Tuesday, December 25, 2018

AMOS Got Fiberglassed For Christmas

Merry Christmas! The fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin arrived this past week just in time for Christmas, so I figured that AMOS's new foam board should get a nice coat of fiberglass for Christmas, to protect it from getting any more dings or gouges.

First, I used a bit of polyfilla mixed with a few drops of water to fill in some of the pits and cracks that were mostly on the bottom of the board, then after waiting half a day or so for it to dry, sanded it down:

On Saturday I fiberglassed the bottom half of the board, using some painter's tape to hold the edges of the cloth to the perimeter of the top surface:

My technique was loosely base on a series of YouTube videos on fiberglassing foam surfboards. I wasn't really as careful as I should have been in making sure that the epoxy resin did not exceed the tape boundary. This didn't really hurt anything, but resulted in some of the tape getting permanently stuck to the board. I also wasn't particularly good at keeping ridges and bubbles from forming on the glassed surface. In hindsight, I probably should have been more careful to stretch and wrap the cloth prior to gluing.

Yesterday, I fiberglassed the top half. This part was slightly better, but I still had a number of ridges, especially around the edges of the board:

The important thing though, is that AMOS now has a nice protective coating, and I'm fairly confident that it should be able to withstand collisions with rocks, and be able to be strapped down to the roof of a vehicle without damage. This protection carries a bit of a price in terms of weight though, the weight of the board is now 10.2 lbs instead of the 6.5 lbs that it was initially before adding the coating.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

First Ever Interview

Last week marked the first time that I have ever been interviewed about AMOS:

Kirsten had interviewed me for a French project that she was doing at school about courage. We initially tried to conduct the interview in French, but it did not go very well; too many pauses, poor word choices, and bad pronunciation. So thankfully Kelly was able to do a great voice-over that made it sound really professional!

This past week I spent a bit of time updating the Boat Captain software for iOS, so that it now has close to the same functionality that the PC and Android versions have. Then my waterproof containers and cable glands arrived, so it was time to tear down the old beer cooler AMOS and build up the new surf-board version. This involves a lot of cable labeling, de-soldering, re-soldering, etc. and it looks like I'm going to be at it for a while.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Taking Shape

I allowed the glue to dry for three days under the pressure of my weights. The construction adhesive package recommended curing for 24 hours, but I thought it would be safer to give it some extra time. After that, I made some cuts at the front and back with a hand saw in hopes of improving the hydrodynamic shape:

I think the result was reasonable, given my lack of experience and skill in cutting this stuff. The hand saw did leave some rough looking divots in the foam though, which will require filling with a bit of pollyfilla or similar.

I have also ordered some fibreglass cloth and suitable epoxy which supposedly will not eat away at the foam for covering and protecting the boat surface. Right now the boat is nice and light (about 6 lbs) and the fibreglass will add some weight, but if it works it should be worth it I think in terms of the added protection and better look.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Start of AMOS 2.0

The current monitoring circuit that was begun last week was finished, and software was added for the PC and AMOS to view the amount of current that AMOS was consuming on its +12 V circuit. Also added to this diagnostics display was info on the leak sensor status, and (if a serial wireless link was used) the measured RF signal level in dBm. Here is a new screenshot of the BoatCaptain software for the PC (GPS position and time are incorrect because the boat was in the basement):

In an effort to make AMOS lighter and more hydrodynamic, some EPS pink foam insulation was purchased at Home Depot this weekend to make an inexpensive surfboard base (i.e. as a replacement for the trusty, but slow beer cooler). I had studied a number of online examples from people who had made their own paddleboards from this insulation material and had chosen this one in terms of its clear instructions and apparent usefulness (it seemed to actually work): https://www.instructables.com/id/Paddle-Board/

I printed out a picture of a suitably proportioned surfboard, figured out what the scaled dimensions should be, and then cut out a half-template from 1/4" plywood. This plywood was then used to draw both halves of the surfboard on two 2" thick insulation sheets:

The two halves were then glued together with two tubes of construction adhesive and my entire collection of weights were used to apply pressure. After a few days of drying I'll go around it with some sandpaper to smooth it out. Hannah is convinced that it will be too unstable and tippy, even with fins on the bottom and the weight of the electronics, motors, solar panel, and battery on top. Kelly figures it will probably break apart if I try to strap it to the roof of the van. (It can actually fit in the van, but doesn't leave much room for passengers.) So we will see. Perhaps if we get some warm weather and the pond next door melts I'll be able to try it out.