Small sailing composite

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by CanQua, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. CanQua
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    CanQua Junior Member

    First lets get this out of the way. I know I'm nuts, and I'm proud to admit it. Feel free to rib me or call me a complete idiot. I've thick skin. I'd also like to say thanks in advance for any help you have and appreciate the knowledge I've gained by perusing these forums for a few months now.

    Now on to the fun stuff.

    I've got possible access to some composite material on the cheap and figured I'd kill a few hundred birds with one stone and try to make a small boat. I've a long journey ahead of me and figured I'd take you along for the ride. I'm not a sailor, or a boat builder, or anything else that might prove useful to start this. But I figure, what the heck, have to start somewhere. (did used to work for skeeter bass boats, so I've seen one way to make em ;) )

    I'm wanting to build a small sailboat, for use on the local lake, I might have access to some kevlar (16.7oz) and some carbon fiber(3000 filaments/yarn, 12.5±0.5 warp count per inch, 12.5±0.5 fill count per inch, plain weave can't find the weight) Though I'd probably like to have some type of foam or Hexcell core.

    Stepped mast, something small that is obviously trailerable. Not sure who has a useful plan for something like this. I'd like to find plans for something like this, but I don't really see any of the small free plans mentioning things like pre-preg and autoclaves(the largest here is 96"x240" and can run 250psi and 500F). I'd love to use some pre-pregs I've access to and the equipment to make a nice little sailer. Have cad software as well, though nothing specific for boats

    So there it is in a nutshell(better known as my head). I need plans for a small sailer, stepped mast, easily trailerable, preferably lightweight, but substantial enough to actually be sailing a 300# man. Have dreams of a 45' but doubt any of the designs that are from that size would scale properly. So enough rambling before I actually confuse you so much you don't want to point me in the right direction. Not set on a mono or multi(3 piece design with the two hulls separating from the center?) I'd love to have the time to design my own, but the material would be long gone by then.

    I might not even be able to land the material, so this may be nothing more than a mental exercise, eh, we'll see.

    Feel free to ask questions as I'm sure I've given you nothing useful to go on. I'll do my best to research fully anything you point in my direction.
     
  2. steele m.a.
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    steele m.a. Designer/Engineer

    The resin will cost you $100.00 a gallon.
    A drum of it will cost $2,759.00
    An hour after mixing it , it will have become either what you were
    planning on building , or a big expensive hockey puck.
    Just so you know.
     
  3. CanQua
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    CanQua Junior Member

    Thanks for the heads up. Though I have a fairly good idea of the process and costs involved. I've actually acquired the Kevlar now, and am waiting on the carbon fiber. Just under 5000 ft2. Not a lot, but enough to reinforce the important areas. It's about $8500 worth, and it's a pre-preg, so no messy barrels for me.

    As I said, it's a work in progress that might not happen still. Or might go to another project if I can't get enough relevant information to be successful here. Never know. Thanks for trying to scare me off though. It might have worked if I was a bit smarter, but I want to build a boat. ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  4. steele m.a.
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    Location: Victoria B.C. Canada

    steele m.a. Designer/Engineer

    We're in Brentwood Bay , near Victoria B.C.
    We have a sailing hull design , it's for a 25' sloop.It's a new design , mine.
    I'm finalising provisional patent protection on it right now.
    It's an exciting design - we're initiating a build here , if you would like ,
    I can fill you in on the details.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You've got to be kidding, right?

    You're buying materials for a boat that you haven't plans for?

    Isn't this a bit like buying mags for a car you don't own.

    Look consider the cost and value of the materials you do have, bite the bullet, find a designer or design and plop down the cash. These materials are incorporated into highly engineered structures. This requires a high degree of skill, education and research. You can't possibly expect to see these types of plans available as low cost or free packages.

    As for designing yourself, you can do this. Of course you'll need an education across several areas of expertise, but I'm sure you can do it. I suspect, if you study real hard and are a good student, you could absorb enough yacht design and engineering concept and application, to get a boat designed in about 2 years. It would be very helpful if your math and chemistry skills were higher then the average high schooler. If not or you want to get started now, you'll have to buy a set of plans. Prices for these will likely run from 3% to 10% the finished value of the boat.
     
  6. CanQua
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    CanQua Junior Member

    :)

    Yep, it's a bit of putting the horse before the cart, but I happen to have access to the material at a ridiculous price. Next item on the list is 80k worth of carbon fiber. Now, say for instance, that I could get that material for $500. Would it be worth it? In my mind it is. I'd love to send this in the direction of a boat builder, but unfortunately I can find none in the area. And anyone I could contact would think i'm nuts anyway and send it to the spam folder.

