ᴍᴀɴy people are curious about how contemporary fiberglass boats are constructed, yet modern boat construction is very different from that of vintage and classic powerboats. Nowadays, boat construction is actually quite high-tech. The Factory Fridays video series on boats.com takes viewers on tours of the nation’s finest boat ᴍᴀɴufacturing facilities. The in-depth series offers viewers privileged access to the creators and artisans of some of the top boat brands in the world as well as an up-ᴄʟᴏsᴇ view of the most recent materials and ᴍᴇᴛʜods used within their factories.
Boat Building Basics
Boats were traditionally made of wood, steel, and other materials by putting bits and parts into a structure that was then covered with a hull until the introduction of fiberglass ᴍᴀɴufacturing techniques. However, with fiberglass boat building, the hull, deck, liner, and substantial sections like consoles are all made of fiberglass. This often entails starting with a female mold. Gelcoat is sprayed onto the mold first, followed by fiberglass cloth and resin, which is used to wet out the fiberglass. A hull or other boat component results from the resin curing.
Stringers and bulkheads that provide structural reinforcement can either be separately molded and subsequently fiberglassed to the part, or they can sometimes be set up all at once. Items that will be mounted below deck level, such as fuel and water tanks or inboard engines, can be mounted while the hull is still open and exposed. Plumbing and electrical may also be run at this time. The main parts are then put together. For the majority of contemporary powerboats, this entails lifting the deck and/or liner and lowering it into the hull, frequently using a crane.
The hull and deck of ᴍᴀɴy boats are designed with a “shoe-box” junction, where they overlap or have ᴍᴀᴛɪɴɢ flanges. In addition to the use of a chemical bonding agent and sealant like ᴍᴇᴛʜyl ᴍᴇᴛʜacrylate or 3M 5200, which also makes the connection water-tight, mechanical fasteners like screws or through-bolts are frequently employed to secure the parts together. Some builders even fiberglass the junction between the hull and deck all the way around. When the boat’s main components are put together, interior fixtures like seats and steering wheels can be added. Finally, it will be possible to attend to the specifics and finishing touches.
Changes in how to build a Boat
The transition from primarily wooden to primarily fiberglass construction was the first revolution in modern boatbuilding, but the second revolution has been much more subdued. The use of traditional fiberglass techniques has given way to a variety of exotic materials and processes that, with their buzzwords and language, can even confuse seasoned yachtsmen.
However, the basic idea is still the same. Glass is still made of fibers that are bound together with resin. Fibers of glass were used as fiberglass in the very beginning, but this rapidly changed to fibers made of various synthetic polymers. A fiberglass construction has traditionally been made using cloth, roving, mat, and resins that are readily available in any hardware shop. More recently, it expanded to include more sophisticated materials like carbon fiber and Kevlar, which are well-known to ᴍᴀɴy thanks to their use in other products. Today, however, there are so ᴍᴀɴy different materials being used that reading the brochure for a new boat can benefit from having a chemical engineering background.
Some of the improvements were from efforts by ᴍᴀɴufacturers of offshore racing powerboats and ocean racing sailboats to create lighter, stronger, and consequently faster boats, but the energy crisis had the most influence. Since fiberglass is a petrochemical product, boat builders looked into ways to make boats lighter without sacrificing strength because doing so resulted in cost savings for them with each pound of fiberglass removed. For ᴍᴀɴufacturers of powerboats, a light but robust boat also uses less gasoline.
Since strength and light weight have traditionally been top priorities in the aircraft and aerospace sectors, where much of the research and development has really originated, ᴍᴀɴy boat owners are ignorant of the changes occurring in new materials and new molding techniques.
Let’s see the Incredible Making Process of Huge Steel & Wood Boats – Amazing Timelapse Ship Building Technology in the ᴀᴡᴇsome video below.
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Video resource: StarTech TV