Fibreglassing

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Fibreglassing

Postby Badboy » Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:35 am

Hey guys,

Well my cuda is getting closer and closer to been finished and im now considering my options for panels.

I really like the Edge fibreglass bonnet for the piranha and would like to do something similar,

I've read a bit on the net but just wondering on everyones opinions on the best way to make moulds, hows to not make the moulds stick, how many layers of matting, do i use body filler or not? Basically just how to fibreglass etc etc.

Any help would be much appreciated!

thanks in advanced
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Postby solo ss » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:30 am

hey mate ever thought of using 2mm plastic sheets. hdpe is very flexible and can be painted and easily bent and cut into moulded shapes
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Postby chrishallett83 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:52 am

Is there a fibreglassing course you could do at TAFE or the local high school?
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Postby Craig's dvs plan » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:01 pm

well i did some remolding work to an edge bonnet and also many cars and other bits.
it takes a while to do any thing with fiberglass so have a good think about it and if you still want to go that way ill help out in any way i can
this edge bonnet had the middle cut out and the dip taken out then i fiberglased it back it then fill the small hole with fiberglass putty sanded flat then cars bog the finer holes 2pack primer high build rubed back so the whole thing was flat the i had a 2 pack solid colour over the primer rubed that back then it was good for the base coat colour and the blue then 4 coats of good 2 pack clear. after all of that we will rub it back and buff it up :P
yes it took while id say a easy 40 hours of work :shock:
but look at the finish you get

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Postby artie on edge » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:45 am

A very timely post mate. Im about to make the molds for my machine in the next few weeks and if you like Ill post a step by step pictorial.

Im fully enclosing the beast as she is for racing purposes and we tend to run in a lot of mud or heavily watered tracks so it will have side pods, raised doors (shoulder level) raised bonnet, lower roof line to give a narrow gap to see thru and rear quarter panels pretty much as in the pic of my old full sized unit (and for the reasons you see here!!!!).

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Postby Camel » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:45 am

I thought Tony was the guru on fibreglassing? Extensive background I believe.

Nevertheless, I'm very interested too. I did some fibreglassing at TAFE back when Australia invested in the trades and apprenticeships. But I'd love to learn more.

How about making Artie's thread a sticky Mr Moderator?

I'm keen to see a blow by blow process including where to source materials and just how much it costs.

Artie, you impress me man! Keep it up!

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Postby artie on edge » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:51 am

geesz mate dont be impressed.. I show you guys the stuff that WORKS... lol much doesnt and you dont see that on these pages.....

Ill give most anything a go, but I do a lot of homework afore I get dirty.

I have a fibre glas guru who has just finshed showing my how to make large, cheap mold using horse hair matting and plaster.

Just had a look at a mold for a bonnet of a 1968 GTS Monaro. Cheap, stiff, clean finish and dead easy to do!!

My posting will be more on making molds than the actual creation of the panels in fibreglass themselves.

Camel, arent you sick of this overseas stuff yet? Havent you got buggies to build? Get an Aussie job mate! (id like one .. oneday...)
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Postby Camel » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:58 am

Yes Artie,

me too, my past is littered with 'lessons learned' like the 1000 dollar ZIR head I was trying to convert to a dual plug setup. $1000 was a lot when I was on $200 bucks a week.

Overseas stuff? Mate, I'll take it wherever I can get it. If it pays. And there's too much shutting down in Aus at the moment.

I pine for my workshop, (actually it's made of Jarrah, termites love pine).

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Postby artie on edge » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:05 pm

I understand the pining bit, im in mine every day, even if its just to crack a tinnie and look at that weld (bugger better grind that back!) and then head back up to the house.... Id go nuts being away so regularly... good luck keep th einfo on your build coming.
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Postby Hamish » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:14 pm

This is probably way too late to be any use to you, but heres my two cents.

I was also considering using fibreglass pannels on my cuda. I was going to go and get some closed cell foam called Divinycell or Clegecell. Its sort of like the stuff inside surfboards, but its pretty light and bloody solid for what it is. Its what the make racing boats out of with a layer of carbon fibre either side.

