Preparing for Friday progress

Wales have now lifted the restrictions on day visits. So in the morning we will be heading for Vida. First time since 21st March.

We are taking the motor frame.

I’ve slipped the motor out. 4 bolts each end of the motor attaching it to the frame. 3 frame bolts undone and 2 loosened was all it took.

It did mean I was able to check the weight of the completed frame. 21kg plus the two cross bars that will rest on the flexible mounts.

So we have got the motor frame and saloon cushions all loaded ready for the morning 😊

Hopefully there will be a Friday progress post tomorrow!

Cabin Refurbishment: Part 4 Layout

Continuing from Cabin Refurbishment: Part 3 Interior Theme and Style

Plans so far (layout and technical)

We really love the overall layout of Vida with the small, safe, protected centre cockpit that allows for an aft cabin accessible from the main cabin and two heads compartments.

However, there are a number of ways we want to tweak the layout, for long term live-aboard cruising. A lot of these tweaks come from the benefits of switching to zero fossil fuels, we gain useable space in a number of places. For example:

  • Our cockpit locker now has more that twice the volume (removed diesel fuel tank, paraffin heater and tank, 4 x 12volt battery, water heater, water pump, fridge compressor)
  • We have gained an aft lazarette that used to be mostly filled by the gas bottles.
  • The corridor to the aft cabin is now wider on both sides (electric motor is smaller and doesn’t need the same sound and fire protection; diesel fuel tank removed)
  • The heads compartments don’t have to leave space for and access to 3 seacocks each, we are having much smaller wash basins too (although we are adding small waste water tanks and the composting toilets are a bit larger).

The original layout was rather “optimised” to sell the idea that you could have 8 berths (2 aft cabin, 2 forecabin, double using the saloon U-settee and infill, starboard settee with pilot berth above) and have all 8 sit around the table for a meal.

However, there was never going to be enough space for 8 people’s belongings (especially if they wanted you to have some food for them). Sitting 8 around the table would mean constant climbing over each other for access.

Our plan is to optimise for us as a couple living aboard with the capacity to have two guests for extended periods. In harbour we would use the aft and forecabins for sleeping, each with en-suite heads. Neither of these cabins is suited to use at sea, there the most comfortable place to sleep is a single bunk, in the middle of the boat, with a good lee cloth to stop you falling out. So we are planning for a minimum of one person on watch and so will need 3 sea berths.

That would give us the potential to have a few extra guests, for shorter visits, when in harbour or for shorter passages in good weather.

So here are some of the ideas we have at present.

We have already shared our ideas to remodel the aft cabin to make better use of the space, improving the way into the aft heads, providing a comfortable seat and easier climbing onto the bed, plus better insulation and more practical storage. We have now realised we can grab a little more space from the engine compartment from what was used to avoid siphoning with the exhaust.

I recently wrote about our plans for extending the galley. We plan for a under counter front opening fridge (where the gas oven used to be), for a microwave combo oven above and back from the induction hob. The induction hob to be gimbled but with the option to swap it for the Instant Pot or coffee machine so they can be used gimbled instead. In harbour we will be able to bring out the spare induction hob for more adventurous cooking (we think that having two individual induction hobs is a much better option than a one double hob).

We are pretty sure we want to change the chart table area quite a lot. Part of the goal will be to make the corridor to the aft cabin a bit wider as well as providing good storage (possibly large stuff such as bikes, or a watermaker, or for extra solar panels when they are not in use, or …). If we can make it work, we would like to rotate the chart table itself so that instead of sitting on a folding seat facing outwards (which blocks the corridor) you sit facing forwards. That would give somewhere that you could sit at when on watch keeping an eye on the instruments without disturbing someone asleep on the saloon sea berth.

We have an idea to turn the corridor access to the aft cabin into a single quarter berth when on passage. So essentially a pipe cot/fold down bed that you get out whenever on passage. That would provide a really secure, comfy bed in a place with little motion and easy access to the chart-table. When there are just two of us that leaves the saloon for seating/dressing etc. If we have extra crew we then have 3 sea berths without needing to have the double decker option at the saloon settee. This is only attractive because you will no longer be sandwiched between a noisy/smelly diesel engine and a smelly diesel fuel tank.

