Lil'Snoozy owners : please contact me - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #15
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Yes, Alan or Nick described it in the archives.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:57 AM   #16
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For the few members of this forum who do not know me, my name is Nicholas Smoak. I am the owner of Smoakin Concetps Composites and the creator of the Lil Snoozy. I designed the laminate schedule (the fiberglass) for the Lil Snoozy. I am also a recognized authority in the Flexible Membrane Vacuum Infusion technique.

I would like to thank Mike (AMSCRAM) for posting his concerns on this forum giving me the opportunity to impart my knowledge and give advise. As I have assured Mike, this blemish, in no way affects the structural integrity of his camper. This is also not unique to the Lil Snoozys, it is a common issue with any fiberglass construction called “Alligatoring” See this website for an in-depth look (alligatoring | FiberglassBlog.com

Simply put, “alligatoring” is a wrinkle in the gel-coat. We all know gelcoat is simply a colored resin, with no structural importance. It is sprayed on and allowed to dry before any fiberglass is applied. In a vacuum infusion process, this wrinkle can partially fill with resin causing a color difference and an alligator skin like appearance. Notice in the picture, the darker color. This is resin that has penetrated the gel-coat. (we tint our resin with black pigment in order to see it flow during the infusion process) Notice also the absences of any fiberglass or coring. This is because alligatoring does not affect the laminate.

To fix this blemish there are a number of methods. The method I will use is to mix up a putty using tan gelcoat and cavasil(a fiberglass powder). This produces a substance similar to bondo in consistency but the exact color of the camper. Also using gelcoat as the base will guaranty proper bonding. The repair site will be sanded and wiped with acetone and the putty applied. After it has cured, I will sand and buff the area. The patch will be nearly impossible to see. (If anyone is interested I will explain in more detail and post pictures on how to repair spots like this)

Once again, if anyone has this issue it is NOT a structural issue. Many of you know my reputation with my campers, I stand behind my product. If I had any thought at all that this was a serious problem, I would have been on the road immediately to fix the problem personally. I have, however, been in contact with Mike and made arrangements to travel to his home to fix this blemish over our Christmas holiday.
I hope everyone is having an enjoyably Holiday Season!!

Nicholas Smoak

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Old 11-27-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ColoRockiesFan View Post
Mike, can you post a photograph of the problem area? That would be a big help.
Is the picture in the preceding post of the bad spot on the O.P.'s Snoozy?

If not, I second the request to see a pic of that, and also if possible a wider shot showing its location on the trailer...

Francesca
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:25 PM   #18
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That is the picture the original poster sent me. To my knowledge (Mike correct me if I am wrong) the spot is on the top of the camper.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:46 PM   #19
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This is the picture I took of the area on my Lil'Snoozy.
I think we have a definitive line of expert information and I look forward to many years of camping. The Smoaks (father and son) are great to work with and their enthusiasm is reflected in the Lil'Snoozy camper. It sounds like the repair will be in good hands. Thanks, Mike and Rosalie
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:51 PM   #20
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Sure sounds like an easy fix. I'm sure Mike can sleep easy now. Do these wrinkle's in the gel-coat leave the factory, or do they surface later, as the trailer is on road after use? Would an owner keep an eye out for them? You know how tough these trailers are with decades of us. Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:01 PM   #21
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These wrinkles are present when the part comes out of the mold. Since this particular one happened to be on the very top of the camper we nor Mike noticed it until he returned home.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiL Snoozy View Post
I am also a recognized authority in the Flexible Membrane Vacuum Infusion technique.


Nicholas Smoak
Sounds like Mike's getting taken care of!

But as long as you're here... The technique referred to above is known by the industry shorthand as "VI", correct? Is yours the only Fiberglass Trailer produced by this method rather than the traditional Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process?

Thanks!

