Your Electric Toilets Professionals Discuss the Ease of Making Dinghy Wheels For Little Cost
Raritan Engineering your electric toilets distributors would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to make your own dinghy wheels.
As refit projects keep us busy in the boatyard, we find ourselves rifling through back issues looking for buried do-it-yourself gems. This week’s blast from the past is a real back saver.
For the do-it-yourself dinghy wheels, here’s what you’ll need:
• One pair of lawn mower wheels, 8-inch diameter with axle, washers, and wheel caps. ($10 or less)
• One pair of metal brackets to fasten axle to bottom of wood panel. ($3)
• 24 inches of rope, roughly a half-inch diameter; most any kind will do. ($1)
• Wood glue. ($2)
• One-quarter sheet of ¾-inch plywood. Marine grade is best but not a must. (lumber yard surplus, $5)
• A dozen self-tapping stainless screws, 2-inch length. ($2)
1. Cut two panels of wood, one 14-by-11.5 inches, the other 14-by-9 inches. Also cut three spacers, 14-by-9 inches each.
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2. Glue and screw one of the spacers to the larger of the two wood panels, making an L-shape. The screws should be started into the wood panel and enter the spacer.
3. Glue and screw the second smaller wood panel, only this time, start the screws into the spacer, and then enter the wood panel.
4. Screw the two axle brackets into place on the bottom spacer and fit the axle and wheels. Take one of the two remaining spacers, and glue and screw it directly onto the spacer already in place.
5. Then slip the entire device onto the transom of your dinghy to take a quick measurement. The wheels must not rub against the gunwale on the transom.
6. Drill two holes into the larger (outside) wood panel for the rope. Tie knots in both ends of the rope. This will provide a carrying handle and an easy way to slip the device onto the transom, if the dinghy is stored in a rack or the back of your SUV.
The Amphicar 770 – Car + Boat = Major Fun
Everybody’s still waiting for a flying car, but floating cars have been around for a long time. The Amphicar 770 was the first mass-produced amphibious vehicle available. Between 1961 and 1968, the Quandt Group built about 4,000 Amphicars.
You might recall that the Quandt family is one of the wealthiest in Germany. At one point, the family portfolio consisted of 200 companies, including a 10 percent stake in Daimler-Benz and a 30 percent chunk of BMW.
Despite its German heritage, the Amphicar 770 is powered by a Triumph engine, from the Triumph Herald 1200. The 43hp inline four-cylinder mates to a custom land and water gearbox which was produced by Hermes. The transmission allowed the wheels and the propeller to either operate together, or independently.
On land, an Amphicar was said to be able to travel at 70 miles per hour, using the four-speed manual transmission. With the prop engaged, it was capable of seven knots on the water. It doesn’t feature a rudder, instead using the steering wheels to change direction on the water, as well.
The key to a floating car is obviously its ability to keep water out. The only openings to the water are the two doors, which are double-sealed.
There’s no sound in this video, but it provides an excellent view of the car’s seals and some action footage in the water.
As with most European products from the 1950s and 1960s, exports to the United States were critical. Of the 3,878 vehicles built, 3,046 came to the United States. Several things kept the Amphicar from continuing after 1968.
The most notable Amphicar owner was President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had one on his ranch in Texas. His assistant, Joseph A. Califano, Jr. describes his first experience with the President’s Amphicar at the National Parks Service’s website:
“The President, with Vicky McCammon [President Johnson’s secretary] in the seat alongside him and me in the back, was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, ‘The brakes don’t work!
Today, Amphicar owners are rabidly enthusiastic, participating in the International Amphicar Owner’s Club’s “Swim-Ins” around the country. The Taunton Daily Gazette recently reported on, who put their Amphicar in Taunton’s Lake Sabbatia, as part of a profile on the WCVB-TV show Chronicle in the coming weeks.
Keep in mind these pointers when making your own dinghy wheels. 1) Buy all the parts you are going to need; 2) make sure you have all of your tools ready; and 3) enjoy saving money!
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