We have been exploring different options for the forecabin after we have done all the practical work to improve anchoring. One option is to keep it mostly the same, but improve it for use as a guest double cabin. The key challenges there are the height to climb into bed when it is setup as a double and the way the doors work for the heads.

The second option is to more drastically strip it out so that it functions better as a store/workshop with the option for one or two guest single berths that fold away when not in use.

Our heads compartments will both be laid out very differently, in large part, due to the composting toilets being a little larger but needing no plumbing connections. We have glass washing bowls to sit on top of worktops, so we are going to be very trendy, because they were the cheapest option at B&Q 😉 We want a very easy to clean, spacious feel rather than lots of little cabinets. As we have moved increasingly to plastic free bathroom products, you need far less space for stuff anyway.

In the forward heads we are determined to make the shower easy, comfortable and welcoming to use. We will also add an outside shower but we are British and living in Manchester so an outside shower is currently beyond our emotional imaginations capacity. A key to this will be to change the complicated multiway doors around the forward head in some way that will also replace the hopeless sliding door to the main cabin with something easier to use

We have already changed the saloon from having a big central table, the new table leg allows a table to be moved around so access is much easier. Eventually we will have a tabletop that opens out if needed. We can also use the same table and leg in the cockpit for al-fresco dining. We will make it so the U-shaped seating area can become a 2nd single sea berth.

We didn’t like the way the main settee backrest hinged up to make “bunk beds”. The lower bunk was very nice (but you couldn’t sit up in it) but it was very difficult to climb up into the upper berth. A side effect was that the settee was too deep for normal length legs 🙂 So we will add a more comfortably positioned backrest that moves right out of the way.

We really don’t like the storage in the saloon area. Every cupboard door and opening is a different size and none of them line up (which is not what is shown in the construction drawings). Many of them are so deep that you have to empty them to reach things at the bottom. So one day this will be simplified making the space look larger while being more useful.

Phew! It sounds a lot. Fortunately we won’t be doing this all at once, nor are we in any rush. These jobs will be spread over years while we are still working and using the boat for weekends and holidays. While there will always be much less volume than a modern 38 foot yacht we are very happy that we will have plenty for our needs and all in a boat design that is proven, trusted and affordable.

Cabin Refurbishment: Part 3 Interior Theme and Style

Continued from Cabin Refurbishment: Part 2 Approaches and Cabin Refurbishment: Part 1 the story so far and what is delaying us.

We want the interior to be light, simple looking, no fuss, intensely practical both at sea and living aboard on anchor, and comfortable but without any pretensions to being luxury. We want to build it from the most sustainable materials we can reasonably afford. Given that we expect the new interior to have a long life we are ok with us using some plastic in after all what is a 42 year old plastic boat that has plastic sails, plastic windows etc (Thanks Kika of Sailing Uma for that clear argument in this very helpful interview (“Electric Engines on Sailboats: A Complete Guide! | Sailing Uma Interview“)

Probably our general theme could be described as Herreshoff Style (mostly white with minimal wood trim) with some variations such as the cushions (what was on special offer for the aft cabin, recognising it is normally covered by a sheet and duvet; and in the saloon a blue because there wasn’t so much choice in the hard wearing semi recycled Sunbrella fabrics); stainless steel for the bigger handholds (as otherwise you need expensive and unsustainable hardwood) and “sophisticated” greys in the galley.

How to achieve this?

Part of the reason for choosing this style is that much of the internal timber is looking tired. There are lots of water stains, but fortunately we haven’t found any rot or delamination. So for the timber we are keeping (bulkheads for example) the best option is paint which handily should also be less work and harder wearing than trying to restore and varnish it.


This is the biggest challenge for us. As we have removed the, wet and sagging, headlining we are taking advantage of that by insulating the hull as well as under the decks and coachroof with 10mm closed cell foam (several layers where headroom isn’t an issue such as between the hull stringers). We need to hold this in place and we don’t want to look at black foam as we are not goth teenagers 😉 Our first attempt was to simply use spray contact adhesive with the idea of then painting it white. But it didn’t work.

