FRAME & FLOATS ASSEMBLY FOR 8x8 WORK PLATFORM & SWIM RAFT WITH 26
REQUIRED TOOLS

Assembly of our 8' x 8' work platform and swim raft kits with 26" wide floats require some basic tools and supplies. Below we have provide a list of everything that you'll need, as well as part numbers and links to where you can get the somewhat special tools. We recommend McMaster for all but two of the specialty items we have listed (step drill bit and anti-seize). McMaster is an industrial supplier that we thoroughly trust and do business with on a daily basis. For the step drill bit and anti-seize, if you do not already have those items, Amazon has better pricing, so we have provided links to searches for exactly what you'll need. Many customers will already have the majority of the required tools, if not all of them. Most of the tools listed below will also be stocked at your local hardware or home supply store.

39/64" transfer punch McMaster PN: 3374A461
Center punch (optional) McMaster PN: 3451A31
3/8" drive ratchet
9/16", 3/8" drive socket
3/8" drive extension
1/2" drive ratchet
15/16", 1/2" drive socket
1/2" drive extension
15/16" box wrench
5/16" hex-key wrench (Allen wrench) McMaster PN: 7122A25
Linesman pliers
Stiff wire (coat hanger or welding wire)
1/2" electric hand drill
Drill press (optional)
1/4" drill bit McMaster PN: 8870A27
5/8" drill bit McMaster PN: 2933A28
7/8" step drill bit (must have 5/8" step) Link to Amazon search
Carpenter square
Tape measure
2 saw horses
4 C or F style clamps
2-4 ratchet straps
Steel hammer
Rubber or plastic hammer
Paint or ink marker McMaster PN: 7162T11
Anti-seize lubricant Link to Amazon search




STEP 1

Place two of the pontoon Main Beam extrusions across two saw horses. The Main Beams are the aluminum tubes that have a "T" shaped cross section with two slots on the top. Loosely clamp them onto the saw horses as shown below and use a square to ensure that the ends are even, as shown. Place two straight pontoon floats on top of the two main beams so that they are even with the ends of the Main Beams. When placing the floats, we like to orient them so that the laterial mounting flanges (pointed out below) of the two floats are aiming toward each other. This is purely for aesthetics. You will have to loosen and adjust the clamps and placement of at least one of the Main Beams to place the floats on them. Double check that the ends of the floats are even with ends of the Main Beams and tighten the clamps.


STEP 2

Install a ratchet strap around each of the floats. This holds them in position for the next step. Adjust the placement of the floats as needed. If you need to adjust the position of a float after the ratchet strap is tightened, use a rubber or plastic mallet to tap it into position.

STEP 3

Using your 39/64" transfer punch, go down both sides of the pontoon assembly and use the punch with a hammer to mark EVERY bolt hole position through the molded-in bolt holes in the floats. You will have to do this from both the outside set of holes and the inside set of holes. This means that you'll have to crawl under the pontoon assembly on your saw horses to mark the inner holes. It's inconvenient, but 100% necessary. The ratchet straps will hold the floats in position for this.



STEP 4

Remove the ratchet straps. Before removing the floats, number the positions of the floats on the Main Beams as shown here. Number the floats and Main Beams on both sides of the pontoon assembly. Write a 1 and 2 on the floats and Main Beam on one side and a 3 and 4 on the floats and Main Beam on the other side. This ensures that you don't mix up the positions of the floats after you drill the holes. You can use a piece of masking tape to write on or you can use a marker to write on the floats and main beams if you have lacquer paint thinner on hand. If using a permanent marker to write on the floats, lacquer paint thinner will not hurt the floats or the Main Beams when you use it to wipe off the writing later on. Now you can remove the floats and unclamp the Main Beam from your saw horses.

STEP 5

Using a standard style center punch, make the marks you made with the transfer punch more pronounce. This will make the holes easier to drill in the next step.

STEP 6

Now you need to drill holes where you marked with your punch. For this operation, you can use a hand-held drill, but we find it much easier and quicker to use a drillpress. If you have a drillpress, you will need to use a spacer block such as a piece of 2"x4" lumber to make the material surface level. If using a hand-held drill, be careful to keep the drill bit perpendicular to the surface you are drilling through. You can't undrill holes, so take your time.

Using a SHARP (prohibits wandering of the bit) 1/4" diameter drill bit, drill through ONE WALL of the Main Beam from each marked position. This means that you are NOT drilling all the way through both sides of the Main Beam at once during this operation. Drill through every position on one side of the part, flip it, and drill through every position on the other side of the part. Do this with both Main Beams for the pontoon assembly.

