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Repairing the Transom of my Cobra Terminator

Since my 30ft Cobra Terminator offshore racing hull was setup for a Bravo One outdrive, I needed to patch the transom.

Skagit Valley College has an award winning Marine Maintenance Technology Department as part of the Northwest Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology. I took the Vacuum Infused Plastics (VIP) Course so I could master the skills I need to apply the Vacuum Infusion Process to properly repair the composite hull of my Kevlar racing cat.

Composite Part

Here's a completed, composite part (still curing inside the vacuum bag) that was fabricated during our first week in class using the Vacuum Infusion Process. This particular part was fed in the center and vented on both ends.

Here you can see the resin being pushed through the cloth material of another part (being fed from the right and vented on the left). The open weave on this material is fairly porous, so the resin flowed quickly.

kevlar race boat

Here's something you don't see very often.

Fiberglass layup composite part

The bright pattern on these two projects is actually cloth material (like you'd buy at the fabric store for sewing a dress) showing through the Gelcoat.

It's pretty simple to do; using the 'open mold' process, clear gelcoat is sprayed into the mold, then colored cloth (fabric) is laid out with the pattern showing the way you want. The remainder of the fiberglass is added on top just like you would on any other fiberglass layup. The result is a very durable, colorful pattern on your project. Pretty slick.

Fiberglass layup composite part

Now that I've completed a few simple projects using the Vacuum Infusion Process, I'm ready to use my newly acquired skills to patch my transom where the removal of the Bravo One Outdrive left a nice big hole. When I'm finished I'll have a 'blank' transom (stronger than the original) to which I can mount my ASD8 Arneson Surface Drive.

Here's some highlights of the composite repair process of my transom.

Bravo One Outdrive cutout

The transom was originally constructed with two layers of 3/4" marine plywood sandwiched in vinylester resin with E-glass; four layers of Kevlar in a 3/8" layer of glass on the outside, two layers of Kevlar in a 1/4" layer of glass on the inside.

The outdrive hole repair is critical (must have no imperfections) as this is where the Arneson ASD-8 surface drive will mount. The few small holes are cosmetic and should be easy to patch.

Composite Part
Cobra Terminator 30 Cat

After laying out the width of my overlap and taper, I used my skilsaw to cut through the Kevlar reinforced 3/8" thick vinylester outer layer. With sparks flying and Kevlar 'fuzz' all over, It's finally done.

The outer layer of glass has now been removed.

Cobra Terminator 30 Cat
Cobra Terminator 30 Cat

All the wood of the outer layer has been removed and edge beveled (to further lock the wood patch in place). A taper was ground on the outer layer of glass so the resin will adhere and I can gradually increase the size of the new cloth layers in the patch.

The old outdrive holes have been filled and the edges evened up (so it will be easier to fit the inside wood plug). On the right you can see the edges of the Kevlar cloth layers.

Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair
Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

Here, the outside plywood 'sandwich' plug has been fitted. The saw kerfs allow the resin to flow through to all parts of the repair. I ended up with 8 layers of Kevlar cloth alternating with layers of Continuous Strand Fiberglass Cloth (C-Glass) over this plywood plug to bring the surface of the repair out flush and even with the face of the original transom.

We want the outside of the transom to be flat (as well as smooth) so we use a sheet of Plexiglas under the vacuum bag, with a layer of peel-ply under, so it will not stick to the repair. A straight edge across the Plexiglas verifies it's flat and even with the existing transom when vacuum is applied. With the Vacuum Bag fitted, we're ready to infuse from the bottom and vent across the top. Several rows of holes have been drilled under the fill area to allow the resin to pass through the Plexiglas into the repair area.

Composite transom repair
Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

The outside has now been infused. For this particular application the ability to bond to the existing resin and raw strength were imperative. With those requirements in mind, we selected the Epoxical Epoxy Resin System as it is designed specifically for this type of Infusion. The Epoxical 4310A Resin when used with the 9235B Catalyst has a rated tensile strength (modulus) of 427,000 psi. Perfect to handle the stresses produced when my Arneson ASD8 Surface Drive is hanging on the transom with 1400 HP pumping through it.

