Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.
I am a designer/woodworker based in Yorkshire, England. I love using pieces of wood with interesting character. While a lot of people will avoid knotty, cracked and highly figured pieces because they can be difficult to work with, I embrace these imperfections and make them into a feature. However, it’s important to stabilize some of those features.
Embedding Aluminum Honeycomb into Epoxy
I started getting ideas about embedding high-performance aluminum honeycomb into epoxy to make more of a feature of the larger holes in timber that often need to be filled. Aluminum honeycomb is the same product that is supplied to the world’s top composites engineering, aerospace, and motorsport manufacturers.
The Klondike Derby is an annual winter camping trip held in our district (and many others across the country) for Scouts to hone their scouting skills in a winter environment. During the weekend event, Scout patrols go from station to station around our local Scout Camp, facing challenges that require them to demonstrate their skills in making a fire, navigating with a map and compass, cooking, knot-tying, and applying first aid. The Scouts must bring all their gear with them as they trek from station to station, including ropes, stoves, kindling, and hiking staves. Hence, each patrol is required to have a sled for their gear which they, as a patrol, must haul. The sled must be strong and stiff to hold the patrol gear, yet lightweight because at the end of the weekend there is a race between patrols, and the fastest sled wins.
This cherry basin is a project I did for a bathroom in our home. I turned the 17.25-inch wide basin from black cherry. The top of the cabinet is cherry as well, with a natural edge. I applied three coats of 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener epoxy to each, sanding the cured epoxy between coats. The final finish was three coats of polyurethane.
I built this 1929-design Pietenpol Air Camper in my single-car garage, with the final assembly at Pickens County Airport, LQK, South Carolina. Construction over a 6-year period used about two gallons of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. I “hammer tested” scrap wood joints after each mix had cured—wood always split, never the epoxy joint.