The contact adhesive hasn’t held it in place, and so within a few days it all fell down. We have had discussions about whether being more generous with the adhesive would solve the problem, it was made clear to me that I was invited to do it myself next time with as much glue as I wanted but that it still would not stay up 🙂 More than that, the joints at corners are going to look uneven, we can’t see how to do anything approaching tidy for window surrounds, and finally if the foam is knocked at all then it gives and the paint cracks.

So we have been looking for something to hold the insulation up, give neat edges/joints and be light in colour, preferably white.

We have looked at various plastic sheets and plastic tongue and groove planks but didn’t want to introduce so much raw plastic and getting a good finish in awkward spaces is going to be tricky and time consuming especially with narrow plank styles.

We also looked at tongue and groove pine, but if it is thin enough to not cause headroom issues then it is also very fragile. We ruled out rectangular sections of timber due to the effort to fit them so that they look good (and cost).

In the end we think the best option for us is to cover it with thin plywood sections, which we will screw directly to the stringers or coachroof. Essentially this was what was there before. Now though it will have insulation behind and will be painted white rather than covered in foam backed vinyl. We will have removable sections wherever there is a bolt or fitting that we could need to access (fortunately not too many).

We can then cover the joints and edges with thin strips of softwood. Not sure what surface treatment except we will try to keep it’s natural colour, we don’t want to try to stain it to look like hardwood.


The floors are a problem. They are traditional Teak and Holly laminate so won’t match the new colour scheme. There are a few other problems too. They creak a lot, there is a hole from the old table leg and the matching plastic stuck to the slopes of the hull in various points is disintegrating.

Most of the floor boards are large awkward shapes and were screwed down, with a few loose sections for access to the water tank, speedo etc. We could do with being able to access more of it for storage, but we also need to be able to fasten every board down for safety (if we get knocked down you don’t want to be in your bunk getting hit by both floorboards and tins of baked beans).

We have seen a number of budget solutions applying standard DIY floor laminates but are not convinced, we feel they are not really going to last in the salt water environment and they are not designed for lift out sections.

For winter in the boatyard the cheap foam tiles sold in places like Halfords have been great but they don’t make access to the opening sections easy and they won’t last a very long time.

So one idea we are wondering about is cork tiles stuck down and then painted – comfortable, warm and soft while being a sustainable crop. Cutting for openings and awkward shapes is easy but edges are vulnerable.

For marinas and even at anchorages carpet or rugs can be nice but when at sea there are real problems with them slipping and getting wet.

So long term quite a lot of work to do but it will make a huge difference to living onboard (I really hate creaky, cold floors).


In Cabin Refurbishment: Part 1 the story so far and what is delaying us I had a bit of a grumble about the totally inadequate original lighting. There are very few lights, they look dated and are not in very useful places so not worth upgrading to LED bulbs.

We like a bright interior, especially in the winter but we don’t like bright point lights and shadows. So the easy solution is going to be lots of strips of LED lighting integrated into the corners of the headlining trim. We will have a red option for the galley, chart table and sea berths. But we don’t want flashing multi coloured, remote controlled disco lighting. Simple switches are much preferred as you don’t lose them and get in trouble with someone else on board 🙂

Lighting is going to be mostly LED strips that are hidden behind the trim to avoid direct glare.


We feel pretty happy with most of this and how it will be to implement (apart from the floor which feels very uncertain still). Next part will be on the layout.

Continued in Cabin Refurbishment: Part 4 Layout

Cabin Refurbishment: Part 1 the story so far and what is delaying us

Essentially the story of our cabin refurbishment so far can be summarised as ripping out and fixing leaks 🙂

Now we are ready to make plans for how to make things both comfortable and nice looking. First the recap on where we are at

So what has gone?

