Monday, June 30, 2008
I pulled the windshield frame from the mold this morning. It looked like another beauty, so I brought it inside and started cleaning it up. Aaron and Caroline pulled the 60' x 1/8" cherry veneer through 6" diameter 6mil polyethylene tubing to prepare it for drawing in on the loom. Ben went to the junkyard to get some purlings to use on the trailer. Joe and I had to get some argon for Ben to weld with, along with some body filler and tips for the hot glue gun. When we got back, it was time for lunch. After lunch, I cut a bunch of pieces of balsa to make a stiffening ledge on the front edge of the windshield surround. I used Daubert's hot melt PUR to attach them. When I finished this, it was time to fit the windshield frame. I ended up cutting the front legs off of it and attaching them seperately, but since this piece is essentially a core, the integrity will be easily regained. Hunt mixed some 2-part epoxy with some colloidal silica to add thickness to the resin that aided in filling any gaps. Ben welded all afternoon, while Caroline, Kendal and Aaron drew the loom in. Luke worked on the the roller tensioning system and got it working before heading out. After dinner, Hunt came back up, and we designed the mold for the roof intake. He sanded the nose of the car while I geared up to build the mold. I cut the 3/4" MDF into blocks and bandsawed them to the shape of the mold. I finished before midnight, ready to call it a day.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I pulled the windshield surround from the mold this morning, and it was a beautiful part, fully infused with glue. Next, I started pulling the interior body panel molds out of the car. I had to dig out most of the polystyrene foam from the backside with the claw of a hammer, so it took a while to get them out of there. Ben painted some polyester resin on the fiberglass parts from yesterday to cover the tacky resin that air-inhibited. We decided to make the windshield surround again for various reasons concerning fit on the body, but we knew what we were doing from yesterday, so we were ready to roll. Caroline and Ben worked on setting the infusion up, this time with 5 layers of 3/8" tessellated balsa. I ground the untrimmed edges off the interior body molds while they worked on that. When Caroline and Ben were ready to pull a vacuum, Hunt and I went out to lend a hand with the resin mixing. Everything went beautifully, and Ben cleaned up while I planed some cherry backer to use for stripping out the engine access holes in the body. I cut and fit the strips until about 7:30pm, when Caroline called me in to eat. After dinner, she came out to help me glue all the strips to the body, and we were all done by about 10:00pm.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I put some tessellated balsa strips down on the door panel molds, beveled their edges, and smoothed them out with body filler first thing this morning. Luke worked on assembling the comb that will sort the veneer strips before they enter the heddle eyes of the loom. Ben showed up, sorted through our fiberglass resin jugs for a while, and helped me lay up another layer on the chin of the body plug outside. While we let this layer kick, we came inside to put a final layer of chopped strand mat over the balsa and body filler. After we ate lunch, Ben, Caroline and Luke started on resin-infusing a new windshield header on our nose mold. While they prepared everything for this, I planed some cherry backer board and ripped it to width. I used this stock to trim out the lining of the intake hole on each side of the car. I used 2 layers of 1/8" thick cherry, overlapping the miters between the 2 layers. I had the pieces cut for both sides with 1 side glued on when I went out to check on the infusion. The guys and girl had everything set up well, and the resin flowed quickly through the 1"+ thick laminate. When we finished this, Caroline headed to Home Depot to get some supplies for tomorrow while Luke took the clamps off his comb. Ben and I put 3 more layers of chopped strand mat down over the chin mold to potentially finish it off. We broke for dinner, and Ben and I came back out to glue the cherry backer on the inside lip of the intake hole on the other side of the car. We cleaned up outside and finished at about 10:30pm.
