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Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:54 pm
by Nova SS
Looking good Denon, looking forward to seeing more.

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:24 pm
by DSR
Hi Denon, the Rampage looks awesome and I can't wait to see it on the water!! It's getting closer and closer....

One question though.......have you taken it on it's maiden voyage in the garage with motor noises yet???? :D :D

Thanks Denon!!

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:31 pm
by Denon Osterman
Hi All,

Thanks as always for following, and the kind words! Matt, I had the exact same thought - if I ever need to work on the hull, I want to be able to take everything out. I can also remove the full rear seats / bench to make working on the engine / hardware *way* easier, and lighten things up a bit for those top speed runs :wink:

Dave, I haven't managed to actually get the engine fired up yet - and likely won't for a while, maybe even until early spring. There's a few reasons for this - the first is that I want to do a cam (and maybe carb) swap before I drop it in the hull, and then spend a day tuning on the dyno before it goes in the boat...and that means I actually need to get around to spec'ing and ordering the cam and carb, installing them, booking the dyno...and I just don't think it's going to happen before snowmobiling season takes over! That being said, I *do* have most of my shinny new hardware that goes with the engine either on order or in house. Stuff like oil and water systems, exhaust, all of that fancy stuff...I need to fit it to the hull with my fake foam 454 to make sure everything fits.

All of that being said, unfotunately this update is a pretty bad / heartbreaking one - long story short, I'm going to have to completely redo the entire decking from the veneer up :cry: :evil: :x

Basically what happened is I did quite a bit of sanding - like way more than needed, I took off at least 2 coats of epoxy - and the cloudyness in my finish was still there when I varnished. So I sanded a *lot* more - like for 20 straight hours with more aggressive grit sizes - re varnished, and still had crap in my finish. To be honest, it might have gotten worse. I'm 99% sure that whatever it is has to do with the boundaries between layers of epoxy. In other words if a "high spot" only ended up with 2 layers covering it after fairing, but a "low spot" still had 4 layers, then I'd get 2 lines of shimmery stuff. Kind of like a topography map - see below picture.
This stuff didn't really show up when I was doing the rougher grit sanding between layers - I only started to notice it when I looked closely at the final, very smooth finish, and then when I sanded down to 220 for varnish and varnished it REALLY started to stand out. For reference, the above shot is after some heavy sanding with 80 grit...and the below is my entire deck after sanding down to 220 :? :shock:
Anywhere that's "dark" in the above shot is a boundary between epoxy layers, and will show up as that shimmery crap when I finish everything. You'll notice it's covering the entire the entire deck has to be completely stripped of epoxy, which means I'll end up going through the stain as well, and needing to re do the entire stain (which was...painful, to say the least) and re-epoxy and fair (which took an entire summer), without having this same issue appear.

The good news? 3 straight days of sanding later, I've poked through to the wood in one area - and I'm going very slowly to keep everything as fair as possible.
You wouldn't believe the number of belts, orbital pads, shop vac filters, and respirator filters I've gone through in that's nearly 10 gallons of epoxy that I've now converted to dust. But, there's light at the end of the tunnel as they say, and now that the weather is pretty cold up north there's not much else to do with my days other than work on the boat! So, I'm hoping that by the end of Canadian thanksgiving, I'll be ready for epoxy again. Unfortunately that point it will almost for sure be too cold to epoxy anymore, but that will give me the rest of the off season to fit hardware and get everything else done (seats, exhaust, etc)...and then I can epoxy and varnish in the spring.

I've also been doing quite a bit of research on what could have caused this and have come down to three possible conclusions:

1) Moisture. Apparently moisture can cause "cloudy" epoxy...though I'm not 100% sure that's what I'm seeing, I bought a humidity meter, and it certainly does vary widely based on the weather, so there's a good chance this was a contributing factor.

2) Aggressive rolling. It makes me cry to think that all the $$$ dropped on fancy mohair rollers was wasted because I "rolled too quickly", and similar to above I'm not 100% I'd call my problem "cloudy" epoxy - it's the inter-layer boundary that's causing the issue. Still, I definitely rolled about as quickly as I could, so could likely be a factor.

3) The brand / tactics used to apply. I did most of the deck with a new brand that's water clear, supposedly blush free, and supposedly re-coatable without sanding in ~4 hours based on temp, hardener, etc. I'm a little worried that either the brand I used was not meant for this type of lamination, and/or my re-coat time was off.