STEP 7

For this step, we strongly suggest using a "step drill bit". This type of drill bit is tapered, can drill multiple diameter holes, and has a self-centering design that ensures that your hole is centered by a pilot hole (drilled in prior step). The downside is that if you are not careful, you can easily over-size the hole by drilling in too far. Please be careful with this operation, because as stated before, you can't undrill the holes. A link to this type of drill bit is listed in the table at the top of this page.

Install your 3/4" step drill bit into your drill. Use a paint or permanent marker to mark the stopping point for drilling a 5/8" hole. We like to use a white paint marker as it's easy to see the marking, and we mark the two diameters larger than 5/8" on our drill bit. That means that we stop drilling when these diameters get to the surface of the material, NOT THROUGH IT. This step is VERY important as you do not want the holes to be too large.

Drill EVERY hole out to 5/8" diameter. Once again, drill through EVERY hole in the pair of Main Beams for your pontoon assembly. You'll have to drill into both sides of each Main Beam, just like when you made the smaller holes. After drilling the holes, be sure to debur the holes. We like to use a countersink type drill bit for this, but a little bit of sand paper will do the trick as well.


STEP 8

Place your two Main Beams back onto your saw horses. Place the two floats back onto the Main Beams and match up the numbers you wrote on the floats and Main Beams. Clamp the Main Beams to your saw horses and adjust their positions as necessary. Visually line up the Main Beam holes and float holes on both sides and install a ratchet strap back around the floats and Main Beams. Once again, if you have to adjust the positions of the floats, you can use a rubber or plastic hammer to tap them into position.

STEP 9

Starting at one end of the pontoon assembly, use a 5/8" standard drill bit and a hand drill to drill through one set of holes on the float. You will want to drill all the way through the Main Beam and through the plastic flanges on the other side of that one Main Beam. This operation ensures that chips are clearded from the hole and that the bolt holes are perfectly aligned. Drill through just one hole and move onto the next step.

STEP 10

Install a 5/8" flat washer over one of the 5/8" x 5 1/2" stainless hex head bolts and tap it through the hole you just cleared out from the outside of the float. A couple hard smacks with a rubber or plastic hammer will drive the bolt through the hole. It will be a tight fit and you will not hurt anything if you hit it hard. DO NOT INSTALL A NUT YET.

Drill through the next hole with your 5/8" drill bit and drive in a bolt with a washer. Drill, drive the next bolt with a washer. Do this for all of the bolt holes for one float, and then move onto the next float until all the bolts are driven into the holes with washers.

DO NOT INSTALL NUTS YET.



STEP 11

We find this step to be much easier if you flip the pontoon assembly over (top-side up). None of the bolts will fall out of you flip the pontoon over at this point, but as the pontoon assembly will be fairly large, please either use equipment to do this, or be sure to have some help to flip the pontoon. When we assemble these pontoons at TPB, we typically remove the pontoon from the saw horses at this point and place them on a soft piece of scrap carpet on our shop floor. With the floats upright, it is much easier to access the bolts to install the nuts.

With the float right side up, use a rag to wipe any chips off the protruding bolt threads. Place a 5/8" flat washer over every bolt on the pontoon assembly and then brush a healthy amount of anti-seize on the bolt threads. If you are unable to access anti-seize (link to product provided at top of page), a bit of axle grease will do the trick, but lubricating the threads of the 5/8" bolts is SUPER IMPORTANT. The nuts WILL jam if you don't lubricate the threads. This is just the nature of large stainless nuts and bolts.

Using your 15/16 box wrench, hold the bolt so that the flat part of the hex head is parallel with the top of the float flange. This is necessary because of the taper of the mounting flange. Thread on a nut and tighten the nut and bolt until the mounting flange just barely starts to flex inward. We do not have a torque spec beyond this. Do the same for every bolt until every bolt on the pontoon assembly has a nut installed and all the nuts and bolts are tight.

The pontoon assembly is complete!





STEP 12

Set the first pontoon assembly aside and move onto the next one. Follow step 1 through 11 until the second pontoon is assembled. With the two pontoon assemblies completed, place them both on a flat surface and put them a few feet apart. The floats end up landing around 75" apart center to center when everything is assembled.

STEP 13

From here forward you will need to reference the diagram below. You can print this diagram or just scroll up and down the page when you need the info. We will be referring to this diagram as "the crossmember diagram".

