To streamline the composite panel joining process, ATL Composites has developed the proprietary Z-Press. The press applies heat and pressure to cure the epoxy adhesive on the Z-Joints.
Joins are fully cured in 7 to 20 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature, type of hardener, core type and thickness of the panel. Checking the “squeeze-out” on the joint until it has become rubbery, will indicate when you can proceed with the next join.
Drums, or a purpose-built receiving stand, should be set up to support the full sized composite panels being joined. Large parts, for example, a catamaran topside panel may extend through two or more panels. Once joined, the tabs can be cut to remove the full size parts of the DuFLEX kit.
To view a short video on Joining DuFLEX Composite Panels with the DuFLEX Z-Press, please click on the image below.
A mobile Z-Press for joining DuFLEX panels is available for hire from ATL Composites.
How to Join The Panels
Take two strips of 100mm wide, 19mm MDF (fibreboard) the length of the long side of the composite panel (2400mm). Cover one side of each strip with plastic packaging tape as shown. Drill pairs of 3mm (approx.) screw holes, 30mm each side of centre, through one strip at 100mm centres.
Apply a high-density epoxy adhesive to both Z-Joints, making sure there is adequate adhesive to cover all core and scarf joint areas, and push joints together with a maximum gap of 1mm.
Lay the strip with no holes, plastic side up, underneath the glue joint; lay the holed strip, plastic side down, on top of the glue joint.
Screw through the holed top strip into the bottom strip, ensuring faces are squeezed together firmly. Leave to cure overnight.
ATL Composites recommend the following high strength adhesives for joining DuLEX Composite Panels:
- WEST SYSTEM®105 resin / hardener thickened with 413 Microfibre Blend
- Techniglue® R60
- Techniglue® R60 cartridges
- Pro-Set® cartridges – available in the USA and Europe