Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bulkhead Hatches

Once the decks are on, access to the forward and aft compartments will be restricted to the hatch openings. Consequently, I am finishing up as much as possible at this point in those soon to be awkward-to-access areas. Final coat of epoxy, reinforcement for the bow eye on the stem, and the fitting of the hatches.

Matt's Enigma hatches are fashioned from cut off tops of screw-top polyethylene plastic buckets. The bucket side is epoxied to the bulkhead early in the building process. Epoxy doesn't stick to this material so the joint is mechanical. In the process of looking for screw-top buckets, I ran across a different style of screw top for a bucket called a Gamma Seal. I thought I would adapt that to the 460 instead of Matt's method. A Gamma Seal is basically a screw top adapter for the more common snap-on lid bucket. Not sure if this is going to be any better than Matt's solution, but I think it will serve.

The basic Gamma Seal lid.

A temporary template was made to hold the bolts in place while the outer ring is filled with thickened epoxy. Mold release is used to keep the template from adhering to the template.

Bolts epoxied into the outer ring. The epoxy makes the ring much more rigid, too.

Outer ring fit to the aft bulkhead.

Nylock nuts secure the ring in place. The bolt holes are very close to the edge of the cutout in the bulkhead. Less than ideal, but I'm going with it at this point. Eventually, I'll epoxy the rings in place and that should provide a secure joint. One might even leave the bolts out, fill the ring with epoxy as above and epoxy that straight to the bulkhead.

The hatch in place with screw-in cover.

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