We’ve been talking about the concept of resin infusion and how that differs from a wet layup type of construction. In that discussion, we’ve mentioned that the part or the project is placed inside a mold or vacuum bag and the fiberglass or whatever reinforcements, are dry, there is no resin at that point. That makes getting the reinforcements perfect much easier, because there is basically unlimited time to rearrange them or place pleats in the bag to get rid of ridges from bridging.
So can you guess what the down side is? Pulling that resin up and through the laminate and over to the other side of the part, right? Normal laminating epoxy or polyester is just too thick, so special infusion resins are used. A thinner epoxy and thinner vinlyester resins are the typical choice. These aren’t weaker resins, they are just formulated for the particulars of infusion. Even with those thinner resins, there is still a need for horsepower via a larger vacuum pump. The way that infusion works, is that one side of the project, or wakesurf board has the feed lines from which the resin flows INTO the project and the other side of the project has the exit port which is where the vacuum is pulled from. In effect, the resin enters the feed port because the vacuum is pulling all of the air and resin from inside the project and also from the bucket that holds the resin.
We know that sounds weird, but as we go along with this process we’ll show you how that works and it will make more sense. For now, if you’ll just take away that the vacuum pump we need for the infusion work has to be BIGGER and more efficient. So we have a new pump! The pump that we are showing has a few new features, but mostly more power. This vacuum pump is capable of processing 6.5 CFM or cubic feet per minute. That is very fast compared to our old trusty vacuum pump which processed less than 0.5 CFM. Also, this vacuum pump can pull down 25 HG, which is a unit of measure associated with vacuum. It’s LOTS, and our old system would struggle beyond 15 HG, so we have definately ramped up the production capacity and also the weight. This vacuum pump weighs close to 40 pounds! You’ll also note that the front has a digital vacuum guage, which also allows for a bunch of other settings to adjust vacuum based upon local conditions.
This process will allow us to get the lightest, tightest, strongerest and most uniform lamination possible.
A1 steak sauce! Ok, this is a picture of the back of the pump with a few features we want to discuss, there is a paper pleated filter that keeps debris out of the pump motor and also a quick disconnect hose fitting. We are stepping it up!
Most likely you noticed that there is no resin trap visible with this set up and that is intentional. We will be using a resin trap, but it is huge. The trap will have a separate analog guage and also is large enough to fit a bucket inside. With resin infusion, where we are pull raw resin towards the pump, it’s possible to get a LOT that pulls through the project into the pump, which would ruin it, so we will be using a huge resin trap to capture any wayward resin, especially in our first few practice runs.
More to come from the Flyboy Wakesurf labs as we do our resin infusion work this winter, we’ll be sure to show you the step-by-step processes.