Now we have a flat surface that we can work with. After some minor filling and sanding, I'll get a finish coat applied. I'll likely use a 2-part Polyurethane paint as this will be compatible with my graphics (to be applied later) and minor dings are easily touched up in the future.

Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair



Now we'll show the inside. I actually infused both sides at once, but show them separately here for clarity.

A plywood sandwich has also been cut to fit the inside (with all seams beveled and staggered).

Composite transom repair
Composite transom repair

The holes were drilled to allow all the air to escape. Next, the material (fiberglass cloth and Kevlar cloth) will be dry fitted on the inside.

At this point we have three layers of "C-Glass" (Continuous Strand Fiberglass Cloth) alternating with Kevlar Cloth gradually increasing in size (the top layer of Kevlar cloth is visible) plus one full size layer of C-Glass over the entire repair area.

Composite transom repair
Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

A full size layer of Kevlar cloth goes on for additional strength. The inside repair ended up with 4 layers of Kevlar (literally bulletproof).

Followed by a finish layer. Now the inside of the transom is 'dry stacked' and ready for the vacuum bag.

Composite transom repair
Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

Using the Vacuum Infusion Process, we will be venting across the top and filling from the bottom.

Here's the inside repair after infusion. The repair went smoothly and I'm very satisfied with the results.

Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair
Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

This close-up shows an individual patch being vented from the outside.

And here's the same patch being filled from the inside.

Vacuum Infusion Process Boat Repair

The whole idea is to have an 'undetectable repair' (stronger than original) when we're finished and I'm confident I'll achieve that goal.
After some filling and board sanding, I'll shoot it with polyurethane paint and the repair will not only be undetectable, it will be stronger than original.

poker run boat

I also fabricated a transom wedge for my ASD-8 Surface Drive by dry stacking, then infusing a piece of carbon fiber on the table.

Next I sealed the cut edges with epoxy resin filler, sanded, primed, and topcoated.

Composite Arneson surface drive adapter
Composite Arneson surface drive adapter

This adapter will allow my Arneson ASD8 surface drive to be mounted at the proper angle to fit the transom of my 30 foot Cobra Terminator.

After primer and topcoat it's ready to install.

Composite Arneson surface drive adapter

My recent experience of attending the Vacuum Infused Plastics (VIP) Course at the Skagit Valley College Marine Maintenance Technology department was quite enjoyable. I find the curriculum to be well written, the work area nicely equipped, and the instructors are very knowledgeable (and patient). Whether you just want to take a single class (to gain some new boat maintenance skills like I did), need to acquire some new skills with a one year Certificate, or are retraining for a career change (seeking a two year Associates Degree), the Skagit Valley College Marine Maintenance Technology program is highly recommended.

Let's take a 10 minute break. Class dismissed.

We have T-58 & Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbines available to power your project.
We also have starters, manuals, instruments, and gearboxes for T-58 and Gnome gas turbine engines.





Applying the topcoat to my Cobra Terminator

Awl Grip
Composite Repair Procedures

Easy to mix and apply, working with 3M Glass Bubbles is a lot like frosting a cake. Applied with a putty knife or drywall trowel it is about the consistency of peanut butter. After it sets (just over 24 hours at 75 F), I board sand it flat, check with a straight edge, and repeat as required. Then we'll prime (with epoxy primer) and finish with a two-part Polyurethane topcoat.

I selected AwlGrip 2 Polyurethane topside paint for its exceptional quality and durability. Awlgrip II is a true polyester resin based urethane coating making it harder and much more resistant to the environment than acrylic urethanes. It has excellent gloss retention, resists color fade over many years with minimal maintenance. For these reasons it is the preference of all the mega yacht builders. It can be wiped with harsh solvents (like acetone) without harming the shine. The engine compartment, interior and bilge will be Majestic Blue (Arrow 1), the hull exterior will be Sun Yellow (Arrow 2), and the accents will be Federal Yellow (Arrow 3). I'll also add some stripes and shadows (in complimenting colors) to bring it all together.