  • All the old cushions! Crumbly, squashed, wet, very dirty, sticky and smelly. Also many with very heavy wood backing.
  • Removed the dinghy davits.
  • Huge clearout of sails (were damp, not properly dried and stored) and accumulated stuff. Took the mainsail and genoa down. Had the masts taken down.
  • Removed loads of old not working stuff like paraffin heater. The entire gas installation (as it had all been condemned). All the batteries (all dead lead acid).
  • All the old plumbing, apart from the stainless steel water tank (which we hope is going to be good still) has gone (and what a beautiful difference it made to smell and space – especially those toilets and hoses).
  • All the foam backed headlining from everywhere has gone. It was sagging in lots of places and in some was completely waterlogged. So the cabin sides have very visibly dried out – especially above the chart table. It has given us greatly increased confidence. So relieved we did this, it uncovered the only leaks were the windows, mast step, dorade vents, aft porthole and 3 hatches. All these had been pretty much soaked up by the headlining and cushions so had done little damage.
  • Taken out the cupboards in the aft cabin to increase headroom and allow access to sort the chainplates.
  • All the electrics and most of the electronics are gone or going. The instruments are so old that it isn’t worth rewiring them (the depth sounder is the same model as my Dad had on his boat in 1976), none of them can be connected to anything else. The wiring is going to be redone (our needs and the placement of lights and equipment is so different there is little option for re-use)
  • Obviously, the diesel engine, fuel tanks and everything related has gone (again so much sweeter smelling and so much more space now).

What we have already done includes:

  • all new windows (no leaks, much greater “glass” area, 6 extra opening portholes for better ventilation)
  • new infill and cushions for a fantastically comfy double bed in the aft cabin
  • new galley worktop with sinks (currently draining into a bucket which works well in the boatyard) and place for the induction hob
  • two Nature’s Head composting toilets (including new floor in the aft heads)
  • new cushions for the saloon
  • new Lagun table leg with temporary table top for the saloon
  • Experimented with foam insulation in the aft cabin (but hasn’t stayed “stuck” up and painting it isn’t going to be a good solution for an acceptable finish.
  • All bilges that have been fully cleared and sanded have been painted, also both heads compartments and the galley.
  • Removed, cleaned and refitted main mast foot with new bolts.
  • The rudder head has been disassembled and cleaned.

Jobs that we are planning for the immediate future.

Mainly ones that are much easier to do before doing anything to make the interior look better (and function better), quite a few of them also require summer temperatures for outdoor epoxy work

  • Fill all the old seacock holes
  • Fit the two new cockpit drain seacocks
  • Sort out all the chainplates in the aft cabin (2 each side for the mizzen, 1 each side for the main backstay)
  • refurbish the perspex deck hatches in the aft cabin and saloon plus fit new wheelhouse perspex panel
  • refurbish and refit the aft port hole in the aft cabin

Electric Motor

Then it is also a high priority to get the electric motor etc installed both because we want to see it done and because some bits will still take a fair bit of elapsed time due to ordering, thinking and doing:

  • Sort the old stuffing box flange
  • replace the cutlass bearing
  • refit the shaft and the propeller,
  • install dripless seal
  • fit a flexible coupling with thrust bearing to the propeller shaft (looking at PythonDrive or AquaDrive at the moment).
  • install the electric motor/controller/battery bank/throttle etc
  • 4 x 60watt Solar panels on wheelhouse roof to keep batteries topped up


Then there are the bits that need to be done because they will be behind the refurbishment. Mainly wiring and plumbing.

Obviously we are going to be using LED lighting everywhere. We do like quite high levels of illumination (age related no doubt) so we are not going to be reusing the existing light fittings or placements (basically one round lamp per bunk, one in the galley, one for the chart-table, one in each heads and one per corridor). So expect long strips of LED’s (we prefer wall switches to a remote control and don’t like lots of fancy changing colours, just red for night sailing and white the rest of the time is great for us Luddites). That requires house bank batteries to be fitted and the core wiring infrastructure.

We have written about the plumbing elsewhere. Installation is mostly less intrusive than wiring (goes under the lockers/floor), except in the actual heads compartments. So less of a concern in terms of getting on with the interior.


Getting to the point where we are ready to launch also comes before the whole of the interior. Aft cabin will come before much of this, partly to make it nicer in the winter in the boatyard, partly to test ideas and partly because there are going to be times when we can’t make progress outside or are waiting on supplies.

