Nov 25

Recently I had my first really bad experience with making a mold for a plug that I built.  This was a big disappointment for me.  I had spent about eight weeks building a model of a Porsche 917K body in 1/10 scale that I intended to mold then reproduce.  My model was built to fit a Tamiya TT-01 R/C car chassis.  I had looked for months on the Internet for a 1/10 scale R/C body of this car with no luck so I decided to make my own. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 24

Continuing with the helicopter build …


At this point, I can begin to produce profile drawings of the copter.  I definitely need to start with a view from the top and a view from the side.

Some of this is accomplished through artistic ability and some of it is what I consider cheating.  The model that I bought had these views in the painting instructions.  Based on the diameter of the fan blades, I figured that the fuselage should be about 40 inches from nose to tail.  I simply used my copier to blow these views up to the size that I need.  Then I drew in some details that were lost in the enlarging process.                            


The next step for me was to trace these profiles onto a base that I can use to build a plug.  I like to use 1/8 inch mahogany door skin for this.  I like mahogany because I can buy it at home depot for cheap and one sheet is more than enough material for a project like this. 


Next, I want to decide along which line to epoxy the primary horizontal shape to the vertical shape.  Having access to my plastic model makes this decision easy.  Angle aluminum stock helps me align the mahogany pieces with each other.  I use the angle aluminum to clamp the pieces to each other which assures reasonably accurate alignment of the parts.


In addition to angle aluminum making alignment of not so straight pieces easier, it also gives a pretty good 90 degree alignment of one piece to the other. 


At this point I need to make a statement concerning scale.  I am no artist, I know from the outset of a project like this that when I am done, anyone who knows anything about helicopters is going to look at this and say “Hey, that’s a Huey UH-1”.  That is good enough for me.  You can put as much talent and time as you wish into a project.  This is your prerogative.  I like to get a project’s detail to the point where I am satisfied.  I think that I am usually satisfied with my projects bearing a close resemblance to the vision that I started with.  That being said, nothing that I ever build will ever be completely scale (unless I happen to trip over a bucket of talent and patience).  That is all I have to say about that.


More Soon




Nov 22
Fiberglass RC Boat Project: Post #1
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 11 22nd, 2017 | | No Comments »
A friend of mine who spent an enlistment period in the Navy as a SWCC asked me if I could build a model of the 11 meter RHIB that he became fond of while in the service. I have always enjoyed building model boats so this was an easy decision for me. Not only did I want to build it for him because I like to do those things for people that I consider friends, but this will be a unique project for me. I have never even considered building a boat with an open deck. The 11 meter RHIB has an open deck with exposed seats, control console, and armament – lots of potential detail. Lucky for me I can consult with my friend regarding the details of this project.

For my friends purpose, this is going to be a display only model. I will definitely make mine radio controlled. The differences in the two models should be minimal with the RC version simply allowing for easier access to the underside of the deck.

The full scale 11 meter RHIB is approximately 36 feet long. The first this that needs to happen is we need to decide on a size. My buddies wife would be happy if it were no longer than a foot from stem to stern. I think that making it 1/6 scale to fit GI Joe would be the way to go. Obviously we are pretty far apart on this so we decided on 1/10 scale making it about 43 inches long. This sized boat will allow me to buy some off the shelf detail pieces such as guns, ammo boxes and maybe even the 50 caliber machine guns (hopefully, I would hate to have to make these!)

Scale is important with a project like this. To make sure that I get as close as possible, I scour the internet looking for photographs and drawings of the 11 meter. I was able to get my hands on a digital owners manual which was of great help as well. The first thing that I did with my photographs and drawings was to use my copier to blow up a drawing of the 11 meter from the top and from the side. My copier has a function that lets me resize a picture up to 200% with each pass through the machine. I did the math and ended up with side and top perspective drawings that give a length of exactly 43 inches long and 16.5 inches wide.

This series of blog posts will be done in real time and will follow my project as I make progress. Stay tuned!! I will post pictures as I progress.

Happy Glassing


The 11 Meter RHIB

Nov 21
Fiberglass Model Boat Build Moves Ahead!
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Boat on 11 21st, 2017 | | No Comments »

Getting back to building the base for the assembly of my hull, in the previous post I had just assembled the base and am now preparing to attach the piece of cut mahogany that will define the periphery of my hull.

