Infusion Stations

So, after scrapping my first CF tub, I decided I needed to improve a lot of things (thanks Vic) before I should commit lots of materials for the next tub. First of all was to improve my vacuum management.

What I wanted to achieve was:

  • Make it much easier to route vacuum where i needed it
  • Be 100% sure that I have no leaks in certain parts of the vacuum chain
  • In my case, I want to be sure that everything from the new vacuum manifold inwards was leak proof
  • Prove everything from the manifold to and including the catch-pot was leak-proof
  • have a solid, reliable catch-pot


Firstly, I created a vacuum manifold, printed a bracket and mounted it on to the side of the compressor. The manifold is actually a gas manifold for a caravan gas supply, and I got it new from Ebay for about £30. The manifold itself actually has a non-return valve in each tap assembly, so I had to fettle that. Not a hard job and subject to a different post.



Next I mounted the catch-pot onto the vacuum tank (or an old compressor I repurposed). This was relatively painless – again I printed a bracket. This time it’s the orange thing under the catch-pot. All it is is something that is curved to the tank on one side, and level on the other. Thus I could mount the catch-pot on the level. I bonded it onto the tank with metal-epoxy, and used double-sided tape to stick the pot to the mount. The tape is monster tape – it’s fearsome stuff won’t let go easily. It will let go if I need it to.

Finally the whole thing was piped up (below) and tested.

Once I had this working, I decided I wanted another bench manifold, and made one out of push-to-fit pneumatic connectors. This means I can put my degassing chamber on the bench and not have to connect it directly to the vacuum pump. There’s little time between degassing and infusing, especially if you have 3kg of resin in a bucket – it’ll start exotherming quite quickly. With my manifold setup, i can hold the part under vacuum whist at the same time degassing the resin. Then I just need to connect the feed line to it and I can go.


What you can see here is one branch of the manifold. There’s a t-piece at the bottom, and a valve in the middle. The top is the output. Again, I printed some brackets to give me just the mounting I wanted, and the white bracket in the middle is actually a 15mm hinge-clip for attaching standard poly-pipe when plumbing. They’re £6 for 100, so I bought 100. I have many spares. The top blue bit is the outlet at this part of the manifold. It lets me plug an 8mm pipe straight in to the quick-release connector.

This is the final manifold – the picture isn’t great, but you can see three outlets. It’s set on an old tool-board I used which I didn’t need anymore – far better reuse that (considering it was already bonded to the wall).

More work on shedopolis – foundations are completed and base is done

IMG_0082So, here we are with a nice set of brick pillars in place, as well as the ground lowered by 6 inches and the retaining wall on the right built up.

Once everything dried out a bit, the holes were filled in with some of the soil taken out, and the whole lot then covered in a tonne or so of bark. Once the shed’s in, I’ll get Jon to put a paving slab or two in leading up to it.

Below is the finished base, installed on the pillars, insulated before the top goes on. It’s all bracketed and screwed in with 70mm Reiser screws.


Boxing in my (new) compressor

So, after my jury-rigged twin compressor arrangement suffered a fatal compressor moment, I needed a new compressor.

Rather than go for another jury-rig arrangement (a 50L and a 75L compressor running in parallel) I decided to go for a full-on grown-up 100L twin piston jobbie. After hunting around ebay for a bit, I found the compressor I needed. I had to move up the rankings because I needed to spray a lot more. My previous arrangement was kinda ok for soda-blasting but even then, I had to stop relatively frequently and let the tanks recharge so I had enough pressure. This compressor can provide the air I need to continuously spray or blast.

However, it is loud and large. So large, it won’t fit in compressor-corner where the others are, even if I evict them like a set of victorian tenants that don’t pay their rent. So, I decided to box it in and add sound-proofing to reduce the noise.

imageHere is the boxed in compressor, utilising several kitchen cupboard doors from my friendly cabinet maker (who had removed them from a job he’d done fitting a bespoke kitchen). Being the scientist I am, I took a few reading for loudness. Before building the workbench, I took a reading on my iPhone 1m away from the centre of the compressor to the normal of the length of the tank, it was reading 92dB.

After adding the bench and boxing everything in, it actually went up 1dB which didn’t surprise me – I’d basically put a sound-source inside a large sound-box.

imageThis is the insulation I used – it’s the cheapest recycled stuff I could get from B&Q, and I spray-tacked it to the inside. I didn’t have enough to do all the outward facing surfaces and the underside of the bench as well, but I may get more … this will be decided after I reveal the new amount of quietness.

imageHere’s the shot from the inside going down the bench. You can see just how much volume the insulation consumes.

So, why did I do this, and what was the result?

Why was easy – I tend to work on the car late at night, and I don’t want to disturb the neighbours. Furthermore, when I’m working in the garage, I don’t want to involuntarily evacuate every time the compressor fires up, nor do I want to work in the garage wearing ear-defenders all the time.

The result was brilliant – I have taken the sound-levels down from 92 dB to 82. This is significant, bearing in mind 10 dB is 10x the power. It’s not 10x the loudness of course.