terça-feira, 24 de novembro de 2009

Long time no posts!

Long time no post!
It has been some time since I last posted some pics about the daggerboard case.
Since then some progress has been done on the first main hull half and interior panels.
Here I decided to preglass the cabin setee stiffner . This way I hope I save some work later.
First float half is nearly ready to extract from mold. There's only some last taping to be do on the cabin bulkhead. I also left the cabin bulkhead for last as it was easier to walk in and out of the hull to tape all interior panels.
I'm stopping all major laminations until next Spring due to low temperatures. In the meantime I'll be making all the smaller composite and metal parts. This way I hope I can have the boat ready by july 2010. Floats still need to be faired and painted so that should keep me busy till next Spring. If I find I have some slack I may vey well set myself into making a carbon mast!

sábado, 3 de outubro de 2009

Daggerboard case mold

Here I'm setting up the mold for the daggerboard case. To set the tapper on the sides I simply tilted the saw blade 1º as I cut the stiffners and it came out just fine. Inside stiffner tops are also tappered 1º to provide a correct alignment while clamping.Some wood glue and a few screws and it's done !
I had to butt join an extra board to make the 430 mm width out of the cut offs available.

Here I'm applying a sealing coat. If I find it satisfactory I might try to use wax instead of packaging tape as a demolding surface. Temperatures are falling down ( although they have been in the upper 20's till the end of September !) so it's taking longer for resin to cure. Tomorrow I hope I'll be able to sand the mold and apply another resin coat and test if the wax option works.

Cabin roof

After experiencing some unsatisfactory results on the lamination of the first float half at the very begining of the project, I decided then to apply a coat of resin thickned with microballoons before lamination and it yielded excellent qualities with nearly no flaws. Since then I've been using this technic prior to all laminations and the result has been very good.
Here it's possible to see the application of the pre-coat on part of the foam. The metal spatula works very well and the process is easy and quick. After, it only takes a light sanding to prepare the surface for glassing.

This was the most challenging situation so far regarding lamination. It took longer than I expected and for the first time I ended up with a steep exotherm in the resin pot with the roller nearly getting stuck to the fabric before I figured out what was going on. Luckly I had enough time to prepare another resin batch , set up a new roller, put on new gloves and resume the lamination with no problem.

In the end everything came out well. There are no bubbles and the bonding is very good. Perhaps this time I didn't manage to take out as much excess resin as I would like but still the laminate came out reasonably thin.

sexta-feira, 25 de setembro de 2009

Cabin side

I decided to do the cabin side and roof in two steps. This way it's much easier to set up the planks and laminate. Here is the cabin side laminated.
At the bow area I came up with this solution. It looks pretty good but perhaps there's no need to spend too much time here since plane butting will do the same.

I borrowed a laser from a local contractor for the weekend in order to mark the bulkhead lines. It's a very helpful tool. Now I have to figure out how to put the 5º angle in there!

sábado, 19 de setembro de 2009

On to the main hull

After stocking away the floats ( I left them with the fairing strips to do the fairing later together with the main hull) I set up the frames for the main hull. Notice that I cross braced every other pair of frames to make sure they stay vertical as battens are screwed into place. In a first attempt without the braces I had a hard time keeping the frames upright. I was a bit afraid the braces could get in the way later on but it turned out they didn't pose any problem at all.

Here I laying down the first foam planks. I used 360 mm ( 14") wide planks and despite many other builders reporting difficulties working with larger widths I didn't experience any problems here.
Notice that I move the plank a bit to the side in order to use the clamps while I heat form the plank. The difference in the shape is minimal and makes planking a lot easier. I also use V slots on the planks. It worked well with the floats so I decided to repeat the process here. Slots are cut at 45º and they take up a considerable amount of bog . On the next planks I may reduce the angle a bit to reduce bog volume.

Well. Planking done! Thinking about it, it's much faster than one could expect.

Looks good but not as fair as the floats. I did have some misalignments in the curved section near the joining line. On next half I'll put some extra battens on that area.

Now that the hull is ready for lamination I'll be making the bulkheads and other components as I wait for the right temperatures to laminate.
I'm still getting daytime temperatures around 20ºC but by night temperatures can drop close to 10ºC so I guess I'll have to use a plastic tunnel and some heat source to avoid any possible setbacks due to improper curing.

segunda-feira, 24 de agosto de 2009


I decided to make the deck right on top of the floats using them as a support surface for tracing, joining and lamination. Actually I made each deck on the opposite float ( upside down) since they are simetrical. I left the chainplate HD insert for last in order to make moving around easier.
It worked very well and could be a good solution for other builders.
Here I decided to make round holes for the colloidal silica HD inserts. It's much easier and cleaner.

Double layer laminations applied on specified areas and peel plied.

View of the bow. I think it looks pretty good.
Shaping the bow can be a bit challenging at first but it turns out to be pretty easy once you get the hang of it. A power planer comes in very handy! Just down start plowing too much! At the end elbow grease will bring down to the right shape.
View of the two bows.
Note the rebate that was made to compensate for the thickness of the extra layers. I decided to set them parallel to the bow line so I could use a straight piece of fabric and make lamination easier. It worked out very well.