AwlGrip Polyurethane paint

I've removed the rub rail as it was leaking and overall was in pretty sad shape. I really like the 'clean look' of several other boats I've seen that were finished without a rub rail, so I've decided to go that route. The deck has already been completely glassed to the hull on the inside, so all I've got to do is cosmetic work by filling the outside seam and old holes left from the rub rail.

Filling with Epoxical Epoxy resin

Here's a close-up of where the rub rail was. In these photos I've drilled out the rivets and ground away the loose paint to prepare for filling. Epoxy resin mixed with 3M Glass Bubbles weighs only a few grams per batch, yet is extremely strong; perfect for filling the imperfections in my hull. I look forward to the 'clean look' this boat will have without it. It will be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it. Ask me when it's done if it was worth the effort.

The rub rail provides a little protection if you tie up against a piling or pier, but that's NOT the way I moor my boats. From what I've seen in the Boat Building Industry, it's just a cheap way for boat builders to quickly hide the raw edge where the deck meets the hull. The finished deck seam is an available option on the Eliminator Daytona I was looking at. As I recall it added several grand to the cost of the boat.

Filling with Epoxical Epoxy resin
Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

Here's the rub rail area after it's been filled. I'll board sand it flat then fill any remaining imperfections. Then we'll use the D/A sander to blend into the contours of the sides and deck. It will look like the 'smooth side' option was ordered from the factory by the time I'm done. That hole is where the Starboard navigation light mounts (note the aircraft grade honeycomb inside the decking).

More to follow.

T58 gas turbine boat testing area
Proper Gas Turbine Engine tools

My old air compressor was complaining about all the air used by my board sander, so I installed a new Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 vertical air compressor that cranks out 18 SCFM at 90 psi and boasts a 100% duty cycle. Now my sanders rip!

My air supply line runs from the compressor (in the shop), underground across the backyard, into the boathouse feeding a water separator. As a result, I have no noticeable water in the line at my air tools hose reel. Since Polyurethane paint has no tolerance for moisture, a second hose reel (used exclusively for painting) is fed through a Deliquescent dryer to ensure my Devilbiss Finishline III HVLP Master Kit paint gun gets the required volume of dry air.

T58 turbine engine testing area

I shopped online and got a great deal on marine paint. For the primer, I selected PPG DP48LF 2-part epoxy primer. For the topcoat, we'll use AwlGrip 2 in 'Sun Yellow' color. This extremely durable 2-part Polyurethane topcoat is used throughout the marine and aerospace industry for high end topcoat applications subjected to extreme environments. The AwlGrip 'Sun Yellow' is a custom color that was batch mixed specifically for the logo of a major airline. The clear-coat will be Desothane HS BAC 900 Gloss Clear also by PPG.

My new DeVilbiss FinishLine 3 HVLP Spray Paint Gun Master Kit comes with an assortment of tips that allows me to spray the primer, topcoat as well as the clear-coat properly, without buying several spray guns. Since Polyurethane is extremely toxic (even in small amounts) I'll use my new HobbyAir pressurized air supply while painting.





Reworking the bottom of my Kevlar Cat

I tipped my Kevlar hull up on its side so I can rework the bottom.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

With a couple 6,000 lb. straps, it's an easy lift for my overhead hoists. That's 3/8" steel in those monster overhead I-beams and this Cobra Terminator (weighing in at 2,455 lbs.) causes no noticeable deflection. These I-beams came out of a local shopping mall where they supported the roof over an ice skating rink (with a clear-span of close to 100 feet).

Lowering the two chain falls tip the hull onto its side. The hoist trolleys roll freely so I'm able to shove the hull over to the other side of the work area. Real slick.

