2005-05-22

8.5 hours

I accomplished a heck of a lot today, and it made me feel good after yesterday’s panel disaster. The whole day was spent on the centre console, and it’s really coming along now. First of all, I wanted to get all the carbon fibre laid up. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem to take me too long to do. Here is the part with all the CF laid in there.

Next I thought it might be a good idea to do the honeycomb layer. This would involve two layers basically too, the actual Aeromat, and a layer of S-Glass sealing it off. I cut all the pieces I needed to size, and cut some S-Glass to be about a half inch bigger all the way around.

Then, I put some polythene sheet down on the worktable and used a roller to soak the Aeromat thoroughly. I stuck the S-Glass on top and rollered that on too. Then I peeled the whole thing off the polythene and stuck it into the part. The Aeromat is pretty cool stuff. I made a test strip the other day to see how stiff it was and it’s really stiff! I broke it apart to see how it worked. Basically, the lighter hexagonal shapes you see are closed cell foam which only gets a thin layer of resin on the outside to help bond the mat to the surface. The darker outlines are an open cell structure which soaks up the resin. Once this is sandwiched into a part, the whole thing becomes super stiff and light. I was impressed. You have to ensure that it’s thoroughly wet out though, so no voids are in the honeycomb pattern.

Here it is in the part.

I completed all the Aeromatting that I needed to using slow hardener. I figured I might need a bit more time with this rollering process. I might have been able to use the faster stuff, but I needed to mix up larger batches and the fast stuff gets boogers in it if you mix up a lot of stuff and keep mixing new stuff in there with the old. Here’s the complete part fully Aeromatted.

I’m on a roll, so I might as well finish this thing! I cut myself some strips of S-Glass, and went around all the corners and reinforced everything. My arms are so scratched up from reaching inside this thing now. Oh yeah, and I ran out of latex gloves, so I stole Cameron’s box. Unfortunately, I’ve used all those too, so I owe you a box of gloves Cam! I’ll pop down to Harbour Freight and pick some up. I can’t believe how many pairs of gloves you get through when you’re handling this stuff.

I reckon that tomorrow night on the way home from work, I might stop in and see if I can crack it out of the mould! Stay tuned!

Once I’ve figured out fitting everything in there that needs to be (like the throttle quadrant), I’ll put some ribs in across the part to help it hold it’s shape. That’s a way off yet though. Once I crack it out of the mould, I’ll be getting it ready for finishing!

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