Hovercraft - Finishing the deck

It’s been a busy few weeks at STEAM Factory.   We finished up the table and storage skill builder projects.   Here is the table team standing on top of it - that was one of the design requirements.

After two weeks of work, we are almost finished with the deck for the hovercraft.   The deck team started by figuring out how to make a 5 by 10 foot platform from 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and styrofoam without overlapping seams. Once they had this figured out, they used two-part epoxy glue to bond the Styrofoam to ⅛ inch plywood.  This makes a surprisingly rigid platform.

Once of the platform was dry, we added more Styrofoam underneath for rigidity and to support the skirt attachment points.  The attachment points are just regular wood, but to make them really strong and watertight, we covered them with fiberglass. This meant we had to learn how to work with fiberglass and epoxy.  After a short demonstration, we got to work.

We learned that if epoxy gets on your clothes, you have to throw the clothes away. We also learned that if a five-year-old kneels down in the epoxy, the pants stand up by themselves after the epoxy dries. And we learned that by working together, we can actually cover most of the 4 x 8 surface in the 20 minutes before the epoxy gets too thick to use.  During most of it, every child was working and adults were just keeping the supply of epoxy flowing.

When we finished, we bagged the entire deck and attached a vacuum to it so that the pressure of the atmosphere would smooth out any wrinkles in the epoxy.  This was fun to watch.  We left the vacuum running all night and when we came back the next day it looked really good.  

Next week, we will mount the exterior skirt attachment points and then we’re finished with the underside of the deck.   Then we can start working on the propeller duct, engine mount and airbox-more on this next week.