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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 2:41 pm
Posts: 6
Greetings All!
I have recently purchased an i14T for use in flat water. When I bought it the previous owner folded it incorrectly after I inspected it and now I have a crack in my bulkhead (the black hard plastic surrounding the storage port. The crack is about 4" long and I want the best repair I can get. I asked Hobie what material this was as I have a nice plastic welder in my shop, they said it couldn't be welded as its Polycarbonate. I'm an Engineer by trade and the amount of force to crack Polycarbonate like this (if you could even get a crack to propagate) is enormous. Bottom line is I don't believe that material is Polycarbonate. Does anyone on here know what material that really is? Has anyone else used the patch method of repair that Hobie recommends?


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 8:18 am 
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 2:41 pm
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WOW, getting technical info out of Hobie is not a speedy process at all. Still waiting for confirmation on the material for the bulkhead. Welded the crack last night with polycarbonate as a filler, seemed to work pretty well. Time will tell. I shot a video of the process, needs some editing, but will post a link here to it when I upload it to YouTube.


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:34 pm
Posts: 197
Location: Hobie Cat: Oceanside, CA
I'm a little surprised to see you comment that its hard to get any answers from Hobie Cat. I've exchanged a number of emails with you and you've called in as well. Your post here is not asking for advice from Hobie Cat, but rather from other users so no one from Hobie responded to it. If your email to our engineers is what you're waiting on, I apologize. They are not in customer service and don't have as much time available to them for emailing, but you will receive an answer. The bulkhead is polycarbonate, which is in fact injection moldable. The patch with the PVC material is very easy and looks better than a weld if done cleanly which is why we recommend that. That is just our recommendation. Please email me if you need any questions answered.

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Brendan Castile


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:32 am 
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 2:41 pm
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Well Brendan, I'm a little surprised that you are putting words in my mouth. I didn't say " its hard to get any answers from Hobie Cat". What I DID say was that "getting technical info out of Hobie is not a speedy process at all" (referring to engineering answers specifically) . I was seeking CONFIRMATION of your response because the information you provided DID NOT align with the empirical evidence I had in my hands.

This is a quote from Wikipedia on the properties of Polycarbonate:
"Unlike most thermoplastics, polycarbonate can undergo large plastic deformations without cracking or breaking. As a result, it can be processed and formed at room temperature using sheet metal techniques, such as bending on a brake."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarbonate

To put this in perspective, I took a 2" wide piece of polycarbonate folded it over on itself with a pair of pliers forcing a TIGHT 180 degree bend, folded it BACK the other way completely, no crack, nothing. This is why its used in bullet resistant applications everyday. It's one of the toughest materials know to man.

Hard for me to believe that a material this tough would have cracked from the pressure of the straps of the bag designed to house this product. I apologize if my doubt of what you told me offended you, it was NOT intended. I am an engineer, if what someone tells me does NOT line up with the results I'm looking at, I will CONTINUE to seek an answer that fits until I am satisfied I have the truth.

You told me that you didn't recommend welding it because it was polycarbonate, but based on where the crack was the patch would have looked awful, and would have affected the fit and seal of the hatch assembly. not to mention that the crack would only have been supported by the fabric of the patch and the adhesive.

I don't doubt for a second that you believe you have given me the correct answer, based on what you have been told. I also know that this product is made, entirely, MANY thousands of miles away, in some manufacturing plant in Korea or some other Asian location. They could very well use either a VERY low molecular mass grade of base material, or make a substitution, or have contamination issues. Any of these issues potentially leading to the situation I find myself in.

I did, in fact, weld my i14T with a polycarbonate rod and it came out pretty nice. Both the filler and the parent material fused readily and had similar melting points, which leads me to conclude that the material is a very low grade of polycarbonate.

You wrote "Your post here is not asking for advice from Hobie Cat, but rather from other users so no one from Hobie responded to it." Did you make this statement BECAUSE I asked the question in the forum it is therefore NOT directed to Hobie as well? I would have to cry foul here, as Mr. Miller has jumped ALL over questions I have asked and has been quite helpful. I was seeking a broader audience than you where providing. My question started with "Greetings All", not Hobie owners only, or otherwise. I'm on a quest for the truth, all are welcomed to chime in, no effort was made to single anyone out, not even you.

I would also like to remind you, since you have elected to bring aspects of our private conversations here to the forum, that you personally raised some doubt by stating that early models may have in fact been made from PVC.

In retrospect, your attentiveness as a Customer Service person HAS never been questioned by me, in fact, quite the opposite is true. I have told many people of the high level of customer service I have received, especially in light of the fact that I am not the original purchaser of this particular i14T. To be perfectly fair, when I called I specifically asked to speak with someone in Engineering and the receptionist made the decision to redirect my call to you. Now waiting for a week for an answer from someone in Engineering I think is excessive (pure opinion on my part). I would never let one of my customers sit that long, but that's me. I have 20 years experience as both an Engineer and a Customer Service person. During that time I have learned that without the customer, no matter how difficult they may appear to be, the organization won't last very long.


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