Aaron, Luke, Hunt and I cleaned up the shop this morning while Caroline and Ben slit veneer. We worked on this until about 11:00am, after which Luke went to work on the loom, and Hunt and I looked at the steering wheel placement. We made a block to take the place of the leaf springs underneath the spring mounts to help us mock it up. After lunch, I masked off the areas around the interior body panel plugs, waxed the surfaces 3 times, and brushed on PVA to prepare for fiberglassing. Luke continued to work on mounting the drive motor to the tensioning carpet roll of the loom, and Ben and Aaron continued to slit veneer. When they finished, Ben and I laid a layer of chopped strand mat on the chin of the body plug and came inside to lay one on the interior body panel plug. Ben had to leave, but Luke had finished mounting the drive motor and came in to help me. We put 2 layers on the plug on the other side and one more on the first plug before heading in for dinner at around 8:00pm. We came back out after dinner to bring the total up to 4 layers per side before calling it quits at around 11:00pm.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I went back to work on the interior body panel plugs this morning. I filled in the driver's side panel and redesigned it in the process, so I had to go back and make the passenger's side the same. Unfortunately for me, the passenger's side panel had less volume, so I had to add material. I did this by making a dam out of polystyrene, mixing an expanding foam, and pouring it in the cavity. I had the foam put in by lunchtime. Ben and Luke shredded some material this morning while Caroline put together some photos on Flickr, and Aaron got a rendering ready. Ben and Aaron made another wooden angle bracket, and Luke worked on the loom. After lunch, I went back to work on the plugs. I ended up having to cover them with body filler to protect the foam from the fiberglass resin that we will make the molds from. This took forever, and I worked on them until dinner time at around 9:00pm. Ben, Luke and Caroline shredded most of the afternoon. They should finish up tomorrow morning. Paul came out to wish me a happy birthday and stayed for eats, after which I came back outside and worked until about 11:30pm. The plugs should be essentially ready to make the molds from tomorrow. The plugs took way longer than I hoped they would, so I am going to have to try to make up some time.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I started fitting the dashboard this morning. Luke worked on the infeed table for the 2nd loom, and Aaron and Caroline wove. Ben worked on digging a trailer out of the weeds in the backyard. By lunchtime, I had the dash in place, and the weaving was almost finished. After lunch, I laid out a knee hole for the passenger side and replicated it on the driver's side when I had it like I wanted it. Hunt and I went to Harbor Freight for another el cheapo winch to use to draw veneer through the slitter, which Luke and Ben mounted to the porch on the loom room. Luke mounted the winch to the trailer hitch of Big Red while Ben and Bob took the axles off the trailer. Next, Luke, Hunt and Ben ran a test roll through the slitter, which looks like it is going to work well. I spread body filler on the front lip of the body plug, sanded it, waxed it 3 times, and sprayed it with PVA. Tomorrow, we will need to make a small fiberglass mold off of it to use for the chin of the body. After dinner, I came back out to lay some polystyrene foam inside the passenger compartment for making a mold that will trim out the interior. I glued in blocks and ground until about 11:30pm.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I started the day off by lowering the body on the chassis by about 7/16". This took a while, as I had to detach all the mounting brackets, cut the body around the roll bar, and grind the wheel wells in certain locations. By lunch, we had the body pulled back up into place. Luke worked on finished up his mold from yesterday, and Ben, Aaron, and Caroline wove. After lunch, I reattached the body and started figuring out how to cut out the wheel arches. I ended up putting a wheel in the wheel well to start with. I screwed a piece of all-threaded into a threaded hole in the center of the wheel and looped a string around it. Once I had the wheel properly centered with respect to the body crease, I went around it with a Sharpie, using the string like a compass. I cut out all 4 wheel arches using this method, and I cut the passenger's side engine compartment hole. Luke brought Ben and Caroline up from weaving to glue a panel on the new mold, and Hunt and I went out to help them get it sealed up. After dinner, I came back out and made a 3-piece paper template of the engine compartment cut-out, transfered it to the other side, and cut the mirror image of the first hole. I made some marks on the back of the chassis to help me line some stuff up tomorrow and called it a night at about 10:45pm.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I worked on fitting and trimming the body for the first part of the morning. I cut the side intake on the other side and checked fit and alignment around the roll bar. Ben worked on getting a trailer dislodged from weeds for the first half of the morning while Luke got a mold figured out and made a trip to Home Depot for some 2X6s. Aaron did some computer work. After lunch, Luke built the mold for the dimpled panel while Ben, Caroline, and Kendal wove more 1/4" veneer. They are nearing the home stretch. I worked on cutting the side windows out and fitting the A-pillars into the body, which took me most of the day. They needed a lot of cleaning up, plus a shim along the top edge to fit properly. It looks like they may not be usable, so Hunt came up after dinner, and we talked about other alternatives until about 10:45pm. Still no definite plan, but I am somewhat sure that whatever we come up with will be less painful than the first time we made them.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