Kevlar Offshore Race boat Epoxy Resin Composite repair
Epoxy Resin & Kevlar Composite repair

I trimmed Styrofoam blocks to fit the side contour and provide support (at the bulkheads) so I could balance the hull on its side. A brace across the transom, clamped to the overhead I beam ensures the hull will remain steady while I work the bottom.

A 2 by 6 plank bolted into the port bow cleat hole (then braced against the wall) also helps hold the hull steady while I wrap up the sanding.

Composite repair

I ensured all the gunk was removed by scrubbing the entire bottom with scotchbrite and denatured alcohol. I ground out all the cracks, scratches, and gouges then patched with Epoxical Epoxy Resin mixed with 3M Glass Bubbles. It's real nice to be able to crank the heat in my boathouse to 75 during the epoxy cure. I board sanded all patches flat, then D/A sanded with 150 and 240 then wiped with a 'tack rag'.

I shot a 'test batch' of primer on a scrap of fiberglass so I could adjust my Devilbiss Finishline III HVLP paint gun and test my materials. After the paint set I did my own 'destructive test' and I am very satisfied with the results. It does not scrape, chip, or gouge off. The only way I could remove it was to actually damage the fiberglass surface. Extremely durable!

Using my HobbyAir to paint my Epoxy Primer

My entire boathouse has been cleaned and the hull is masked off. These high performance aircraft finishes are very durable, but highly toxic; a pressurized breathing supply (such as HobbyAir) must be used.

Now the bottom has a fresh coat of PPG DP48LF white epoxy primer on it. I really like my Devilbiss Finishline III HVLP paint gun; it applies a nice even coat with minimal over spray and the DP48LF completely hides all dark colors. We're almost ready for some color.

Painting with Epoxy Primer
AwlGrip 2-part polyurethane topcoat

I split my one gallon kits of AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat into two equal parts (by weight) so I'd have smaller mixed batches and plenty of time to spray. Focusing on technique, I don't want to feel 'rushed' worrying about the 'pot life'. There's definitely a trick to successfully applying polyurethane topcoat and the 'flash time' is absolutely critical.

After applying three of the half-gallon kits of AwlGrip, the bottom is done. I don't see why they call it 'sun yellow' as it's more like a 'neon golden orange' when applied over white primer. But whatever you call it, the color is really beautiful and I'm happy with the results. Calling it 'paint' does not do it justice.

T58 gas turbine boat testing area




Reworking the sides and deck of my Kevlar Cat

Now that the bottom is all done I can get busy on the rest of the hull.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

After letting it set for the required 14 days cure time (at 75), I rolled the hull over level and set it back on the trailer.

I was able to shape the rails with my board sander. A few more batches of filler and it should be done.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

In addition to getting the remaining filling and sanding done on the sides, rubrail, and deck
a couple modifications are in work to 'personalize' my Kevlar Offshore Racing Cat.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

I'm moving the 'signature' Cobra Terminator deck hatches further forward. The new location will facilitate easy access to the forward cleats. Instead of climbing up and over the (sometimes slippery) deck, my helper can go below decks, pop the hatch open, and easily attach a mooring line (and bumper) to either bow cleat. Real slick.

To fabricate patch material for the old hatch cutouts, I sandwiched honeycomb composite board and Kevlar cloth between layers of Chopped Strand cloth.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

The stack is now laminated with epoxy resin and is ready to clamp.

We'll let it set on a flat surface with a plate and a little weight on top.

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

A layer of tin foil prevented the epoxy from sticking to everything and peels off easily.

I suspended the plug over the hole, sealed the underside of the joint with duct tape, and applied epoxy into the seam (with chopped strand cloth soaked in resin).

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

Epoxy mixed with a little Cab-o-Sil fills what's left of the seam. Next, I'll feather the edge out using Epoxy Resin mixed with filler and board sand flat.

For the last coat of filler I tried something new. This time I filled the low spots with West Systems 407 Low-Density filler (brown color). It mixes much the same as 3M Glass Bubbles (the white color filler), but seems to stay 'wet' as you mix it thicker (unlike 3M Glass Bubbles which tends to 'dry out' the more you mix in).

Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Kevlar boat Composite repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

Not only is this repair strong and light, it will be undetectable.

More to follow.

T58 gas turbine boat testing area

I took the time to move my controls over to the right. All my other boats have been right-hand drive, and I feel more comfortable over there.

Right Hand Drive Offshore Race Boat

I trimmed the bottom edge of the dash board back to provide more legroom and filled the bottom (exposed) edge of the end-grain balsa dash board and radiused all the edges.

I glassed in some composite panels to form a small storage area along the sides of the cockpit. Now each passenger will have a safe place to stow small items while underway.

Composite fiberglass repair
Right Hand Drive Offshore Race Boat

PPG DP48LF white epoxy primer will provide a good solid base on which to apply the topcoat.

The primer covers all the shadows so when we apply the AwlGrip 2-part polyurethane 'Sun Yellow' it will provide an even color.

Composite fiberglass repair
Kevlar Racing Cat Composite Repair

Finally, the topsides are all ready for primer.

I started with a white hull, so my eyes are telling me I'm back where I started. But my mind knows better. All the defects have been properly repaired and we're almost ready for the final topcoat finish.

Kevlar Racing Cat Composite Repair
Composite Pinhole Filler

When working with composites, sometimes there is a problem with pinholes showing through the primer. To correct this I'm trying some Akzo Nobel 28C1 Composite Pinhole Filler.

This single part Composite Filler looks like mayonnaise and is applied with a rag. Now my epoxy primer adheres evenly.

Composite Pinhole Filler

Now the topsides are all primered.

Kevlar Racing Cat Composite Repair

Next we'll sand with 400, clean the boathouse, wipe down, mask off, and shoot the AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat.

Now she has an extremely durable 'sun yellow' polyurethane topcoat.

AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat
AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat

I shot some blue graphics on the sides and down the centerline of the deck.

I'm very satisfied with the way the rub-rail turned out.

AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat
AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat

The AwlGrip 'Majestic Blue' is a nice contrast to the 'Sun Yellow' background.

I got the Clear Coat applied. Next, I'll add some 'Federal Yellow' graphics and black non-skid on the topside fore deck (down the centerline form the bow to the cockpit). More to follow.

AwlGrip polyurethane topcoat

I've gathered several AwlGrip 2 Polyurethane colors for my custom stripes including; Majestic Blue, Teal Blue, Vivid Red, Jet Black, Federal Yellow, and Medium Gray.

AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint
AwlGrip Polyurethane paint

Then I'll top it off with three layers of clear-coat and may even mix in some Shimmer Orange Copper Candy Pearl for a 'custom look' (if I can learn how to shoot pearl).

I'm taking a break from painting so I can begin the mechanical work. Once all my brackets are infused in place, I'll get the paint out again to shoot the bilge and add a few more graphics.





Now I'll focus on getting the drive train installed

Composite Arneson surface drive adapter

Here I began the process of 'dry fitting' my ASD8 Arneson Surface drive. My transom turned out so nice, I really hated to drill into it.

Now it's beginning to look like a race boat once again. After the clear coat has been applied, I'll permanently mount my surface drive. Yes, I'll flip the steering cylinder over.

Composite Arneson surface drive adapter
Composite Arneson surface drive adapter

I finally got my Arneson ASD8 surface drive mounted. Wet set with a tube of 3M 5200 caulking, it's not going anywhere.

Next, I'll set the gas turbine in place and measure the drive line

Composite Arneson surface drive adapter
ASD-8 Arneson surface drive

Once I get hydraulics hooked up, the trim cylinder will hold the drive up in the position for running.

Once I get the drive line fabricated, I'll locate the engine and design motor mounts.

Arneson surface drive ASD8

Now that we have our drive line fabricated we get to work with composites again.

