While the Sage Cat prototype is being tweaked we are setting up our shop so that we can start building the parts here in Golden. The main parts, hull, deck, and liner, will be built in a closed mold system that is more environmentally friendly and produces a better part. This specific system is called vacuum infusion or resin infusion.
The idea is that the glass and core are laid into the mold dry and then sealed with a vacuum bag. The air is drawn out and resin is pulled in to fill the negative space. The resulting part has less voids and optimal resin content. Another benefit is that the styrene is contained in the bag and not in the air so the shop is a healthier place to work.
In order to build parts this way there are some techniques and skills to learn and also some new materials specific to the infusion process that we need to use. We become familiar with these by doing testing. Flow testing is how you learn infusion and see what works and what does not. In order to infuse a part we need to pay attention to some specific things like permeability, viscosity, distance, and pressure.
With resin infusion you have to have a way of getting the air out and getting the resin into the bag. The resin then has to flow through the material towards a vacuum point without leaving dry spots. The permeability of the glass and the viscosity of the resin affect the distance that the resin can travel under a given pressure which is atmospheric pressure in our case. Atmospheric pressure is partly determined by altitude. Here in Golden we have less pressure than in Florida which means that we have less pressure and less vacuum than in Florida. We can still infuse but we need to pay attention to the other factors.