  • Rest of the chainplates removed, strengthened below and resealed (see this post)
  • Reinstallation of the rudder head and wheel steering mechanism (including new steering wheel or possibly rebuild the old)
  • Mizzen mast prepared (remove old radar, refit radar reflector, check aerial, new deck lights) and put back up.
  • That allows us to properly check and shorten the mizzen boom.
  • That allows us to fit the Hydrovane self steering and solar arch (it is a 3D puzzle)
  • Prepare main mast (new masthead light, new wind speed/direction, new deck lights, inner forestay fitting).
  • Mainmast up, fit new boom, order new mainsail, new mainsheet.
  • With the mainmast up we can hoist the dinghy up onto the foredeck for storage (Jane is currently making the covers for it. One for each way up).
  • Fit new windlass and do minimum of the work planned for improved anchoring.
  • Clean the hull and apply antifouling

In summary

I think I know why we haven’t spent much time planning the look of the cabin refurbishment yet 🙂

Continued is Cabin Refurbishment: Part 2 Approaches

Staycation Electric Motor Progress

So we are coming to the end of our staycation. Managed several walks, one food shop, one visit to the pharmacy.


Plus Jane has made lots of progress on the cushions. She has nearly finished all the ones we have foam for. That is all the backrests for the U-shaped part of the saloon finished. Also nearly finished the cushion that goes behind the log bench on the starboard side to make the a great sea berth.

Electric Motor

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to make progress with the electric motor frame. both end frames are complete.

Front and rear motor end plates (outside faces)
Front and rear motor end plates (inside faces)

So I have been able to attach them to the motor, add the shaft, belt pulleys and belt drive (and tension it).

Motor in the frame with the belt tensioned.
Note that the back is deliberately lower as the propeller shaft is not horizontal.

Remaining motor tasks

So just a few tasks left.

While it is already very rigid (each end frame weighs about 10kg) I do want to make sure there is no twisting or other movement between the motor and the shaft).

  • so I need to cut and drill the 4 angle lengths to attach the front and back together at the corners (all but two of the bolts already fitted to the end plates)
  • add one diagonal flat bar per side.

I need to cut a keyway in the shaft to lock the large pulley to it. Then fit both pulleys with keyways.

I haven’t got the right spanner for the big bolts on the bearings yet, that will have to wait until we can get to the boat.

Once we have sorted all that we have a much larger angle length which will be for the two cross bars that rest on the engine mounts (which we have not got yet).

Of course I’ve still got to build a battery box and do all the wiring and fitting. The box for the 4 x 300AH batteries will be positioned just forward of the pulleys. As the box will drop between the original grp coated engine bearers the batteries (2 layers of 2 batteries) will end at about the same height as the motor frame.

Weight comparisons

I’ve done a quick estimate of some of the weights. I can check what we have take out more accurately later. But

Electric Motor + Frame + Batteries (1,200AH) = approx 220kg

Diesel Engine with gearbox approx = 180kg
Two huge stainless steel fuel tanks? Guess more than 80kg (will check)
All the exhaust components, fuel filters etc etc? Guess at least 30kg
Original engine bearers (not being replaced) 20kg
Full load of fuel. Guess 70 gallons which is around 220kg
Starter battery approx 30kg

Total being replaced is over 560kg

So the new Electric motor fully fuelled is 1/3 the weight of the diesel engine fully fuelled. Even compared with empty diesel tanks the electric motor system is 1/2 the weight. And that weight is all in the centre of the hull with a much lower centre of gravity than before. So our boat trim won’t vary as much.

Space gains

Beyond all the weight comparisons there is the space issue. The entire electric motor and battery bank easily fit in just the old diesel engine compartment (with space for house batteries, inverters and solar charge controllers). So we gain 1 fuel tank plus old battery box (for 4 lead acid batteries) into the cockpit locker. Plus we gain the 1 fuel tank space at the side of the corridor to the aft cabin.