[caption id=”attachment_83″ align=”aligncenter” width=”300″ caption=”The Building Base will define the shape Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 19

With the keel and the hull sides attached, I can think about filling the hull with foam and carving out the bottom of the hull. As I study the hull bottom as it sits, I notice that the hull sides have some waves in them. Since it is much easier to fix this now, I go ahead and glue then clamp some thin pine strips along the inside of the hull sides about ½ inch below the upper edge. This strip will also help me with the construction of the hull bottom. Once these extra hull pieces are secure, I measure and cut Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 18
Joining Fiberglass Halves
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 11 18th, 2017 | | No Comments »

There are several ways to join fiberglass halves. Fuselages, boat hulls and car bodies usually require joining of at least two pieces in order for the project to reach a point of completion.

With some applications, a sleeve can be built into the plug with will allow the second part to slip into which will result in a nice joint that can be epoxied together. An application that comes to mind in this circumstance would be the deck of a model boat to the hull. This technique needs to be planned well in advance since it requires integration into your plug. This technique also is only applicable to those projects that won’t be visually hampered by a visible seem or joint on the final product.

Most of the time, in order to obtain a clean joint that can be filled, sanded and finished in a way that produces no visible joint on the final product, you will need access to the inside of the joined pieces in order to produce a clean union. The best way to do this is to align the halves and use masking tape to hold the pieces together. I like to use thin strips of resin saturated fiberglass mat that I can lay across the inside of the seem. Depending on the strength of the bond that my project requires, I like to have about ½ inch of mat overlapping each side of the seem. Once this cures, your joint is complete. The only thing left to do at this point is finish the exterior.

Another method that I really like for joining fiberglass halves that don’t have to be water tight or incredibly strong is by using what I like to call “chemical applesauce”. “Chemical Applesauce” is a mixture of resin and cabosil that has been catalyzed with MEKP that has the consistency of applesauce. I use this mixture by taping the entire outer surface of the seem, making sure that the pieces have proper alignment. I then use a gloved finger to apply this mixture to the seem line from the inside. I use my finger to push and work the mixture into the joint. This makes an excellent filler as well. Once the mixture has cured, I can remove the masking tape and I am left with a strong, clean joint that requires only minimal sanding and finishing.

These are some of my favorite ways to join two halves of a fiberglass project. I do have a challenging project on the table now that will require special consideration when joining. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Fiberglass AH-1G Cobra

Fiberglass AH-1G Cobra

Happy Glassing


Nov 16
Fiberglass Boat Build Continued…
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Boat on 11 16th, 2017 | | No Comments »

In my last post I addressed an issue that I was having with the plug that I am building for this fiberglass project. At some point after the sponsons were covered with mat and resin I realized that they were simply too big in diameter. To correct this problem I cut the fiberglass covering off with a Dremel tool and then used a chisel to scrape the building surface clean of foam. After rebuilding the sponsons with foam and fiberglass I begin to follow the … Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 15
Fiberglass Fenders Part Two
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 11 15th, 2017 | | No Comments »

Now that the foundation for my plug is laid, I can start building a fender. At this point I will just take a moment to regress.

When I was younger, I am sure that this plug would have been built from a much more difficult process than what I have outlined. I am not sure how I would have done this but it wouldn’t have been easy – I probably would have used a template of the rim, done complicated measurements of the total tire diameter and so forth. Building plugs for projects like this are much easier and more likely to provide a nice product if you can use the base object as the foundation for your plug. In this case, I used the actual rim itself. In one of my manuals, I actually used the hood of my jeep as the foundation for building a plug for the hood scoop. This method of plug building takes much of the guess work out of the building process.

Getting back to the plug, I begin building the plug by laying a layer of 1 ½ ounce mat and resin over the foam. Once this cures, I follow with a plastic spreader and bondo to smooth out the surface of the fender. Once the bondo is cured, I smooth out the surface with my electric sander with a course (100 grit) sandpaper to smooth it out. Like with any plug build, I go through many bondo applications followed by sanding to smooth out the surface.

As with many plugs, just about the time that I get this thing smoothed out I see a problem with it. From a side view, it appears as though the center section of the fender, when viewed from the side, isn’t as thick as the ends of the fender. In order to check this, I drilled a hole in the end of a 1/8 inch, inch wide by 36 inch long piece of aluminum stock. The hole is just large enough to slip onto the hub of my rim. I then clamp an L bracket onto the stock aluminum and slid it down until it makes contact with the fender at what I perceive to be the highest point. As I sweep the L bracket around the top of the fender from one end to the other it becomes obvious that not only is my center section low, but I have many uneven points along the surface of the plug.

