Laser Performance Factory Tour Photos

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Geophizz, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    I just got back from the Laser-Performance Open House. These people are the real deal, they are passionate about the boats. I brought my boat in for a shine and buff, and they did a spectacular repair job on my deck too! When I asked if I could video the seminar, they not only allowed me to tape it, but to post it online as well. I'll post the factory tour photos here, but I have to edit the repair seminar video before I post it.
     

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  2. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Nice!

    Thanks for posting these pictures.
    :)
     
  3. MtlNdo

    MtlNdo Member

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    WOW. These pics are absolutely awesome!

    Is this factory tour and sale held every year?
     
  4. MichFish

    MichFish Member

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    Thankyou for the photos. Now I know can finally visualize the the inside (construction) of my boat. Wish I had the photos long ago when setting up my trailer bunks. Thanks again!!:)

    MichFish
     
  5. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    Someone there told me that they're going to have another event like this in the spring.
     
  6. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    In these pictures you can see one small design change from the old photos that I've seen on the net. If you look at the picture of the daggerboard, you'll see two rectangular mats laminated into the fiberglass, and foam along the edges. The foam mats add a small amount of structural hull reinforcement and cushioning under the cockpit, while the foam adds some side support to make the cockpit sit more securely in the boat.

    The manufacturing method has changed since the old AMF/Alcort days too. AMF/Alcort used a hand sprayed form of fiberglass, while Laser Performance uses laid woven fiberglass. The spray method was very unsafe for the workers and the quality was harder to control because every boat was pretty much unique due to the variations in the spraying technique.

    LP also has quality control stations for every component of the boat and for each major step in the assembly process. From the sales people in the showroom to the factory floor people there were very passionate about the boats. They also were genuinely interested in doing the best job that they could with customer's boats. I brought my 31 year old boat in for the free shine and buff, and they ended up sanding off gelcoat and damaged fiberglass, repaired the fiberglass and re-gelcoated the entire deck from the daggerboard trunk to a foot behind the cockpit because they thought the spider cracks could damage the boat over time. They did all this because they thought that leaving the spider cracks there would shorten the life of the boat. They did it all for free too. And they apologized for not being able to match the color, because the 1977 white isn't available any more.

    I've included some before and after photos of the work that they did. There was a nearly identical set of spider cracks on the other side of the cockpit.
     

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  7. ONeillt90

    ONeillt90 New Member

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    Wow, i knew i should have brought my boat down, and i remember seeing your boat at the shine and buff area when i was up their yesterday. It was a cool tour, Ive been in the warehouse many times but i have never been in the factory. it was pretty cool. And a $109 magic Marine life jacket for $32! How can you loose?
     
  8. imported_memnar

    imported_memnar New Member

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    That is soooo cool. Awesome!:)
     
  9. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    The foam mats add a small amount of structural hull reinforcement and cushioning under the cockpit, while the foam adds some side support to make the cockpit sit more securely in the boat.

    That’s way cool. Did they say when this practice began - Sunfish-Laser, Vanguard, just this year under LP?

    Those front blocks look thicker than the ones in my 98 Vanguard Sunfish. They look closer to the thickness AMF used for all their blocks back in the day.



    The manufacturing method has changed since the old AMF/Alcort days too. AMF/Alcort used a hand sprayed form of fiberglass,

    One of the boatyards I do powerplant work for uses a sprayer (chopper gun) for yacht repairs. I asked the fiberglass team many years back if my - then - AMF Sunfish was built the same way. This was before I did my first inspection port. They looked at my boat and said no way. Chopper gun construction needs to be 2 or 3 times thicker and by that 2 or 3 times heavier than hand laid glass. It was once a powerboat and cruising sailboat practice, but today has fallen out of favor for strength reasons. I only see it now used for the inner skin of cored multi-layer boat hulls. My 1978 AMF catalog shows a picture of the Sunfish being hand built with glass cloth. In all my years maintaining Alcort, AMF, S-L and now Vanguard fish for a family of four sailors I’ve always found woven roving cloth when I opened up a Sunfish. Are there really 300# dry-weight fish out there?

    ... AMF Hand Layup - 1978
     

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  10. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    That’s way cool. Did they say when this practice began - Sunfish-Laser, Vanguard, just this year under LP?

    Those front blocks look thicker than the ones in my 98 Vanguard Sunfish. They look closer to the thickness AMF used for all their blocks back in the day.


    Interesting about the chopping guns, I remember seeing a photo of them in a brochure spraying a hull, but I thought it was resin.

    The guy giving us the tour was the head of production, and he said that the changes were made before he got there 4 years ago.
     
  11. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    Interesting about the chopping guns, I remember seeing a photo of them in a brochure spraying a hull, but I thought it was resin.

    The same catalog shows a picture of a spray booth operation, but that's gelcoat. Are they brushing in the gelcoat now?


    The guy giving us the tour was the head of production, and he said that the changes were made before he got there 4 years ago.

    According to the Sunfish Bible, AMF gave over the Sunfish way back in 1985.


    . . . .Gelcoating a Mold
    . . . . . . .( AMF - 1978 )
     

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  12. Geophizz

    Geophizz Member

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    That's the picture that I remember, I haven't seen that in 25 years.

    They still spray the gelcoat. Jon posted a picture of the booth. I tried to videotape the tour but my video camera battery died right when the tour started.
     
  13. PlantManager

    PlantManager New Member

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    I'll try to answer some of the above questions...

    The "Spiff & Buff" program was held in conjunction with a massive sale LP held, which was advertised in many sailing publications. The plant also ran a variety of seminars re: boat repair and provided tours. All facets of this event proved to be hugely popular (60 S&B boats across 2 weeks and countless tours!). The S&B opportunity is now over, unfortunately, so you can't bring your boat by any longer, however, if you're in the area, feel free to stop in for a tour of the plant. Best to contact the nearby retail store (Vanguard Sailing Center of RI) or LP customer service to arrange for an appointment. Perhaps we'll run another S&B opportunity in the future, but that is undecided as of now - keep a look out for future advertisements.

    Based on the old pictures on this forum, the mfg process & materials have not changed too drastically in the last 35+ years. In fact some of the "legacy" materials are old enough that they are becoming hard to buy! FYI, all fiberglass is hand-laid (no chop!) and gelcoat is sprayed from a gun. We di have a variety of equipment and other methods that are built in throughout the process to ensure boats are built consistently. A recent change in the plant was a re-org to arrange production based on product line. Now the Sunfish has a dedicated team, supervisor, equipment set and floor space, all of which is designed to provide consistent quality and at an efficient rate. And speaking of teams, I'll speak for our plant staff and say that yes they are dedicated to their products and love showing people around.

    So, again, if you're in the RI area, come by!
     
  14. ONeillt90

    ONeillt90 New Member

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    You guys should seriously consider having a spin and buff again, it is a great idea. Maybe once a year have this open house week? Plus it is a good way to clear out all the extra stuff around the factory.
     
  15. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    PM -

    Based on the old pictures on this forum, the mfg process & materials have not changed too drastically in the last 35+ years. In fact some of the "legacy" materials are old enough that they are becoming hard to buy! FYI, all fiberglass is hand-laid (no chop!) and gelcoat is sprayed from a gun.

    Appreciate you clarifying those points. I can see the shop is configured in a progressive stage arrangement, unlike many fabricators still using the single station - start to finish floor layout. Hats off to everyone's efforts and success.
     
  16. Grog Hog

    Grog Hog New Member

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    Thanks this is SOOOO helpfullll
    Capt Rhan
     

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