Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cooler Phase 4: The Drain

As promised, here is my post on the subject of the drain. I went to Home Depot and bought a 1.5" schedule 40 PVC trap, tailpipe, and drain fitting. The drain plug itself is a threaded stainless job that fits (just) in the bottom forward inboard corner of the cooler. I actually had a little directions snafu because I should have installed this fitting before installing the last engine room bulkhead panel but I forgot that detail and had to install it afterwards. Because the hole was too small for it to fit, I had to come up with a creative way to get it in there which involved a hammer and a chisel and I'll spare you the gory details. Suffice to say I got it in. Then I shot 'great stuff' sprayable foam insulation around the fitting itself and let that cure. Once it was cured, I added polysulfide caulk to provide a watertight seal. Here are the pix:
Drain fitting close-up. You can see the remains of the masking tape I used to protect the fitting while caulking.
Drain fitting seen from the top of the cooler.
Trap and tailpipe. I had to grind a little off the front end of the port engine bed in order to make it fit.
Close up of trap and tailpipe.
Here you can see where the pipe comes out of the cooler and how that geometry all works.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cooler Phase 3: Glass

After I finished glassing all the panels I installed them in the boat again, foamed, caulked, filleted, and taped the seams. The seams were taped first with 1 layer of 6" 1708 biaxial tape, then with 6" 6 Oz cloth tape. I also added rails (made of fir chamfered to allow the glass to lay over and attached to the panels with thickened resin and overglassed with 6" cloth) to support 2 shelves and stops to support one longitudinal divider (longitudinal relative to the boat). The shelves and divider will be removable and will provide for air circulation in the cooler. They will greatly increase its utility by providing more 'usable' space. Here are some shots with the panels installed, seams taped, shelves and divider. I know they look kind of bad but don't worry this will all clean up and look nice in the end.
Looking outboard. You can see the shelf racks and divider stops on the fore and aft transverse bulkheads.
Looking down. Here you can see both shelf rails and both sets of longitudinal divider stops. Hopefully everything will line up right (if my measurements were good...)
Looking inboard. Again, you can see the shelf racks. You can also see the drain hole in the lower left. Drain fitting won't get installed until I'm done with the sanding, fairing, and gelcoat.
Looking forward. Here you get a pretty good view of the rails and divider stops.
Looking aft. Here again you get a reasonably good view of the shelf rails and divider stops.

I did all this work in the AM before going to work. Then I left work early to apply a coat of gelcoat to the interior with the goal of sanding and re-gelcoating before dark tonight. Here are some shots after application of the gelcoat:
Looking down. Drain in the lower left.
Looking outboard.

Also, I have been working on the cooler top which I insulated with 1.5" thick material. This I attached to the top using thickened resin and I also applied structural glass to the top surface of the insulation to increase its stiffness because the cooler lid will rest directly on the insulation. The cooler lid is the door from the old system which I am planning to re-use (why not?). I cut out the wood cutout so that the hatch will just fit inside the hole in the wood and rests on the top surface of the fiberglass. I applied unidirectional glass cloth to the top surface in the interest of maximally increasing stiffness of that side. Over the uni I will apply cloth. To the bottom I applied woven roving (I have run out of 1708 cloth and don't want to wait to get more) which is pretty burly. Over the roving I applied 10 Oz cloth and 6 Oz tape. the glass is run over the edges and onto the bottom surface of the top. Here are some pix:
The top side of the top. You can see the line on the left corner is where the electrical panel lines up and the studs there are for securing the panel to the cooler top. They are actually bolts which are tightened with nuts on the top side. Butterfly nuts are used for easy installation and removal of the panel.
This is what the bottom side of the cooler top looks like. Here you can see the insulation and on the right you can see the heads of the bolts that form the studs for the panel attachment.
A close up of the bottom of the cooler top after gelcoating. I left the inside edges of the insulation un-gelcoated because I am going to apply more glass cloth there (had trouble getting it to adhere before...hopefully I can fix that tonight...).
Another shot of the bottom side of the cooler top after gelcoating. This is the first of at least 2 coats of gelcoat.

Swan Creek Anchorage

The anchorage for the full moon cruise happening this coming Friday. The Meinhold Family will be on station listening on channel 16 and their cell phones.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cooler Project Phase 2: Cutting and Fitting Insulation

The 2-year ongoing cooler project continues! Having ripped out the silly, poorly insulated, and inefficient old cooler (for reference, see, I finally managed to get new cooler construction to the top of the list and focused this past weekend on completing this project.

My friend Pam came out yesterday (Sunday) and helped me with cutting and installing the cooler insulation. The plan for this project calls for 3" of insulation on all cooler sides except the ER bulkhead which will have 4" of insulation. The innermost layer of insulation gets treated with fiberglass. The bottom layers get woven roving followed by 2 laminations of 1708 biaxial, followed by 2 laminations of 10 oz cloth. Then when the fiberglass is kicked these panels will get inserted into the cooler and the seams will be taped over thickened resin in the joints to bond them all together. The top of the cooler will be a separate and fully removable piece so that it can be removed for servicing. The cooler top will be separately insulated with 2" thick foam.

