Cathodic Protection

DougSteel Boat0 Comments

Cathodic protection is one of those topics that brings out the worst in boaters as too many think they have the absolute truth and few of them agree on it.  The truth seems to be vague because of the number of variables.   Fresh or salt or brackish water.   Steel, aluminum, wood, or fiberglass hull.  Aluminum outdrive, or stainless and bronze drive.   And an apparent big one:  anchoring out or in a marina.   Shore power or not, what is docked around you, and how bad are the stray currents.

A boat the size of Seeker needs 12 to 14 zincs that are about 24 pounds each and measure 1.25 x 6 x 14 inches.   The alternative is aluminum anodes.  Finding scrap aluminum to make anodes is cheap and easy but to work correctly they need about 4% zinc mixed into the aluminum.   But old zincs are easy to find along the waterfront too, so we decided to see if we can make our own.

Resources:  Aluminum Anodes  Aluminum Anode Compositions  turned up from our viewers along with the confirmation from Cody that his Canadian Coast Guard vessel is using Aluminum anodes with 4% zinc.

You also get to choose if you want to weld them on or bolt them on.   I really like the idea of welding them on as their is no doubt about the connection to the hull, but bolting is reported as reliable so I’m going to give way on this one.  I like the idea of painting the bolt hole so that portion of the anode remains solid and prevents the connection at the base and at the nut and washer from prematurely loosening.

So we copied a commonly available design that is about 1.5″ x 6 x 12 and bolts on to 1/2″ stainless steel bolts welded to the hull on 6″ centers.

This will also let us practice open mold casting.


In addition to anodes the other apparently important devise is a grounding brush that connects the rotation propeller shaft inside the hull to the hull where an anode is located on the outside.  “Shaft grounding is just some spring loaded brushes running on the shaft. Heavy cable to the hull. If you wanna reduce wear on the shaft you can clamp on a band around it.”  –Cody


Metal Casting, Aluminum & Aluminum Bronze with Match Plates

DougSteel Boat0 Comments

Ya just gota love the beauty of pouring molten metal into a mold and watching something form that will last for thousands of years.  It just never grows old.

And we got lots of great assistance from Bart, Richard, Chris, Betsy, Paul, Tom, and Drew Smith who drove over his thermocoupler and even those tourist; Thomas, Jason and Ed that dropped by and were totally cool about hanging out while we were really busy. And our Mazzios Pizza delivery guy who got the cheese bread with jalapenos here while is was still hot. Awesome Weekend. Seeker Crew Rock! Oh! And happy April Fools Day! …that was Betsy’s work. 









Casting Patterns, Flask, Camera Gimbal and Routing Rubber

DougSteel Boat0 Comments






With Sean White’s help we are ready to do some casting this weekend as the weather allows.  Scott Rokeby fixed us up with an awesome gyro stabilized camera, and we cut the last of the fuel tank gaskets. We have very much enjoyed your project photos!  And I am all out so send more.  Attach a photo to and put “Project Photo” on the subject line.  Share your creative side and be an inspiration.   –Doug



DougSteel Boat0 Comments

We learned while cutting the panels for the Mizzen sail; the really small one, that measuring and cutting the each panel correctly is very important and it takes a long time.  We already have the shapes for each panel in CAD so wouldn’t it be dandy to cut them on the CNC Table.  They are actually too big to cut in one go, so we’ll need to cut part of the panel along with some registration marks and then move it over and finish the cut.   Routing is out, or we think it is.  I’ve not seen anyone try to route cloth, even Sunbrella which is a heavy plastic cloth.  Besides, the edges need to be burned so a hot knife like a soldering iron needs to be used.  I have not seen that either, but I think it would work.  Razor blade drag knifes are used but again that will not burn the edge and keep it from fraying.   So how about a laser.   Yes, it’s the stuff from child hood fantasies which means with have to compensate for the “you’re just doing it with a laser because it’s cool” syndrome.    If we don’t compensate for that we end up owning something like a 3D printer before we have any clue how to use CAD which becomes apparent to our friends when we only print toys from Thingiverse.    So what’s the scoop on these lasers?  Will a Chinese 3 watt laser cut Sunbrella at a reasonable 20 inches per minute.  Will it make it through 70 panels.  Would be better off just letting the CNC Table mark the panels with a sharpie and cut them with our hot knife?








Robi Akerley-McKee, one of our viewers sent us a design for a “drag knife” attachment for the CNC Table that holds a pen style soldering iron that can be fitted with a blade.







Drag knife designs are available on Thingiverse.   Maybe there is an idea there for incorporating a soldering iron with a knife blade tip into a 3D printed holder.

Betsy’s Coffee Cake

BetsyRecipes0 Comments

Most Saturday mornings when we have crew, Betsy will whip up a coffee cake or muffins.   Here’s her recipe for the coffee cake that tastes as good as it looks.   There are mixes by King Arthur, Krusteaz and Betty Crocker that are similar as well as a recipe on the back of a Bisquick Box.  For the purist, here’s the ingredients.



  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup milk


  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar


  • 5 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate wet and dry ingredients until combined.  Don’t overmix.
  4. To make filling & topping: in a small bowl, pinch together the softened butter, flour, sugar and cinnamon until soft crumbs form.
  5. To make topping: add the butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form.
  6. Grease a 9×9 baking pan  ( I often use a 9″ pie pan). Pour in ½ of cake batter.. Sprinkle the filling over top, then pour in remaining cake batter, and spread carefully across the top, disturbing the filling layer as little as possible.
  7. Sprinkle the topping over the top and press lightly so it adheres.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool to warm before serving.