Monday, June 8, 2009

The Yard comes to life...

These days I've been going out to the FLASH and doing some infrastructure work... but I've also been doing some creative thinking about the materials I want to buy.

This week we were due to pay our ISP, and after consulting with the 1st Mate, we boosted our Internet speed up to 4 mb/sec. Now I'm surfing through the many sites that are hosting Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, looking for the exotic materials I can't afford at US prices. 

There's rigid, high density polyurethane foams for building strong, lightweight composite sandwiches for bulkheads, decks, hull extensions, etc.  It is easily shaped, is waterproof, flame resistant, rot proof, insect proof, bonds easily to resins and to itself... so it makes a good core material.
Also on my list is epoxy. It's stronger than polyester and easier to work with.

And finally, the sources for carbon fiber cloth, carbon and kevlar woven hybrids, and kevlar. These materials are amazingly lightweight and strong. A friend showed me a dorade cowling made from carbon fiber... the material was thin- the thickness of the cardboard they use to package inside a new dress shirt. It was extremely strong and so light that you felt like your senses had gone awry. They make the Stealth fighters and bombers with this stuff.

I'm thinking that maybe, the Chinese might have better pricing on this stuff, because in the US, it's horribly expensive. (The paper thin stuff is about $30 a yard.)

The generators have been getting my attention.
There's no electricity on my lot, so I am my own power company... we have four generators: the diesel Westerbeke that will go into the Flash is rated at 15 kw, the 2 cylinder Onan 4 kw gas  driven genset that came off our rv, the portable Honda 2 kw set (still on SV BLISS in Barra) and a Generac 750 watt portable.

I've been setting up the Onan to do the work in the yard, since it's large enough to run the air compressor. The Westerbeke requires a huge amount of water to cool it, because it's a marine model, so that one will wait until the FLASH gets wet. The Generac was recently rebuilt, but it sat for a year with gas in it and needs some carb work before it will run... but I like that one for running the electric power tools.

I've been cleaning up the area, repositioning the shade cloths, mending the fence and gates, and organizing tools. I have enough materials to start plugging through-hulls that I won't use and that will be the place where I start on this thing. The epoxy will cure pretty fast now the temps are up.

1 comment:

rob said...

My experience of China is that the epoxy is a lot cheaper than the UK and also the matting I have no experience of the carbon fibre. they do want to sell you a container load but I guess they will have agents in the US but it will effect the price. Also what you see isnt always what you get and poor quality used to be the norm. I dont know about now. I even had an agent check the stuff onboard from the docks but it wasnt like the samples I ordered it from. So any advice? Mmmmmm Be careful