Grant is coming to you from the Ocean Builders factory here in Panama with another update on the steel tubes that we recently took delivery of. After getting everything unloaded, we began working on some of the prep that needs to be done to get these tubes ready for the next step.
The steel is manufactured as flat sheets that we then have to roll into tubes and weld to solidify everything. The normal manufacturing process leaves the steel with a flat edge which isn’t great for welding so we have to prep the edges so that we can weld the sections together more effectively.
The best way to weld steel like this is to grind the edges down to about a 45º angle so that we can get a more even penetration when welding. If the edges are too thick, then the weld won’t go deep enough and will be weak so we definitely want to avoid that. Unfortunately for us, the process of creating that 45º wedge is slow and tedious.
As of right now, it is taking one man about half a day to prep each end of the tubes so, at the rate of one section per day, we are looking for ways to speed this up. We are currently using an angle grinder to grind the edges down but this method can only go so fast. The blue tape that you see on some of the tubes in the video below is simply to help keep the fresh edge protected from the elements and limit corrosion.
The larger steel tubes that you see in the video below are about 1.6 meters in diameter and are for the central spar. The smaller tubes are around 1.05 meters and will be used as spar sections for the outriggers of the floating TriPod base.
We are working to find ways to speed up this process. The research and development stage always takes a long time, and usually more time than we want, but it is the most important part of the process. Production always moves a bit faster because at that point we will have worked out the kinks and made our processes more efficient. Being trailblazers in an industry is always difficult but we will keep working and when we can deliver something brand new that the world has never seen before, it will all be worth it.