Friday, November 26, 2010

New Door for Steve

I have started to build a new door for my Borealis.  The present door was an experiment using some new material that didn't quite work out as well as it should.  The door ended up warping quite a bit.  It doesn't close properly and is heavier than need be.  Hence the new new light weight carbon/kevlar version coming up.  First we gel the mould and once that is hard the material is added to the mould.  In the picture below you can see the first layer of carbon stuck to the gelcoat with the carbon,glass and kevlar reinforcing added.
This next picture shows all the material in but the last layer of peel ply which is partially installed.  The Kevlar has been stopped just short of the edges and replaced with some carbon.  The reason is that it very difficult to sand an edge with Kevlar smooth.  Kevlar sands very poorly leaving a fuzzy edge. 
Here is the next picture in the process with the bag sealed and a vacuum check being done.  The bag is not polyethylene as it doesn't work very well for this process.  Polyethylene expands somewhat when the resin exotherms, which can cause some problems for the part.   The last thing you want to happen before the part has hardened is for the part to expand due a loss in vacuum because of a leak or pump failure.  What happens is the part expands and fills with air.  In the worst case it gets a third thicker and is a rather expensive spong like thing to throw away.  Polyethylene also allows styrene vapours through it so you still have to wear a respirator making the whole process more unpleasant. We use a nylon bag which adds a bit to the cost but makes for a much more reasonable work environment.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Other Half

Just about ready to make the second mould for the Borealis for the Sprint.  The plug has a parting flange installed along the middle as we make the bottom half in two parts.

While it is possible to bag the bottom half with the two moulds bolted together it is more reliable to do it in two separate operations and then join the parts.  The mould for the bottom half of this version of the Borealis is in two parts while the Borealis V2 is in three.  The reason for three parts was to reduce the volume for shipping however it is taking me quite a while longer to make the extra part and join the parts together.  This extra time more than offsets the saving in shipping in North America.  Should we sell some to Europe I will have to look into how we can create a smaller package by building it in more parts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Version Two Borealis

Just about finished the first production Borealis version 2.  Here is a picture:

What is remarkable about this one one is that it has a carbon nose and door.  There is no gelcoat on these parts, for a bit of weight saving, and it looks good, too.  This may well be the best looking Borealis yet.

I have been trying out a new flange around the opening in the door.  I made up a mould for one side and now have it installed on my door.  See photo below.

I made it up in a constrasting colour so it would show up well.  There is about a 2 cm wide flange that covers the bottom edge of the door opening so now when you bump into it, it is easy on the shoulder.  Here is a picture of it from the underside.

Now we just have to do up the other side. I should have in done in a week or so. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Borealis for Sprint

Here's a picture of the progress on the plug for the Borealis that will fit the Sprint from ICE.
In the wheel well you can see how much the plug has been widened, 1" each side, to make it fit the Sprint.  You can see the different colours of the fill used to build up the shape.  I have been using left over gelcoat and resin with a filler. I mix up these leftover amounts with a very light weight filler to make a paste that I trowel on to the approximate shape.  Once it hardens up I can sand this quite easily as its very soft.  Its not tough enough and too porous to take a mould off so I have to encapsulate it in fiberglass and then use a harder filler and sanding gel to get to a moldable plug. You can see the fiberglass cloth hanging off the bottom edge of the plug.  The reason for the cloth is to hold it all together as I have had the misforutne to have the soft filler pop off a plug when I dropped it.  It has such a high filler loading that its bonding strength isn't too good. 

The plug still has to have the recess for the rear wheel cover added but the basic shape is all there now. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Rear Attachment Plates

We have finally machined up a set of the new rear attachment plates.  These plates work to attach the QNT trike to the back of the shell.  Here is a picture of them
Previously I used to laminate up similar parts out of quite a few layers of glass and carbon fiber.  It ended up taking a fair bit of time and material cost was more than for the aluminium.  While the composite parts are working well I can see that there may eventually be an issue of the softer composite part wearing on the aluminium part it attaches to.  We now have a few in stock for future orders. Here is another picture of the installed.

The rear attachment plates for the Sprint NT are slightly different.  I have started on the next order and once we a far enough along with it I will have some more pictures.