foam floats

Here is a progress update on the foam ama's.

I cut out my 1" thick foam layers and hot glued them together to form a stair stepped stack. I marked a positioning point on each layer and punched a hole through it then stacked them up on a 1/2" tube that I tack welded to a steel table top. When I was stacking and hot gluing, I also use a laser and another mark on the leading edge of each layer to ensure that they were all pointed in the right direction.

Normally, I would have added about an inch of width to the perimeter of each template pattern to allow for the missing width caused by the stair-stepped layering, but I didn't this time. I really want to say I didn't for some reason, but truth be told, I just forgot. So, I plastered on a thick layer of expanding foam over the entire plug, then sanded it down to the edges of the pink foam layers. That worked quite well.

Each pink foam stack weighed 2 pounds which I calculated to be exactly 1 cubic foot. At a buoyancy of 55 pounds per cubic foot of pink foam, this wasn't quite enough. After I had added the expanding foam layer, my total weight worked out to 3 pounds, 5 ounces which is 91 pounds of buoyancy - more than enough.

After I had sculpted my revolved airfoil with a surform file, and then a sanding block, I wrapped WiTHiN's hull with plastic stretch wrap and duct taped the two floats into position on the sides of WiTHiN. I also taped over the bottom of each float and then I poured expanding foam down the gap between the hull and the top of each float. The expanding foam does not stick to stretch wrap. After the foam expended and hardened, I pulled the float off the boat and the result was a perfect fit between the float and the hull!

above 2 images: expanding foam poured in between the float and the hull

The foam that was poured in between the hull and the float

When the floats are retracted and locked, I could add a thin perimeter edge to WiTHiN's hull for each float to nest into - or I could add a thin rubber rim around each float to seal them up against the hull. When the floats are locked into the sides of WiTHiN's hull, I don't want them to jiggle around to move at all.

Next step is to glass the floats, and install my tubes.


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