Dad came to the shop today and we unpacked and set up the new vacuum pump and related gear. Thought at first we should try something non-critical like the new box for the back of the errands bicycle, but then we spied the various flat panels for the stern swim steps area. Seemed a low-risk place to start as we taught ourselves the first-timer basics of ‘bagging’…
The table is a 2×8 melamine coated shelf from Home Depot. These five panels were glassed on both sides, peel-plied, then the release film, breather fabric and the bag film on top. The bright yellow mastic tape worked great, including the expansion loops AndyM told me to do (Thanks). Those allow the film to be baggy over the work, so under vacuum it snugs up the sides of panels too.
The middle photo is after just 30 seconds of vacuum pressure. I was so excited to see it working live – and to think F27 Origami was built this was 22 years ago.
The pump worked very well. Glad we stepped up to a small industrial model, instead of the $200 hobbyist version. It drew 25 inches/mercury within moments, and could have pulled more but I backed it off to a steady 24 for two hours – seemed like plenty of pressure and the epoxy flowed through the layers nicely. I look forward to making the interior panels, dagger, chain plates and much more with this technique.
(Resin trap in line between pump and bag – in case the suction hose got too close to resin and pulled it in, we don’t want that getting to the pump!)