After I pulled the angle from the mold this morning, Caroline and I drilled and mounted 8 tabs onto the chassis which we used to secure the body this morning. We have about 5/8" clearance between the body and the table when making a full rotation, so that worked out well. We took the motor off the rotisserie, and Hunt made a shaft that allows us to operate the worm drive with a drill, giving us forward and reverse, as well as more precise control of the rotation. I started looking at the windshield situation, and cut the hole for the windshield in the body shell after lunch. I broke the A-pillars free from the plug, where they have been for the last 6 months, and started figuring out what I needed to do to fit them to the car. It looks like it won't be too much work, but I will have to take the body off the chassis, so it will have to wait until tomorrow when I get some help. The body doesn't weigh much more than 100lbs or so, but it is extremely cumbersome. After dinner, Hunt worked on a take-up device for the slitter, and I cut the hole out for one of the side intakes. I hot glued a strip of plywood on the backside of the panel and ran a router with a follower bit to make most of the cut. I finished up at about 10:15pm.
Ben and I built and installed a truss today to use for hanging the body. We had the body hanging by around 3:00pm, at which point Ben went to Hunt's to weedeat while I fine tuned the positioning of the body. Hunt worked on the slitter some more, which is getting close to ready. At around 6:45pm, when I had the body positioned, I decided it was time to mount it to the chassis with some angle brackets that would allow me to remove the body and reposition it in the same place. Ben came up from weedeating and helped me glue up an angle bracket, which we finished at about 7:30pm. Hunt, Jean, and Caroline made some burgers on the grill, and we ate and called it a night.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Big success today. We pulled peel ply, bleeder ply and lines off the inside of the body mold this morning, and Aaron and Caroline took out all the bolts holding the pieces of the mold together. Ben and I added some crossmembers to the infeed ramp for the loom, and then we started taking the molds off the part. Luke was working on setting up the loom, and Hunt was working a slitter to slit veneer rolls into 1/8" strips. We had the part off the mold by about lunchtime, and we took it out to look at it in the sun. The huge amount of work we still have to do couldn't overcome the accomplishment of the body shell, and we enjoyed it for a couple minutes. After lunch, Ben, Luke Aaron and I moved a stack of OSB, and Ben, Caroline and I hung the body molds from the ceiling under the lean-to. Aaron cleaned off the table, and we moved the body into position upside-down on the table underneath the chassis. I spent the rest of the day grinding the bottom flat on the body shell and grinding in certain places on the wheel well edges, trying to coax it into position over the chassis. Hunt was still working on the slitter until we broke to eat at about 8:45pm. I came back out after dinner and worked on positioning the body until about 11:15pm. It was an awesome day for the car, and people should finally be able to see a big-time change in the view from the webcam.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I cut some 1/4" steel rod this morning for Hunt to weld to 8 pairs of vice grips. We needed to rig them this way to close off our resin flow lines on the glue-up later today. Aaron, Ben and Caroline sealed all the bolts that hold the molds together on both sides while I worked on the vacuum lines. Hunt made up a splitter for us, and, when he brought it out, we were ready to pull a vacuum. The vacuum went well, but we chased some minor leaks for a while. We told our buddies at Daubert yesterday that we really needed some glue, and our shipment arrived at around 11:00am today. This kind of help is so typical of these guys, and we really appreciate it. This meant that we were ready to flow the glue by lunchtime. We decided to eat first, and we put the glue to it right after lunch. Kendal came, and everyone worked together to make sure the process went properly. It turned out to be what we think it a raging success, so Luke got everyone moving on getting the loom put in the new shop while Hunt and I went to get some drainage pipe. When we got back, Luke, Kendal, Caroline and I cut the drainage pipe in half on the table saw. Ben worked on the frame for the doors on the loom room while Caroline, Aaron, Luke and I cleaned up. Hunt, Jean, and Caroline grilled some burgers for everyone while Luke, Ben and I hung the new door and put up a wall around the A/C window unit and the slot for the infeed of the loom. After we ate some of the best burgers anyone had had in a while, Ben and I drove posts in the ground and nailed in cross pieces to mount the drainage pipe infeed ramp to the loom. We got all the cross pieces up, along with 2 of the 6 rows of halfpipes. We finished at about 10:45pm and called it a night.
