Lightest, Cheapest, Fastest To Assemble Panels?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by oceannavigator2, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    What about Nida Core panels ?
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You're correct, there's a fair bit of prep with plywood, but the same is true of a cored panel and other methods and materials. Cutting the panels, coating and installing is the cheapest and not terribly difficult for most folks. Yes, there's a goo factor, but much less than a cored structure, such as Nida Core, which is about $120 for a 3/4" full size panel, which still needs a skin on both sides.

    Sheet aluminum is an option, just cut and attach to a frame, but certainly not the cheapest. You could move to steel, maybe powder coated, but invariably corrosion issues will arise, unless you go with 316L. Maybe HDPE or other plastic, like PVC, but again the cost issue rises up, plus the difficultly of attachment. Maybe some thought should be given making bulk 'glass panels on the flat, then cutting these up and assembling them over a frame or as self supporting, glued (taped) structures. This might rival plywood costs, but the goo factor would be considerably higher. Maybe 3D printing?
  3. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    At this stage of the fitout the biggest component is going to be labour, perhaps the owner could put in a few hours ? :D

    Be a shame to ruin a million dollar boat with a $2.00 fit out.

    Here's what can be done with polycore, which is the Australian Nidacore equivalent.
  4. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    You might also look at tricell honeycomb for making cored panels, perhaps with doorskin plywood skins. If you are not familiar with tricell it is one brand of resin impregnated kraft paper honeycomb, I don't know how the price compares to PP honeycomb, you would need to check. one of the nice things about using light cored panels is you have nice thick panels to work with without the weight penalty and the ability to make nice radiused corners by kerfing the inside skin and core, fill the kerfs with thickened epoxy, bend it to the desired angle, let it set up, a layer of glass cloth on the inside and your done with no work to be done on the visible side. Also you can make nice light doors with a light wood edging for a finished edge and for fastening hinges and latches, fill the center space with foam or honeycomb, then glue on formica skins, you can then rout a 45 or radius edge detail, light, reasonable price, and stable.

  5. cluttonfred
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    Intersting stuff, Steve. Here is the site:

    A little Google shows at least one U.S. distributor selling complete sandwich panels with 1.5mm Okoume skins each side in thicknesses from 1/2" to 1" for $255-319 per 4' x 8' panel. 13/16" or 1" panels with 4mm Okoume skins are actually cheaper at $247 and $298.

    So, not terribly cheap, but a great timesaver to be sure and very interesting if you are building a multihull or other design where weight is critical.
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If going the cored panel route, I'd be inclined to make up my own, using cheap, big box store foam and 1/8" (3 - 4 mm)) plywood. Doorskin plywood is usually not available with a WBP adhesive, though it can be ordered this way. Also doorskin stock is typically quite thin surface veneered, making it very easy to break or sand trough.
  7. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    It occurs to me that lightest, cheapest and fastest to assemble panels simply don't exist. If I could develop a panel with all three properties, wouldn't I be incredibly rich and too busy to post a comment here?

    Every amateur and pro would use that panel and I'd drive my competitors out of business.

    I like ply/epoxy with the finish of your choice. Cheap, fairly heavy and not fast to assemble but strong.

  8. oceannavigator2

    oceannavigator2 Previous Member

    This is for some interior joinery on a quite large, completely enclosed boat that will not see water inside at any time. Any household items are just fine inside these types of boats. They see no more water inside than a beach side cottage. So, all the same materials in a beach side cottage are just fine. WBP glue simply isn't needed to make up a shelf in a large boat. A trip to Ikea, though tasteless, would hold up just as well as wbp.

    And a correction: This boat is a $1mil boat later, after an additional refit. The first fitout will only put it in the $500k range on the market. Later, on additional fit out, the value will increase as some of this doorskin cabinetry is ripped out and done the fancy way with divinycell or corecell or whatever.

    This is a bit of a quick and dirty, temporary fit out, to get the boat into service.

    I agree that the plywood panels are best for now.

    I did not find big box store foam to be at all cheap, unfortunately, compared to single skin doorskin cabinets with stick framing. The price of cheap box store foam is pretty high,plus you need to bond the panel, then cove it in. Lots of epoxy.

    These are basically temporary fittings. It will be done with expensive, lightweight materials at the next fit out in a year or two.

    End of large build budget woes.
  9. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    The door skins I've seen always came in a door size, 37 x 81 or some odd thing like that.

    A wholesale roofing/insulation supplier is where insulation prices get reasonable.

    Home Depots, Walmarts etc perpetuate the illusion they are inexpensive, but a lot of times they are not.
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Door skins are a poor choice, unless going very low budget. They are available in full sheets, but not at the retail level, but more importantly they don't use WBP glues, which unlike the belief the OP has in regard to moisture resistance, will not hold up, even on a large yacht. A simple test is to place some IKEA furniture on a boat and watch what happens to the faced particle board elements in a short time. It's not the direct contact with water that does it in, but the very high moisture vapor content in the air. Unless the vessel has climate control, running continuously, which will remove the moisture, the non-WBP built products will delaminate fairly quickly. I saw a charter yacht use this very "money saving" technique a few years ago in Canada. The custom cabinetry looked great, for about a year, then the cabinet bases started to swell up, the laminate faces started peeling off and they had to replace most of it, in short order. This was a 87' yacht with full comfort HVAC and all the bells and whistles. The solid surface counter tops where saved, but little else.

