Injection Molded Sunfish

Thread starter #1
According to this statement from LaserPeformance it is their intention (bullet point 4) to start making Sunfish by an injection molding process by the end of the year.

OneLaser Update Q1 2016

Can anyone explain to me what this means?

Is this a major change from the current manufacturing process?

Will the injection molded Sunfish be able to sail with earlier Sunfish as a one design class?
 
#2
Injection molded would seem to indicate a plastic hull instead of fiberglass... maybe a solid styro fill too.

As to being legal for one design... probably not the same class as the fiberglass hulls.
 
Thread starter #3
Injection molded would seem to indicate a plastic hull instead of fiberglass... maybe a solid styro fill too.

As to being legal for one design... probably not the same class as the fiberglass hulls.
So what does that mean? Will there be two separate Sunfish classes for one design sailing? Old fiberglass hulls and new injection molded hulls?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#5
Injection molded would seem to indicate a plastic hull instead of fiberglass... maybe a solid styro fill too.

As to being legal for one design... probably not the same class as the fiberglass hulls.
That would make sense, except I don't see how they'd sell any injection molded Z420s, so there must be fiberglass involved. Guess we will have to await further news about their Chinese plans.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#7
Sounds like they're going to be built more or less like the Laser GRP foils today. Just a different way of applying the resin (instead of spraying or brushing) to get a better and more even quality laminate. Not a fundamentally different end product.

Wouldn't the class association officers know all about this?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#8
To expand on what Mike wrote above...

I emailed my engineer buddy, asking if this means "rotomolding" in future Sunfish, and if West Systems would no longer be an effective fiberglass repair product. His response:

"I didn't see any mention of rotomolding in the article. They did mention injection molding but this article was obviously sourced by fuzzy thinking management or bean counter types. Who knows what the real story is?

Rotomolding or injection molding can be done with a wide variety of plastics. West G-Flex can bond HDPE, LDPE, ABS, PVC, and Polycarbonates. Stiffness will depend on how much glass or other filler is used. The injection molding might be done like the Scrimp process, only with two molds with the layup placed between the molds and resin injected between them. I doubt it though. Most likely glass filled HDPE with inserts at the partners and other high stress areas."


Lesson: Don't ask an engineer a question unless you're ready to google words in his answer! :confused:

Another product outsourced to China? :(
 
Thread starter #9
You can use injection molding with fiberglass. It actually results in a better/more consistent quality product then manually using wet layup techniques. I have no knowledge about the specific plans for the Sunfish, but here is a generic article about injection molding boat hulls. Vacuum Injection for Cleaner Boat Building - Advantage Environment

Mike

Vacuum Injection for Cleaner Boat Building - Advantage Environment
Thanks for that Mike. Let's hope that they mean some process like this and they do it in a way that keeps the hulls identical in weight, stiffness etc. to the current hulls.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#10
Let's hope that they mean some process like this and they do it in a way that keeps the hulls identical in weight, stiffness etc. to the current hulls.
I don't get this. Is it absolutely impossible to directly contact ISCA and/or LP? Won't they answer? Or do you expect them to lie? Or is a guessing game on an internet forum more preferable in some other way?

International Sunfish Class Association
Contact Us
 
Thread starter #11
I don't get this. Is it absolutely impossible to directly contact ISCA and/or LP? Won't they answer? Or do you expect them to lie? Or is a guessing game on an internet forum more preferable in some other way?
I just assumed that people on the Sunfish Forum would be able to answer a question about Sunfish and that other people on the Sunfish Forum might be interested in the answer. I thought that that was the whole point of having a forum.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#12
Ok, sorry if I was bit blunt. I guess I'm getting tired at these kind of "discussions" where everyone speculates but no one even thinks about going to a real source. Happens a lot in sailing club bars, usually about the rules....

But just like on the adjacent Laser forum, it looks like more people are interested in repair & restoration rather than new boats. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that active racers likely won't get their questions answered.
 
Thread starter #13
Ok, sorry if I was bit blunt. I guess I'm getting tired at these kind of "discussions" where everyone speculates but no one even thinks about going to a real source. Happens a lot in sailing club bars, usually about the rules....

But just like on the adjacent Laser forum, it looks like more people are interested in repair & restoration rather than new boats. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that active racers likely won't get their questions answered.
No problem. Haven't been here for a few years so didn't know it's mainly an old boat restoration forum these days. Where do the Sunfish racers go to chat these days?
 