Composite motor mounts

When the engine was set in place I identified the gearbox and engine support bracket locations and cut cardboard templates. A metal bracket will be mounted on the horizontal 'flat spot' for the gearbox 'ear' to bolt through.

I cut some material off my sheet of Carbon Fiber to form the outline of the brackets.

Composite motor mounts
Composite motor mounts

Marine plywood sandwiched in carbon fiber will become the motor mounts.

The surface of the existing fiberglass is 'scuffed' to ensure a good bond.

Composite motor mounts
Composite motor mounts

I need to reduce the height of the center stringer (to clear the underside of the gas turbine), so I reinforced it first with Carbon Fiber. Shell 828 Epoxy Resin was selected for its exceptional secondary bond and brute strength.

A strap anchored to a pair of carbon fiber 'keepers' will securely hold each battery in place.

Composite motor mounts
Composite motor mounts

I used carbon fiber brackets to mount my dry sump oil tank to the transom.

I'll add sight gauges so I can see my oil level at a glance.

Composite motor mounts

The composite motor mounts are now laminated in place (with overlapping layers Kevlar and 'C-Glass').

See the installation of my 1400 HP monster gas turbine


Now that many of my components are 'dry fitted', it's time to fabricate the engine cover

Composite Air Scoops

After trying several different designs and locations, I finally settled on a pair of Aero Scoops from top fuel funny cars. Mounted forward, they will bring fresh air in under the floor and into the engine compartment.

I performed 'major surgery' to enlarge each one so they will scoop in an adequate supply of fresh air. Here the sides have been cut, enlarged by 3", paneling screwed in place as a form, and glassed in. Kevlar cloth and epoxy resin is used to keep them light and strong.

Composite Air Scoops
Composite Air Scoops

Here the lip of the mouth has been formed with Epocast Composite Filler. This pair of scoops will bring in about 45% more air than is required for combustion to ensure the engine compartment is properly cooled.

A pair of thermostatically controlled electric fans will keep the air moving and temperatures under control (even when tied up to the dock after a high-speed run). Here the sides have been filled with a layer of Epoxy Resin mixed with 3M Glass Bubbles. More to follow.

Composite Air Scoops

Besides being all 'butchered up', the original hatch cover was poorly fitted and in sad shape. So I started from scratch, designing a new one out of composites.

Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

For the deck lid of the engine cover I selected Aerocell ASP404 1/2" composite honeycomb board for its light weight and exceptional strength (seen here rough cut with the proper arch applied).

Now the rear bulkheads are beginning to take shape. Cut from 1/4" aircraft grade aluminum honeycomb board, the bulkheads are bolted to honeycomb composite board which is 'tabbed' to the deck and side of the hull.

Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

Here, I used Huntsman Epocast 87005 2-part 'edge sealer' to seal the exposed edge of the honeycomb board. I borrowed my wife's Tupperware bowl and shortening cutter since it's a lot like mixing cookie dough.

I lined the hatch rail with a layer of cardboard (duct taped in place) so I can use it as a mold. I applied edge sealer to capture the shape of the hatch lip.

Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin

In this view (underside of the hatch cover) you can see the edge sealer in place. I've removed the hatch deck from the mold and sanded. The cardboard reduced the size enough to allow me to add a couple layers of fiberglass and still fit properly .

This rib will provide support across the underside of the hatch. It's laid out in a curve to go around the future exhaust cutout.

Composite hatch repair with Epoxical Epoxy Resin
S-Glass Composites and Epoxy Resin

The support rib foam is bevel cut and ready to be glassed in.

The radius on the front lip was formed with Epocast edge sealer. The front lip forms a seal by overlapping the bulkhead and will open with the engine cover.

Honeycomb board composite engine cover
Honeycomb board composite engine cover

I've applied the first layer of epoxy resin and Kevlar cloth over the foam rib. After the Epocast sets for 48 hours on the front lip, I'll sand a nice radius.

Here the hatch is in place and the layout of the forward engine cover has begun.

composite foam board hatch cover
composite foam board hatch cover

Next I'll radius all the outside corners. An elastic band pouch will go across the front after paint.

