Here's my next big adventure with the Slayer Propel.
During the Decker tournament I lost my hawg trough out of the back when I was grabbing my net, and my back tank well has always been a cluster*&^%, I just keep everything in a big tackle bag which I like, but bigger stuff falls out and it's a pain rooting around in the bottom of the bag throughout the day to get at stuff.
So, on my drive back from Conroe on Sunday I had plenty of time to brainstorm, what I wanted was some kind of compartment like the front hatch. Or maybe rails I could mount on the tracks to hold more stuff. I decided that a compartment/hatch cover would be cool, especially if I could mount stuff on it like rod holders, 360 lights, hawg trough, net holder etc. At the same time it would allow me to permanently store stuff on the boat that I never take off the boat like first aid kit, hat n glove, windbreaker etc. Then I was thinking I could put separators in it for when I'm shedding outer layers, they could get tossed in the back out of the way, the front could be reserved for easy access to food, drinks, and backup tackle. I worked everything out on the drive home.
I got home and spent a few hours measuring stuff and drawing things out. I also build a 1/4 scale model and learned a lot from that about keeping my angles consistent front to back and needing to leave room for my reels that extend back into the tank well.
1/4 scale model
On Monday I went and bought some 4x4 sheets of thin plywood to create a layout of the rear deck for building on and also to cut out all the pieced I needed and make a template, the template would also become the mold for thermoforming the plastic.
On Tuesday I went and bought a 4x4 sheet of 3/16 ABS plastic. It's a bit thick for what I'm doing, but since I plan to mount stuff on it, it's probably for the best. But, if I decide otherwise, it's now no big deal to go get another sheet and just build another compartment now that I have the template/mold/design worked out. Plastic was about $40, the cool thing is that it has the same texture as the OEM Native plastic hatch covers, so it'll look well matched on the boat
I had a guided fly fishing trip planned for the Guad tomorrow, but it's been postponed because of the weather, and since Lammers was fishing tonight, I went ahead and took off work early. Spent the afternoon at my buddy's house working on this compartment before meeting up with the guys at AHS.
First step was drawing everything out on the plywood then cutting the individual pieces.
Once the pieces were cut, I could assemble the model/mold
Once I was certain all the dimensions were correct, I took the mold apart and laid it out flat to create a template for the ABS plastic. The entire compartment is made from a single piece of ABS, no joints to worry about.
The ABS was great to work with, not so soft that it would melt when cutting, but not so brittle it would crack, everything went pretty smooth. After the plastic was cut I laid it on the mold and then took a heat gun to it to start molding it to shape. Clamps and duct tape helped maintain the shape while it was cooling.
I got the basic box built today, there's 3 extra inches around the bottom which I have to bend out and then drill to accept the mounting hardware to mount it to the rail system. I'm also going to pop rivet the front and rear faces to the sides to tighten up those gaps (may glue instead). Here's how it looks test fitting on the boat.
I ran out time today because I had to go fishing. This weekend I'll get the bottom flared out to sit flush on the boat and trim all the edges to follow the contours of the boat, then get after it with a dremel tool to smooth all the edges. I plan on cutting an access hatch in the face right behind the seat, undecided about a door/hatch there. I am looking forward to being able to put all my rods inside the compartment for transport. I don't think it'll catch that much more wind than the standard crate with rods sticking out and it'll give me a lot more storage options as well. Don't have a lot real estate on the boat for stickers either, so this think will make a great billboard. It's also cool that if I want to change something or make one for someone it's only another $40 sheet of plastic (plus time of course). Anyways, I'm super stoked to get this thing completed and installed, it's going to be one of a kind I think.