Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Working with Polyester, Fiberglass, etc.

The hull pieces have been cut and fiberglassed on one side. The pieces have been curing in the 97 to 100+ degree heatwave that the Bay Area is experiencing this week.

Now that all the foam pieces are dried, the edges have pieces of fiberglass mat and cloth that have hardened and needs to be trimmed and cleaned up. I trimmed the fiberglass along the edges before the polyester hardened but some edges were still soft and when it is not ready the blade will pull the fiberglass strands - I leave it alone before I create a problem - I'll just have to wait till it is dry.

My garage floor have a commercial carpet tile and the loose white glass fibers from the fiberglass mat easily falls off and sticks to the carpet and difficult to vacuum or sweep or blow away. These glass strands needs to be controlled and managed - I do not like it all over the place and it is not a healthy inhaling glass particles! It could make us sick!

Definitely no sanding of in the garage. Sanding or grinding will be done outside in the patio and not in the garage.

Applying fiberberglass in the garage creates polyester odor especially when the material is curing and it takes a long time before the odor dissipate. When the doors are closed there is a strong odor of polyester resin curing. Whenever I open the door to the garage from the house the strong odor enters the house, and it's already been 4 days when I glassed those pieces an they still smell strong.

I will be moving the construction of the Scout in the covered patio behind the house.I will move them today before dark, the next job is cutting the hardpoints and gluing the wood pieces then bevel edging - sanding, that means sanding the glass, polyester resin with MEKP and urethane foam to microscopic proportions! Not a pleasant thought! I need a good mask, vacuum and blower!

I will be working with microbaloons for the hardpoints - another substance to worry about. I advise anyone working with these synthetic man-made materials to be careful and use them with caution and avoid touching them, use gloves, don't inhale them, don't eat them, don't let it touch your skin as much as possible.

We can never be too safe from these industrial compounds that is essentially not healthy and can cause sickness and disease and toxicity to living things. I personally think these chemical compounds and industrial materials to be toxic to the human body.

Manufacturers never really tell you the truth - if they did, they will not be able to sell their product. Just remember that they do things for profit and it does not really matter to them if you get sick or die, anyway corporations and conglomerates is another topic on it's own.

I would not want to be doing this on a daily basis and exposing my body to unhealthy . I'm just giving you my comments on my experience with the building process. I am not fond of the fiberglass mat that sheds. I will take extreme care in handling fiberglass mat next time and avoid it from getting scattered about. The urethane foam also has issues - it produces these tiny particles of foam powder - very tiny yellow powder that stick to plastics and things that have static electricity charge. That is also not good to inhale and ingest.

I consider all these things to be harmful to the body and the least amount of exposure to them the better. Prolonged exposure is not healthy, fiberglass and urethane foam powder can be very tiny microscopic particles that can be easily ingested or inhaled when they are that tiny and who really knows if these particles are easily eliminated by the body without issues? I rather not take the chances and minimize my exposure and risk.

That is the drawback so far that I experience with polyester resin, urethane foam, fiberglass mat and fiberglass cloth. Fiberglass cloth is not that bad in comparison to the mat. The cloth does not have fibers that fall off. The cloth creates lint instead - at least it is not in tiny pieces. When cutting glass cloth, cut straight and continuously to avoid cutting a cut strand twice and creating tiny pieces of glass strands that will easily scatter everywhere.

So, that is the major issue that I have with hovercraft building so far. I do not like working with the materials because I do not think fiberglass and urethane foam particles are healthy for me. This could possibly be my last hovercraft - because I do not want to make my body sick from those synthetic materials.

So, building hovercrafts for a business? Not if I have to builds the hull! I do not want to work with the materials used in the hull but for those that don't care and don't mind working with those materials - I will pay them to build me a hull. - I tell you, people will do anything for money.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Day 3 - Scout SEV Project

Day 3 - Sunday, July 1st 2007
H6 Hull Floor - glassed one side
We have more time today so we got going and cut up the big pieces. H6 and H7's and H1. We glued the pieces, cut the pieces and glassed them all in about 6 hours. I ran out of 3/4 oz. matt - I thought I had enough? I looked at the plans and only the H6, H8A have matt! Shit! Oh, well I added matt on H7, H8B, H9, H1. The hull will be heavier but stronger. That's okay, those sides will be on the outside. However, I need to pay attention to these blueprints, it's not that easy. The information, data and specs are not that clear and some dimensions are vague and I have to look at or search another diagram for the measurement. That is why it would be great to have 2 heads figuring out the freaking blueprints.
H7 and H1
That's me measuring the resin and hardener.