And more gains

Then there is the smell! Diesel smells horrible and inevitably over 42 years there have been leaks of fuel and exhaust soot in the boat. All that is going to end up cleaned off and painted. We can already tell the difference, by the time we are finished it will be lovely 🙂

Motor frame ends fit

Progress on the Electric motor frame is very visible now. We have both end plates finished enough to fit them (loosely) to the motor and put the propeller extension shaft in.

As the pulley on the propeller extension shaft extends below the frame I tipped the whole thing on it’s side to check that it fits.

Now just to add the angle lengths around the edges of the end panels, the angle lengths to connect the front and back plates and then the diagonals for rigidity. But that can wait for another day 🙂

Staycation Progress 1

So on holiday this week but still at home. Very much trying not to take risks or push boundaries of the rules.

So today Jane has finished another Saloon backrest:

We have also been making more motor progress. Working on 2 frame back plates, I finished drilling the end stop holes for the 4 slots that are used to attach it to the motor with it’s height adjustment.

The one end plate at a time we started using the Dremel to connect the holes into slots.

We managed to finish all 4 slots in one of the plates and do a test fit. Perfect first time 🙂 On this plate we now need to notch the edge (marked in read) to clear the control wires that come out the back of the motor.

Then repeat the slots in the 2nd back plate.

Once we have the front and back plates all done we can start adding the lengths of angle stainless steel to the edges, plus more to connect the front and back plates at the four corners. Then one flat stainless steel bar per side as a diagonal cross member.

At that point we should be able to add the bearings for the shaft that will connect to the propeller shaft, then the shaft, the belt drive pulleys and the belt drive itself.

The motor throttle is due later this month and the 4th battery (so we will have 4 x 12 volt 300AH batteries connected in series to give 1200AH in total, delivered at 48 volts.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we are able to get to the boat, at least for a day trip, so that we can collect all the battery cables and crimp connectors. Then we can get it all wired up and tested at home.

Started other 3 motor frame end panels

I’m really pleased with where we have reached today.

I took the plunge and started the other panels for the motor frame. Both the front and back panels are made up of 2x 3mm panels as I couldn’t find 6mm sheet stainless steel. Turns out that was probably a good thing as I don’t think my tools would have coped with 6mm sheets.

So the most critical task was to get bolt holes through all 4 sheets so that I could ensure that the bearings for the shaft are perfectly aligned along the full length of the frame. These were tricky as the 16mm Bosch drill bit I just bought really couldn’t cope with stainless steel. These 4 are the only 16mm holes on the whole frame so I used a 13mm and then widened it.

I’ve also drilled the two holes for the top bar that is used to lift the motor for belt tensioning. Again straight through all 4 sheets so that everything can now be held perfectly aligned.

Here you can see the result.

This photo is a slight cheat as the bearings are temporarily positioned on the wrong side of the plates. What you can see here is the outside face of the front and rear panels. The bearings go on the side face.

The remaining really critical task is marking and cutting the motor bolt slots on the back panel. Not only are the 45 degrees rotated ie NE, SE, SW, NW instead of N, E, S, W but the bolts are 1/2″ instead of the 3/8″ that are used on the motor front face (life would be a lot easier without those differences, but I assume that it is probably for situations where the motor is only bolted to a frame at one end).

Cutting the slots in the 2nd front sheet is straightforward as we just draw round the ones in the first sheet.

Once all the slots are cut we can make the holes for the rest of the angle framing which goes all the way around the back panels. The front panel framing is a bit trickier as it has to avoid the motor and pulleys.

Once the panel edge framing is done we add 4 lengths of angle to connect the front and rear panels at the corners.

Then one diagonal brace per side.

At that point the frame itself is complete. We can then take it to the boat (without the motor in so it is easier to lift) to sort out where the big angled steel lengths need to go (across the frame and sticking out the sides) so that they can rest on the engine mounts with the lower frame shaft perfectly aligned with the propeller shaft.

We still need to source the engine mounts and the coupling to the propeller shaft.

Before we can fit the motor into the boat we need to properly sort everything for the propeller shaft and propeller.

So when we can get on the boat again the biggest part of this still to be sorted is removing the old, stuck, bronze mount for the stuffing box. We think we will need to get a replacement custom milled piece of bronze that will have a flange bolted to the boat and a suitable smooth tube that a modern dripless seal can be fitted to the outside of with the propeller shaft coming through the middle.

