Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keel Odyssey 4 - The Sleeve

I am so happy tonight you guys have no idea!

Last night I laminated the sleeve on my recently finished keel. That is a delicate step of the building process but the end result was all worth it : I am now the proud owner of a beautiful keel and a perfectly fitted composite sleeve !
Check it out.

This is the layup I used:

1-first layer of plastic film to protect the finished keel from resin. Ben used a vapor barrier plastic film for laying down wooden floors. I could not get the stuff here in Turkey but found a rather thick plastic film that looked just fine. And indeed it worked great.
2-thin (0,5 -1,0) foam film to create a thin space between the keel and sleeve and avoid any problem since I still have to put at least another layer of Brightside on the keel. This foam is used in kitchen drawers. Bought it at my local supermarket. That is the colourfull green stuff on the pictures.
3-another layer of plastic film to make sure the epoxied cloth would not glue to the foam.
4-1st fiber layer = 6 ounce fiberglass
5-2nd fiber layer= heavy aramid cloth
6-3rd fiber layer= 6 ounce fiberglass
7-4th layer= heavy carbon fiber mainly for the looks.
8-final plastic layer on top of carbon for enhanced post cure looks

Again I really used my squeege against that plastic film to fully wet out the fibers and drain all that excess resin out.
The final product is really thin, light, stiff and pretty good looking. And the best of all is that it came out so easily of the keel. I had no issue whatsoever. The plastic film worked wonders and as soon as I pulled on it, the sleeve came out. What a relief...! You guys who have been through it know what I am talking about.......and future builders will sooner or later understand my comments.

That was indeed a keel Odyssey.............but I can!t wait for the next challenge.
And as my fellow builder Josh 'the Shazza' says, "bring it on big fellow !!!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Keel Odyssey 3

.....and than came the primer......... Well, whoever reads the i550 forum knows what happened to me : I had the toughest time with the PreKote primer.
Hey, the stuff is great I am sure , but it is not supposed to be applied onto epoxi surfaces.....And than it also needs to be thin .... and of course I did not know any of that stuff before...!

So I did it all wrong and the first coat of primer took forever to dry. The pros who advised me on what to do thought about amine blush problem but thank to the 'Angel Guard 'of first time builders, my problem was mainly due to a thicker than normal layer.

It ended up drying eventually and I sanded it, applied a second layer and sanded it, and a third layer, which by that time was correctly thinned. What a difference ! Went on much better, was smooth as a baby's butt and sanded like a dream.

By the way, I have to mention the really outstanding customer service I got from Jay from Interlux. I send the company a note to describe my misery and Jay immediately replied with some sound advice. Really felt good not to be left alone by the company who manufactures the product. They know their stuff and they are here to help builders. Thumbs up to them !

So after all I got my keel primed and sanded allright.

I was happy with the primed surface therefore I decided to apply the first coat of Brightside, properly thinned to 10%. It is a beautifull product and applies really easily. When I came back the next morning to see how that first coat was looking I was really surprised with how smooth and shinny that Brightside looks. It is not a 2 part paint but it does the job well.

I sanded that first coat and applied a second one. The end result was of course even better than before.

So I still have to apply at least another coat but I will leave that for later, mainly after I get the bulb molded and fixed.

Right now the keel is good enough for me to do the keel sleeve...Ahhh! Took me forever to get here.....I feel I am not too far from closing that keel box :)

Keel Odyssey 2

After fairing the keel, which took me a great amount of time, I built a jig to make laminating the keel a bit easier. Tim Ford did the same and the Swift Solo web site has a tutorial that describes that jig.

I just tweaked it a little bit so I could take the keel in and out of the rig by myself. That was important because I did all the sanding on my working table and all the laminating and painting on the jig. Coul not have done it without the jig. Great stuff.Here is a shot of it.

Lamination was pretty straightforward. 2 layers of 6 ounce fibercloth took care of the job. I cutted all my cloth layers before hand and marked the center line (that is the purple marks you can see on the leading edge in some pictures. Marking that center line was important to make sure the cloth was applied correctly, as measured during the dry run.

I also used the squeegee more than ever before to make sure the lamination was lighter. The result was good with no dry spots.

After the keel was laminated and cured , I gave it a quick sand and added a thin layer of thickened epoxy. This assured me a very smooth surface without any thread of the cloth to be seen. Of course that final surface was sanded as well before I moved ahead and gave it its first layer of primer......and THAT is another story !

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Keel Odyssey

So I have not posted in a long time for a couple of reasons:
The first reason is that I have spent all of my building time struggling with my keel. As Tim describes it, it is a love -hate relationship. Actually it is more a love type relationship and I just decided to spend as much time as necessary to finish it. And that implies a whole lot of work and very few interesting pictures.
The second one is that weekend time dedicated to building has been reduced with the good weather and winds here in Istanbul. Today (Sunday) was again a good example: about 18knots of wind, waves... Just to good to stay locked in my I spent my afternoon kitesurfing and had a blast. Feels great after a long lasting winter.

Back to the keel, to try to keep a fair profile while shaping the keel I cut out 4 templates out of plywood leftovers and went to work:
one template for the leading edge, one for the trailing edge, and two for the foil chord.
I constantly refered to the templates. They became my more important allied in checking the profile fairness throughout the keel shaping saga.
The rest is an endless story of shaping, sanding, and fairing....
I started out with a planner, switch to an orbital sander and after much sweat, went to the grinder ! I could not find any other way to shape that red oak monster without using the grinder. Just to much material to remove and I could not figure out how to use my hand planner correctly. So after a while I had a somehow decent shape but definitely not worth a picture. Angle grinder does eat material away but is certainly not a precision tool for shaping a keel. So mine was left with a lot of ups and downs which I sanded out with a longboard and very long hours of dedicated work.
Once I got as close as possible to the desire profile, I started fairing.

I though initially that i would not have too much work fairing...My mistake.....But I am glad I used West fairing filler. It sands out great and is really pleasurable to work with. So I just faired, sanded, checked templates, faired some more, sanded some more, checked templates, faired again, sanded again, and on and on until I was satisfied with the end result.
And yes, as you can see in the picture I was left with a lot of fairing material on the initial shape. But it is now pretty smooth an uniform.
I guess it could be better (that is my perfectionist side taking over !) but I think I ll go ahead with what I have .

Here is a section of the keel. The Naca profile looks allright. I cutted both ends of my keel blank because it was purposely longer that final keel measurements. That gave me a good exit area for my tools. It also gave me the chunk of profile I will need to leave the keel space when molding the bulb.

So for the next days I will build the simple rig necessary to laminate the keel. I will do what Tim Ford has done which is basically the method described in one of the tutorials of the Swift Solo.
Than will come the keel sleeve which is another story...