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Old 02-25-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
Bob Tosi OP
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Fabricating custom fairings

I want to make a custom fairing for my 98 Tiger. Something like this:






I want it to look good and not " a hack job", my question is does anybody know how to do mock ups for projects like this?? I guessing I could maybe start with cardboard but is there any other techniques that work well?
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
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There are some other threads (not exactly sure if they are in Garage, but most likely) on this same topic. Maybe they can kick start your ideas...

Yes, cardboard is a good cheap place to start - others have done this as well.

Good luck
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Tosi View Post
I want to make a custom fairing for my 98 Tiger. Something like this:






I want it to look good and not " a hack job", my question is does anybody know how to do mock ups for projects like this?? I guessing I could maybe start with cardboard but is there any other techniques that work well?
Let google do the search work for you:

http://www.google.com/search?num=100...a2885925ea8ae0
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:08 PM   #4
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You always use foam. Carve it, sand it, and file it to shape. Then seal it well and use it to make your mold. Alot of work but it can be done. Are you using fiberglass or trying to vacuum form plastic?
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:17 PM   #5
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Have a look here. IIRC, there's a boatload of info there that might help you.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:56 PM   #6
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yep, foam & glass. You need high density foam like Divinicell if you use polyester resin... lesser foams dissolve. You can use any old thing if you buy epoxie... but 5x the money.

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Old 02-26-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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very nice work on the XT, and great ideas from you guys too.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:32 AM   #8
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Check out this thread for inspiration and info:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=592734
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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Get a big piece of styrofoam, draw the 2d shape at the front. Draw the 3d shape at the top and remember how the 2 meet and start cutting with a kitchen knife and saw and shaping with a wood grate (bit like a cheese grater) and rough sand paper. Cover it in epoxy resin and start sanding. When you've done that remember to show the progress.

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Old 02-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #10
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Get a big piece of styrofoam,
where do yo get styrofoam stock like that?
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:25 PM   #11
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Florists foam, the green stuff.

Easier to work and shape.
Guys I know that do a lot of fiberglass fab have found a source for the two stage chemicals and create their own.

Once you have the shape, make a mold. (as in what do you do if you crash it and need to make another)

Sand the mold to get it as smooth as you want it and lay in the glass...

Lot of steps in between but you get the idea.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:25 PM   #12
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oh yeah, use an electric carving knife to take it down until smaller tools are required.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:33 PM   #13
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+1 on the electric knife. Also, you can get thin foam, like 1/4" and bend the arc you like, hot glue a dowel to the back to hold the shape and do the layup. When it cures, hot glue the wings, etc on until you have your final form. I built a couple hovercraft like that. Nice to have a mold, but it's extra work. The upside is that if you like the shape & need more for other bikes it's done... or at least a good place to start from.

BTW, epoxy resin will stick to polyester, but not the other way around, it will not make a permanent bond that you can trust.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:01 PM   #14
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If you want it to look really professional, I think you should invest the time in making a plug, then a mold.

A plug can be made from a variety of materials:
- styrofoam is a good choice if there are going to be lots of curves (remember polyester resin will dissolve most styrofoam)
- wafer board is good if there will be lots of straight edges
- other media like wood, aluminum, steel can all be used to make your plug - these have the disadvantage of requiring much more time to make, but if you want a permanent plug that can be used to make more than one mold, the more durable, the better.

Here is a plug I made from wafer board and duct tape:


Your plug will be the exact replica of what you want the shell of your fairing to look like. Your plug should be as smooth and blemish-free as you want your final product. Grade-A plug yields Grade-A mold that yields Grade-A product. By far, the most labor intensive part is making the plug perfectly symmetric and blemish free.

Once you have a plug, you can either layer your glass (or whatever composite you choose) directly over the top, or make a mold from which you can make multiple fairings in the future. Regardless, if you want to re-use your plug, I recommend you take the same plug material and try a variety of mold-release agents on that material before committing to layering glass or making a mold.

This is my plug after covering it with Bondo and spending hours with a sander:


If you are making a mold, you will need to invest in some gelcoat. I recommend spending some extra $$ up front and getting "tooling" gel coat. The tooling gel coat is stronger and will last longer. For a fairing the size in the photo you posted, I would expect about a gallon of gelcoat for the proper thickness.

This is my mold after pulling out the plug:


You can see that it is kinda rough...that is because I didn't use a proper mold release agent. The plug was destroyed after removing it, and I had to spend more hours with the sander.

I recommend you at least consider a fairing made from multiple pieces. The reason for this is that if the shape is complicated, and you are using a mold, "pulling" the product may be challenging. This was another mistake I made. My last mold had to be completely destroyed in order to get the final part out. Although it looks very simple, when I tried to "pull" it, all the angles that go toward the center of the product make the "pull" much harder.

I don't want to discourage you, but if you have no experience doing this, then you should expect to spend lots more than you planned. Mistakes are costly when fabbing composites, as they often require a complete redo.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:48 PM   #15
Bob Tosi OP
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I don't want to discourage you, but if you have no experience doing this, then you should expect to spend lots more than you planned. Mistakes are costly when fabbing composites, as they often require a complete redo.
So this is sounding like its not a cheap adventure. I was thinking maybe a $100 - $200, but what you guys have shown looks like its costs a but load.
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