Resin Infusion: Large Balsa Panels

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Straycatstrut, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. Straycatstrut

    Straycatstrut Previous Member

    Hello all!

    I would like suggestions on making
    Large flat balsa panels.

    Which balsa on the market is best used for resin infusions?

    Im using carbon skins

    What technique allows for the lowest resin weight in the finished panel.

    I'm trying to accomplish a finished weight equal to the that of a duflex finished panel. Lighter would be better.

    I only have to make 200 of these!

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Please don't turn this into a foam vs balsa debate. Plans call for balsa, but balsa is known to retain too much resin, which increases weight. I'm trying to avoid
  2. jorgepease
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    jorgepease Senior Member

    You might save a lot of resin and weight if you first roll some resin on the panels to seal them.
  3. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The question is....does a modest "sealing" coat seal against further absorption of resin when the lay-up proper commences ? Certainly seems the way to go if it actually does that, but it should be easy to conduct a test experiment to answer the question.
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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    I would think that you might achieve pretty good results via vacuum bagging. Since you could do some tests to determine the optimum level of vacuum to get an ideal resin content. So that the core to skin bond fails at about the same time as the skins themselves. And, or, at the same time as core sheer failure. Plus it would allow you to use peel ply so that you don't have to deal with any amine blush on the panels. Or is blush avoidable through resin, & or materials choices when infusing?
    Better though to have a panel that's slightly resin rich, than too lean.

    There's some interesting info & reading on custom laying up of flat panels in the construction of Paul Bieker's design, Rocket Science. She was built primarily from flat panels, using a lot of high tech materials & techniques, by Shaw Boat Works. I'd be surprised if you don't learn a good bit from the article. And if you dig up the original version (in Professional Boatbuilder magazine I think) there's likely a good bibliography, & some POC's for the concepts used to design, as well as to build her.
    Her owner is over on he goes by "TJ D". Which he knows a fair bit about her, especially for not being the original owner, & he's pretty easy to talk to.
    The boat is on Paul Bieker's website, listed as a Riptide 55 Riptide 55
    Here's the article on her design & construction mentioned above Technical Details | The new Adventures of s/v Rocket Science
    Plus there's info & discussions on her on Sailing Anarchy Forums, as well as in Professional Boatbuilder magazine
  5. Tungsten
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Tungsten Senior Member

    This would be a good time to try a stack infusion,say 10 panels at a time.Perf film and peel ply between each layer.You only need one layer of flow mesh on the bottom,this would save on resin lines etc.
  6. Jim Caldwell
    Joined: Aug 2013
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    Location: Cleveland, Ohio

    Jim Caldwell Senior Member

    I did a small test 20 years ago using the West systems info that recommends a "hot coat" to seal the balsa. Vacuum bagged bare balsa and "hot coated balsa", the bare balsa soaked Twice as much resin and was only marginally stronger. I would be wary Infusing bare balsa.
  7. Straycatstrut

    Straycatstrut Previous Member

    Thanks a ton! I'm going to get to reading. Great info.

    Joined: Jun 2014
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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    Was the balsa that you used coated with AL600 (from the factory)? It's supposed to minimize the amount of resin which balsa absorbs. Though I can't say that I've done any testing to say how well it works. Also, there are some schools of thought which suggest hot coating foam. As to the validity of this, it's one worth finding out. And I'm sure that it varies from foam type to foam type. But plenty of quite sizeable boats are built using infusion, & both types of cores. For example Lagoon catamarans, of which there are somewhere north of 800 of them out there. Yes, some of their QC leaves something to be desired in some areas, but it seems they have something of a recipe for success.
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