Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hydro: Steering

We are anxious to keep the hydro moving forward. So even though it is too wet and cold for the needed glass work, it was a good day for a run to West Marine to pick up some needed parts.

For the steering we picked up 20 feet of 3/32nds stainless steel wire.  Some assorted swage fittings.
We also got some paint and 2 6inch deck hatches.  These will allow us access to the back of the pontoons.  Good for a little storage, but mainly to keep the interior of the hull ventilated and inspectable.

Here is the thin wire we will use for steering control.

In the bag

We are using a 4x9 inch piece of Starboard for the steering support.  We drilled a snug hole that supports the shaft and acts as a bearing.
The battens we used to form the cockpit fairing will eventually be glassed over.
At some point, we will flip the hull over and do this work then.  We will also address any needed fairing on the underside of the hull and paint the bottom.

Because the shaft and the drum are steel and we are in a salty environment, we sanded the part and coated it in epoxy.

Monday, January 25, 2016

House building: raising the walls

The Hydro is waiting on more epoxy and warmer weather.  We have been building our house.
Here is a clip of a wall raising and some images of the project...

House Elevation: Allison Ramsey Architects

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Hydro: Junk yard Steering

We are trying to keep the cost of the hydro in check so we are fabricating the steering system out of found parts.  (Found in our garage)
To date we have spent about $400 out of pocket on the boat.
Of this, $330 was on glass and epoxy
The balance was on the steering wheel, seat and deck parts at Oriental Consignment.
We are using a cable system to turn the motor.
It is comprised of the wheel, a shaft. a bearing plate, a cable drum and 4 blocks to lead the cable back to the port and starboard sides of the motor.
The shaft is a 5/16ths steel tube we had.  The bearing plate is a front spring strut cap out of my son's 1984 Porsche 944!  He replaced the front struts with Bielsteins and he is happy about that, willing to let the old parts go.
The cable drum is a 4 inch hole saw bit.  This was welded onto the shaft at the appropriate position.
Not only will this provide pulling force on the motor, it also provides a useful backing plate to bolt the steering wheel to.
Today we screwed the bearing plate to the front bulkhead. We added a bit of Starboard behind it to prevent wear through.  We also added a cross strut of mahogany 1x3 that will support the wheel end of the assembly...
The Porsche strut cap is our shaft bearing on the front side.

Here is the hole saw which will allow us to roll stainless steel cable in 2 directions to  both  sides of the motor.

The shaft is about 2 feet long.

Here is the mahogany strut to support the front of the assembly.

A front bearing is still needed.  It could be as simple as a piece of wood with a  snug hole in it.

Good Hydro water!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hydro: Surface Prep

We got the hydroplane outside so we could begin surface preparation.
There will be a great deal of sanding and the weather is nice.  It's good to get out of the shop.
Today we trimmed off the excess glass cloth, sanded the entire exterior and vacuumed the boat off.
The sanding was done with 80 grit.  This is a good aggressive grit to prep for the needed surface fairing.
Here are photos of the current state of the hull:

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hydro: skinning the deck

The last couple of days we have added two layers of 9 oz glass twill set in epoxy.
Prior to this step we had spent several hours adding fairing material to the rough shaped foam.
Additional fairing will be needed after the cloth work is finished but these coats will be much thinner.
To get to this point we were adding serious amounts of fairing material to match the shapes of the pontoons.
In past projects I used Aerosil.  This is the brand name of a colloidal silica product.  I purchased a large volume of it and used it for fairing, structural bonding and fillets.  It is not best suited for fairing because it is harder than proper sanding additives.
Because this project was going to require a large amount of fairing, we ordered a big quantity of phenolic micro balloons from Raka Supply in Florida.
I love this stuff.  Colloidal silica is super light and gets airborne very easily. A respirator is mandatory and the stuff feels weird if you get it on you.  It is also hard to mix into epoxy.
The micro balloons almost absorbs the epoxy like a sponge.  It also doesn't go airborne, but is also feels weird.
Here are some photos of these steps...

phenolic micro balloons

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cooler water temps and good fishing

Today our sons had a good outing in the skiff.
The summer fishing was poor but with the cooler water temps, we have seen the locals out.
In a short time the boys pulled in a Red Drum and a Speckled Trout.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hydro: Reworking the pontoons

We spent some time trying to get the pontoons to have an identical shape.  It was a bit tough as we are are sculpting them individually.  To solve the problem, we used a batten.
The batten provided us a fixed reference point off of which we had something to measure and sand the pontoon shapes with a good degree of uniformity.
In the photos below you can see how the batten is used and the steps involved in the process...

This is the port pontoon.  The batten is visible. We cut a slot in the foam from the bow back about 5 feet.  The batten is set in the slot and epoxied in place.  On the starboard side and identical batten is used stretching from the same two exact points.
On top of the 2 part foam we added spray foam to build up the shape we wanted.

We then disk sanded down to the batten and from this edge we were able to form the correct shape.
Phenolic modified epoxy is then used to smooth out the rough sanded shape.
After the whole pontoon is coated with this material, an orbital sander will be used.
After the sanding we will then glass the surface and overlap the hull bottom to seal up the pontoon.
To slowly remove the foam, we are using a variable speed sander set at the slowest rpm.  This allows more control.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hydro: bits and pieces

The deck of the hydroplane is taking shape.
We have formed the cockpit and combing.  The front fairing is getting closer to the final shape.
This week we stopped at a store in Oriental called Marine Consignment.
It is a great old shop with a crazy collection of nautical parts.  There are a lot of sailboat parts and various odd items.  One thing they have new this week is a bubble glass cockpit that was ejected off a fighter jet.  This was pulled from the Neuse river and was probably last airborne in the 1960's
I will try to get a photo of it to post this week.
We also found some bits for the hydro.....
The hydro is about 14 feet LOA. We will pull out the tape and check it after all fairing is completed.
A great wheel...
A great seat...

Stainless u bolts for the transom...

a bow eye...

The transom is a lamination of three pieces of 1/2 inch birch ply.
When we are done, it will be glass sheathed, faired and painted.
The u bolts will be set high and wide on the transom for pulling skiers and for any hoisting and securing needs.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hydro: top sides shaping

The hydro's top sides are being designed in place.
We had a overall idea of the form of the deck before construction began.  Once we had the hull to work with, we began building the needed structural reinforcements. With these in place, we started  shaping with the leading edge of the pontoons.
These were filled with 2 part 2 pound foam.  We are using a rough grit disk sander to shape these.
Today we started forming the cockpit fairing.  To do this we cut a radius on a thin piece of ply and epoxied it in place.  We used this to hold pine battens.  These were resin coated and stapled in place.
Over these, we are adding layers of heavy biax glass.
After the pontoon foam and cockpit fairing is satisfactorily shaped, the whole deck surface will get a lamination of glass cloths to bring it up to strength.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hydro creeping forward

We have recently been working on the decking and top sides of the hydro on evenings and weekends.  House construction is taking most of our time. There are no good photos yet of the top sides but we will wheel it out to the sunshine and get some this weekend.
Here is a month old image of the glass skin being affixed to the sponsons...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Flood Tides

Joaquin is hammering Bermuda and historic flooding is taking place in South Carolina.  Here on Pamlico Sound, we are experiencing a wind driven surge.  When steady wind blows from the North East, water is driven into the sound's inlets along the outer banks.  The water has nowhere to go but up.  Right now it is at 3.9 feet above normal sea level.  The wind is expected to blow all night at 25 knots.  We shall see in the morning how much additional water plies on.
Here is a photo of our skiff in our slip.  There is about 6 inches of water above the dock planking.