As I look at the photo, I’m wondering if we might be able to reuse this. If we can get the last bolt out then maybe I can grind off the flange with the 2 bolt holes that the stuffing box was attached to. That would give a smooth tube to attach the dripless seal to (albeit maybe a rather large diameter difference between it and the propeller shaft). If we can do this it will be fantastic, saving a lot of time and money.

The propeller shaft exits the boat though a cutlass bearing. Ours is worn but there was a new spare on board that we will use. Hopefully as reasonably straightforward job to swap that while everything else is out of the boat.

I think we need to add an internal bearing for the propeller shaft between the dripless seal and the coupling to the motor. The old stuffing box would have supported the propeller shaft in a way the dripless seal won’t. If aligned perfectly, and fixed very rigidly to the hull, it should reduce the wear on the cutlass bearing.

Before the fitting of the motor frame we still have the 2 new composite seacocks to fit for the cockpit drains and the old engine cooling water intake to fill.

Beyond all these mechanical/physical elements to the motor install we have all the electronics and controls to sort out. We have got nearly everything for this area of the work (last battery due in a couple of months, throttle assembly due in a month). So plenty of work still to do.

First motor frame front panel nearly finished

The front panel is coming along nicely. We have been able to check the positioning of the lower pulley and start the preparation for fitting the shaft that will connect to the propeller.

Here is the front panel resting on top of the motor. All the bolts fit in the slots and this video clip shows how the height of the motor will be adjusted so that the belt can be replaced and tensioned.

Here you can see what it looks like with pulleys and belt resting in place.

We hope that the 2nd front panel will be nice and quick to cut the slots in as we know what we are doing 🙂

The back plates are simpler as they don’t need a big oval cutting out for the shaft and surround. The tricky bit is getting the motor bolt holes in the right place as they are orientated at 45 degrees to the front ones (otherwise could drill straight through which would be much simpler).

Then we will need the angled strips to connect the front and rear of the frame so that the belt drive can’t twist anything. After that the remaining challenge will be to correctly position the big cross angled stainless steel which will rest on the engine bearers. They need to be at the right height for the lower shaft to be exactly aligned with the propellor shaft (or there will be lots of vibration and noise and it will all break itself apart).

More motor frame progress

We have got to use the new Dremel, it turns out that Jane manages to cut about 10x as much as me with each cutting disc. This is the first of two identical front panels. It needs 5 slots cutting in it (4 for motor bolts, 1 for the motor shaft) so that the motor height can be adjusted to tension the drive belt. It also needs a hole for the drive shaft and 2 holes to attach the bearing for the drive shaft.

At this point on Thursday evening we had a bit of a production line going. I was drilling the bolt holes in the lengths of stainless steel angle that make the frame around the end plates. Jane continues to cut the slots in the end plate.

Initially the drilling and cutting were not hopeless. Each drill bit was only lasting a little longer than one hole. Since then the casting of the support for my drill press platform broke and I have bought some WD40 cutting oil. With my big old hand drill and the cutting oil my latest drill bit has lasted for about 10 holes.
The dremel is slow but clean and precise for cutting the sheets.
I’ve used my cross cut mitre saw for cutting the lengths of angle stainless steel which is pushing it pretty hard, it needs a new blade, but it is a big time saver compared to cutting them by hand.

Top and bottom frames for both front and back end plates. The two with extra bolt holes in the middle are the tops, the holes are used for bolts that lift the motor in the slots.

This shows a first dry fit of the front motor panel. The top pulley is attached to the motor drive shaft. The lower pulley to the output shaft that will connect (behind the motor frame to the propeller shaft.

At this point we have 2 slots ready for finishing (which will make sure the alignment is close to perfect). The central oval is for the motor drive shaft and it’s surround, it is about 50% cut so far.

This is the front end of the motor showing the drive shaft and raised surround that will come through the oval.

This is the lifting mechanism for the motor so that the belt can be tensioned.

So while it is quite time consuming it does feel like we have what we need to get this done.