Ben and I worked on splicing the body panels together almost all day today. First, we had to PVA the molds, run tape around the edges, and put the body panels in the molds. We used clamps to hold them in place until the vacuum hits them. Luke worked on the loom all day with help from Hunt, and Aaron and Caroline wove until about 4:00pm. There is a good chance that they have woven all the 1/4" material that we will need. Ben and I cut a bunch of 4", 6", and 8" strips of woven veneer to lay in the seams of the molds panels for reinforcement, and we had 2 layers put in place with spray adhesive by lunchtime. After lunch, we were out of weave to use for the splicing, so Ben helped Caroline and Aaron weave while I helped Hunt and Luke on the loom. After a couple of hours, the weaving was finished, so Ben and I went back to setting up the splices. When we finished the last layer of weave, we put down peel ply and bleeder ply, and Caroline and Ben ran the resin supply and vacuum lines while Hunt and I went to get more clamps to seal the lines off when the time comes. Ben, Caroline and I started sealing the bag at around 7:15pm and didn't stop until we finished at 10:15pm. We set some world records in pleat length, but the seal looked pretty good. We went in to eat, and Ben headed out. Luke and Hunt got the loom finished today except for adjustment and a couple tiny details, so we should be ready to move it into its new room and get it set up.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Caroline and I finished prepping the tail piece for a second glue infusion this morning, and we were pulling resin into it by the time Ben and Aaron showed up at 8:00am. We chased a leak for a while, but felt like we had a good part. Luke went back to work on the loom with help from Hunt after making huge strides yesterday, and Ben, Caroline and Aaron wove. Hunt and I made a run to the Home Depot to pick up a skid of OSB, and we got some stuff for Luke at Lowe's. After lunch, I cut the back legs off the nose mold and started to lower the rear, since the flank molds were too high in the air in the back. Ben helped me lower it, and we took the infused laminate off the tail mold. It looked good, so we cleaned the mold and waxed it twice with help from Caroline. I detached the mold from its legs while they finished the waxing, and we carried it over to the other 3 body molds. We spent the next hour or so hanging it and mounting it to the rest of the mold assembly. It fit like a glove, and Caroline and I tightened all the bolts while Ben went back to making the reed. Luke worked on the loom until about 8pm, and Ben finished assembling the reed. After dinner, Hunt came back up, and we worked on the loom for a while. I called it quits at about 11:00pm.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Caroline and I prepared for glue infusion of the tail mold this morning. We had all of the veneer and plys cut, but we had to run the resin lines and wax and PVA the mold. Hunt and I made a run to Agri Supply while Ben and Caroline stripped some 2X4s from the old flank mold stands. When Hunt and I got back, Caroline, Ben and I worked on the tail mold and got it sealed. Luke showed up after a run from Tramway Veneer and brought lunch. After lunch, Caroline, Kendal and I infused the tail piece with glue, and Ben and Aaron restarted the loom. Luke went to work cutting pieces for a second loom that will be dedicated to 1/8" veneer weaving. Ben continued to make the dents for the reed and finished all of them before he headed out. I started sorting wood to be used for covering the seat frames, and Hunt and I went to the Home Depot to get some hardware for the loom that Luke was working on. We found that the glue infusion of the tail got some air-related porosity in it because we lost our vacuum from the resin curing in the lines. Caroline and I worked until about 9:00pm setting up to reinfuse with more glue to fill in the air pockets. Luke was still working on the loom. We all ate dinner, and Luke and I came back out and worked on the loom until about 11:20pm. We will be ready to glue infuse the tail first thing in the morning, and Luke has a real shot at getting the loom set up tomorrow.