Get a sheet about 5 or 10 mm thick. cut it to the size of the pannel, and cover each side with fibreglass matt. If it needs to look good i would suggest about a 300 g/m2 cloth (woven looks nicest compared to chopped strand).

I assume your going to use polyester not epoxy, so mix up enough polyester to cover the mat, then squeegie it in. Let it dry then do the other side. Its messy stuff, so if you dont want it somewhere cover it with tape or plastic. try and wrap it round the corners, but its hard, especially if you'v never done it before.

To make it look pretty, you can get a sheet of perspex and cover it with release wax, then place the perspex on the matt while its still wet. It will only be glassy smooth if there are no air bubbles in it.

This way you can have fibreglass pannels without having to make molds. The only disadvantage is that one layer of fibreglass will easily puncture. Several layers might be required. As well, if you want a smooth finish, be prepared to sand... alot
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Postby Russell » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:22 pm

Badboy, just my two cents worth..........If you want the look of Tonys f/glass front on your cuda, don't bother with all that time consuming mould building etc, etc. It can be done very easily with alloy sheet (2mm). I know , I've done it twice already on both Piranhas and intend doing it on the cuda I'm building now. Here's what it looks like......

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(sorry it's not the best angle but it's the only shot I've got available). It requires four folds and one weld and is made from two pieces.
An alternative is PVC sheet, can also be folded and welded (glued) but is very flexible unless its about 5mm thick and its heavier than alloy.
Building moulds properly is VERY time consuming, and is realy not worth it for one offs.

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To give you some idea of the hours involved I made this one (guards, light units etc are all one piece)by building a male plug from mdf with about 6 coats of laquer sanded down between coats and the final rubbed down with 1500 grit wet and dry. Then a female glass mould produced off this and finally the finished product taken out of this mould. This was the first mould I ever made (the second was the opposite guard, the third the bloody roof!) and this is not my profession so I'm no expert on the subject but like I said above ,if it's the look you're after , stick to bending and welding it out of alloy
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Postby joost » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:10 am

here a verry nice piranha with fiberglass
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Re: Fibreglassing

Postby itchyback » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:21 pm

I've done fibreglassing before. Its very very very very hard to get a smooth finish without a mould and it involves ALOT of sanding (ie days), even then you end up with an undulating surface so it still looks crap. For your time your best bet is to either use aluminium or plastic sheets.

The Mould
If your keen to use fibreglass try borrowing someones panel that you like and then you can make a copy, although you would be breaking the law doing that. If you have an individual design your dead set on then consider finding some form of relatively thick plastic sheet that can bend to the shapes you desire or something that resembles the shape you desire, THen using the foam as suggested already, or a wood or metal construct a frame that will hold it in the desired shape then attach it to the frame using double sided tape of glue. avoid sharp corners, holes or edges ie nothing more than say 70-80 degrees, the fibreglass wont bend into/ around them (there are ways but lets keep it simple)

THe process
do it at a time/ day with less than 80% humidity (not imperitive but helpful), in a shady but well ventilated area, also dont do it while hung over, its not good trust me (sun is ok if you have to but stick to cooler times of day otherwise your resin will go hard before your finished)
-Mark out your desired shape/ size then plan to wax, paint and fibreglass about 1cm past your markings. this ensures your product is thick and strong to the very edge
-Lather the plastic generously with release wax using a rag but dont leave behind mounds or streaks of it, then apply 3-4 coats of gel coat with a paint brush in your desired colour allowing it to dry completely between coats.
-Quickly apply a layer of resin with a standard paint brush then quickly apply your chopped fibreglass mat 300g/m2 then paint on a coat of resin. as you paint the white of the fibreglass should turn to clear blue/ yellow, it will become soft and bendy like wet fabric and the individual fibres should be able to be moved with the brush, (if its stiffer like paper than apply with more resin). You may notice in spots a white speckly faint rash type effect, this is air, and while not a huge issue it will weaken your panel, to fix this, if your mold allows it without flexing AT ALL, roll the freshly painted fibreglass with a small paint roller type thing but not hairy, just hard plastic (i dont know what its offically called or used for)(check out your local hardware for one) (we used a bolt with the head removed, a shallow hole in both ends, and attached it between two ends of a thick piece of fencing wire).
-You should apply other fibreglass layers while the first is still wet. after first layer use 600g/m2 roll it between laying new layers. 300 is ok but its just more coats and more work (if it dries betwen layers you should rough up the surface with the nastiest sandpaper you can get)
-To remove your panel use a ruler, or some similar thin flexible device to pry between the mould and the panel jiggle and shake as required, if all else fails consider a light tap with a rubber malet/ small child to loosen the suction/ grip.
-trim the hairy edges to shape whela!