What probably ended up happening is that every day that I tried to get two coats on (which was nearly every time I epoxied), a combination of overcoating too early / late, with humidity and my fast rolling, meant that humidity or air bubbles got "trapped" under every second layer, or something like that. Either way, my plan for round #2 is to brush on West 207 only when my humidity meter tells me I can, and only according to their exact instructions. Fingers crossed! Of course, if anyone else has any other suggestions, or knows exactly why this is happening, or how to fix it before I DO strip the whole boat...I'm all ears :)



Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:05 pm
by Milhouse
I feel ya; rough days! I have been in your shoes with my dash. I had some of the same topographical issues (aka witness lines) because I didn't get it exactly flat after sanding my uncured varnish off.

Honestly they look WAY worse under florescent lights. I can't even see them at all in natural light outside.

I don't think you need to strip it all the way down, I would add another coat or two of epoxy (after all your sanding) try to get it flat and then varnish it.

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:40 pm
by Denon Osterman
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the feedback - unfortunately for some reason my lines were super obvious even in the sunlight, so I had to tear everything down.

The good news is I managed to work smart and not hard - I did some research on the forums here and found out that a heat gun and paint scraper is the way to go...and boy is it ever!

It took about two days to fully strip the hull, including some careful work around the edges where there was other epoxy present that I didn't want to strip. Thankfully everything's now off! Pictures below - the plan for (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend is to cast some parts for the seats and flagpole, and hopefully sand and level everything as well. Depending on the weather and how busy things are, I might even be able to get it re-stained. Fingers crossed!
Hitting the epoxy with a heat gun causes it to disintegrate and bubble...and then it's really easy to scrape off.
Here was the halfway shot.
At the edges over the transom, etc, I left a strip of epoxy to belt sand off, so that I wouldn't risk hitting the transom with the heat gun or anything. This is how the boat looks now...stripped of epoxy, somewhat still stained, and ready to be sanded down to the veneer and level again!


Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:53 pm
by Denon Osterman

Well, I missed last weeks update, but between thanksgiving and this past weekend I've gotten lots done! Weather sure is getting cold though - shop is hovering around 5 Celsius during the day, so there's no more epoxying in 2018 :(

First goal accomplished was getting the epoxy and stain nearly sanded down. I should be able to get it finished this upcoming weekend - but here's where we are right now:
The sides and back are nearly done, but the deck still has a tiny bit of work left before I'm through. I've been trying to be as careful as possible to keep everything as fair and level as I can as I do this, so that I don't have to re-fair or level once the stain is gone.

I also started experimenting with casting on the Thanksgiving weekend. I do a fair amount of 3D printing and have always heard about "Lost PLA casting", so I figured I'd give it a shot. Long story short, everything went shockingly well for a first attempt...except for the burnout of the PLA. Like good BBQ, burnout is more of a "low and slow" ordeal...and I went hot and fast. This meant that some molds cracked, whereas others (almost all) didn't get sufficiently burned out, ruining the cast part. The parts I was looking to do at the start were 4 peices for my flagpole (base, two flag mounts, and a top part that will be one half of the stern light), a skull shaped shifter knob, and 4 backrests for my benches (of which two cracked before I even got to pour aluminium). Here's how they looked fresh out of the molds:
The two parts that came out the best were the flagpole base and one of the two backrest supports. They came out well enough that I could somewhat mock them in place and see how they worked - and I learned a ton. Shrinkage is a factor for sure, and burnout is super important. I'm still pretty set on casting all of the custom hardware for the boat, so hopefully round two goes a bit better. Here's how the flagpole case looks - it would have been perfect but it didn't quite fit given the shrinkage. Not bad for a start / first try though!

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:06 pm
by Denon Osterman

The backrest also came out well enough to clamp in place and see how it worked - nearly perfectly, which made it very helpful to start measuring my engine and exhaust system. The idea with the backrest mounts is that the backrests lean against them - I'm working on a way to stop them from "folding forward" as well, so that they can pull double duty. Here's how they look:
With the backrest folded forward, however, I was able to get tons of access around the engine and start measuring everything. It's a delicate balance between clearance on all sides, alignment with the jetpump and exhaust, etc etc - and it was really nice to be able to move around and test things in the backrest "up" and "folded" positions.
backrest up+down.jpg
My driveshaft will have to be a little longer than standard, but I managed to get everything exactly lined up. It took the square, level, bubble protractor, and laser level to meet my OCD needs...but it finally all checked out! Here's the final shot - note that the block is a tiny bit below the level line on purpose, but it's otherwise a pretty sweet shot!

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:20 pm
by Denon Osterman

With the engine finally "locked in place", I could measure for and start putting in the exhaust system. The tailpipes will have to be custom made ($$$ - :cry: ) but having searched high and low, there wasn't a single set of tailpipes anywhere that fit the height I needed - almost all of them exit "too high", and the low port ones meant for jetboats exit "too low" - they'd go right through my stringers!