    Sam has it right, to get reasonable pricing you have to stay off the retail market and work commercial and wholesale outlets. These places often don't sell to anyone without a license or contract, but the savings can be substantial.
  11. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman

  12. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Can you still get the pre-finished plywood that was once popular for basement walls? That stuff was very good, , well-bonded, lightweight, huge choice of attractive finishes, surface hard and as far as I could see, water-proof. It used to be very cheap. For a partition a layer of pre-finished plywood on each side of a thin frame with epoxy around the edges should work.
    My own experience with door skin was horrible . . .
  13. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    While I mostly agree with Pars last post, i have built a number of small craft out of both doorskin and 1/4" luan underlayment that have held up well, caveat, this was over 20 years ago and the stuff was great, I bought 30 full sheets of luan doorskin from Chicago plywood and door back then and it was very definatly WBP. However, last year i started a thread on doorskin looking for scources of good stuff and have not been able to locate anything like the old stuff, (i still have a sheet) I did a boil test of a sheet of a underlayment a few months ago and it lasted 3 hours before it all fell apart, i wouldn't use it. Stick with bs1088 despite the cost.
    That said Kurt Hughes has a lot of charter cats out there cylinder molded out of doorskin plywood, presumably holding up, would be nice to know how well.

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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    You can get 1/2" Nidacore for about $2/sqft, & then laminate on 1.5mm Luan or other plywood skins. That, or some lightweight glass. Which is pretty good, price wise, for low tech, structural panels.
    Platen mold the glass, & or ply skins on with some pigmented resin, & they'll look pretty sharp, & be quick to build. With nice looking ply, you can go with neat resin. It gives you a nice looking finish, with or without a few coats of varnish. And of course, pretty much seals out the H2O.

    For non-structural app's, substitute some blue, or pink board foam, & you've got some super light panels, Cheap. And of course, again, there are a variety of paper & aramid honeycomb cores.
    The Gougeon's book on Boat Building's available free - 061205.pdf And their websites; + cover most different types of construction, including cored stuff, for those of us unfamiliar with it.

    But in the end, it's still tough to beat 1/4" (6mm) plywood, when it comes down to cost, for building interiors. And one can find ply which looks great when epoxy coated & varnished, with a bit of googlefu. Non-Fir type I mean, otherwise you have to deal with checking (prevention) issues.
    Again, the ply can be platen molded (with pigmented resin or non), as noted above with cored panels, & your finishing issues are greatly diminished.

    Ah, & one option which hasn't been mentioned, is that decent quality plywood can be kerfed & bent, much like has been explained about Tricel honeycomb, or other cored panels.
    Odds are it'd pay to platen mold on a thin glass & epoxy skin to the side not being kerfed first. And to test out your perspective materials to make sure that they'll conform to the kinds of design which you're thinking about for furniture... but, when properly done I'm thinking one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between such, & the (expensive) Tricell option, though you'd be doing it on "the cheap", relatively speaking.

    I'm not sure how you're fixed for time to read, but given the cost of the vessel, it'd DEFINITELY pay to get the Archived set of "Professional Boatbuilder" on Disc, as well as subscribing to the magazine. There's even a way to search through back issues by topic online. So I'm guessing that one can do it via their disc archive.
    I've been around boats for 42 years, & still am always delighted when the new issue comes out. Both for ideas, & info, as well as new materials, & points of contact.

    I know that you speak of doing a refit down the road, interior wise. If it helps, the Dashew's did the same thing in one of their boats, & learned a lot from + really liked the light weight KISS interior. So much so, that when the time came to put a "real" interior into the boat, the initial fitout changed their philosophy on how they did a lot, with regards to the boat's final interior. And to how they built boats after that one.
    Plus, a LOT of high end vessels spend much $ just to get light weight interiors. Be it Gucci sport fishers, so that they can gain 3 knots of boatspeed, or an extra 100nm of range. Or that in the end, when the vessel's build talley is added up, having a few thousand pounds less interior weight means that a good bit less needs to be spend on the boat's structure, due to her being more svelte. So that in the end, the cost for the whole vessel's cheaper.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

  15. Beezer
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    Beezer Junior Member

    What about home depot fiberglass board?

    For nonstructural applications how about fiberglass sheet board over thin foam or even two layers of corplast running in opposite directions for the corrogated bits?

    I saw that the folks that make corplast (used in election signs) also now have a stronger product called Stinger honeycomb board (released in 2013) that might also be an option. The fiberglas boards from home depot can also be special ordered without the bumpy texture which I dislike, and you could perhaps tab the fiberglass sheet in instead of trying to tab to the coroplast, which seems tough to me.

    No way anything of that is delaminating when hit with water or moisture. I have experienced boat additions that used light/cheap luan plywood and seeing the layers of wood open up like an accordian is not something to relish. Even proper marine grade plywood delaminates if it sits in water long enough. In have a boat that has some of this right now.

    Plus coroplast is free around election day (coming up) and even when not free it is cheap as chips. Thoughts/ experiences?

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