Monday, June 11, 2012

Robotic Sail Boat Build: Post #2

 Sean and I made some progress on the hull for his robotic sailboat project.  It may not look like much now but it was a lot of work to get the hull planking cut and bevelled and then stitched in place.  The first picture shows the boat's current status after about 10 hours of work this weekend.

 I did find a wonderful "Stanley" micro hand planer.  It's about 3 inches long with a 1 inch blade and worked perfectly for this application.  All of the hull planks needed to be bevelled 30 - 45 degrees to ensure a tight fit.  I prefer to do this work by hand as it's a great stress reliever.

 As with any wood working project, one has to decide what face of the wood will be on the outside vs what get's hidden on the inside.  While this boat is a proto-type for a large version we can make it look good, can't we?

 The construction technique for this boat is referred to as "stitch and glue".  The planks are attached to the hull frame and each other use bits of copper wire (the stitching part).  Once that's done, the planks seems are sealed using a 2 part epoxy glue that's thickened with wood dust to help with the coloring and strength of the bond.  We didn't do any of the epoxy work and will get around to that next weekend.

Here's a picture from inside of the hull where you can see how the copper wire binds the planks and hull frame together.  It's a surprisingly strong bond.  Copper wire is used because the epoxy will not adhere to it.  Once the glue has dried, I'll snip each copper wire and pull it out.  Once the wires are removed the resulting holes will be filled with the same epoxy / wood dust mix.  This part of the job requires both patience and precision as it just will not do to forget to fill all the holes!

Lastly, here's a shot of the hull with all the wires in place.  There are over 150 wire strands in place for this 4 foot long model boat.  That's nothing!  I've built a 16 foot Skerry using the same method and it had over 1,000 strands.

Once the hull planks are bonded it will be time to sand, sand, sand and then sand some more.  After that we stain and seal the hull.

Oh yeah, I seem to remember some fort I need to build for Historicon game...


Derek said...

I'll be following this project with interest. Looks like fun to build, of not hard work. I wish I had but the time and space to devote to something like this.

Tony said...

Good luck with this project. I look forward to seeing the maiden voyage.