Here's a trick to help shape the radius of the outside corners: with a layer of 'Saran Wrap' over the Epocast edge filler, I use a piece of PVC pipe to push on the filler and form the rounded edge.

composite foam board hatch cover
composite foam board hatch cover

I finally have the cover on over the engine and a rough cut around the exhaust.

The cutout is trimmed and reinforced with foam board.

composite foam board hatch cover

Since the Epoxical 4310A Resin worked so well for my Vacuum Infusion projects, I looked for other Epoxical Epoxy Resin products for the remaining laminating jobs. After a some research, I located a source for Epoxical 574 Epoxy Resin for laminating the engine cover.

composite foam board hatch cover

Here you can see the carbon fiber mounts for my Dana Power Hinges. A pair of quick disconnect pins will allow easy removal of the hatch for engine removal and maintenance. Once the Epocast Edge Filler sets (around the exhaust cutout), I'll sand and get ready to add a layer of fiberglass.

Here the last section of Kevlar cloth has been applied on the inside. After the epoxy resin sets, I'll trim the edges and start on the outside.

composite foam board hatch cover
composite foam board hatch cover

Here I'm laminating the top layer of Kevlar Cloth in place with Epoxical Epoxy Resin. This photo also shows another neat trick: I use plastic wrap to hold the edges of the cloth down until the resin sets.

Here I have all the exterior Kevlar Cloth in place and I've begun the process of filling. I use 3M Glass Bubbles mixed in my Epoxy Resin for filler, then board sand flat. I also mix in a little West Systems 407 Low Density Filler to alter the color (so it's easier to see each successive layer of filler).

composite foam board hatch cover
composite foam board hatch cover

The rear deck lid is now very rigid, yet light weight. In fact, the entire new engine cover weighs considerably less than the old (stock) engine hatch alone. A coat of white PPG DP48LF white epoxy primer provides an even base for the topcoat.

Three coats of AwlGrip Sun Yellow two-part polyurethane really brightens up my parts.

composite foam board hatch cover

Now that the scoops are mounted, the air intake system is now complete.

composite foam board hatch cover

The scoops not only bring in air for the gas turbine, but also for cooling the engine compartment (ducted under the floor).

Next, we'll get the forward hatches assembled and installed.

composite foam board hatch cover

It's a nice fit and finally looks like it belongs. Next, I'll mask it off for the blue stripe and fit the stainless steel collar (heat shield) around the exhaust.

After a couple coats of AwlGrip Majestic Blue and a little clear coat, the engine cover and instrument panel are done.

composite foam board hatch cover

Now it's time to add some acoustic insulation to help reduce the turbine noise.
After reading a lot of product reviews and car audio forums, I selected Second Skin Audio Products.

composite foam board hatch cover

The first step was to cover the inside with a layer of Damplifier Pro. Just trim with scissors, peel the back, and rub it in place with a roller.

Next, a layer of Over Kill Pro goes on with contact cement.

composite foam board hatch cover
composite foam board hatch cover

Finally, a layer of Motor Mat Pro is installed with contact cement. The seams and edges are cleaned up with foil tape. The two engine bulkheads received the same treatment. This will reduce engine noise substantially.

Next, a strip of black nonskid paint will be applied down the centerline of the fore deck and the front hatches will be installed.

composite foam board hatch cover

A cradle supports the engine cover when not installed.

composite foam board hatch cover

Quick disconnects allow easy removal for maintenance.

See my progress installing components in the engine bay.

My turbine powered boat is now complete.

By the time I'm done I'll have 'gone through' every part of this boat.
At 125 mph safety is paramount, and dependability is critical.


Turbine Boat

Please take a look at my "items wanted" list.

My Dream   T58-GE-3   4 Sale   T58-GE-8F   Projects   Gathering   Composite   SDG   Boathouse   History   Gnome   Cobra 30   ASD8   Wanted   Trailer


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