While the outer shell of the SeaPod is made from fiberglass, most of the core and structural support is made from steel. While steel offers great strength and longevity, working with it can be difficult.
Cutting these thick steel plates must be done with an oxy-acetylene torch which heats the metal and then uses the pressurized flame to blow the molten steel out of the gap. These torches are typically handheld and the cutting is done by hand.
Some cuts that we make need more precision than we can do by hand. The machine that you see in the attached photo is an example of that. The torch is the same concept of a handheld model, but this one slides along rails so that it moves in a perfectly straight line.
For these cuts that need to be more precise and perfect, this machine is critical. Having perfectly straight edges means that the pieces will have smaller and more uniform gaps which will allow for stronger welds.
Tools like this allow us to work more quickly while also being more precise. We are currently building the second and third TriPod bases and this is one of the many things in our toolbox that makes life easier for us.