The weekend before our wedding, my husband and I bought our S2 7.9 meter sailboat. She was exactly what we were looking for, a trailerable racer/cruiser that was a diamond in the rough. Over the past nine years, we’ve made many improvements, the latest of which was building a custom fiberglass and carbon fiber rudder support, or as I nicknamed it, a rudder hook. Read on to see how (and why) we made it.
By Rachael Geerts – GBI Composite Materials Engineer
Have you ever wondered how laminate thickness can be determined without breaking out the epoxy and reinforcement fabric? The answer is simple—use math. While some of you may have just lost interest because you think math is too difficult, I can assure you that this math requires nothing more than some basic multiplication, addition, and division. Let’s get to it.
By Mark Morrison – Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation
On the surface, the span looks like any of the thousands of small, narrow two-lane bridges across America. This new, high-tech bridge in Morgan County, Tennessee uses G/flex® Epoxy in a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite material deck embedded with fiber optic sensors. It replaced a damaged, decades-old concrete crossing which, like thousands of low-volume bridges across the nation, was structurally deficient and outdated.
What is the difference between abrasion and impact? What materials hold up best against each of them? These questions often come up when talking about skid plates. Skid plates are a protective layer, typically on canoes and kayaks, that reinforces the areas of the hull most likely to suffer damage from abrasion and impact. Continue reading →
It all started when I got a new 360-degree camera for my racecar. Mounted on the dash, it captures a really cool perspective that allows viewers to see forward, watch cars as I pass them, and to see what I’m doing (check it out at youtube.com/user/jeffmcaffer). Unfortunately, the dash produced considerable glare on the windshield. As you can see in the photo, it also had various holes and divots that were not useful in a racecar such as a coin tray, air conditioning vents, and extra switch panels. I wanted to fill those in. But how? Continue reading →
Many products, especially boats, are now being manufactured with a process called Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM), also frequently referred to as infusion. The main topics of this article are: what infusion is, how to repair an infused part with vacuum bagging vs. infusion, and the results of our study comparing a vacuum-bagged repaired laminate and an infused repaired laminate. Continue reading →
Cover photo: Strings, build by Gougeon Brothers, saling on the Saginaw Bay. Epoxyworks 49, Fall 2019
I used this quick mold method in order to move the mainsail traveler cleat from the transom of Strings to put it within easy reach of the helmsmen. The part I made had to be strong enough to withstand the loads of the traveler.
A male mold was the best choice for creating the shape to put the cleat where I wanted it. I
began with Owens Corning® Foamular® 150 foam insulation, the “Pink Panther” rigid board foam sold at home improvement stores. It comes in different thicknesses and will bond easily with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to build thickness or create the desired shape. This foam is inexpensive and easily contoured with basic hand tools. I used a piece that was 2″ thick by 3″ wide and 7″ long. Continue reading →
Featured image (above): A scrap of curved fiberglass panel was the perfect piece to extend the nose of the car body to match the new profile.
Creating things has been a passion of mine over the years, and I continue to improve my skills and grow more proficient at building composite parts. I also enjoy the challenge of helping others create one-off composite parts. I’m happy to share some of the materials and techniques I’ve used over the years to build composites with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and provide an example of a recent project. Continue reading →
Featured image (above): A typical vacuum bagging setup.
What is vacuum bagging?
Vacuum bagging is when a composite that is laid up and wet out by hand is then put under vacuum to compact the laminate and force out excess epoxy. Vacuum bagging has been a choice method of manufacturing and repairing composites for a long time. Continue reading →
USA Bobsled/Skeleton’s Crew Chief, Richard Laubenstein, constantly works toward one main goal: to design and maintain the fastest, most aerodynamic bobsleds for Team USA’s athletes. Bobsleds are high-performance machines powered by people. Athletes push the sled in a sprinting start to gain speed, then jump in to continue down the icy track at speeds exceeding 95 mph. Continue reading →