We are back with another factory update with Grant here in Panama. We have recently completed the first prototype of the complete SeaPod roof. Grant is here to walk us around the final product so that we can see some of the different details about it.
The mold is made of 12 pieces that fit together like slices of a pizza. They are bolted together and create one big mold for the roof. Once they are all connected we start by putting down a layer of gel-coat which is followed by the fiberglass and resin. We apply these layers to the surface of the mold and we build in layers until we have the desired thickness.
Now that we have all of the fiberglass laid down and dried, we are pulling the mold sections off one at a time. You can see in the video that there is a small seam where some of the sections are connected. This is an easy fix with a little bit of sanding and a new layer of gel-coat. We will do a little bit of finishing on the surface to get everything smoothed out how we want it. This is our first prototype so it doesn’t need to be perfect, but we are using it as a way to learn the process and find ways to improve it as we move forward.
The weight is currently being supported by some anchor points that we build from fiberglass. This allows the weight to be held by the crane instead of resting on the ground. We added a ribbed structure that will give the roof quite a bit of extra rigidity without adding a ton of weight. This will help make sure that we don’t damage the roof if it flexes when we flip it over. Flipping the roof will be another challenge that we have to solve but we have a few ideas and we think it will go at least somewhat smoothly for the first attempt.
This is coming along nicely and we are learning how to make the production process move faster in the future. We are moving full-steam ahead toward getting this first prototype put together and into the water so be sure to stay tuned for more updates from the Ocean Builders Factory!