Category Archives: Composite Fabrication

creativity drum

Drumming In Circles

By Tom Pawlak

Epoxyworks 39

Cover Photo: A variety of drums made by Technical Advisor Tom Pawlak.

In 1991, during testimony before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart stated:

”Typically, people gather to drum in drum ‘circles’ with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.”

I recently joined a group of mostly old guys who meet a couple of weekends a year to experience nature and the great outdoors. We all come from a diverse cut in society yet we all get along so well. One reason is we Continue reading

Strings Centerboard Adjustment

By Greg Bull

Strings, as unique as the man who designed it, continues to be a work in progress for us at GBI. In Jan Gougeon’s first year of sailing Strings, he noticed the boat felt sticky at times. He thought it might be the centerboards jibing too much and the solution might be locking them straight. The center boards work as jibing boards by having two high spots on each side of a centerboard head creating the pivot point to get the boards to change angle, or jibe. The actual pressure from the boat going through the water and wanting to slide sideways gets the boards to jibe. Continue reading

Goshen students

588 Miles Per Gallon

By The Students of Goshen High School’s Engineering Design & Development Class

We are a group of students from Goshen High School in northern Indiana and for the past six years we’ve had the opportunity to design, build and test high mileage prototype vehicles in a class called Engineering Design and Development. Year to year this program serves about 30 students aged 15 to 18. We begin with little to no background in an automotive or engineering technology background, and through the course of this program learn many new skills. Continue reading

completed skim board

Vacuum Bagging a Skim Board at MITES Competition

By Ben Gougeon and Don Gutzmer

For the past couple of years Gougeon Brothers Inc. has been involved with the Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society (MITES). This non-profit organization consists of over 600 members involving both high school teachers and students who believe in the power of hands-on learning. The students build a project throughout the year and compete in the MITES annual regional, state and national competition.

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composites merit badge project

Composites Merit Badge

By Mike Barnard

As an Eagle Scout, I understand the work ethic and dedication each Boy Scout must have in order to achieve the Eagle Scout rank. It requires earning 13 merit badges demonstrating knowledge on topics ranging from cooking to nuclear science to music. As of January 1, 2014 there are over 120 elective badges a Scout can earn beyond the required 13. A Scout must obtain a certain number of elective merit badges for each rank. Continue reading

Fabricating an Air Scoop

Using the Lost Foam Method

By Brian Knight

I used lost foam construction to fabricate a fiberglass air scoop for my son’s Formula Continental C race car. Our project started because a modification to the shape of the race car body necessitated the construction of a new air scoop. The air scoop is bolted to the car body so if either the air scoop or the body is damaged (a very likely scenario), the repair will be simpler. To fabricate the scoop, I made a Styrofoam male mold, surrounded the mold with fiberglass, and then dissolved the Styrofoam to leave a hollow part. I used Styrofoam to build the male mold for several reasons. It is readily available at most lumberyards, it is easy to shape with files and sandpaper, and it is easy to dissolve with lacquer thinner.

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Build What You Can’t Buy

By J.R. Watson

Do you sometimes need a replacement part for your boat, home or recreational vehicle and find out its no longer available? Discontinued. Source unknown. Can’t be found. Maybe the price borders on insanity or, you need a part that simply does not exist and never did.

“Okay,” you say, “I need it, can’t get it, my only option is to make it.”

As soon as you reach this decision, two thoughts pass through your mind. “How will I make it?” and “What materials shall I use?” You may have a third question like, “Am I the only one that has these problems?” Continue reading

Testing for Damage Tolerance

By Jeff Wright

Ted Moores and his company, Bear Mountain Boats, build wood epoxy strip plank canoes, manufacture kits and publish books on building strip plank canoes and kayaks. This method of construction provides a very light yet stiff structure and also enables the hull shape to have compound curves. Moores has 30 years of experience and his designs have logged many safe miles. He understands the forces boats are subjected to when paddled on the water and during transportation. Continue reading

Building Composite Tubes

With WEST SYSTEM and braided fibers

By Captain J.R. Watson

Tubes are used on boats for hard tops, 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 light weight, custom shapes and sizes, and corrosion resistance. Composite tubes can be faired and painted to produce a seamless appearance to match the boat, or left to show the carbon fiber. I’ve been experimenting with approaches to building a variety of composite tubes. Following are some things I’ve tried (some that worked and some that did not) that you may find of value if you want to produce composite tubes yourself. Continue reading