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The risk of layups after sunset (A builder's story)

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A recent story of this intrepid builder getting 'caught out' during a critical layup.
 
It is winter here in the southern hemisphere. I finally had a warm(ish) sunny day to layup the remaining side of my 4-place tub. Most smaller parts I can cure in a heat-tent that I attach to my workbench, so I can and do build all-year round, though not as much in winter (the heat tent doesn't fit the builder inside!), however, my tub is on the rotisserie at the moment. I am building in a non-insulted metal garage that has great sun exposure, so it warms up nicely in there by mid-day on sunny days in winter (and will give a mild post-cure to parts and persons in summer!).
 
Almost everything was ready to go in anticipation of good weather, so I set up electric heat to warm parts and materials in advance, and I got to work as soon as the garage warmed up in the sun All was going well: 3 layers of uni overall, three strips of uni lapping up onto the upper longeron, then the final layups, the engine mount reinforcements that wrap around onto the side from the firewall. 
 
I took a moment to enjoy the view of the pretty colours of the sunset out of my garage windows. Turns out it was the shortest day, so light faded early, and the temperature began to fall. No problem, I have good electric lighting and some electric heat for overall warming and a hair-dryer for applying heat on small areas to keep the resin / glass ratio favourable (I think of this as the John Slade method, as I learned it from his builder log. He is gone now, but he is not forgotten, and his build log continues to inspire and help!).
 
Then the lights went out. Now, losing power on this property happens every few weeks, the wiring and supply equipment on this (rented) property, according to an electrician, is 'barely adequate', and the master circuit breaker pops whenever the timing aligns between such things as the fridge or freezers coming on at the same moment as there is already a high load from the hot water, or whatever. I have invested in a UPS for my computer to avoid loss of work and stress on components due to the frequency of this occurrence!  Resetting the main breaker solves the problem. So I went inside to do just that.
 
But the breaker wasn't tripped. Power was out for the entire neighbourhood! Turns out some irresponsible maniac in a car had cut a power pole nearby in half, smashed a parked car, and knocked an elderly gentleman off his electric mobility scooter (he wasn't injured, by some miracle!). They managed this on a straight section of road in a residential area...
 
With the sun down there wasn't enough light to see, but I set up a flashlight on a bench aimed at my layup and brought in my 6-year old son to hold another from a good angle so that I could see to complete the important reinforcement layups. The rapidly cooling temperatures made the epoxy thicken quickly, which wasn't ideal, but I got the layups completed as best I could in the circumstances.
 
Once the power came back on a few hours later, I went out and applied heat with the hair-dryer and squeegeed the layups again, getting a fair amount of excess epoxy removed before it had a chance to cure. 
The layups all turned out well (better than the other side... the experience of doing the other side previously helps noticeably at this level of builder experience!).
 
I hadn't considered the possibility of this sort of outage occurring at a critical time. Probably these reinforcing layups could be done later (as they are for the inside ones), but it would not be ideal, and not to plans.
At least for now I have smaller layups to do, while the days get longer and the likelihood of a repeat of this situation decreases! :blink:
 
Still building, 44°, 24' South!
flashlit.thumb.jpg.8279276b0f288191c339f76472985ad1.jpg

Aerocanard (modified) SN:ACPB-0226 (Chapter 8)

Canardspeed.com (my build log and more; usually lags behind actual progress)
Flight simulator (X-plane) flight model master: X-Aerodynamics

(GMT+12)

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You survived that "perfect" timing -- thanks for sharing.  I learned that squeegee+plastic technique from John's website as well and can imagine what you were going through.  Glad it worked out.  I'm looking to put a small wood burning stove in my shop for this coming winter.

I'm going to move this post to the Builder Progress Reports section as a next step towards turning on the Blog feature.


Jon Matcho :busy:
Canard Zone Developer & Builder
Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Building Cozy Mark IV+ (widened rear)

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Thanks, I wasn't certain exactly where the topic should go, so I made a 'best guess'. 

 

Yes, my current shop is far from ideal. I could wait until I have a better one (another year or two), or make the best of what I have and build anyway. I choose the latter!

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Aerocanard (modified) SN:ACPB-0226 (Chapter 8)

Canardspeed.com (my build log and more; usually lags behind actual progress)
Flight simulator (X-plane) flight model master: X-Aerodynamics

(GMT+12)

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Builder Progress!  You're making it happen in spite of the forces against.  I am going home right now to do the same.  I don't have as much to offer as you at the moment, but am making progress.  Thanks for the inspiration!


Jon Matcho :busy:
Canard Zone Developer & Builder
Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Building Cozy Mark IV+ (widened rear)

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I'm happy to contribute, and hopefully, help stimulate some more life in the forums! 


Aerocanard (modified) SN:ACPB-0226 (Chapter 8)

Canardspeed.com (my build log and more; usually lags behind actual progress)
Flight simulator (X-plane) flight model master: X-Aerodynamics

(GMT+12)

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