Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin

by Wessex Resins & Adhesives 8 Nov 2019 01:00 PST
Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The beauty of epoxy, says Jake Kavanagh of epoxycraft, is that it makes a tough, non-shrinking connection between various angles of wood, ideal when you want to make a plug for a custom mould. Which is why he wrote this article on how to make an oil drip tray.

Not that we don't trust the brand-new gearbox in our boat but it still needs a drip tray to avoid accidental pollution of the sea via the bilge water. The problem was our home-made ferro cement boat wasn't exactly symmetrical - so the space beneath the gearbox was full of odd angles and protrusions. Nothing off-the-shelf would fit properly so the answer was to make a fibreglass drip tray that would follow the angles. For that we needed some offcuts of plywood or MDF, some WEST SYSTEM® 105 Epoxy Resin, 205 Fast Hardener and some 405 Filleting Blend.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 1 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

This is the void beneath the gearbox. Any drips of hydraulic oil could contaminate the bilge water, plus a drip tray alerts you to any weeping seals. But the shape is awkward, mainly due to the design of the engine beds.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 2 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

There are several ways to make a template. My favoured method is to use thin strips of wood (bought as bundles of offcuts from my local hardwood specialist). These are snapped roughly to length and then hot glued together to create a 'cage' of the right proportions. The dimensions are then transferred into panels. You can also use cardboard shapes cut with scissors.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 3 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The basic panels of the box were jigsawn from offcuts of MDF and plywood and then filleted into place. Overlaps underneath each section downwards is fine, as they will be ground back later. The important thing when making a plug is to allow for the 6mm or so that the gelcoat and resin will take up. Note the piece of 6mm plywood projecting from the back of the rough shape to act as a spacer.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 4 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Adjustments had to be made to the plug as it was created. Here a side section (starboard side) has been removed for reworking as it was too tight on the engine bearer.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 5 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The rough shape is then removed from the bilge, turned over and a sander and grinder used to trim back the overlaps to make a smooth shape. A circular mound to create the depression for a drain was added (for removing cleaning water).

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 6 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The smoothed off plug was then placed on a flat board and filleted into place. It was given two coats of WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin with 205 Fast Hardener to stabilise the structure and create a sound layer to build up with filler where needed. WEST SYSTEM 410 Microlight filler, added to the epoxy mix, creates an easily sanded filler ideal for this type of work.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 7 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The plug is rinsed with fresh water to remove the amine blush, dried and then given a coat of primer, which usually reveals a few imperfections that need some secondary filler. Once this has cured and been sanded the plug is ready for another coat of primer.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Now the plug is given a couple of top coats of a high-gloss paint. Two pack is usually best, as it forms a really hard surface to mould from, but single pack can also be used. Bear in mind that some paints will leach pigment into your gelcoat. We used this yellow as an undercoat.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 9 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

The final plug was painted red in a single pack paint. Using a different base colour to the gelcoat you are applying shows you what has been covered.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 10 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

White gelcoat was activated with resin and painted to the thickness of a business card all over the surface and base. Once tacky (squeaky when a finger is drawn across it) the chopped strand mat was applied over the top, wetted out with polyester resin and then rolled down onto the plug.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 11 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

Two mistakes were made but the great thing about working in epoxy is that they were both correctable. The first was that the plug had a reverse angle on it which we hadn't fully appreciated. This locked the moulding onto the mould. The only way to release it was to cut the entire thing in half. Also, notice the pink hue? Some pigment from the paint leached into the gelcoat. Not a problem - we're going to paint it again anyway.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 12 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

To make the repairs, our split moulding was taped on the inside...

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 13 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

...and then inverted again for the two halves to be glassed together with a strip of reinforcement tape.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 14 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

A little epoxy filler into the join and some light sanding caused it to vanish. Then the drip tray was spray-painted with primer.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 15 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

We had a little Hammerite silver paint left over, so used it up as a final coat for the drip tray.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 16 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

A final touch was to glue some thin foam tape to the underside of the tray where it will contact the engine beds. This will stop any annoying vibration at low revs.