Fixing these uneven points is pretty easy. I now have a way to measure the outer diameter of the fender and I can use this tool to obtain consistency in the outer diameter.

To smooth out the surface of my fender, I lay a bead of bondo in the center along the length of the plug. While the bondo is still able to be spread, I drag the L bracket which is still attached to the hub through the aluminum stock along the surface of the plug at a level that represents the highest point of the plug. The L bracket levels the surface of the plug creating consistent thickness of the plug.

After this application of bondo cures, I can begin spreading bondo over the surface again to smooth it out. This time I am careful to use the newly laid central ridge of bondo as a guide.

Happy Glassing


Nov 13
Fiberglass Fenders
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 11 13th, 2017 | | No Comments »

My most recent fiberglass project is a set of fenders for my beach cruiser. I know that there are already fenders available on the market, but I really didn’t care for them. In addition, I do enjoy building my own things when I can and it just so happened that this would be one of those projects.

To start with a project like this, I first needed to decide how I would get the shape and size of a fender that I was looking for. I want to have a fender with a round contour that would provide better coverage of the tire than what store bought fenders provide.

Initially I considered obtaining the right shape for the fenders by covering an inflated tire on the rim with foam weather stripping and then using that as the foundation on which to build a fender. The more I thought about this the more problems I was imagining.

Then one day I was walking by the 99 cent store and I saw those round foam pool toys that the kids use, I think they are called noodles. I knew right away that I was 99 cents away from the perfect base on which to build a plug for my fenders.

Once I got that foam roll home I pulled a wheel off my bike, removed the tire and proceeded to tape that foam roll to my rim. It fit the channel perfectly, and was the right height and width. I wanted my fender to cover about one half of the diameter of my tires so I used enough of the foam to accomplish this.

With the foam roll secured to the rim, I decided to cover the foam with a layer of masking tape. I did this to protect the rim and because I wasn’t entirely sure what the fiberglass resin would do to the foam, or if it would release cleanly from the foam.

At this point it is time to think about applying the fiberglass resin and mat. I began by building a simple cardboard stand to hold the rim steady while the materials are applied. Once I was happy with the stand I covered the entire rim and tape covered foam with PVA release agent.

Now I am ready to build a fender plug.

Happy Glassing


Nov 10
Fiberglass Reproduction License Plates
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Tips & Trix on 11 10th, 2017 | | No Comments »

In the post prior to this one I had just started to get into the benefits of using silicone for a mold for a fiberglass project like this one.

First of all, silicone doesn’t smell and it doesn’t stick to anything other than itself.  With silicone I would never have to worry about ruining the original like I did with my first effort with building a fiberglass mold.  Secondly, there is no need for parting agents like wax or PVA – pieces simply effortlessly pull right out of silicone molds.

So, let’s get started.  The process of mounting the plate to a parting plane remains the same expect for the fact that I want the silicone mold to be little deeper than the fiberglass mold so I am mounting the plate to a ¼ inch piece of MDF that I traced the plate onto and cut out with my scrolling saw.  This ¼ piece of MDF is then glued to a parting plane and the plate is secured to the MDF with wood screws.

The pieces of the parting plane with the plate.

1/4 inch mdf glued to parting plane.

Aligning the plate to the parting plane with clamps.

Plate screwed to the parting plane.

The next step is to seal the edges of the plate with clay to prevent the silicone from getting in between the plate and the MDF.

Now I use 1 X 1 pine to build a perimeter around the plate that will act as a wall that will contain the silicone.  I leave about a ¼ gap between the plate and the pine perimeter that will define the boundaries of the mold.  At this point I go around the outside of the pine with masking tape to prevent any silicone from leaking out.

Sides of the mold clamped in place and Silicon at the ready.

With the plate prepared I go ahead and mix some silicon with its curing agent and pour it over the plate.  I make sure that there is enough silicon to completely cover the plate with about a ¼ inch depth.  The next step is the easiest of all – let it stand for 24 hours.

Silicon is flowing.

The silicon is curing – will be ready in 24 hours.

More on this project soon!

Happy Glassing


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