Brett Schumann, welcome to brettworld

Custom kite surfboard - Assembly part 1

09 June 2008

With the core and the rails cut it was time to setup my rocker table and put the board together. To setup my rocker table I used the spare combi board and clamped this to my table. I marked off the centres of both the width and length and used a marker to join up the lines This will be my centre lines from where all my measurements are taken. I used two G-clamps and placed them midway along the length of the table. Before clamping down I instead a 4mm drill bit in the center between the two sheets of combi board. This will give me a concave under the board.

Now measuring from the centre line outwards I marked the length of board and noted this length down on the rocker table (I shall be using the combi board for later boards so it would be nice to know what lines are for what board). Once this was done I laid out the ABS rails and core onto the rocker table and made sure everything lined up correctly. I then put some vacuum sealant tape around the edge of the rocker table (leave the paper backing on until you come to do your vacuuming), and then measured out the vacuum bag film and cut to size. If you want you can place your vacuum bag through connector now to save time.

A bit of advice about the ABS rail, run a propane/butane torch over the surface. DO NOT melt the plastic but do it just enough to change the matt finish of your sanded down rail. When doing it, do it bit by bit, you shall see the change it matt finish happen, it is very quick so keep an eye out. This is done so the resin bonds both mechanically and chemically to the ABS.

Once this is done mix up your resin (I have used West Systems Epoxy Resin, this is more expensive than polyester, but will give you better results), I mixed around 300ml and it was enough to bond everything together with some to spare.

Place the ABS rails and 3mm ply insert on the rocker table and align it up with your markers.

Using a foam roller (I shall post a list of what materials I used when I am done) I applied resin to the bottom of the second layer of ply (remember the first layer is an insert in the middle of ABS core), then placed this in the correct spot on top of the ABS rails, I did the same thing for all the other layers.

When I was finished applying the resin, I laid the breather fabric over the length of the board, stuck down my vacuum bag film - remember to leave some slack in the bag else it might pull tight around corners and develop holes. I shall do a later post of the various techniques that I used since some are quite in-depth. Once that is all completed, connect your vacuum pump and start sucking/pumping. It is a good idea to have a vacuum gauge to keep an eye on your system. My vacuum pump managed to pull a healthy 25 inHg +(800mbar/12psi) vacuum. Now leave it for 6-8 hours for the resin to cure - I left mine running for 8 hours.

Once done you can turn off your pump and remove the board from the rocker. I carefully undone my vacuum bag and since I kept the paper backing from my tape I was able to use the materials again. The breather cloth was binned since that got some resin on it which is was it was meant to do. A light sanding removed the excess resin from the core.

Whenever you do sanding please wear a dust mask and NEVER sand fibreglass without one. My uncle who built his own swimming pool out of fibreglass learnt the lesson the hard way. He sanded part of the pool without a dust mask and later was rushed into hospital with his lungs bleeding. He later died in hospital that day when a clot from his lungs broke off and stopped his heart. So please always wear a dust mask and if you can use your home vacuum cleaner to help keep the dust down (or purchase one - most wet and dry ones will do the job nicely). Most modern power tools have some sort of vacuum attachment so use it with your dust mask. DO NOT take chances.

breather cloth vacuum bag vacuum bag with fittings close up of the vacuum bag
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