In early January, Kevin Burns, Vice President of Design and Product Development for Back Cove Yachts took a visit to Maine Concepts in Cape Coral, Florida to check on the mold for Back Cove’s newest model – the Back Cove Downeast 37. Marine Concepts specializes in composites tooling and fiberglass parts. Before the mold can be built, Marine Concepts builds a full sized pattern (often called a “plug”) to the precise shape and finish of the final part.
The plug is made of a structure covered in foam; a robotic router shapes the foam based on 3D design files of the Downeast 37 sent to Marine Concepts from the Back Cove Design Team. The robot first carves a rough foam shape that is close to the final surface of the plug.
After the foam is rough shaped, Technicians reinforce the foam and apply a thick layer of tooling paste, which hardens into a material which the router can then machine to the final surfaces – with all the details of the actual part. Above, in the very top of this photo, you can see the robot in action.
Once the dry tooling paste has been applied to the plug, it is ready for the final pass of the robotic router. The final machining process is referred to as the “finish mill” stage and takes the router about 10 days to complete.
As you can see from the photo below, the plug is strong enough to walk on. Also note the tooling paste that has been applied – the plug appears to be covered in a layer of clay.
After finish mill, the plug moves to another building where workers apply finish primer, hand sand and polish all the surfaces until they are shiny. They will also glue down the sheets of “anti-skid” texture on all of the sole surfaces before they begin to build the mold.
Below is a rendering of the finished part! The mold should be arriving in Maine by Spring and the first Downeast 37 hull should be launched by mid-summer. For more information on the Back Cove Downeast 37, visit the Back Cove website.
January 17, 2013 | Permalink