#14
This seems like a pretty big change for a one design class boat hull that basically is the same construction from the sixties. This seems like a very significant change in the construction the new boats maybe better or worse than the boat made now. How is the class going to handle this for racers? Are they going to have different races for non-import boats and import boats? What is the cost going to be for new boats since they now have to be imported from China?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#15
This seems like a pretty big change. How is the class going to handle this for racers? Are they going to have different races for non-import boats and import boats? What is the cost going to be for new boats since they now have to be imported from China?
I think the class is trying to work with LP to shoot for no impact on the class. I hope they are successful. The class has been thru a lot and cannot control the mfr's actions.

I doubt anyone in the board can quote a price for you. But usually products from China are sold for less than domestic goods, which is why Wal Mart is chock full of imported goods.

BB.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#16
This seems like a pretty big change for a one design class boat hull that basically is the same construction from the sixties. This seems like a very significant change in the construction the new boats maybe better or worse than the boat made now. How is the class going to handle this for racers? Are they going to have different races for non-import boats and import boats? What is the cost going to be for new boats since they now have to be imported from China?
Hardly anything manufactured in China arrives here with a better design than what it's copied from. What they're good at, is "customer satisfaction", so you can rebuild your newly-arrived Chinese Sunfish at home. :rolleyes: Re-engineering the Sunfish in China will likely result in racers with the new 100-pound Chinese Sunfish required to carry lead weights. :D

I suspect racers will be looking for Sunfish from the 1970s and 1980s as stronger and better craft. Hold onto those older Sunfish! ;)
 

sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
#18
Cheaper??? They will be cheaper to build but I doubt you will see a change in price once they get here.

Could be that they are infusing the hulls which is done by laying up dry glass, vacuum bagging the layup and then injecting resin into the dry layup. Gives you a better control on how much resin goes into a layup. Not always lighter weight, but stronger because you have better resin control.
 
Thread starter #19
Could be that they are infusing the hulls which is done by laying up dry glass, vacuum bagging the layup and then injecting resin into the dry layup. Gives you a better control on how much resin goes into a layup. Not always lighter weight, but stronger because you have better resin control.
Thanks sailcraftri. I see that on another forum, someone who is a LP dealer has stated categorically that LP used the wrong words. They didn't mean "injection molded." They meant "resin infused."

For people like me who have no real idea what that means, here is a video showing the resin infusion process for building a small boat.


Well. I'm glad that's all sorted out. Sounds like the new Sunfish won't be cheaper but will be "stronger."
 
#21
If they are lighter then people who race will have to buy new boats. Not good for those of us who just bought a new boat. Not good for the class having so many variations for a one design.
Does the owner of the Sunfish sail at all?
 
Thread starter #22
Could be lighter.... And stronger. Higher ratio of cloth to resin.
Well that's the real issue isn't it?

Is the Sunfish class going to make sure that Chinese Sunfish and (0ld) American Sunfish are identical for all practical purposes in term of racing performance?

Or are they going to let LP make Sunfish in China which are lighter and stronger and stiffer (and therefore faster) than (old) American built Sunfish?
 
#23
I hope LP is listening to the Sunfish class.

Sunfish are a low volume product as compared to the 60’s and 70’s. A recreational Sunfish will last 40 years and so will the sail, often passed down in families, so not a lot of repeat volume. There are more recreational then racing sunfish by far.

Racers on the other hand buy new Sunfish more often as the boat softens. They buy new sails every couple of years, new booms, masts and centerboards as they may get damaged. If you look at the Sunfish Worlds and North American, Sunfish racing is increasing in many countries.

You think LP would want a boat that meets the racers as they will be repeatedly buying new boats.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#24
The class is working on it from what I hear. But oh wise Tillerman can you please enlighten us as to how the class can "make sure" of anything? Can you also provide guidance as to how the class can dictate anything to the mfr??? Not clear on what the class can do to instruct LP as to what to do. As soon as you figure that out, can you instruct them to please ensure a plentiful supply of both Sunfish and Laser blades? Thanks for the help. BB
 
#25
There are several different ways to put resin into a laminate. With any of the processes, the fabric is laid dry into the mold. With infusion, there is an airtight bag placed inside the laminate and a vacuum is pulled on the bag. Resin is pulled from a reservoir through hoses spaced around the product. The vacuum draws resin through the fabric. When the fabric is saturated, the resin flow is shut off and the resin is allowed to harden. The process works best with cored laminates where the resin can flow through grooves in the core. When you have single skin laminates, you need some kind of carrier layer, or a fabric designed not to compress too much under the vacuum.

With resin transfer molding, the resin is forced into the fabric by pressure in the reservoir. One pretty much needs a two sided mold and the result is a part with two good surfaces, although it is usually somewhat heavier. Its a good process for small parts that need a good finish on both sides. The molds have to be very strong to withstand the pressure so the process is normally reserved for small parts where there will be a lot of volume in production.

