19 August 2009

Kayak: part 1

At the obligatory beginning-of-the-year majors meeting here at USAFA, one of the Mechanical Engineering (Mech) department instructors told us of a dream he's always had: to build his own motorcycle. He's never done it. So he urged us to follow through if we had a dream to build something: the best garage we'll ever have is at our disposal, in the mech lab.

So I went to talk to him afterwards, and told him I wanted to make a kayak. Do it! he said. We could draw a mold in 3D drafting software, cut it out in foam, wrap it in fiberglass, and voila! We have a kayak.

Of course, it's not that simple. Having never built a kayak before, I emailed my adviser for some advice. He put me in touch with a couple of guys who could help me out, a LtCol and a lab tech with a specialty in composites, like fiberglass.

So, after meeting with the LtCol, we've decided to draft a proposal for a 1/4 scale model, to learn the ropes and keep costs down. Our ultimate goal is to have at least two twelve-foot kayaks capable of multi-day trips on calm rivers and lakes before we graduate.

But who's we? Myself, and Tyler, a good friend and fellow mech major. Tyler has no experience with kayaks, but he's pretty excited.

And by golly, so am I.

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