Moulding an oil drip tray with epoxy resin - step 17 - photo © Wessex Resins & Adhesives

In position. It seems odd to spend a lot of time and effort on a piece of kit that will rarely see the light of day but it was fun to make and the techniques used are good practice for bigger projects. These will eventually include a hatch garage, a chain locker tray and a fuel tank...remembering to avoid reverse cambers on the plug unless the mould is made to be split.

To find out more and read about other interesting projects please visit epoxycraft.com

Related Articles

Building a wooden dinghy with epoxy resin part 3
Completing the hull and making an amazing spinnaker chute Steve Goodchild wanted to avoid nailing the planks to offset chocks set against the frames, as this would leave multiple rows of nail holes visible in the wood. Instead, he decided to glue the entire hull together using thickened epoxy. Posted on 11 Jun
Chandleries currently open stocking epoxy resin
Places to buy West System products during June 2020 in the UK We're all eagerly anticipating the reopening of retail outlets. In the meantime, if you're looking to stock up on your favourite epoxy brands, here are some WEST SYSTEM®, PRO-SET® and Entropy Resins® epoxy stockists who we know are currently open. Posted on 5 Jun
WEST SYSTEM® epoxy set to go sub-orbital
NOVA 2 rocket within ten months of its first launch A NOVA 2 rocket being developed by Starchaser is within ten months of its first launch. This one-seater rocket is a significant step towards future plans which include a rocket capable of taking two passengers with the pilot. Posted on 1 Jun
West System used to create bullet coat racks
New lockdown project using epoxy resin Dee (David) Caldwell has spent his lockdown creating bullet coat racks. Using locally sourced WW2 bullets he's collected at Medmerry, West Sussex, and wood from a cedar planted by Capability Brown, he's started a new business in his garden workshop. Posted on 13 May
Electric boat's sustainable construction
Bio-based infused epoxy resin, recycled PET, and basalt/flax fibres RS Electric Boats, the sister company to RS Sailing, unveiled its electric RIB earlier this year, a boat that's said to be the highest level of sustainable construction of any boat in its sector. Posted on 2 May
WEST SYSTEM 105-K Glass Fibre Boat Repair Kit
The upgraded kit comprises everything needed to fix minor cracks, holes and punctures Wessex Resins is delighted to announce it has improved and updated the WEST SYSTEM® 105-K Glass Fibre Boat Repair Kit. The kit comprises everything needed to fix minor cracks, holes and punctures as well as refit and replace hardware on a boat. Posted on 16 Apr
Wessex Resins & Adhesives joins 1% for the Planet
Donating to Protect Our Winters UK Wessex Resins and Adhesives is delighted to announce it has donated 1 per cent of its annual turnover for the ENTROPY RESINS® product range to Protect Our Winters UK. Posted on 9 Apr
Building a wooden dinghy with epoxy resin part 2
Strip planking the hull, and making an amazing wooden mast "You don't build your own boat to save money," Steve explains. "You do it for the sheer satisfaction of the craftsmanship involved. For what I paid in raw materials I could have bought several second-hand boats, but where is the fun in that?" Posted on 18 Mar
Epoxy Resin basics
Cure stages, controlling cure time, dispensing, fillers, recoating and more Tips for working with epoxy include: What is the difference between working time, pot life and cure time? Each hardener has an ideal temperature range. Primarily cotton flock, 403 is great for quickly thickening the epoxy. Posted on 11 Mar
The stuff AC75s are made of
INEOS TEAM UK's manufacturing team uses Super Toughened Epoxy In the high speed, high stress world of the America's Cup, keeping the beast in one piece is clearly a big challenge. Structural attachments that require an adhesive bond need a strong yet toughened epoxy adhesive to transmit loads between components. Posted on 9 Mar
MBW newsletters (top)