After the lid was complete, we started working on the bigger, much more complicated piece. The last piece of cloth is being applied. This piece was also constructed in a 3-core-3 format. If you look closely, you can see how the side is slightly pooched out in an L-shape outlining the foam core. The vacuum and heat will suck the cloth tight to the mold and to the foam.

Because of the irregular shape of the tank, we applied the cloth in 7 different pieces for each layer of cloth. It was a challenge to get the corners and the compound curves to lay down nicely, but it all worked out. We cut all the pieces "on the bias" so that they'd lay down easier. Cutting "on the bias" means cutting everything at a 45 degree angle to the weave of the cloth. This is common practice even among seamstresses to get things to lay down nicely. My Mom's been a professional seamstress for 50 years so it was nice to put some of the terms I've picked up over the years to work on a worthy project! :-) Just kidding, Mom.

Rather than attaching the plastic to the floor of the oven, we just made a big baggie for the tank. We applied suction several times before we were satisfied with how the baggie was sucking down at all the different bends and curves. It's possible for the bag to suck down on itself and completely miss sucking down an inside curve.

This is the first iteration of the main body of the fuel tank. You'll notice that it looks a little puffy... We discovered is that real bleeder cloth is not the same as the polyester blanket batting sold by local fabric stores. Apparently there's an extra weave in the locally-available batting that prevents suction from spreading over the entire part.

We decided to re-do the tank with the correct bleeder cloth to get a better vacuum on the part and a more structurally sound part.

Thankfully, neither of my plugs was damaged too much during the first [failed] attempt. A little putty here and there, a few new layers of sealant and release and we were ready to go with the next attempt.

We made pretty good time getting everything ready for the second attempt. We had to re-make all the foam core as well as the phenolic reinforcement pieces. The three phenolic blocks are for my capacitance sender, an aux tank input and a vent line--from left to right in this picture.

The first layer of the fiberglass is being applied to the main tank plug. The cold pre-preg cloth is really cool to work with. Expand the picture and look how well the compound curves on the corners lay down. Very neat.