First, a note about low picture quality- we did this to minimize filesize for those whom get these blog posts delivered to their email. Full res photos at blog.gotransat.com
Last night, we started and finished the process of applying carbon fiber to the exterior of the hull.
First, Max got the crew together to go over some of the details of the process. Because we vacuum bagged the hull, some steps needed to be changed from what we’d usually do. Brendan made some stands for the hull to secure it during the process.
Max and Matt mix epoxy with 407 low density filler to fill gaps and cracks between the foam strips- increasing strength of the joints while maintaining a low density structure.
The filling compound, fully mixed, has the consistency of ketchup.
Max, Dan, Teresa, Brendan, and Nate apply filling compound.
Max, bred to eliminate weight at every opportunity, follows after everyone else to make sure that they didn’t leave any extra filler on the foam.
Left to right: Teresa and Lucy (the only two girls in the neighborhood whom haven’t joined the TransCat resistance group)
After the gaps have been filled, Dan, Max, and Dylan begin rolling epoxy onto the foam. We do this to fill the pores of the foam so that the carbon will take less time to saturate and will stick to the surface easily.
The process of laminating 5.8oz carbon fiber to the hull begins
Max and Dylan use foam rollers to apply epoxy to the carbon in order to saturate the fabric and prepare it for the next layer of carbon.
After two layers of carbon, we applied pealply; a fabric designed to, upon application of a vacuum, flatten fibers and prepare the surface for the application of paint.
After applying a breather material to maintain an even vacuum, Mike, Dan, and Matt prepare the vacuum bag.
The vacuum bag will allow for a 13 PSI vacuum to be pulled on the hull, which pulls excess resin into the pealply and breather.
Tacky Tape is used to seal the bag to the hull.
Because of the size of the bag relative to the size of the vacuum pump, it’s important to minimize leaks- a drop of even a few PSI can compromise the process. It is the job of the vacuum not only to reduce excess resin, but to pull the carbon to the foam and ensure that the carbon forms corners well.
More checking for leaks while Max sets up the vacuum pump.
Max sets up the hose between the bag and the pump.
Waiting for a vacuum to be established.
Max sets up a heater to blow warm air over the hull for a few hours; epoxy cures faster at warmer temperatures.
The next morning- still covered but fully cured!