Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Becca's Bathtub Project

The last couple of weeks have been nothing but run, run, run.  I am sure all of you have had weeks like this but with my running I have gained new friends that have wanted my assistance in helping them with their projects. As many of you already know I am helping out at a new makerspace in Dubuque Iowa named the Key City Creative Center.  Along with my helping with projects I have been teaching computer aided design, fiberglass class and soon will be teaching CNC machining. On top of all of this I am on the board of directors for the center.  

So that brings you up to date on just the background of my post today.  Now on to what the heck is "Becca's Bathtub"?  Becca Kacanda is a very nice lady who is a member of the makerspace and that I have been getting to know and help with her very interesting project.  Becca is an artist in her own right who has been given a grant to created a piece of artwork for a showing some time next year.  Her original work involved a very heavy cast iron bathtub. She had taken the old tub and cut it in half and then decorated with various bits and pieces of varying materials to create interesting designs on the tub. Everything from pennies to broken mirrors. Even with the tub cut in half it takes three men and a monkey in order to move the completed artwork even just across a room.  (By the way the monkey is needed to give directions.)  

Anyway Becca had taken my fiberglass class that I teach at the makerspace and I suggested to her to make the new piece of artwork out of fiberglass instead of having to deal with the old cast iron tub.  She thought the idea would be perfect for the project and so I have been helping her with the design and construction of the new tub or should I say enclosure now.  The enclosure for a lack of a better terms for this form will be made of a foam and fiberglass composite construction and when completed Becca will be able to easily pick it up one handed!  Plus the fact that the new tub will not have to look like an old converted cast iron bath tub when it is completed. 

I had worked out several different designs for Becca and she settled on a more modern shape to get things started.  

I worked out the design for the new enclosure using Fusion 360 cad software.  As I said earlier in this post the construction will be a foam a fiberglass composite which makes things quite simple to build.  In the image above you can see the layout of all of the pieces along with a temporary stand to hold all of the ribs in their correct locations while the structure is being built. 

I colored all of the various pieces of the framework differently in the images above just to show where everything goes when construction begins.  This helped Becca and I keep things in order while we were putting it all together.  The extrusions on the back of the enclosure will be cut off before the outside of the structure has been covered with Styrofoam strips.

Here's Becca fitting up the Styrofoam strips for the interior of the structure.  She and I had spent five hours tracing out the templates for the parts on to a 4 X 8 sheet of Styrofoam and cutting all of the pieces out the day before.  After this was done all the parts had to be hot glued together to make the shape that she had decided on for the project. As you can see the shape is coming together nicely.

The foam strips that we cut from our Styrofoam are 1/4" thick, 1" wide and 4' long.  Becca is taking each strip at this point and cutting them to length, sanding the edges smooth and test fitting them so that they can be hot glued into the interior of the enclosure.

Lot of cutting and trimming needs to be done to complete this project.  Becca's is still wrapped up to stay warm as the shop had not been warmed up yet when she started working the night I took these photos. 

The strips of foam are hot glued in place and each need to be hand fitted to cover the interior of the ribs for the new enclosure.  With each piece that is added the structure gets stiffer and stiffer which is a good thing but over all it is still quite fragile.  Once we get into laying in the fiberglass to cover the structure inside and out it will be well protected, strong and very light weight.  The new structure will be a custom design and be light enough to easily be moved from one place to the next. 

As Becca's Tub project progresses I will shoot photos to show you how it all goes together along with the details of what Becca has planned for it's final artistic look.  I'm sure it will be quite interesting to see the end result when she is done with the project. 

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