Exterior lamination.
This close-up shows the foam before lamination. Here I applied a coat of resin and glass ballons to fill in the pores and create a substrate to improve epoxy bonding and avoid those typical white patches that frequently show up in the laminate. These patches can be extensive and ruin the laminate.
I used a roller to spread the coat around. I found it very difficult to spread a uniform coat along the float. This wasn't a problem since the idea is to create a grid like distribution to serve as anckoring points just in case conditions arise for the development of "no-bond" patches.
The float's surface was also very carefully dust vaccumed. It took a good 45 minutes ( 2-3 passes) using a heavy dutty vaccum cleaner .

As you can see the laminate came out with a very high quality for hand lay-up (I'm using two 280gr/m2 fabrics for A laminate). No bubbles, no white patches at all and a very thin laminate.
What you see below the glass is the pattern of the pre-coat distribution and some foam joints.
After applying the resin-putty coat the surface must be thouroughly sanded which takes a lot of time but it's well worth the extra work.

Here is a wider view of the laminate.
It came out perfect!
I couldn't find a single flaw in the lamination except for some minor spots with some extra resin.
I was a bit aprehensive about those damned white patches that kept on showing up on previous laminations.
This time I decided to put some extra work on surface preparation and it really paid off!

sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2009


Probably most of you builders have figured out some way to cut straight strips of BD fabric and avoid all those edge threads from coming apart and messing up the whoçe work.

I found this interesting and very simple way to cut straight strips from BD rolls.

First I measure the width on one of the sides, lift a couple of threads using a nail and just puçç them right out of the fabric. The result is a perfect guiding line.

quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2009

Bulckhead Beam flanges

Making the beam mounting flanges on the beam bulkheads can be pretty awkward and time consuming . Having to apply 12 layers! of fabric ( of a total of 96!) on each bulckhead half in a cramped space is far from being a stroll in the park. Yet it's coming out much easier and more fluid than I anticipated. Started with the forward beam bulkheads to build up some courage to tackle the aft beam bulkheads latter on.

Setting up the 70º mold plate was a bit challenging in the begining until I decided to just putty bond a piece of plywood rapped in packaging tape. I expect it to come out although it won't be a problem if they just hang in there as part of the structure.

Back to work!

The past month has been pretty intense with plenty of things to do other than boat building. With several regatas and a visit to Holland to check on Menno's boat I spent many hours at sea.

Our Minitransat is out for maintenance after a pretty demanding sailing season with winds on the 20's most of the time and over 35 kts on one occasion. After several upwinds against choppy seas and some violent downwinds the boat just couldn't take any more beating ( neither could we!). The final account revealed engine failure, 3 busted mast sliders, 4 broken or lost battens and a busted running stays mast tensioner along with some ripps and tears on both the genoa and mainsail.

Now it's time to get back to some serious boat building!

domingo, 28 de junho de 2009

Float half 3 of 4

Past week has been quite productive despite some rainy days along the way. The first two float halfs are ready and the third float half is on the way. Working productivity is increasing with time as expected.
Floats should be done by the end of next week which is not bad for a an effective working time of about 160 hours.
There should be some delay due to unusual weather pattern for this time of the year. By now we should have continuous clear skyes and day temperatures in the upper 30's but actually it looks more like late winter weather with plenty of rain and temperatures around 18ºC.
While this may delay lamination jobs, there are plenty of other things to do such as preparing some smaller components in advance.

quarta-feira, 17 de junho de 2009

Race time!

The building process will pause for a few days along the coming weeks because I have to get our boat ready for the next reggata. The start line is in Baiona (Spain) so we must sail the boat up north next weekend.

On July 10th we are participating in a reggata form Baiona( Spain) to Aveiro (Portugal) in a distance of about 100 miles. The reggata takes off at 3 pm and part of it will take place overnight with the first boats arriving next morning. Last year we finished 2nd out of about 40 boats with wind on the bow running mostly over 25knts.
Let's see how things run this year.
Here is a picture of our Coco mini650. This is a very competitive boat and it's just too bad we won't be able to keep both the Coco and the new F22.

Half no.1 almost ready!

First float half is nearly finished. After bonding the chainplate the float half is ready to come out and free the mold for the second half.


The sequence shows the process used to make the carbon chainplate core from design specifications to final step.
After spending some hours trying to figure out an easy and efficient way to make this part I decided to use this simple jig based on a hard plastic sheet ( from a paint roller package) and two pieces of wood with holes for the G10 tube and an extra hole to pour the resin in.
At the end the part came out quite satisfactory needing only some minor sanding to take out some resin flashing.
After pouring the resin there was a small leak at the bottom which was readely blocked. There's a significant volume o resin involved and considerable temperature build up ocurred during curing which called for the use of a small fan to keep exotherm under control and avoid the distortion of the plastic sheet.
Tomorrow I'll aply the carbon laminate.

sexta-feira, 12 de junho de 2009


After nearly two weeks of low temperature and rain I finaly managed to add another step to the project. Here I'm gluing the stringer. Tomorrow I should be able to vacuum bag the laminate.
I also decided to use peel ply as much as possible on laminated areas where other laminations will take place. This avoids sanding and leaves a nice surface for post bonding. At the far end of the stringer one can see the peeled surface patch where the later the forward beam bulk head will be bonded.