Notes
-gel coat needed = 4mm thick x square area
-resin needed 700-800mls/ m2 (its been a while so i cant remember exacts but more IS NOT BETTER)
-Minimum thickness should probably be 300 + 600 layer, i'd add another layer of 600 if you want any sort of longevity though, add as many as needed for very prone bits
-If weight is a factor do consider the thin fibreglass matt one layer should suffice and cut back on a layer or two of gel coat. If strength/ wearability is a factor DEFINTALY consider the thick fibreglass matt but dont bother with more than 4 layers of gel coat
-once your resin is mixed it will set reasonably quiclkly, especially on a hot day and there is a risk of it catching fire ESPECIALLY especially on a hot day so follow the mixing instructions
-Most gloves will melt, so i just used my bare hands, although if you leave it on too long your skin will start to burn (not intolerably but you'll know about it).
-any work with fibreglass is likely to leave you itchy for several hours, dont have your kids around and wear eye/ mouth protection
-when cleaning up - solvol is your friend

I think thats everything, PM me if you want anything else
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Re: Fibreglassing

Postby Jet » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:13 am

Very nice write up mate!
I have had plans for a fiberglass body and was going to ask a question like this when the time come, so thanks for writing it!
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Re: Fibreglassing

Postby Tony » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:59 pm

Gell coat requires no more than two thin coats, certainly not up to 4mm thick.
More like up to 1mm thick.
Thick would simply be a waste of material & Gell coat of excessive thickness would easily crack.
(Gell coat is as much as $9.00 per kg so don't waste it).
If you have a deep mould then turn it upside down after applying Gell coat as when resin cures it emits styrene fumes.
These fumes sitting in a deep mould can hinder the curing of the Gell.
This can then cause issues such as crinkling of the Gellcoat when the lay-up resin is applied.
When applying the resin use a dabbing motion rather than a paint stroke as your trying to work the resin into the chop strand rather than simply paint in on the top.
Using an "E' grade of chop strand is preferable, E stands for emulsion which is what the cloth is bound together with & helps the wetting out process.
Using good E matt, when its fully wetted out with resin should almost be fully transparent.
To roll the air bubbles out use a fibreglass roller.
This type of roller is normally made from machined Aluminium & has a series of grooves.

Resin will not catch fire.
If it goes off too quick on a hot day & its left in a mass in your mixing tub it may smoke & crack.
The higher the mass the more heat it will generate.
Be careful with the hardener, (MEKP) & WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.
This sh#t is dangerous, one drop in your eye can blind you for life.
It also reacts with oil & can be exposive, so careful where you store it.
Only 1% hardener is required for lay up resin, (2% for gell coat).
This is calculated by weight.

itchyback is right, solvol soap is great for removing resin & fibres from your hands, BUT USE COLD WATER.
Hot water will open your skin pores & let in the small fibres & make you so damn itchy.

Not being a smart prick here itchyback.
I spent most of my high school years making fibreglass skateboards & selling them to kids at school.
Sold 200 of them before I retired from the skateboard craze.
Got into car accessories & motorcycle fairings as a part time business while doing my apprenticship.
Making fairings for some of the motorcycle race teams in Auckland.
Then upon finishing my time started a fibreglass business & ran that for 18 months.
My old man was manager of NZ's biggest resin manufacturer & I had access to their chemists & lab.
So that helped heaps.
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Re: Fibreglassing

Postby itchyback » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:38 pm

Thanks Tony,
I worked for 12 months in a fibreglass repair shop so you're far more experienced than i. I've learnt something too. oh and cold water not hot, good advice, had to learn that the hard way.....a few times...
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