For the very latest activity, click here: From a Bare Hull

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Infusion Success: We Have A Rudder

With much anticipation, the infusion process pretty much went without a hitch. There were a couple of dry spots that the "basketball needle" easily fixed (great idea, thanks Marty), otherwise a perfect infusion. The first picture here is before vacuum. It is about 9:30 am, about 70 degrees F and it is quickly getting warm outside.
Here, vacuum is on and resin is flowing. Full wet-out took about an hour. Resin was catalyzed at 2%. At about three hours after infusion started, the peak cure temperatures reached about 230 degrees F. In this picture I am fixing the one elusive leak I could not find during pre-launch.
Last picture is later that afternoon. Resin cured, and the bagging, peel-ply and flow medium has been removed. Note the carnage from the bag removal lying underneath. At this point, the rudder is now "laminated". It has some rough edges, bumps and divets that will be ground and faired. That is the next step. I took a video of the infusion which I will need to edit down. Will try and post later this week.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pre-Infusion: The Apparatus and The Arsenal

Here is a look at things just before infusion. Vacuum pump and resin trap in the foreground. Rudder, bagged and sealed, in the background. With numerous hoses and valves. To improve chances of success I rigged multiple resin feed lines at strategic points from bottom to top. Also, there are three vacuum ports along the top, each with its own valve. Also, following a tip from a friend of ours at Fast Passage Composites, I rigged a "basketball needle", which is another vacuum line, valved, with a sporting ball inflator needle. The idea being, if dry spots develop during infusion, use this needle and insert it into the dry spot to remove the air and in draw resin.
Supplies ready and on hand are, resin, catalyst, rags, acetone, mixing buckets, mixing sticks, syringes and a thermometer.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vacuum Tested And Ready

Stayed up last night to finish the bagging and vacuum tested for leaks. Only a couple that were easily fixed.

Pressure -28 kPa and holding.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rudder Infusion Coming This Week

This will be a big step, that has been delayed by a few things. A two week vacation for one. Cut the final layer of CSM glass and peel ply last night. Next couple nights will see the flow medium cut and bag fitted. Target date for infusion is Saturday morning, before it gets warm. Hope to have the bag vacuum tested by then. I will be taking a video of the process. Hope this works, as I am anxious to get onto other things, and, getting tired of a big rudder taking up space in my garage!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Taking a Breather, Regaining Inspiration, Rendezvous

Just got back from a short trip to Canada on our 28 footer. Getting away from a big project, and the bump and grind of daily life, sure helps to reinvigorate things. Guess that is what "vacations" are for right? Anyway, sitting on a boat in another country, I generated new lists of ideas and next items to be tackled. Generally found some new energy (creative and phsyical, though I am still dead tired from the trip). Looks like we will be attending the PNW Westail Rendezvous this year, after bailing out on the last two years. We have no excuses this year. Looks like it will be a good one. I will be putting together a small presentation on the progress so far. If any attendees are reading this, post a comment if there is anything you would like detail on, otherwise it will be general and short.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rudder Test Infusion: Core Analysis

Here are some still shots of the test piece post-infusion. I sliced it up into a couple section to examine the core. One of the reasons for doing the piece is that the rudder, while it calls for four layers of glass, will have small sections of overlap which will total up to eight layers. I have never tried infusing four let alone eight layers of glass.
Overall, the wetout was uniform, though it seemed a little dry. I got the opinion of a friend of ours who does this stuff for a living. He indicated the piece looked really good. The reason why it is a bit dry was due to the blue flow medium I used, as, under pressure, it tends to "squeeze out" more resin from the laminate. He recommended not using so much of the blue stuff and instead place strips of it strategically. Also, the slight dryness should have minimal effect on strength. More effect on water resistance.
I indicated we would be doing final fairing with epoxy and giving it a good barrier coat. His opinion was that would be perfect.

So, our worries are a bit less now. We just stocked up on some more bagging materials and hope to start the final infusion in a week or so.