Monday, May 9, 2011

Molded Beam Build

Over the weekend I started to mold my first beam.  I grossly underestimated the amount of work it would take to make a beam.  Overall, once the mold is ready to go, it took 10 hours and 2.5 gallons of mixed resin to make one beam.  Here are the details.

On Saturday I spent approximately 5 hours cutting all the fiberglass cloth for the one beam.  When I saw the pile of cut cloth, I was amazed that all that cloth would go in to one beam.  I had everything laid out on the floor so I could easily take each piece when it was needed.  I paid special attention to the unidirectional fabric to make sure I rolled it carefully.  When cut in smaller pieces, it has a tendency to unravel and fall apart.  Roll it once, set it aside and don't touch it until its needed.  After 5 hours, I was itching like I had fleas from the glass fibers, so I called it a day.

The next day, I started by applying a coat of PVA mold release to the already waxed mold.  This release is a water soluble mold release and is recommended to make removing the part from the mold easier.  After the mold release dried for an hour, I applied small pieces of masking tape over the holes in the beam mold for mounting and pivot components.  Pilot holes will be drilled prior to removing the part from the mold.  Next, I applied a coat of epoxy to the mold as recommended on the plans.  Once this set up for a short time, I began the messy part.  There is a lot of cloth in one part and it takes a long time to put it together.  Once you start, you can't quit until its done.  I also recommend using the slowest curing hardener you can find.  I used MAS medium and it was way too fast.  I could feel the resin getting warm before I was finished.  This step took 5 hours to complete.

More to come.....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Work has started again.

I had to take a break from building my Scarab 650 because of a neck injury.  My winter was spent with many visits to Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Doctors.  Everything is better now so I have started to work once again on my boat.

Quick update on the Centerboard:
The Center board is fully glassed and needs finish work and paint.  I also need to fabricate the pivot bushing and install it.  I will upload photos when complete.

Update on Beams:
The mold has been waxed with 5 coats of mold release wax.  I am waiting for a shipment of epoxy to arrive and then I will attempt to mold my first beam.  I'm very nervous about molding the first part! 

Update on Materials:
Over the winter I've been contacting suppliers of foam to get quotations.  I'm very disappointed at the cost of foam.  I've also priced plywood and I have found the foam is 3 times the cost of plywood.  So, having said that, I'm rethinking my "wood free" boat comment.  I'm working with one, last ditch, supplier in Minneapolis as a source of foam.  I have not received their quotation at the time of this posting.  I'm hoping it will come in better than the rest.  More to come.

That is all for now.