fiberglass fabricating ?'s

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by lucky_strike, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. lucky_strike

    lucky_strike whose flux?

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    i would like to give the fiberglass fabricating skill a try. im very artistic and very good with my hands. does any one know of a good step by step website for such a skill. i dont meen fixing a whole in a fearing,,,,,but i wanna actually create a feiring.

    thanks
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  2. Tollster

    Tollster Jammer Jay

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    I think you need to make a foam mold of some type to support the fiberglass. Perhaps some of that insulation foam in a can or hi density seat foam, then you could carve it with an electic felet knife.
    Just my thoughts as I have never done any glass work, but did tour a fibergalss cap factory once and paid some attention to the molding process. Sounds like a big job your looking at considering having to install the mounting brackets and such.
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  3. mark1305

    mark1305 Old Enough To Know Better

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    I just fashioned a retro Euro style race seat with the bullet taper at the rear. Despite a trusted neighbor assuring me that the spraycans of insulation foam held up under the polyester resin while he was redecking his boat, several spots in my carved foam mold melted and sunk in. Net result was that I had to add lots of lightweight filler in places and use more layers of cloth in places to get it fair and strong and now it weighs about what a modern stock seat weighs.

    The moral of the story is if using carved foam as a "plug" to build directly over or to create a mold, either protect it from the resin or make sure to use a foam that isn't affected by it.

    Other tips I've learned from working in a boat factory for a few years - always wear a respirator and protect your skin when cutting or grinding glass; always wear eye protection and gloves when working with liquid catalysts like MKE Peroxide(if it burns your skin it will eventually heal but if it hits your eye you will probably lose vision in it); work in a well ventilated space; and watch for fires to break out in containers of catalyzed resin after you throw the excess in the trash.
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  4. sculptor666

    sculptor666 Adventurer

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    hey, i went to art school... which is usually pretty meaningless... but i'm kind of a moldmaking expert... and my wife happens to work for a company that makes all sorts of rubber and plastic. shoot me an email if you want here:

    spohn@enduranceengineering.com

    and i'll give you my phone number and talk you through the process if you want. thanks,
    chris
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  5. ehatcher

    ehatcher Hello? Is this thing on?

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    There is a little overview of the process of making a fairing in this thread on my Dakar http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=197573

    I learned in a custom fabrication shop for race cars many years ago and have made odd one-off parts for aircraft and cars as a sideline since. Feel free to PM me with any questions you have.

    Eric
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  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

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    Both System 3 and West system epoxy companies have nice
    "how to" manuals. I prefer working with the epoxy resins. Just a tad more expensive but easier to handle in many ways. When done properly, much stronger.

    One neat trick... if you need flat sheet material, use a big piece of glass, hit it with a mold release agent and lay up your Cloth/roving on that. I comes out as smooth as.... um... glass!
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  7. Gringo

    Gringo simple by nature

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    Ditto on epoxy vs. polyester - epoxy is far less toxic, you usually don't need respirators, etc. - but don't get it on ya or you could develop a nasty allergy - wear good rubber gloves and long sleeves! Epoxy won't eat foam like polyester, so I'd go with a foam substrate and epoxy/glass.

    Check out the various release cloths too - they help you get a smooth surface to minimize your sanding - sanding fiberglass is the worst part of the process! Anything you can do to reduce this step is worthwhile.
    #7
  8. Loadedagain

    Loadedagain making chips

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    i'll give a third :thumb for epoxy over polyester. for average sized jobs it's not too much more expensive, and if you're vacuum bagging it allows you more time to get things right before it starts a cure.

    i use west systems epoxy with all my carbon and kevlar layups with great success.
    #8
  9. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    I've done a lot with the Westco epoxy resins over foam plugs- this is a nice way to make a one-off and if you really like it you can pull a mold from the finished product later. I use blue closed cell foam as a base (2" insulation panels) and lay it up in layers using water based contact cement. It is easily carved with a very sharp thin knife (I steal the kitchen knives) and smoothed with sandpaper. The largest drawback to this method is you end up spending a lot of time on the final smoothing and finishing, as you are building up to the outside or "seen" layer. Still, for a single piece, it's pretty easy and not too toxic. In the projects below I left the foam in place.

