Embarrassingly bad hull construction plagues the USV industry. Plus a lot of the hull shapes on the market are adapted for USV use. They are “close enough”; one of a handful of commercially available recreational boats that can be adapted.
This mindset inspired Juice to get into the game and to start by making our hulls with raw fiberglass and a blank sheet of paper. Our hulls were designed from the ground up to function as part of an USV/ROV pair and are constructed using appropriate methods. In fact, our hulls are made just like a 40′ sailboat.
Today, we have made a big investment in the mold used to make our hull (shown to the left). It weighs about 200 lb and has to be disassembled with a winch so it is pretty rugged but on the inside it’s buffed and polished to a mirror finish!
The finished hulls have waxed gel-coat finish on top of an engineered fiberglass skin. They are foam filled and have an integrated steel frame so they can be safely lifted by their handles or the lifting bail.
The hulls are “layed up” from the outside in and because of the pristine mold surface once they are removed they are done! Very little finishing in necessary other than a few coats of wax.
To start, the mold is treated with a combination of release agents. Then the signature Juice robotics speckle is applied
This dries to a tack and then white gel-coat is sprayed throughout the mold (below left). Again this dries to a tack and then specially cut pieces of glass are applied in layers. The first of these is crucial to stabilize the new gel coat and as more layers are added a spec called a layup-schedule is followed. This schedule determines how much glass goes where and in what direction the fibers run. The result is kind of like what you see in a high performance sail. This carefully developed schedule gives the best strength to weight ratio of any hull on the market.