For the last few weeks, all the various parts for the DeepFlight Dragon have been arriving in our shop. The biggest and most important piece showed up last week: the fuselage!
The fuselage—the outer part of the submarine—is created in a three-step process. First, we create 3-D computer models, from which a foam mold is constructed. Then Chase Boats, our contractor who builds the fuselage, cuts two molds (top and bottom) using a special process to harden and smooth the surfaces.
The second step is to create that top and bottom. To do that, multiple layers of fiberglass and resin are laid into the molds, which are vacuumed to remove the air and allowed to harden. In the final step, the top and bottoms are joined together, sanded, and finished.
Now the fuselage is done, but the Dragon isn’t!
The next step to get the Dragon ready to hit the water is to starting fitting all the components onto the fuselage. That’s what we’ve been hard at work at now. Below you can see the fuselage as it arrived and then after the thrusters and domes were mounted to it. The domes and hatches were also tested to ensure a tight seal.
Then the team had to put the whole fuselage (the outside) and the pressure hull (the inside) together. That’s what they’re working on in the picture at the top.