Vacuum assisted resin transfer molding, VARTIM, is a combination of both and is very likely the system used on the newer Laser foils. The fabric is placed in the mold along with the foam shape in the center of the foil. Then resin is pumped into the mold at one or more points, and a vacuum is pulled from one or more points. This works well for the rudders and daggerboards, but not really well for hulls and decks unless you build two part molds.

So I suspect that the parts will be made with infusion and that there will be some kind of resin carrier, probably similar to the one used with SCRIMP. If the laminate has less resin, it will be lighter, but also thinner and not as stiff as the open molded boats. Stiffness varies with the 8th power of thickness, so you don't have to loose much laminate thickness to make a lot of difference. The laminate may be stronger when measured in terms of strength per unit such as PSI, but there is less volume of material, so there is no gain in the real world, only is advertising hype.

Basically,it wouldn't be feasible to build a Sunfish that is lighter, stiffer, and stronger without radically changing the materials that the boat is made from. I think the best you can hope for is an equal product.
 
#27
The manufacturer has sent the molds to China. Boats are being built. The intention is for them to remain fiberglass and resin. The rest of it is still very unclear. No, it's damned near impossible to "call LP" and get any reasonable facsimile of conversation. We will have to wait for the information that the International President provides from time to time. On his own dime he has traveled to China to see what they have going so far and found it suitable (or maybe better). We won't really know until there is a fleet of boats and they get sailed. New boats is better than no boats. If they are drastically different, then yes, there will be issues. I've been chiming that they need to be kept the same weight so we don't obsolete 500,000 boats. Also supposed to be able to get a reliable supply of parts again soon. We can only hope.
 
#28
Knocking the China products reminds me of how..years ago we made fun of the Japanese stuff. They ended up by kicking our ass . Sure China turns out alot of crap but the smart money in manufacturing is in Medium to top grade stuff and alot of it is sold with American brand names. For instance there are some very well built fiberglass sea kayaks coming out of China and getting good reviews. . The key to quality for American companies manufacuring there is have your own people spread thru out the plant. . Chapter Two. Harbor Freight Trailers. . If you replace the bunk beds with longer ones shaped to the hull and well padded the $320 trailer will do the job. You have to put it together but that's fairly easy. Warning: The grease in the wheels is crap. But a pair of Buddy Bearings on it and pimp them full until you see the stuff coming out a small whole. .When towing make sure you stop every 25 to 50 miles and feel the hubs. If they are cool or just warm you are in good shape but if they burn your hand...drive no further...pump more grease. As for changing the stuff I just pump new grease in until the dirty stuff comes out. I don't suggest it for you but it has worked for me for more than a decade and my RV is built on a HF trailer and has logged nearly 10,000 miles.
 
#29
note: tightening the wheel bearings too tight will make them get hot fast.
Tighten till you can tell the bearings are dragging then loosen 1/8 turn.
Ensure the wheel spins freely, without being able to wobble it...
Put the cotter key in the closest slot.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#32
New boats is better than no boats.
I dunno. :rolleyes: Demand/Supply would dictate the value of our Sunfishes.

There seem to be plenty of Sunfish in back yards and garages going for short money (or recently, for free). :confused:

That would tend to drive up the value of older Sunfish, and make all the labor-intensive efforts of repair—within the USA—even more rewarding. :)
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#33
Supply and Demand is what is happening here. Total market demand for a new Sunfish is limited by the final cost to the consumer.
Than means Racers and a limited number of general up scale consumers will buy a new Sunfish. New Sunfish must compete against
the vast majority who will buy a older used Sunfish. They are trying to compensate for increased material and labor costs to maintain market
share using more efficient methods. At some point in the future these fixed costs will drive the price up to the point where Sunfish
can no longer be manufactured. For now injection moulding will provide more consistent hulls which should help racers. As said above
there is a minimum amount of material that can be used before strength is an issue. If there is a weight difference it will not be very much. Adding
a few pounds to a Sunfish would not be difficult such as adding a weighted plug to the bottom of the mast tube. My guess is that since
Racers are such an important market they will not deviate from a totally class legal boat in any way. China does have quality control problems
but looking at older Sunfish I'd say the quality varied widely from boat to boat and manufacture. Today's manufacture quality should be far above
yesterdays processes. All in all racers should come out the winners.
 
#34
Has anyone seen a new sunfish this year?

Dealers don't have them. They have missed the summer market in the United States.

There are no real class parts available.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#35
If it went to China then it would take time to ship all the tooling over and set-up, re source suppliers, train
workers. Kind of fits in with what's going on. Would make current race-worthy boats much more valuable
to own. If it take more than 2 seasons to ship in volume a turn-key boat is going to be gold in the pocket.
 
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