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Duracell Project: Homemade composite hinges

Sep 27, 2023Sep 27, 2023

To keep the spirit of Duracell, a former racing yacht, Matt was careful to keep the weight of the boat in mind during the refit. So he chose sandwich composite furniture, but attaching hinges to the ports of such parts is not easy, as the sandwich does not like to be drilled. Generally, to install commercial hinges, it is necessary to provide inserts in the core, where wood replaces the foam, or return to a monolithic composite. Plates and counter plates can also be used, but Matt decides to make his own composite hinges, which he will glue with epoxy.

For this, he uses a thin copper tube, in which he will slide a stainless steel rod. The tube is laminated in fiberglass. Matt makes a mold to hold the tube in place when laminating a long length of tube. The large piece is then cut into a series of hinges in a single lamination. A tooling system allows him to mill the tube and match the hinge couples.

Finally, he glues the hinges to the door and frame with filled epoxy.

In today's second episode, Matt tackles an important issue to get Duracell sailing again: his new rig. With the new mast salvaged from second hand, new chainplates are needed. The new mast will have pushrods to eliminate the need for runners, and the chainplates will be taken directly from the wall to make the most of the available width to hold the mast. The new chainplates will be made of carbon, but the new area between two strong ribs must be prepared. To do this, Matt cuts the inner skin of the wall sandwich, as well as the Airex foam. He then laminated 15 successive fiberglass fabrics to come back to a monolithic composite base, which is well supported on the walls to transmit the forces of the future chainplates.

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