We’ve done a little more on the construction of the documentation build and then we also want to show you a little preview of a second construction that we’ll soon be offering. We won’t go into too much detail in this post, but we will very shortly.
The top deck side of the Flyboy Wakesurf Branded James Walker signature model has a 6 oz carbon fiber layer, beneath the bamboo decking. This layer also wraps the rails, and continues on the bottom just to a fraction of an inch under the bottom bottom bamboo layer.
We start all of this with a a huge piece of Carbon Fiber!
We realigned the fabric after this picture, it’s kinda heavy so wanted to slip off the blank before we could snap a pic, so we moved it over. We’ll get two pieces out of this section of cloth plus a reinforcement patch. Once we have it all aligned we start cutting! We want the fabric to overlap the rails and down under the bottom, so we allow for that extra area.
Carbon fiber is a really stiff and thick fabric and wants to sort of spring back to it’s original shape, which ISN’T wrapped around the rails! In a molding environment, stiff fabric or fabric that has to be pushed into a vertical surafce, where gravity would cause it to fall of the surface, gets a dusting of 3M spray glue to hold the material in place, at least until resin can be applie, or the project placed under vacuum to consolidate the fabric to the underlying structure. We use that technique to hold our carbon fiber in place and to make sure that everything is perfectly aligned.
We also use that squeegee to push the fabric down against the core of the board. Carbon Fiber really needs some form of vacuum assisted lamination techniques. It’s so stiff and thick that in order to get a good quality lamination, it needs the constant pressure from the vacuum to consolidate it tightly against the core.
One of the issues in many molded boards is excess resin. That resin gets trapped in between layers and doesn’t add any benefit to the board. The best practice is to add only the amount of resin needed and no more. High end molded products typically use pre-preg reinforcement fabrics, where the resin is introduced into the fabric before it’s shipped to the builder. This way the perfect amount of resin and ONLY that amount is included in the fabric. Once it’s inside the mold, the whole product is heated which causes the pre-preg fabric/resin to start curing. No excess resin and a perfect bond. Most molded boards don’t go through that expense or trouble and that is one reason that molded products get a bad name. Probably deserved, but not because of the process.
This board is uses a vacuum assisted approach, but it’s not technically molded. We bond each layer separately to insure that just the right amount of resin is used, not too little and not too much. It’s exceptionally time consuming, but there isn’t any other way to insure that the correct amount of resin is used, that everything is bonded appropriately and that we have a uniform distribution of resin and material all across the surface. We may not have talked about it adequately, but part of what the concave deck does, is balance the stiffness of the board across both the top and bottom. We get a uniform stiffness, so that the underlying shape can manage the flex and break strength. Engineered, if you’ll allow us that term. Back on topic, in order to do the secondary bonding, we need a rough surface. There are two type of bonds, chemical and mechanical.
We move through the process rather quickly, to insure that we still maintain a chemical bond between layers, but we also impart a rough surface between bonds to insure a good mechanical bond. We use peel ply for this step. It helps remove excess resin and also leaves a tiny pattern in the cured resin. It is preferred over sanding, because it is uniform everywhere and doesn’t leave a thin area of resin, as when sanding, so that everything is uniform across the entire surface.
We drape the peel ply over the entire project and then cut it roughly to shape, with enough excess that all of the wet out reinforcement fabric is covered. When the peel ply is removed, it leaves a matt like finish, rather than the typical gloss we are accoustomed to with carbon fiber. This is what that looks like, after the peel ply is removed and the epoxy has cured.
Ok, so that’s it for the construction details for today, we’ll get back to it in a little bit. We wanted to introduce you to a new construction process that we’ll be offering, in addition to the MONDO Beast Mode construction we are showcasing in this build thread.
As you’ve seen in this build thread, it’s crazy complicated, labor intensive and time consuming. Which also results in increased cost. This product, the “Premium Construction” will be one of those: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it, OR if you have to ask if you can make use of the technology, you can’t. We are the brutally honest, a no bullshit board company. We don’t want you to buy the higher end MONDO BEAST MODE construction if you can’t use it or afford it. There are tons of good boards out there that will work just fine for you. The board were are documenting, IS NOT of that genre. We won’t push it on you. Most likely if you call or send an email asking if it’s suitable for you, we’ll steer you away from it. We know! It’s crazy, but we aren’t about selling a gazillion boards, or selling that board to “sorta good” riders. That’s not our market, this board isn’t designed for those folks, other manufacturers meet that need really well. This will be for the select few that can use the technology and that appreciate the value…all three of you.
We also will have a LESS than MONDO BEAST MODE construction. Less labor intensive and robust, but of a quality and construction that will allow high end riders to feel the difference. We’ll describe the construction and performance attributes at a later date, but here is a quick glimpse of the board and construction. You can see it next to James’ contest board at the beginning of last season.
We should point out one thing, the sort of jagged line around the carbon fiber perimeter frame, is just a pinline. This is a final prototype, for testing purposes. We plan to use pinlines between the clear foam area and carbon fiber, but that takes forever to dry and we didn’t have that much time with the season quickly coming to an end! We’re trying to take this board out this weekend, if we can beat the forecast rain!
Anyway, we’ll have the MONDO BEAST MODE Premium Construction and this slightly toned down version, which will also cost less! Not cheap, by any means, but it’s not a pop-out either. Both boards will be built 100% in the USA using quality materials available only here in the USA. We are excited to get back to hand built, in the USA boards!
Ok, that’s all for today, thanks so much for following along, we really appreciate it.