So, here is the tub out of the mould. I had a lot of issues infusing this, and I’ve learned quite a lot whilst doing it. It’s gutting to scrap it, but it’s the right thing to do. Next time it’ll be right.
There are some high level mistakes that were mine, and they led to some lower level quality issues. It’s the first time I’ve done an infusion of this size and at the same time with a positive mould, rather than the usual negative mould. Doing it on a positive mould means I have to be very careful about the layer thickness otherwise I have a too large or too small gap between the part and the chassis rails I want to bond it to.
Some of the mistakes were down to layup technique, and some were down to getting the infusion wrong.
I infused over a hexagonal core, and the hexagons were too large to not have a hole put through the middle.
Here’s another picture of the quality issues up close – now for the lessons learned:
- I over engineered the part – too much carbon meant it was too heavy. When I cut it open I had great consolidation – all the issues are cosmetic.
- In the spirit of making it ultra strong, I had core everywhere. Next time it’s going to be core in the floor, up the back and the top of the tunnel only. The core interfered with the close fit needed to bond it to the chassis. Again, this is due to a male mould. Normally I’d overlay layers in certain areas to achieve this. In this instance, I have to stick to the required layers to achieve a 2.5mm thickness up the sides and at the bonding areas.
- More holes in the core, and a thinner core
- The catch-pot imploded. I made one out of plastic. Air got in. A lot of air. I made one out of plastic and tested it for a week – it was strong. With the heat of the part (I had the tub heated to 35C) the pot weakened and imploded. Back to my all steel pot.
- The tubing sucks up a load of resin. I had 6kg mixed and it flew into the part. This caught me off guard and I didn’t have enough mixed. A small amount of air got in. If I’d had really strong vacuum (i.e. No pot death) I might have recovered.
- Have one KG of resin and hardener ready to mix. Even two.
- I took 4 attempts to get the bag on – next time I’m going to make a huge envelope bag instead – it should increase my chances of a perfect vacuum.
- No gel-coat. It’s a long layup and I was up against the clock. This drove some of the other mistakes. I’ll not be up against a schedule this time.
If I get another output that isn’t cosmetically great, I’ll spray it and be done. If it’s of a cosmetic quality, I’ll have it sprayed in two-part lacquer. This will give a great finish.