Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Big Picture

I guess I've been posting a lot of detail photos lately. Here's what the whole deal looks like so far:

Not a lot of grand changes lately. Just lots of dinking around with details. That's the keel sticking out from the starboard side (not in final position!). I've been working diligiently on fairing it out and it is hanging there with a bit filler on it.

Here is a picture of my modified longboard. This was a $2 alternative to buying a second $50 longboard. Not bad, I think.

A little more fairing on the keel and I will be ready to rout the channel for the carbon fiber reinforcement and do the lay-up.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bit and pieces

Lately time to work on the boat has been scarce with the holidays upon us and other commitments. Nevertheless a little progress has been made, lately. In an effort to stiffen up the largely flat sections in the aft two compartments, I glassed in some structural members half way between the chine and the rail. Between f124 and f169.5 I tried encasing half of a piece of foam pipe insulation in two layers of biaxial. It ended up looking good, but only stiffened the panel a little bit. Not enough surface perpendicular to the hull panel, I think. Based on that result I glassed in a ~2" wide strip of plywood into the aft-most section---rock solid. I may go back and grind out the foam half-round, but there is a lot more to do in the short term. We'll see...

I also glassed in a sort of sheer clamp along the transom. The 3/4"x3/4" poplar ripped in the diagonal will provide a little more than an inch of surface to glue the deck down which will be good since I won't be able to tape back there.
My main focus is working on the keel. The handheld electric planner I bought has worked a treat thus far. I just requires the patience to only take off a little at a time. Get too aggressive and you will have many evening alternating between filling and fairing! I also got a 30" longboard that has been great to fine tune the shape. I bought a flexible longboard which will come in handy for fairing the hull, but modified to to make it rigid for fairing the keel. At $50 ea. for the rigid and flexible longboards, the modification was a good solution. I will post a pic when I can.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Keel Deal

Over the last few days Traci and I got all of the bunk supports filleted and taped.

The supports are now ready for the bunks...except for one minor detail: The keelbox. And since the keel is not done yet, neither is the keelbox. So I finally bit the bullet and started working on the that I can create the keel I can build the keel I can install the aforementioned bunks. Seriously, if you builders are waiting on something like kit delivery, get started on the keel!

I used the Gougeon Bros. white paper on foil construction as a guide to fabricating the foils, with a few minor deviations.

Using the table saw I ripped lengths of cedar 2x10 to the desired thickness of the foil (~1.62" for a NACA0012 foil mius the thickness of a couple of layer of glass). After rotating them 90 degrees to get the grain running perpendicular to the foil chord and flipping every other one end-for-end, I laminated them together with thickened epoxy. Using a handheld electric plane I got the rough shape of the keel.

A few more passes with the plane evened out the "steps" shown above and the foil was really starting to take shape.

I've got a longboard on order, so I should be able to get the final shape faired and ready for carbon fiber reinforcement and glass sheathing later this week. Then more fairing to the get the final shape.

All in all, everything is coming along quite well.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Under Pressure

As I mentioned in my previous post, I discovered that if the hull sides are stitched in tight to several of the frames the result will be a hollow around each frame. The hollow will ultimately require substantial fairing once the hull is flipped. More importantly, however, is that it takes a tremendous amount of force to pull the hull in tight to these frames. To me, it seems that pre-stressing the hull in this manner is not a good idea. I, for one, do not want my hull to contain substantial potential energy while it sits idle. After all, potential energy is what give bombs their power, right? I would worry that a minor collision in the area of a pre-stressed area could result in a substantial repair.

As an alternative I left the hull relaxed at these frames (all but 18 and 169.5). See pics below. I stitched the chine side and the rail side in tight and then transferred the curve of the hull section to a 2" wide piece of plywood. The 2" piece of plywood was sistered to the forward side of each frame with silica-thickened epoxy.