If you purchased our "Swim Raft" kit, please be aware that you have three hat channel crossmembers with holes in the center of the part. These crossmembers are installed in the center of the boat and are the last crossmembers to be installed. The anchor bracket is bolted to these crossmembers toward the end of the assembly process.

Referencing the crossmember diagram for your boat, slide 4 of the 3/8" square nuts into the Main Beams for each position that a hat channel crosses it on the the diagram. Place 2 square nuts into each approximate position that the square tube crossmembers cross the Main Beams. This means that each Main Beam slot will have a total of 16 square nuts in it. Double check your count of the square nuts before moving onto the next step.



STEP 14

Please read the note below and then place a square tube crossmember on each end of the two pontoon assemblies. Place the square tubes so that their edges are even with the ends of the Main Beams and adjust the position of the square nuts square tubes so that the nuts line up with the bolt holes in the square tubes.

NOTE:

Crossmembers have an "A" written on one end. Be sure to place the marked ends of the crossmembers on the same side of the boat. When the hole pattern is machined in the crossmembers, this is the end that is referenced on the machine cutting the holes. Placing the "A" end of all the crossmembers on the same side of the boat ensures perfect alignment of all the mounting holes.

STEP 15

Next, from your hardware kit, find the bag with the 3/8" x 3/4" socket head cap screws (bag may say "Allen Bolts"). You will need eight of these screws per square tube. Place a 3/8" lock washer and 3/8" SAE flat washer over each of the eight bolts. To install these bolts, you will need to make a special tool with a formable piece of wire such as a length of welding wire, coat hanger, or household power wire. Below we have pictures showing how to do that. This special tool allows you to insert the bolt and washers through the end of the square tube crossmember to line it up with the square nuts below.

With your formed wire tool, insert the bolt with washers into the end of the square tube crossmembers and insert the bolt into the hole in the bottom of the tube. Using a 5/16" hex key wrench (Allen wrench), loosely thread the bolts into the captured nuts under the square tube crossmember. Do this for all eight bolt holes of each square tube, double check the position of the square tubes (even with the end of the Main Beams and square with the Main Beams), and then tighten the bolts completely. A great way to get extra leverage on your hex key wrench is to use an adjustable wrench or box wrench as shown to the right.







STEP 16

Place one of the standard hat channel cross members on either end of the pontoon assemblies and butt them right against the square tubes. Be sure to select crossmembers that DO NOT have holes in the center (swim raft kit only - are for anchor point). Align the mounting holes with the nuts in the Main Beams and loosely install 7/8" hex head bolts with a 3/8" lock washer and 3/8" SAE flat washer as shown for each of the 16 bolt holes in the channel. Tighten the bolts on the two hat channels.



STEP 17

Referencing the crossmember diagram for position, place the next two hat channels in (without center holes) on the boat. Line up the square nuts, loosely install the 3/8" x 7/8" bolts with flat and lock washers, double check the placement measurements from the diagram, and tighten down the bolts.

STEP 18

Referencing the crossmember diagram, place the remaining three hat channel crossmembers on the raft. Swim raft kits with the anchor bracket will have three center holes in the remaining crossmembers, as pointed out here. Line up the nuts and loosely install the 3/8" x 7/8" bolts with the required washers. If you DO NOT have an anchor bracket for your kit (work raft kit does not have anchor bracket), double check your measurements for placement of the three crossmembers and tighten all the remaining bolts. If you have purchased the swimraft kit with the anchor bracket, double check the placement of the center crossmember and tighten ONLY the bolts for this part. Do not tighten the bolts for the other two crossmembers at this point. If you do not have an anchor bracket, double check that all your crossmember bolts are tight and move onto step 20.


STEP 19

For those who purchased the swim raft kit, your system came equipped with an anchor bracket that bolts into the center three crossmembers that you loosely bolted on in step 18. Locate the bag of hardware labeled "Anchor bracket hardware" or similar. Install flat washers over over 12 of the included 3/8" x 1 1/4" bolts and place them in the center holes of the crossmembers. Line up the bolts with the anchor bracket from under the boat and install 3/8" flange lock nuts onto the bolts. Everything is self-aligning at this point, so tighten all the bolts on the anchor bracket and the remaining bolts on the hat channel crossmembers.

The pictures to the right show the raft up-side-down with two floats removed for clarity.


STEP 20

All that is left is to double check that all the crossmember bolts are tight and you have completed your build. Very nice work!