That's me again cleaning the measuring cup.

Well, that's it for Day 3 and we will continue on Day 4 soon. We will be cutting the hardpoints and glassing the second sides and wood pieces.

Day 2 - Scout SEV Project

Day 2 - Tuesday, June 29th 2007

My brother and I completed H9, left and right side today and decided that we would just do the bigger pieces on Sunday when we could spend more time with it.

Dang - I forgot to take pictures.

Day 1 - Scout SEV Project

Day 1 - Monday, June 28th, 2007

My brother and I started the Scout SEVTEC project on June 28th. My dad decided to join the fun and helped us also.

My dad assisting my brother.

The first day of the project we completed H8A and H8B and glassed the 2 small pieces. We quickly adjusted to working with foam, fiberglass mat, fiberglass cloth, polyester resin, MEKP. The strong odor of polyester resing lingers for days. I have to keep the garage open to keep the smell from making me high! Smells like Bondo if you have patched cars before.

Completed H8A and H8B

That's it for now, more to follow.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Scout parts are here!

I received the balance of the parts from Barry at SEVTEC and a clouple of weeks ago the foam arrived. I can start building the Scout soon!

The parts are not complete yet but I can start building the hull. There are other parts needed.

  1. The tower for the propeller

  2. Mounting brackets for the 2-idler pulleys

  3. Fuel tank and hose and mounting location

  4. Battery for starter and accessories and mounting location

  5. Steering wheel, steering shaft, steering cables to rudder

  6. Brake system - cable, bungie cord

  7. Engine Manual

  8. Charging System

  9. Safety Switch, Engine Kill Switch

  10. Battery Disconnect Switch

  11. Fan Guard netting or wire guard

  12. Stereo Wiring - (4) 6.5" speakers Marine

  13. Subwoofer - Baselink

  14. Horn

  15. Marine Safety Equipment

  16. Anchor and mounting points

  17. Space for:
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Floatation Device
  • Mooring Rope
  1. Instrumentation
  • MPH
  • RPM
  • FUEL
  • GPS

Build an integrated tower? Purpose?

  • Support the propeller guard
  • Mounting for headlights
  • Mounting for Marine lights
  • Mounting for flag advertising pole

Material? Foam - Aluminum - Stainless Steel

I need to schedule my time so I can work on this project. The estimated time is 200 hours.

If I spend 20 hours per week it will take 10 weeks. That's 2 and 1/2 months.
If I start this coming week - 2 hrs. per day for 5 days then 10 hrs on the weekend.

July 1, 8, 15, - 4 weeks
July 22, 29 (Out of Town)
Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26 - 8 weeks
Sept. 2, 9, - 10 weeks

This is at a 10 week project and I need to remain focused.
I need to spend 20 hrs per week for the next 10 week to complete the craft and I still need to find or build a trailer to test.

I should be spending 2 hrs. per day 5 days a week and 10 hrs. on Satudays. I need to schedule the other things that I want to accomplish as I go.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scout SEV Hovercraft - Part 3

San Felipe Sunrise - March 2007

You will know more things the more you spend time researching the net and asking questions. For example, I am using a different engine from what Sevtec used so they are not familiar with my engine.

The deck of the Scout can be modified to be an open foredeck. That opens up different possibilities because when you open the foredeck the craft will have a wider interior.

That means side by side seating is possible also. My Scout could be the first side by side Scout with an open foredeck. I could have a width of 55.1" - that's 4.59' wide. with a length of 6.35'.
With 18" seats that will be 36" wide with 19" center space - that's enough space for access.
The deck can be supported and integrated with the hull for strength using triangle foam supports like in Bandit's Scout web page. Enclosing the space and boxing it provides additional strength as well extra weight to the structure - but it's for a good cause!

The plans does not have anything on wiring because the one on the plan did not have electric start. I did not see any pull cord on my 25 hp Tecumseh engine. It does not come with one, it was designed for riding lawn mowers that have electric start.
That means it needs a battery. I don't have the specs. I would suppose the built-in 16 amp alternator is will sufficient to charge a typical riding mower battery. Can this battery support the demands of a high powered stereo system? Probably not. Can the 16 amp alternator charge bigger battery like from a small car? I need to order the shop manual from a Tecumseh dealer.