The "gap" on the aft side of the frame was filled with silica thickened epoxy and filetted as normal. One trick: the inboard side of the of the sister piece was beveled at 45 degrees to allow the glass tape to conform.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Every little bit helps

This weekend I got the centerline seam filletted and taped. I also stitched in a few more frames, and now the only frame missing is f110. I may wait to get that stitched in until I have the keel fabricated so that I can be certain that the frame is in the correct position. Or I may not...

I also fab'ed up an I-beam for between the transom and frame 169.5, ala what Kevin did on pipeDream.

One issue I have encountered is that with the zip ties drawn tight on frame 53.5 a "hollow" is created in the hull side panel. Doesn't seem right. I will have to ping the other builders to see if they have encounted this and what they did about it. I suppose I could leave the frame a little "loose" (i.e., have the frame away from the hull panel a bit midway up the hull). After all, the thickened epoxy will fill any space between the frame and support any compressive loads.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lickety Split

The second batch of biaxial tape and filler I ordered on Sunday evening from arrived this morning via UPS Ground. Not bad at all. Great prices and quick shipping. Definitely a good source for builders in the Upper Midwest.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

At long last...

...I got my biaxial tape. I ended up ordering 40yds (4" wide) from Price was great (~20% less than West Marine), and shipped quickly. For builders in the upper Midwest this seems like a good vendor (located in White Bear Lake, MN) if you need items quickly---items shipped ground to Madison arrived in a day or two. I just order more tape and colloidal silica tonight, so I will let you know how the shipping routine goes this time around.

As we finally got the tape earlier this week, Traci and I made some great progress this weekend. We started by filleting and taping the chines. We departed from the "game plan" a little by stitching in frames 018 and 053.5 before we started taping. I found that with the stresses and sharp angles near the bow, it was difficult to keep the edges of the side and bottom hull panels meeting at the corners. By stitching in frames 018 and 053.5, we ensured that the bottom and side panels met ideally on their edges. This approach seems to have worked well---the frames line up well with the chines and the sheer. No real extra trimming necessary.

Next up: while we wait for more colloidal silica for filleting, I will try to stitch the remaining frames. Frame 089 still has me scratching my head as to what the best solution is to keep the frame from contorting until the cabintop in stitched in. I will figure some way to prop open the hull in that area until the cabin goes on.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nice Arse...

Still waiting on biaxial tape from West... But I happened to buy 10ft of unidirectional tape at West last week, so I figured I would practice my filleting and taping technique on the transom where the ability of biaxial tape to conform to complex curves is not as critical.

In short, I think it turned out pretty well. Decide for yourself...

I mixed epoxy with colloidal silica to the consistency of thin peanut butter and made the fillet. I also wet out a ~2" margin on either side of the fillet with unthickened epoxy. Then, while the fillet was still wet, I wet-out a strip of glass tape and layed it over the top of the fillet gently working the tape into contact from the center outward. This technique seemed to work well and no bubbles were observed under the tape. Should be solid.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sheer genius?

Unfortunately, I am stuck waiting for my local West Marine to get the biaxial I need to fillet and tape the chines, etc. So in the mean time I've been working on the materials for the sheer clamp (for the uninitiated, the part that joins the hull to the deck). In short, I took a piece of 1x2 poplar and cut it on a diagonal from corner-to-corner. I took this approach so I can get a nice soft curve at the hull-deck joint. To cut the 1x2 on a diagonal on the table saw, I created a simple jig to get a straight edge close enough the blade.

To scarf the pieces of the sheer clamp together, I created another simple jig to allow me to cut a 80 degree bevel on the pieces since my table saw could not do better than 45 degrees.

I epoxied the pieces together, so we'll find out tomorrow how well this worked...

I also fixed a little problem with the forward butt joint in the side panels. When I butted the panel pieces together, I kept the backer piece short from the sheer and the chine so that filleting and taping would be easier. However, I discovered that with the twist that is put on panel during stitching the hull together the forward butt joint was tearing apart. To remedy this I unstitched the front ~3' of the hull and placed a layer of glass tape over the portion of the point that had no backing. Seems to have worked quite well and after re-stitching it seems vey solid. I would recommend doing this from the get-go.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shape up!

