravois Bay is available in multiple configurations, with different options allowing the boat to serve completely different missions. The boats shown here have been rigged to fish, with low freeboard and streamlined layout allowing for easy degree fishability.

From trolling motor and dual power poles to the integration of a Seakeeper gyro stabilization system, each 28 Gravois Bay may be custom rigged to meet the demanding requirements of individual owners. We invite you to contact us today to begin the process of designing your very own Metal Shark Gravois bay boat. To see additional photos of special features and optional equipment, check out the image gallery below.

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