    I honestly don't expect anyone to give away their work either. I know of the thousands of hours that are put into a well designed system, and have great respect for those who've taken the time to learn the needed information. I was just asking for something on par with the free or low cost I've seen with traditional materials. I figured it was a shot in the dark, but I tend to ask odd questions and get the occasional pleasant surprise.

    I already have a background in composites, though it's aerospace, so the basic concepts are there, just not the marine knowledge. And I do appreciate your honest response. I guess I just didn't realize how closely guarded the secrets were to working with composites. I'd thought that since the glass versions had been around for so long, that there would have been some transfer of knowledge to the newer materials.

    I have access to all the machinery for composites already, and have friends here who would happily assist me in the area's I'm lacking. Have access to chemists, R&D lab, a decent engineer or two, highly experienced layup workers, etc. I'm in a unique environment.

    So again, thanks for pointing out the flaws in my plan. I didn't say it was the best way yo get there, just happens to be a turn I see up ahead and am trying to make the decision to follow that interesting looking road, or continue down the path till something else more interesting comes along. Before long this material will expire, and I'll just have to wait for the next opportunity.

    Perhaps I'll just turn the Kevlar into body armor and sell it to the yacht's trying to get around Somalia ;)
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There certainly are designs available. You'd be best served contacting a designer privately and asking about stock plans, a semi custom or full up custom. You'll get precisely what you want, incorporating the materials you can get and the prestige of building a one off.
     
  8. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    sail boat trailerable

    Just a thought--there are others, Stan. Look over all the info you get incld. study plans. All prices are clear, all designed by Naval Architects and they have been in business over 50 years
    http://www.glen-l.com/designs/sailboat2/jamescook.html
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    None of the Glen-L designs incorporate the fabrics or construction techniques CanQua intends to employ. There could be conversions made, but again it will require a consulting designer at the very least.
     
  10. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Materials can be interchangable. I have never built a fiberglass boat. Many have on the Glen-L forum. I have built 100s of "custom" structures designed by architectics but I have always built a proven hull. It is nice to know you can call on others who have built same for advice. I do not sail but if I did, I would want a proven product (hull). I fell the same way about home built airplanes and I've built those also. I built my first boat in high school--a 14' Glen L run a bout and 1x4 mahogony was 20 cents a foot. That was in 1958/59. I only offer thoughts to the new born builder who has a dream. Stan
     
  11. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    Start small and work your way "up the ladder"

    starting "high end" like this needs LOADS of practice

    believe me i am actually doing it

    and when they say it takes time - it sure does :D
     
  12. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Good advise Manie B I only add check out everything you can. Stan
     
  13. CanQua
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    CanQua Junior Member

    Thanks for all the advice. I'll check out any links provided, as I love new information.

    I was actually thinking small, along the lines of just a small dinghy to begin with. and I still might run that way to get a good feel for it myself. I wouldn't mind having anything I could just get out on the small local lakes and get some fishing in. Of course I really want a 45' or so and to travel the world. But that's a bit beyond my means currently. so I thought I'd try to settle in the middle. I just want something that can sail, but is still small enough to get on a trailer. I do things like this because I enjoy a new challenge. Because I don't find near the quality I like to put into anything I can purchase from someone else. I've also found out that when I start a project from the ground up, I tend to know it's limits and strengths better.

    I also work in quality, so I see everything wrong that can possibly happen in a layup. I also find the root cause and make sure it doesn't happen again. I doubt there's anything dealing with a composite I've not seen. But I also know the more I learn the less I know.

    With that said. Thanks for responding. Hopefully I'll find what I need soon and can. Worst case is I'll be able to post a few items of interest to tell you how not to build a boat ;)
     
  14. lesburn1
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    lesburn1 Junior Member

    This thread is very funny. I look forward to many more posts.
    Just a helpful hint CanQua, always put a light coat of glass or something over Kevlar. If Kevlar is exposed after the build (grounding, drilling through holes, etc.)
    you could very well spend the rest of your life wet sanding the little fussies off.
     

  15. CanQua
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    CanQua Junior Member

    Thanks for that little tip, Believe me that's one that you don't have to learn twice. I've found the easiest thing with holes, is drilling first, then filling the edge with epoxy, letting that dry, and then drilling again to size. The epoxy will set up on the fibers giving you a fairly clean break on the fuzz. And it's also a great idea to have any holes going through a laminate edge filled anyway for strength, and the aforementioned fuzzies.

    Good to know that at the very least I'm a distraction from your daily grind. :) Hopefully all will work out and this thread will entertain you for many moons.
     
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