This weekend was fairly successful in regards to boat building, with the last of the flat panels laminated and the hull jig initially setup.
Above is a table prepared to laminate a glass/carbon fibre plate so that it can be used to attach fittings to the hull. The plate is intended to be 5 mm thick and about 330 x 250 mm, this was approximately 24 layers of 200 gsm E-glass and 4 layers of 300 gsm UNI carbon.
The plate will be cut in to small strips that will be inlaid into the cockpit floor and side tanks so that threads can be tapped into them and fittings can be attached without the use of nuts and washers. I also intend to perform some testing on this method down the track to see how strong the threads are in the glass plate.
Above is an image of the glass plate under vacuum. Notice the black irrigation plastic and fittings used for vacuum bagging. By using these pipes I can make a manifold and have multiple vacuum lines coming off the same pump so that as the day progresses and I laminate more things i still have access to the vacuum without interrupting the previous layup. Also it allows a cheap way to put a valve/tap into the system, which means you can initially control the speed at which the vacuum is applied to the bag (which can be handy for tricky items, or tight bags).
Above is a lay-out I used on a sheet of foam to fit the bulkhead, floor support ribs and bowsprit 'V-beam' to try and get the best usage of foam. Some the panels are laminated, I will get the individual components printed full size on paper so that i can check the fit. Then I will be able to use the paper print out as a template to cut the panels. I'm hoping that this will allow me to speed up the bulkhead/floor rib fitting process considerably, which can take quite a bit of time to fit to the curvature of the hull correctly.
This is how we laminated all of our flat sheets. Firstly the panels were marked onto the foam sheet with pencil so we had an idea of where reinforcements and laminates would go. Secondly a slightly runny bog of epoxy and Q-cells (micro balloons) was made and spread over the entire sheet with a 150 mm wide plastic scrapper (this are very helpful for laminating flat panels and only cost about $1). This is to fill all the open cells in the foam with a lighter bog rather than with straight epoxy resin.
Next the uni-direction carbon reinforcements were laminated on the bulkheads and other areas. Then the 200 gsm E-glass was placed over the entire sheet, the epoxy resin spread out again using the 150mm plastic scrappers.
Peel ply is then spread over the entire laminate, then perforated release film to control the amount of resin removed during vacuum bagging. Finally the breather fabric was applied and the whole panel was flipped over and laminated on the other side.
Note: To make vacuum bagging easier, use a can of spray glue such as 3M super 77, to apply the release film to the peel ply and the breather to the release film. Otherwise it may move around and be difficult to put into the bag.
This is the flat sheet under vacuum in the bag, unfortunately we ran out of breather fabric so could only place it on one side.
This is the resulting panel after the release film and breather fabric was removed.
This is our rudder gantry, we started but laminating foam strips on the mould so that we could then shape it afterwards. This will allow is to laminate the gantry mould, place in the shaped foam core and laminate the other side in one go.