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I laid some woven veneer in a small fiberglass mold of the joint along the front fender this morning and put in a vacuum bag with just a mist of water on it. We wanted to see if it would take a set and make it easier to lay up later. It didn't hold much shape, but it was worth a try and still might be worth doing. When I finished this, Caroline and I started working on hanging the flank mold from the roof of the lean-to to be able to bolt it to the nose mold. We worked at it for a while, and Hunt came and helped. I worked on running the bolts through and tightening them for a while, after which I started on cleaning up the other flank mold to be mounted. Caroline helped me wash and wax it with 2 coats. We used tacky tape between the flanges to give us an air tight seal needed for later vacuuming. I had the mold released from its base and ready to hang by lunchtime. After lunch, Hunt helped Caroline and me hang the 2nd flank mold, and I ran the bolts through and tightened it up. I ground the edges on the 2 flank laminates and the nose laminate to insure a smooth transition with no overlaps, and I crawled in the mold and waxed all the seams liberally. While I was working on all this, Hunt was busy making a setup of rotary razor blades spaced 1/8" apart for slitting the veneer for our next weave. He spaced the blades with polycarbonate. Caroline and I reaped the weave from the loom and used it to make the inner layer of the tail mold. We spent a couple hours covering the mold with balsa, woven veneer, peel ply, and bleeder ply before going in for dinner. After we ate, we came back out and put the vacuum line all the way around with mold, holding it down with spray adhesive and peel ply strips. Tomorrow, we will be ready to glue infuse the tail piece as soon as we get our glue. Once we have this piece, we will join all the body panels together to make the shell.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Caroline and I came out this morning and placed our resin and vacuum lines around the flank mold. Since we already had the veneer and transfer plys in place, we were essentially ready to roll. Ben and Luke came and helped me seal the polyethylene sheet around the edge, and Hunt came out when we were ready to infuse the glue. Everything went well, and we had the part finished by about 11:00am. Ben's family came down from Pennsylvania, and we showed them around and went to lunch at the airport. After lunch, Caroline and Luke wove about 5' of veneer while I ground the edges of the nose and flank laminates to prepare them for joining. Hunt and I peeled the bag off the flank laminate from this morning. Caroline helped me clean the edges of the nose mold and get the flank mold into place, and we went in for dinner. After dinner, we came back out, and I loosened the legs from the flank mold. Caroline put some tacky tape on the flange of the flank mold, and we finished up at about 9:45pm.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Hunt, Luke and I pulled the glue-infused nose from the mold this morning. It turned out to be a mind-blowing part, and it will only get better as we add to it. Luke and I worked on gluing, taping, and PVA-ing the mold, and I ground a scarf the side of the roof and the nose that were getting spliced together. Ben, Aaron, and Caroline wove all morning and made some incredible progress. We needed enough footage to cover the 2nd flank mold by the end of the day, so they were racing to make it. After lunch, Luke and I started getting everything together to glue the roof to the nose, and we harvested the weave that Caroline, Aaron and Ben had produced. We made strips to cover the scarf joint, and mixed and spread epoxy on the joint and the strips. Bob came by and helped Luke and me seal polyethylene film over the entire mold, which we sealed with tacky tape. The bagging was a royal success, and we gave Caroline and Ben a break from weaving to come help cover the flank mold in a layer of woven veneer, a layer of balsa, another layer of woven veneer, a layer of peel ply, and a layer of bleeder ply. We finished at about 9:00pm and called it a night. Tomorrow, we will run out resin flow lines and the vacuum lines, seal polyethylene around everything, and go for the glue infusion. The whole laminate will be made in one shot, assuming we don't mess anything up.