Over the past two weeks we will have produced nearly 1200 feet of carbon fibre tubes, with a total weight of only 30 pounds. The tubes will be used for the massive truss structure that connects the rotors to the pilot.
The carbon tubes are fabricated in the same way as our main rotor spar, by wrapping the carbon fibre around an aluminum mandrel, wrapping it with peel ply and heat shrink tape, and curing them in our excessively-long, custom-built oven. With a good production line, we can produce up to 5 tubes a day on various sizes of aluminum mandrels. The wall thickness on some of the smaller tubes is less than 0.25 mm, creating an incredibly light and efficient structure. Many of the tubes are tapered to specific diameters that correspond to the results of the structural optimization. The tapered tubes also have the benefit of coming of the aluminum mandrel much easier.
Tonight we”ll begin jigging the tubes to create our truss structure. Within the week we will be assembling the entire structure, at which point we”ll finally get a sense for massive scale of the Atlas! Needless to say, excitement is building.