Tooling up a new 25' sailboat.

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by jim lee, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. jim lee
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Anacortes, WA

    jim lee Senior Member

    We're in the process of tooling up a new 25' sailboat. Its an entry level trailerable sailboat. Something to take the wife and kiddies out on the lake for a weekend camping trip. The difference with this machine is that its design roots are from the sport boat world.

    So it should actually be a lot of fun to sail.

    Anyway, our team has some complete novices (Myself included) and some old hands in the boat industry. ( Mike, in charge of tooling, lofted the Valiant 40 ) I'm keeping a log of the process of tooling up this machine from design to production and thought you-all might like to watch.

    Here's the link : Building the Left Coast Dart

    Comments on what we are doing, and HOW we are doing it are greatly appreciated. There's a lot of knowledge out here and we'd love to tap into it.

    Below is an early design drawing. It gives some idea what the boat should look like when we're finished.


    -jim lee

    Attached Files:

  2. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Brisbane

    Landlubber Senior Member

    jim lee,

    You are painstakingly progressing, obviously having fun, so we will leave you alone in your precise world of CAD. As you have no doubt realised, CAD planing is no better than hand drawing for accuracy, it is however great for speed of manufacture. If you had used a printable fabric like mylar you can shave the wood down to the layer and stop there when you glue laminations together. I actually only use paper to do the job of delicate parts, the white paper is easy to see in the laminations, and using a hand plane is really just the only way to go. The band saw cuts the laminates to within a few mm anyhow, so it is no big deal to shave off a few mm.

    Looks like you spend as much time doing the website as you do making the boat, great to see someone doing a first class job of things, even if it is excetionally slow, obviously not a production workshop, but lovely to see just the same.

    I wish I had time to play like that, we have to get things done asap, if not before, so it is all go, flat out here where I work. Deadlines, budgets and demand for goods all help take away the lovely feeling of what we do for a living sometimes. I envy the time and quality of the work.

    All the best to you all.
  3. jim lee
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Anacortes, WA

    jim lee Senior Member

    Well thanks for the complements on the website, really its like any other job. Correct tools make the work easy. The web site is about 2-3 hours/week.

    Up until now everyone's been part time. I just tried to quit my day job to put more time into this and was put on "leave of absence" (West marine) Mike is winding down teaching for the season, so he'd going full time as well next week. Charles can't quit his day job yet.. Anyway we're hoping this'll speed things up. The plan is to have the tooling finished by September, 'cause that's when I loose Mike.

    -jim lee
  4. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I had no idea this process required so much manual labor. Have you considered using computer and laser to cut the wood -- rather than plans and a band saw? From what I'm seeing, a laser cutter would eliminate a whole lot of steps.
  5. jim lee
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Anacortes, WA

    jim lee Senior Member

    Well, there's a lot of ways to skin a cat..

    My first plan was to just have the entire thing 5 axis routed, seeing it comes from CAD system anyway. But.. Mike & Leif both wanted to do it the traditional way, said in the end this would actually be cheaper.

    It was my idea to glue the prints to the wood. I didn't want to wait for Mike to finish classes, so I just made things up as I went along to get going. It may not be the best way, but the results seem to be pretty good.

    What we are working on now are the foils that make this thing perform. Because of this I really want them as close to the print as possible. When we do the hull, things will loosen up. And, I'm assuming, by the time were doing the deck plug it'll be "Hey, this looks cool lets do it this way."

    The plan is to have the hull and Deck plug laser cut. There's services that will take a CAD drawing, slice up a strong back and stations then ship them to you. Leif has done this a few times and has a company he likes to use, so the plan is to use them.

    -jim lee
  6. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Gawd - so much fine work for an 'entry level sailboat'. Its like you are building a rocket ship. I dont think 1/8" here or there will matter except to the purchasers ego.

    Got any advance orders yet?

  7. jim lee
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: Anacortes, WA

    jim lee Senior Member

    Ran across this posting from about 5 years ago. Back when this project just started and we'd just begun in the boat building scene.

    Here's Dart #3 in lake Pontchartrain.


    The building of this boat was blogged on Sailing Anarchy

    We're now building #4 & #5 and there's a Blog about that as well. The owner of Dart #4 (From Hawaii) uses this blog to keep track of the build of his boat.

    Then we have a list of things our owners have accomplished and said with and about their Darts. Link

    Of course our www link for the Dart.

    Does anyone care? Who knows? But, after reading this thread again, I did want to show that; We did accomplish everything we set out to do.

    -jim lee
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