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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> Installing A Solbian Solar Panel > Bimini & Frame After
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Bimini & Frame After

The raw reality is that no matter how much frame work you do you're not going to turn a childs preschool drawing into the Mona Lisa....

What I had to do to this frame was run angled supports to the stern pushpit in order to help minimize the side to side sway. This was still a 1" OD X 10' plus wide bimini using cheap, thin walled tube. The cross braces helped immensely but a proper frame, in thick walled 1.25" tube, is really in order. Who ever paid for this canvas originally, got royally screwed.

I next installed a strut between the aft frame and the fore frame to tension the fabric. Because the fabric never fit right to begin with it still was not a perfect fit. I was able to get it tight enough for the Solbian panel. This bought the owner some time until a qualified canvas maker could build him a new bimini. The aft eye-end jaw is adjustable and Gemini stand offs were used for the fore to aft strut.

Once the fore and aft frames were tensioned the third (middle) frame was still pulling the mid point of the fabric into a puddle forming dip. I used a third short bracing strut to force the third frame into doing its job. Again, because the fabric never fit right to begin with, and this bimini was horribly made, I did the best I could with what I had to work with.

Most bimini's will require some additional support when you add another 5-10 pounds on-top of them. By going to rigid supports, as opposed to stretchy nylon, you lose the forward tripping hazard and you can properly tension the fabric. Once tensioned the fabric should not stretch any further, unless the bias is incorrect.

Consider working directly with a qualified canvas maker when designing your bimini to accept a semi flexible panel. The bimini should fit drum tight and be well braced both fore and aft and side to side.

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