Back to business

I've been busy lately with some CAD modeling for a local company. Anyway the weather has been pretty bad for the past 3 weeks so not much of a change to do any lamination. I took the opportunity to test my new CAD version and drew the mast foot step. Only if it were that easy to execute the part for real.

quinta-feira, 21 de maio de 2009

Today I glassed th first float half. It came out easier than I expected. Still there were some situations that can be improved in the future . Laying the fabric one-handed over all those form frames edges can be pretty tricky with the fabric getting stuck on some sharp corners and edges. I ended up sticking a meter long tube in the fabric roll which made the operation much smoother.
Working with the resin was no problem as I chose to make about 1/2 liter batches. Had a roller and a squegee at hand but the 6" nylon brush did the whole thing without any problem. At the end there are nearly no air bubbles and the epoxy layer looks pretty thin for a hand lay-up.
Next time I might however try to prime the foam with a thin film of epoxy to make the wetting process a bit more fluid and perhaps reduce a bit the resin uptake.
I'm short on peel ply to finnish the bulkheads but I've been doing some shopping around and I found some polyester fabric that might do the trick. Polyester is better than the nylon used in commercial peel ply but it's not as tear proof as nylon and special care must be observed to avoid the polyester fibres getting stuck bonded in the laminate. To avoid this plies should be cut long enough so that there's a sufficiently large resin free fabric overlap to get a good and even grip.

quinta-feira, 14 de maio de 2009

Chainplate pads

This doesn't seem to be too difficult to make but still it helps if you find a simple, fast and effective way to get there.
This is how I did it.

First I traced the curvature on the foam blank using a strip of foam.
Then I cut some slits with a metal hand saw as a guide for the amount of foam that had to be planned off.
Finnaly used a small hand planner to cut the foam to the desired shape. For better results the planner should be driven into the foam at a 45º angle.

Simple does it!

First float half is almost ready for glassing. It took me some time to figure out how to make the 20x20 foam fillet until I realized I could make them off the fillet cut-offs from the stringers. Each 2.5 meter stringer blank gives off 5 meters of fillet for it only takes an extra meter to complete the float lenght.

Vacuum test

Before I get serious about vacuum bagging I did a test run using the aft beam bulkhead. I didn't give it much thought and actually let every possible mistake to take place. This way I hoped to avoid making fatal mistakes later on.

This test gave me a lot of information regarding the whole process. I have all the parts ready for vacuum but I don't have enough peel ply to do the whole operation so I'll wait for the material .

Chainplate pads

For the past week the work on the project took all kinds of forms. Besides some shopping and cleaning up I made a custom cart to carrie around most frequently needed tools and acessories including ilumination.
Down at the bottom you can see the vacuum pump unit. The idea is to build different modules that can be hang up on the cart depending on the operation ( vacuum baging, foam planking, gluing, glassing,sanding,etc). This way everything is at hand and there's no need to wonder around the shop looking for stuff. The cart can also carry special jigs such as a hands free support for the heating gun to preheat the foam. I hope I can save some precious time with this thing.

domingo, 3 de maio de 2009

The Boat

For those of you who don't know what an F-22 looks like here is a picture of Sam Ballard's F-22 built in Maine USA.
Although there may be differences between one boat to the other mine will hopefully look something like this.
From now to then there about 2000 hrs of work!
With ups and downs , fun and some pain I will get there!


Today the temperatures got well into the high twenties so it was an excellent opportunity to put the fast epoxy to work by bonding the scarfed battens. It was a pretty tedious operations having to make 130 ml batches and try to make 3 battens at a time. In order to use a single pair of clamping jigs I stapple gunned the joints and carefully moved them over to free the clamping jigs for the next batten bonding operation. I was afraid the joints might move and ruin the whole job but everything worked out just fine.
It's amazing the way the learning curve evolves along the process. The first batten must have taken me about 45 minutes to set up and bond, while at the end I could easely do three battens in about 30 minutes.
In fact the first bonding operation had to be done over because of a wrong resin/hardener ratio. The thing wouldn't simply cure! It turned out that the stapples where a bit off mid section of the scarf so it was a good opportunity to fix up this problem too.

This was the first contact with the resin and it was a good opportunity to calibrate the batches for maximum resin rentability.
I was afraid it could become a bit messy but it all come out nice and clean. In fact never had to put the nitril gloves on.
At the end used some left over resin to seal the boundaries of the mdf form frames. I noticed that some srews were sweling up the borders.

I will be planning in advance some side operations where I can always use excess resin and or glass. Maybe I'll make some custom tools to use later on in the lamination process.