I also have to find out which style muffler to use that will work with my setup. The engine can be lifted about an inch if necessary if the muffler is too close to the deck. The right side cylinder is lower than the left and that can be a problem with clearances.

I also have to take in consideration the mounting points for the prop guard and prop tower supports. The one on the plans is for a smaller engine. I am using a bigger engine that have a bigger dimension than the original Scout on the plans. Therefore the supports needs to be modified to work with the chosen engine.
There are no electrical or wiring diagrams and no information on batteries. I would assume that a watercraft need some instrumentation of some sort like in boats and rpm gauge, fuel gage, battery voltage or current, etc. And music stereo, marine radio, nav lights, depth finder and fish finders and other cool stuff.
The engine did not come with any diagrams, not even the choke and gas linkages. So lots of stuff to learn and investigate.

When I start living in Baja California in San Felipe I want to be able to cruise on this hovercraft and be able to take the craft on the beach. The Sea of Cortes in San Felipe has what is called a tidal bore and during low tide the water receeds way out.

That is a big challenge when boating because the water level during low tide and high tide is significantly different and that can be a problem for boats and jet skis. I started looking for a solution and I found the hovercraft.

I researched other amphibious vehicles and the Sevtec Scout became my choice as my first hovercraft. SEV - Surface Effect Vehicles. It is also known as a hovercraft type of vehicles. There are different hovercraft designs and sizes and different purpose and different shapes. The inventor of the Sevtec Scout is Barry Palmer and call his vehicles SEV's. In essense when you are flying a Scout or a SEV you flying a surface skimming vehicle.

Scout SEV Hovercraft - Part 2

Just before sunrise - San Felipe, Baja Caifornia-Mexico

There are quite a lot of things that determines the choice of craft. For me the Scout is the perfect hovercraft for now.

The more I researched the Scout the more I find it a very simple hovercraft to build and there are a lot of advantages to a Scout. The Scout is not a toy. It's a serious SEV and the one that I am building is a high-performance version with a 25 hp engine.

It will be 12 feet x 5.5 feet with a 20" lift fan and a 48" propeller and it will do around 45-50 mph. This craft will weigh about 250 lbs. when completed. With 500 lbs. on board the total weight is 750 lbs.

I used to have a 17.5' Bayliner boat that had a 3.0 liter Mercruiser engine with 135 hp - it takes 135 hp to take that 1500 lbs. fiberglass boat 47 mph.

Most people I talked to are excited about my hovercraft plan project and my brother even volunteered to help build it! My co-worker is interested in building one. My nephew wants to build one also. I'm sure once the word gets around, more people will build them.

There is always a commotion when people have hovercrafts around. They are curious how it does what it does, it is simply amazing. And you cannot just buy a Scout SEV, they don't sell them! You have to build it yourself, have someone build it for you or find a used one.

San Felipe sunrise - Baja California, Mexico

It will probably cost me around $3,500 for the SEV and the custom built trailer. You can buy a Vanguard or a Fan-Tastic SEV for around $17k and of that is only the base price, the options, shipping and taxes are not yet included and if you want the salt-water model expect to pay much more. These models also uses 25 hp engines B&S Vanguard engines. These SEV's are 14 footer and 15 footers and 7' wide. The Scout is a small 12' x 5.5' and uses a 25 hp engine also and faster.

I already ordered and received the fiberglass cloth and mat and resin and various stuff. I have the skirt material and the 25 hp engine arrive yesterday. I ordered from Sevtec the foam and the propeller, fan and drive kit. I am waiting for the foam to arrive. - I received everything else except my order from Sevtec.

The parts and supplies can be ordered online. The skirt materials arrived quickly. The extra foam from another supplier arrived next. Then the polyester resin and fiberglass supplies came next, then the engine and now I am just waiting on the foam, propeller, fan and drive pulleys from Sevtec. Barry from Sevtec said 45 days, I hope he is just exagerrating and will get my order to me sooner than 45 days.

So, if you are planning on building one - all the other stuff does not take long to arrive once ordered. Allow plenty of time when ordering from Sevtec.

I will mention the website that I ordered from and I will comment on their service, product and my customer experience with these companies and suppliers. At least you know what to expect when buying from these online vendors. They will get free advertising and comment on this blog and tell it like it is and it may be good or bad.

Well - You need to order the plans and the video from Sevtec first to find out how to build it. Not everything is shown on the video. So you're gonna have to find answers to some of your questions. The vehicle is easily customized and if you start using different stuff, you're gonna have to figure things out yourself.