Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Upper aeroshell in hyperspeed: Steps 1 & 2

Here's a major post that was well over 100 hours in the making.

Way back in September of 2016, I wrote about how I fabricated the HAPP's lower aeroshell out of carbon fiber and Kevlar. There were three steps: Making the plug, the mold, and then finally the part. I also wrote about how I developed the specific layup I'm using for the composite material.

What I did not do is follow up with the story for the upper aeroshell. It took many hours to prepare the story, and for good reason - for the upper shell, I videoed every minute of the months-long process, edited it down, and sped up the playback over 40 times so you, dear reader, can enjoy it over a single cup of hot coffee without even needing a refill.

Ever wonder why carbon fiber products can be so darned expensive? Watch the videos and you'll understand! This process was not for the faint of heart.

Here are the first two: The plug and the mold. The video for the part is ready to go, but I'm out of pocket for a week and I'll have to upload it when I return. Not to mention, who doesn't enjoy a little dramatic suspense before the big finale?

This is what we're making:
One-meter diameter aeroshells.
Lower shells along the wall;
Upper shells on the floor;
HAPP structure in the middle.

The videos contain narration and they're fairly self-explanatory. The only note I'll add pertains to the elapsed time clock you'll occasionally see in the lower left corner. This is not fake. I got jiggy with Javascript expressions in Adobe After Effects, and the timer is synchronized with time codes from the raw 4K video files.

Unfortunately (?) I only filmed the fabrication work, not the design, setup, cleanup, or many of my multiple mistakes. The actual time required is about 3X what you see on the clock. I suppose if I had a small army of assistants doing those other tasks, and I already knew exactly what I was doing with zero trial and error, then theoretically I could produce an upper aeroshell in the time shown on the clock. Oh well - one can dream, no?

Enjoy the videos, and please let me know your questions and comments.

Video 1:   The plug...

Video 2:   The mold...


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