Fri Jul 10 2020

Center arm rest lid

First thing today was to mixup some epoxy for the last four layers of the lid. Unfortunately, something distracted me while pumping the hardener (Squirrel!) and I lost count of how much I had pumped. So, not knowing whether it was going to have too little, just right, or too much hardener, I decided to set this batch aside and mixup another batch. I put it on the concrete sidewalk so that in case it were to exotherm enough to catch fire, it wouldn't burn the house down.

When pumping the next batch, I started getting air while pumping the hardener. Fortunately, I had the cup on my little gram scale and was able to add the hardener by weight. It might have a little too much hardener, but it's pretty close...close enough for a lid.

I prepregged the four layers of glass, in two stacks of two.

Then applied the layers, peel ply, and felt. I wrapped all the clecos with 4 mil thick visqueen so that they (hopefully!) won't pierce the garbage bag.

Adjusting the bag during the initial vacuum pulldown worked pretty well. I double bagged this layup with two previously used garbage bags.

One thing that makes this composite work challenging is that it's really freakin' hot here. Today was around 100 degrees F. So, my hands end up living in little swimming pools of their own sweat, and the cuffs are constantly trying to drip on my layup.

After about 20 minutes, a leak emerged and the vacuum pump had to cycle on every couple minutes. I triple bagged it. That solved the problem, and the pump only cycled every 45 minutes or so thereafter.

While that was curing, I decided to fashion a little block which will get several layers of glass, then get bonded to the back edge of the lid. This blue styrofoam was included in the fiberglass starter kit from ACS.

Last thing for today was to round all the edges over so the glass will lay down. I also called a few marine stores and found one that had more of the West Systems 105 and 206 epoxy in stock. I ran down there to pick it up. Crazy how expensive this stuff is. A quart of resin with 7 oz of hardener was over $75. Yikes.