Last night I scarfed the hull panels together, and tonight after work (with surprisingly no cursing and spitting!) Traci and I stitched the hull sides to the bottom. Damn, this thing actually looks like it could one day be a boat. And that forklift driver was skeptical...

We started out by drilling holes for the zip ties the entire length on one side of the chine and "loading up" the zip ties. That allowed us to get a good two-person system going drilling a couple of holes at a time the bottom side and cinching down the ties starting at the stern and working forward. This worked out great and we had the shape of the hull in a couple of hours.

I also laminated up the transom, so that will be stitched in tomorrow. We'll also do a little more work on the cradle so that the hull bottom is where it ought to be before we fillet and tape the chines and center line.


"Will the cockpit be big enough for me to lay out and get sun on the way to the race course?"
"Yes, dear. Now help me finish unloading the trailer."

My lovely assistant, Traci takes a break.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Morning Wood

The kit arrived late last night and this morning I picked it up at the shipping terminal here in Madison. The forklift driver looked more than a little shocked when I told him there was a sailboat inside the 48"x96"x10" package.

Only another hour here at work until I can go home and unwrap this puppy!

Let the games begin!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From cradle to grave

I got word from Tim Reiter that the kit shipped on Wednesday. Using the tracking number I determined that the kit arrived in Kansas City yesterday. Getting close now. Scheduled delivery in Madison is for Tuesday of this week.

While I have been waiting for the kit to arrive, I constructed the cradle for the boat. Construction of the cradle was very simple (~1hr) and the materials cost less than $100. (Note: Much of the lumber could be scavenged---the most expensive parts are the casters ($9 ea. at Home Depot). In short, I screwed and glued together two 2"x4"x12' s to two 2"x4"x4' s to make a large rectangluar frame. I then cut a 2'x2' piece of 1/4" doug fir plywood from corner to corner to create four triangles to place in the corners of the frame to keep it from racking. The triangles of plywood were screwed down using 3" deck screws and the locking casters (3" wheel dia.) were fastened to the frame using the same 3" screws.

I basically setup the cradle to carry the load of the boat from between frame 18 and frame 53.5 and frame 169.5. Two more cross pieces were added at the locations for frames 89 and 124. During initial constuction I suppose I can support the bow and stern with blocking as needed.

The last step in constuction of the cradle will be to fasten the plywood cutouts (i.e. the negatives of the frames) provided with the kit which match the shape of the hull.

After flipping the cradle over, there semmed to be quite a bit of flex over the 12' length of the cradle so added a couple of additional casters to coincide with frame 89.

Here are a couple of pictures of the progress so far:

Monday, September 8, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part...

Boy, did Tom Petty have it right.

Shipment of my kit has been a bit delayed---largely due to my work travel schedule. The fact is I'd rather the kit not sit in a shipping terminal in Madison for several days until I can pick it up. Tim at Watershed Boats has been very accomodating throughout, but I'm sure he wants the space in his shop back.

The good news is that it looks as though the kit will ship on Sept. 16 for delivery in Madison at the end of that week or the beginning of the next. I will have to get busy before it gets cold, although I will likely figure out someway to heat my garage since I think it is insulated (it's a rental, so what do I know?!).

On a side note, I got the chance to visit the builder of Pipedream (Kevin). His boat is coming along really well. Seeing his boat got me even more fired up about getting started. Kevin was able to give me some really good tips on some of the build steps---invaluable stuff. Thanks man!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Game ON

Well, I have finally pulled the trigger and a couple of weeks ago I ordered the i550 kit from Watershed Boats in Colorado. In fact, I am told that the kit should ship this week.

On a side note, I have decided to name the boat "Alchemy", hence the blog name.

Stand by for more details from Madison...