Itchy Fun - A Serpent, Finally!
Once the molds were finished things progressed quickly. I had just a few choices to make such as polyester or epoxy resin; types of reinforcements; and traditional wet lay-up or vacuum bagging. The first choice was pretty easy. My workshop is in the basement of my house so the styrene fumes of a polyester resin could not be tolerated. Besides, epoxy is stronger though it is quite a bit more expensive. For reinforcement I decided to use several layers of glass fabric sandwiching a layer of micro balloon core material know as Baltek mat. The Baltek mat proved hard to work with (it didn't want to conform to the molds) and I will not use it again and instead opt for many additional layers of glass cloth. To make sure there were no air pockets in the final product I chose to vacuum bag the serpents halves. The process requires a little more work but the results are worth it. (Note! only the very first prototype was produced using vacuum bagging, see news for more information)
Above: Prior to finishing the molds two patterns were made for cutting
the glass fabric using nylon screen. The pattern sets lay down
like bricks with their joints alternating.
Above: Here is a photo of the front half lay-up. Five layers - glass, glass, mat, glass, and glass.
The epoxy resin has been mixed with pure powdered carbon to make it black.
Above: Release cloth assures that the vacuum breather material will separate from your work
after the part is cured. Trust me, if you do this, use more than one layer of release!
Breather cloth added and under vacuum for 4 hours. What fun!