Solar Powered Boat Hull

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by RochesterSS, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. RochesterSS
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

    Hi, I'm new to this forum, but figured there was no where better to get help in building a boat than a boat forum.

    I am a member of a club at the University of Rochester. We are building a solar powered boat for a competition. This year we are building our first hull and hope to make it of fiberglass. The boat is going to be about 16 feet long and 3 feet wide.

    We have sections (from a program called Orca) that we plan to cut out of plywood. We are then going to put a mesh over our male, and this is where we are at a stall.

    Can someone please advise us on the best fiberglassing method/process for this application, and a potential vendor? Any links would be greatly appreciated. I am just a little confused by some of the sites I have seen, like about sheets and rolls and resins. If anyone knows any vendor closer to Rochester, NY that'd be best since it would decrease the cost of shipping.

    Thanks,
    Rochester Solar Splash
     
  2. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Go to Composites One who are a major composites distributor. They have locations all across the country, and a number of outlets not too far from you. They can provide you with all the materials you will need both for the building of the boat and the tools to work with. You can see their website at:

    http://www.compositesone.com/

    Composites One is a major supplier to most of the boatbuilding companies in the country, and they can also give you the technical advise that you will need.

    Good luck on your project.

    Eric
     
  3. RochesterSS
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

  4. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    I prefer Core-Cell (SP Systems--Gurit) because is has good properties and comes in a variety of forms. Alternatives are the PVC foams such as Airex and Divinycell. Stay away from the polyurethane foams as they are very low strength. However, if you want really light weight, which is important in boats with low power such as your sunlight driven boat, and since the boat is not really big, then you might consider the Nida-Core plastic honeycomb.

    Eric
     
  5. RochesterSS
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

    Do you know any price estimates for any of these materials? We are trying to build the entire hull on $3000-$4000. Websites don't seem to like to post prices on these types of materials. I'm sure I could try to talk some companies down in price a little for sponsorship recognition. We did get solar panels from BP for free, even before the oil spill!
     
  6. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Call one of their sales offices closest to you and start asking questions about price. They will give you quotes over the phone. You'll need to have a rough idea of how much you are going to need for glass, resin, core, etc., everything you need. Composites One, like many distributors, has roving sales staff that can come visit with you to see your situation. So, start a dialog, and you'll eventually get everything you need.

    Eric
     
  7. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

  8. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    Weight is everything with these boats. I have no idea of the skills present in your project group, but perhaps it is an idea to invite someone experienced to have him show his skills.

    You have your frames up, chicken wire over it, I understand?

    You basicly have 2 routes now:

    First (and easiest)
    Remove the chicken wire.
    Cut strips of foam, and plank the stations with that.
    Sand fair
    Laminate outer skin (glass or carbon, depending on budget)
    Fair and paint
    Turn around
    Laminate inner skin
    Install bulkheads

    Option 2:
    Laminate CSM glassmat over the chicken wire with cheap polyester resin
    Fair with lightweight polyester putty
    Sand fair and smooth (lot of work!!!!)
    Apply more putty
    Sand
    More putty, etc.
    Now paint with PU paint or a polyester based product
    Apply mold release
    Laminate inner skin
    Vacuum on core material
    Laminate outer skin
    Fair and paint.

    As for core material:
    I would opt for a lightweight foam core, such as Core-Cell M60 or Airex C70.55. Nida is just as heavy as Core-Cell M80, and generates less stiffness. (it is cheaper, though...)

    Reason is weight, or stiffness vs weight. Thicker is better in that respect.
     
  9. RochesterSS
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

    Thanks Herman, I really like the sound of the first suggestion. It actually works well for us since all we have are a few of the sections cut so far. We were just assuming we should use the chicken wire and looking ahead a couple weeks. How close would you estimate the sections should be? right now I was guessing one every 8 inches or so but I'm wondering now if that's not enough/too many.
     
  10. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    That depends on the thickness of the core. But keep 12-16" distance and you should be OK. (I know it is a bit conservative, but better too much than too little.)
     
  11. RochesterSS
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

    When working with core-cell is it mandatory to heat it to bend it to shape of the boat? I seem to be seeing different things about this online. If so, is there an easy way to heat it up in a small space like a workbench surface. (Bigger than the sheet sizes I saw online.)

    Thanks!
     
  12. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    Totally depends on the curve you need to make. If you plank your way from the deck up to the keel, in narrow strips (the width dependant on the curve it needs to make) then you probably do not need to heat bend.

    In the front you might experience some difficulties to plank without heat bending, but consider changing the direction of the planks there.

    If I can find it, I will post a picture about that.
     
  13. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    Here is the picture i mentioned.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. RochesterSS
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    RochesterSS Junior Member

    Just out of curiosity, what type of core material is that?
     

  15. Herman
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    Herman Senior Member

    This is Strongplank, now marketed under the name "Everstrip". It is a low weight (60 kg/m3) PVC core, with polyester resin and glass fibers around it.

    Strongplank was made in a quite cumbersome manner, weaving fibers around the core, then manually impregnating them, clamping them in moulds, then sand after cure. Now the stuff is made with a pultrusion machine.

    www.everstrip.nl
    www.brandscomposiet.nl
     
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