Francesca
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:12 PM   #23
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To Mike,
by the way welcome to the forum, and congrats on your new purchase. Feel free to share any photos of your new toy, we like photos around here. Cheers
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #24
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Just my $0.02: Vacuum infusion is how high end fiberglass boats are built. Rather than spraying resin on like thick paint, an airtight mold is created and the resin is sucked in under vacuum, resulting in properly wetted glass with a higher ratio of glass to resin. Fiberglass is strong, resin is weak.

Tooling is more expensive but makes a stronger/lighter part and part to part uniformity is better in mass production.

The manufacturing process is one of the main reasons I bought a Snoozy.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:14 PM   #25
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Amscram, I can understand why you felt so concerned and nervous about the divot on your roof. Without some extra knowledge about the manufacturing process, it would be tough to know whether the problem was structural or cosmetic.

Now that we've seen the photo and heard more info, it's pretty clear that it's more of a gelcoat (cosmetic) issue, happily! I bet the stuff used to fix it will hold up fine.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:48 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by MCDenny View Post
Just my $0.02: Vacuum infusion is how high end fiberglass boats are built. Rather than spraying resin on like thick paint, an airtight mold is created and the resin is sucked in under vacuum, resulting in properly wetted glass with a higher ratio of glass to resin. Fiberglass is strong, resin is weak.

Tooling is more expensive but makes a stronger/lighter part and part to part uniformity is better in mass production.

The manufacturing process is one of the main reasons I bought a Snoozy.
Me too I think this is where the blow hole in the top of the snooz is located .
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:14 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCDenny View Post
Just my $0.02: Vacuum infusion is how high end fiberglass boats are built. Rather than spraying resin on like thick paint, an airtight mold is created and the resin is sucked in under vacuum, resulting in properly wetted glass with a higher ratio of glass to resin. Fiberglass is strong, resin is weak.

Tooling is more expensive but makes a stronger/lighter part and part to part uniformity is better in mass production.

The manufacturing process is one of the main reasons I bought a Snoozy.
The term "vacuum infusion' is a very broad one covering an equally broad range of products.
Here's a (partial) list of types- is one of these the method used to build the Snoozy?

Quote:
Vacuum Infusion is a method of transferring or introducing resin into the reinforcing layer. To transfer you need pressure or create a difference of pressure from the atmosphere to the part.

Resin Transfer Method (RTM) is a method wherein the resin is transferred or infused to the reinforcing fibers by a pressure pump, no vacuum. This requires a heavy inner and outer mold.

RTM- VAT is resin transfer using both pressure and vaccuum assist to pull the resin in. A closed mold or vacuum bag is used.

VARTM- Vacuum Assist Resin Transfer Method is purely vacuum to transfer the resin under a closed mold or vacuum bagged mold. I beleive this is a patented system and inquiry to the process will bind you to an agreement to use the process. At least that is what i have read when it was introduced.

A variation of the VARTM is available from another material supplier but i understand you have to use their flow medium material.

Vacuum bagging- prepreg molding is a process where there are no resin transfer because the resin is already impregnated into the reinforcing material. You have to cook it in an oven though.

A variation of this is VARTM- UV curing, another vacuum bagged process.
Thanks!

Francesca
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:58 AM   #28
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Francesca:

As I understand it, Snoozy was supposed to be using light RTM (which provides a finished interior surface), this differs from RTM in that the inner mold is lighter or flexible. Often too, vacuum is used rather than a pump to infuse the resin throughout the fiberglass in the mold (VARTM). But, the Snoozy interior seems somewhat unfinished - leading me to believe that they are using a bagged vacuum infusion method at least for now. Thousands of boats are built this way every year.

I'm a fan of more advanced fiberglass manufacturing techniques and attend international boatbuilding and composites conventions/trade shows/workshops every year. The current problem discussed in this thread seems to me to be a basic quality assurance issue. From the explanations given, it doesn't appear structural. My view is that it shouldn't have left the factory with that type of blemish. Thumbs up that they are going to fix it.
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