    A plug, roughed out

    [​IMG]

    finished product-

    [​IMG]

    Silly whale car made using the same process:

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. ekv

    ekv go ride

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    for doing fairings, you might look at doing two part molds. create one half of the mold, using either wood [soft stuff like pine, balsa], once you've created that half, use a two part pour foam to create the negative half. if you do it properly, this will allow you to setup the cloth and resin, then clamp it all together to create a stronger fuse between cloth and resin. similar to vacuum bagging, but less parts and less costly than a complete bagging setup.

    remember, polyester resin *eats* eps, xps, and really any *polystyrene type foam. epoxy can be used on most all foams, urethane, styrene...

    if you want to get fancy, gel coat is a great way to go, but start small and then play more with finishing products.

    a good sander/polisher will become one of your best friends.

    get yourself some flexible hard plastic scrapers, and do lots of test batches. epoxy and polyester resin have different attitudes when laminating with cloth. most epoxy resin will "seep" into the fibers of the cloth, requiring less manual forcing to get the resin to saturate the cloth, whereas polyester needs more forcing.

    also depends on which cloth you are using. volan cloth is different than s type which is different than e type cloth's. doing lots of tests [picking up a yard of fabric is cheap and you can buy most resins and hardeners/catalysts in small quantities to try it out, is the best you can do to find what works for you. each time you work with fiberglass you'll find a new trick, such as microwaving epoxy resin and hardeners before mixing, using certain additives to reduce "blushing" in the finished product, why you want to use a laminating resin over a finish resin....

    also, i suggest learning to play with cavasil, balloons and other fillers. they will greatly expand your ability to mold and complete projects very fast.

    *Always* use a good respirator, not just a dust mask, and every time you don't use eye protection is one greater chance to get your eyes messed up. Feel free to ask me any questions you have, i'll do my best to answer your questions.
    #10
  11. BENRON

    BENRON Crosscut Certified

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    I'm resurecting an old thread here, but I have a similar project going and would like to run this past those More versed in Fiberglassing techniques than I


    I'd like to build myself some luggage like this-
    [​IMG]
    that would bolt to the luggage rack. I Plan to Fiberglass over foam sheet for an easy one-off. Here's all the peices laid out to fit in a 4x8 panel-
    [​IMG]

    Rather than spend hours and hours sanding a polishing I'm also considering getting it coated in bedliner after Im done. Tough AND waterproof :D .

    Sounds like Epoxy resin is the way to go, But the Defender website listed has a bunch of dfferent cloth options. Any suggestions on woven vs mat or what weight I should get?:ear
    #11
  12. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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    that looks like solidworks....
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  13. BENRON

    BENRON Crosscut Certified

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    '08. Familiar?
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  14. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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  15. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    Ben,

    With what you have designed, I would build it out of plywood instead of foam and then glass over that, it will be much stronger and lighter in weight.

    Don't use mat, use woven and since I suggest doing it over ply it doesn't have to be as thick, which makes it much easier to fill and finish.

    There is a company in St Petersburg Florida called Fiberglass Coatings, look them up and request a catalog that should help you figure out what you need.</snip>
    #15
  16. Oilybimmer

    Oilybimmer Long timer

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    If you need to use polystyrene foam as a former then paint it with a couple of coats of household emulsion paint to stop the resin from dissolving it, this should not be needed if you use the polyurethane (yellow) foam, wear a mask, ventilate the work space and only mix small quantities of resin.
    Stewart
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  17. nofate

    nofate what blackflies?

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    I like the design, but it looks like it would be easier to build from sheet aluminum. No compound curves so just cut, bend, weld...probably easier than messing with fiberglass and foam. Can you make one to fit a KLR? Its gotta be cheap though. :D
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  18. BENRON

    BENRON Crosscut Certified

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    Thought about doing it out of aluminum... But I can't weld aluminum for crap even though I do have a TIG welder in the garage. :doh I should really take a class

    I think fiberglass & foam would be cheaper too.

    As far as your KLR... If you want I could dimension all the pieces if your serious
    #18
  19. BENRON

    BENRON Crosscut Certified

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    Plywood lighter than Foam? Really? Why?

    Was planning on doing one layer of glass on the outside of the foam, letting it cure, The seeing if I thought I needed to do the inside too. That way I'd have a Cool honeycomb type deal:lift
    #19
  20. mehow

    mehow Been here awhile

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    I have seen a ton of videos on YouTube about fiberglass and other various composite materials. Some are better than others, but youll find such a whopping mass that you can pick through a few and find a lot of decent info. These youtube videos would work well in conjunction with some sort of more credible source of info, but they are worth a look if at least to see things in motion, as many other guides, either print or online are usually a series of pics and paragraphs.

    Also I have a book called Fiberglass and Other Composite MaterialsHP1498: A Guide to High Performance Non-Metallic Materials for AutomotiveRacing and Marine Use.
    its by a guy named forbes aird. Got it on amazon...
    Totally worth checking out as well. very well written, cler and informative, he covers many different types of resins and composites as well as proceses.
    Good luck!

    #20