The foam that I used is Polyisocyanurate foam available at Home Depot in 4x8' sheets. They are about $30 each. I used almost a gallon of polyester resin doing the fiberglass work. I attached the foam to the bulkheads with silicone sealant and filled in the cracks between foam blocks with 'great stuff' sprayable foam also available at Home Depot for about $6 per can.

One feature which is very important to me is that the cooler have a very good drain. My previous cooler had a terrible, small drain that was useless because it clogged ALL THE TIME and it did not drain properly. Also it was not possible to close the drain so there was no ability to keep cold water in the cooler. Furthermore it did not have a trap so cold air simply leaked right out of it into the engine room. It was made of copper therefore that also conducted heat straight out of the engine room and into the cooler. Finally, the drain hose always sent water down the side of the engine beds, not direct into the bilge. In short, the old drain sucked, and I am intent on having a very good drain in the new cooler. Therefore, I bought at Home Depot a 1.5" bathroom sink drain with a closing fixture and PVC trap and tailpipe which will go straight down into the bilge. This should make the cooler easy to clean and easy to keep cold. So it's an important feature and I'm sure there will be a full post just on the drain at some point in the future...

The cooler will have one level of shelves which will serve to subdivide it vertically. I will also install one longitudinal bulkhead member to divide it in half transversely. The subdivisions increase usable space in the cooler. If I get fancy enough, I may decide to install a condiment rack...

Without further ado and before I get carried away, on to the pix:
This is the aft bulkhead with the first piece of foam installed.
This is looking outboard you can see the first pieces of 1" thick foam installed on the forward and aft transverse bulkheads.
This is looking inboard at the engine room bulkhead (inboard, longitudinal bhd) and the 2 transverse bulkheads (forward is on the left).
The forward, inboard joint.
Pam 'The Cut Woman' Jacobson looks up from the layout table.
This is after installation of the cut and tapered pieces along the hull surface. These were made from 2" foam and cut/tapered (by Pam) to fit the contour of the hull.
This is looking down at the bottom. Inboard long'l bhd (ER bhd) is on the bottom of this picture. Forward transverse bhd is on the right. The bottom is made to slope inboard and forward. There will be a 1.5" drain in the inboard, forward corner of the cooler.
Looking inboard and down. This is the bottom of the cooler. Forward is toward the bottom of this picture.
Another shot looking down. This picture includes the full 4" insulation (1", 2", 1" layers) on the ER bulkhead (bottom of picture). The forward transverse bhd is on the right and you can see the full 3" of insulation on that bhd.
Another shot of the completed insulation. Note the small wedges that we use to get an exact fit where our measuring has been less than flawless.
Looking inboard and forward, this is the seam between the ER bhd and the forward, transverse bhd with the cutout for the drain at the bottom.
Inner panels, having been laminated, left in the sun to cure.
Closer shot of the inner panels with fiberglass on them. The fiberglass doesn't go all the way to the edges because the seams will be taped anyway and it's easier to avoid having to trim the glass.
Very close up shot of one of the panels with fiberglass lamination on it. You can see how I made sure we would laminate the right side of the panel!

Stereo Remote

Recently I went sailing with Bruce on his J/35 'T Bone' and noticed that they have a sweet remote control for their stereo in the cockpit. This is a really nice feature because it allows you to turn the music down without leaving the helm, which is something you need to do surprisingly often.

I got the Sony RM-X55M which has many functions and also includes an integrated display for track, time, and radio information. It's pretty sweet. Coming iPod interface!

Rudder Shoe Upgrade

When I had the boat hauled for bottom paint, I realized that my lower gudgeon had just a bit too much play for me to be really happy. When the boat had last been hauled, I had replaced the lower pintle with a 1/2" hex cap that I cut the head off and filed down. The problem is that the hole in my rudder shoe was 3/4" so there was about 1/4" of play in the lower gudgeon which just did not feel right. Since Tim was also out of the water at the same yard I went over and checked his lower gudgeon and it felt much tighter. Therefore, I decided to have my lower gudgeon tightened up. I did this by taking it to Shaw's welding in Annapolis. There I had them insert a piece of 3/4" oil impregnated bronze round bar stock (I ordered this from McMaster for about $13). Then after they pressed in the bronze they drilled a new hole with 9/16" diameter (to allow for a 1/16" misalignment error in assembly). For this they charged me $50 which I thought was a very good deal. When I re-installed the lower gudgeon it was nice and tight and I was very happy with it. They also cleaned it up for me at Shaw's so the part looked nice and shiny.