Above: A tapered composite tube section joined to a curved section.
Composite tubes are used on boats for hardtops, T-tops, Biminis, dodgers, bows, bow and stern pulpits, rails, canoe, and kayak paddle shafts, boat hooks, and so on. Composite tubes built with epoxy and reinforcing fibers offer advantages over metal in terms of lightweight, custom shapes and sizes, and corrosion resistance.
Above: The notched-beam test for creep stress determines flexible properties.
The Technical Staff at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. regularly discusses material properties in a variety of applications. For example, it is not uncommon for us to discuss with a customer how to use carbon fiber to stiffen a structure, such as the shaft of a kayak paddle, and then within minutes discuss with another how to bond a dimensionally unstable wood, such as oak, and ensure precautions are taken so that the relative movement of the wood will not cause a failure. Continue reading →
Above: The final step in this hockey stick repair is applying a layer of fiberglass tape to the repair area with G/flex 650 for additional reinforcing.
Ice hockey sticks are exposed to cold temperatures plus high shock forces from contact with the puck as well as with the ice and skates. Hockey sticks can be wood/fiberglass laminates or composites of carbon fiber or aramid. The stick blades often chip and split with use and have to be repaired (or else replaced at $50–$150 each). A customer who repairs and maintains hockey sticks for a local team had been using a conventional epoxy for repairs and found that it often chipped under such use. Continue reading →
The 2006 NASA Student Launch Initiative (SLI) began for the Flying Tigers, a competitive model rocket club at Caro High School, Michigan, when we accepted the 13th place award in the 2005 Team America Rocketry Challenge at The Plains, Virginia. At that point, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Approximately six months, and thousands of dollars and work hours later, we enjoyed the products of our labor with a perfect flight into the blue Tennessee sky. Continue reading →
Above: The nearly finished masthead fitting Captain Watson fabricated using the lost foam method of creating custom parts.
Here’s another use of the lost foam method to produce a custom part with a molded interior cavity. In this case, the part was a masthead fitting to hold an internal sheave and provide a route for the halyard to pass. This method can be adapted to a variety of other applications, as demonstrated in Fabricating an Airscoop. Continue reading →
Above: Jeff Wright, Vice President of GBI Technical Services, poised to take a deep dive into types, materials, costs, weight, and stiffness of flat panels.
Many WEST SYSTEM® customers appreciate the benefits of cored composite construction. They understand that it creates a part that is lightweight, strong, and stiff. We often receive calls from these customers inquiring about using a composite panel when building or repairing something that would normally be made of plywood. Such projects may include a new center console for a fishing boat or the replacement of flying bridge side shields. Determining the best material requires consideration of many aspects of the project, but often comes down to cost versus weight. Continue reading →
Above: The singlehanded sailing skiff SWIFT SOLO by Bram Dally was part of his design quest to prevent loss of stiffness in small boats.
Cover Photo: The SWIFT SOLO is a single-handed skiff built by Bram Dally. Stiff, durable hulls are crucial to skiff speed.
One of the little-known or understood characteristics of modern fiber-reinforced plastic composites is the loss of some initial stiffness capability after repeated cyclic loading. Loss of stiffness can be significant enough to cause a noticeable effect on performance, depending upon laminate makeup and degree of cyclic loading. Continue reading →
Above: Palmer Hudson with his epoxy rocket, Glory. The rocket was 6″ in diameter and 9′ tall. The 3″ diameter motor was about 22″ long, with somewhere around 623 lb of thrust and a burn time of 2.6 seconds.
Palmer Hudson’s epoxy rocket, Glory was built out of phenolic tubes covered with fiberglass cloth. All construction was done using the WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy and Fillers. Continue reading →
On a break from the Maine Boatbuilders Show in March, we visited Hodgdon Yachts, Inc. and found significant progress on their latest build, a 155′ Bruce King designed wood/epoxy ketch, named Scheherazade. This is Hodgdon Yachts’ largest wood/epoxy vessel to date. The project is roughly 60% larger than Antonisa, the 124′ sailing yacht they launched last year. Continue reading →
Using epoxy with wood and modern high modulus fibers, the homebuilder can create light and strong evolutions of the sailing canoes designed by the Scot, John McGregor,in the 1860s. Modern decked sailing canoes are simple, efficient, solo craft which are equally proficient under sail or double-bladed paddle. Puffin and Serendipity, for example, are 15′ long with a 34″ beam. Their unrigged weight is 45 lb; fully rigged weight is under 70 lb, including Continue reading →