With the block in place the other step to get ready for measuring the tailpipes was to put in the tips and silencers. The tips are a 4" hole in the transom which I really didn't want to mess up, but I also didn't want to blow $50 + on a 4" hole saw that I'd only ever use twice. I know, I know...buys custom tailpipes but cheaps out on cutting a hole...

I ended up measuring the hole centers about 30 times - this is a big cut after all! - and then made a little drillbit jig to cut my holes. The basic idea was to drill a 3/8" hole right in the center of where the tailpipes will go, and in the very center of my jig. The jig then also has another hole drilled in it for the largest twist drill I have, such that the outer edge of that second hole is exactly two inches away from the *center* of the 3/8" hole. Then I slide a 3/8" bolt through both the jig and the hole in the transom, and spin the jig around as I drill lots of little holes...a picture's worth a thousand words, so here's what it looks like when done:
You can see the finished initial cut on the left side, with the jig mounted and ready to go on the right side - the drill is also loaded and ready. Once the initial holes were cut, it was relatively easy to wiggle the drillbit between holes to make them a slot...then widen the slot...and then sand everything to a near perfect circle with the power filer. I stopped and checked every 10-15 seconds of filing to make sure my hole centers were still lined up, and everything worked out great!
After wiping away the sawdust, I also drilled 3 holes for my water dump - this time using a holesaw that I already had as part of my drillbit set - and everything was ready to mock in place to see how it would all look!
I'm *very* happy with how it's looking - I love the flushmount tips, and think they really fit with the overall style of the boat. The triple water dump has the same style - flushmount with recessed holes - and serves double duty. The outer two holes are for the double bilge outlet (one on each side as water can't get across the jet pump), with the middle outlet serving as a pressure dump off the jet jump's water pickup. The reason for this is that the cooling system for the motor is only rated for 10-20 PSI, whereas the pump will easily put out ~100 in operation. All of that extra pressure, in the form of extra water, has to go it leaves through the middle hole.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the progress, but still anxious to keep getting as much one as possible before the winter sets in...and the clock is ticking pretty quickly at this point. I'd *like* to get the deck fully sanded and stained again, and all of the hardware / accessories ready to be glued in place - U bolts, cleats, gas caps, gas tank mounting, the works - but even as I type this I know that won't end up happening. That leaves April, May, and June to get the loose ends tied up, deck epoxied and varnished, and engine installed and tested if I want to make next years ACBS show...not looking great, admittedly, but not impossible either. On the bright side, I'll almost for sure get it launched at some point next summer - marking 10 years since I started - and will for sure make the 2020 ACBS show, which is the 40th anniversary!

Wish me luck, and thanks as always for following :)


Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:34 pm
by nybhh
Those little touches have such a huge impact. This thing is going to look totally bada$$ when you are done! Can’t wait to see it refinished.

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:31 pm
by Denon Osterman
Thanks for the kind words! I really hope I can get the castings to work out - they'll look awesome when polished, if I can ever figure everything out. I even had trouble with polishing...I got everything to the wire wheel stage, but getting the actual polish (tripoli / etc) onto the cotton buffing wheel has proven near impossible. It's rock solid...I think it's just super, super old and I might need new compound. Hopefully I can cast everything before the spring so I have time to finish it all this winter!

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:45 am
by mrintense
All of this is pretty awesome Denon, I've wanted to have some custom castings for my mast base when I get to it and wondered how I might go about doing that. Admittedly it is years away, but I considered 3D printing and casting. When you get this dialed in, please give us some details as I would definitely be interested in hearing about your experiences with it.

The flush exhaust and outlet ports look really cool. Nice details. I agree this is going to be one great looking boat. And 10 years, I feel for you, I am sure it will easily be 10 for me before I am completely finished.Shooting for 8 to the first launch.

Good luck.

Re: Rampage Update 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:30 pm
by Denon Osterman
Thanks Carl! I'll definitely be posting an overview of the whole "Lost PLA" process somewhere on the forum once I've nailed it down. It took hours and hours of googling to even get to the stage I'm at. I am a little leary because the danger level reaches whole new orders of magnitude when you have 700+ degree Celsius liquid I'll have to wrap the whole thing in some pretty strong cautionary words of safety. But for those looking to try and able to head those words of caution, it is a super cool way to make your build "one of a kind"!

I've debated the idea of a "first launch" - but other than towing the boat over to mainland to drop in the engine for a week or two and get everything rigged up, I think I'll get it completely finished before the maiden voyage. It's relatively bare bones compared to most, and there isn't anything I can think of that would make sense to hold off on, if that makes sense.