Oct 5

I have written blog entries in the past in which I have shared my experiences with new techniques and new products that are available for construction with composites.  This is another one of those.

Whenever I am building the surface of a part that is being made of chopped mat, I end up with a fairly course surface that will need a final finishing.

I have employed various means to smooth out a fiberglass surface.  Some of these finishing methods include the following: Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 4
Fiberglassing for Profit: Part 1
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 10 4th, 2017 | | No Comments »

I have made many things out of fiberglass over the years.  Typically, my projects involve building a plug, making a mold from that plug and finally using that mold to make pieces. 

 

One project that I have wanted to do for a while was inspired by a ceiling fan that I first saw years ago.  I am sure that you have seen the fans that look like the nose of a WW II fighter plane.  From the moment that I saw that fan, I thought that it would be cool to have a helicopter body that would hang from the underside of the ceiling fan making the fan blades look like rotor blades.  Of course the helicopter would have to be a classic – I chose the UH-1 from the Vietnam era.

 

Thus the project begins.  The first thing I like to do when I am building something like this is to go to the hobby store and pick up a model of the helicopter that I want to build.  I use this model as a three dimensional reference.  While 3D references are not always available, I do like to use them when possible.  For this project, I selected a 1/35 scale UH-1.  Using this model, I can get a good idea of the size that the fuselage has to be relative to the diameter of the fan blades in order to maintain a scale appearance. 

 

I begin to build the fuselage of the model and to analyze the proportions, angles and curves of the copter.  

 

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 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. 

 

                          

 

 

Oct 3
Fiberglass Boat Build Continued…
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Boat on 10 3rd, 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 »

Oct 1

First I want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR ! ! ! !

I hope your new year celebration was safe and enjoyable.

I have covered the following information in a post quite some time back before the last time this blog was hacked.

I have been getting some more question I think this will address regarding Epoxy Resin for Mold making. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 29
Fiberglass and Foam Plug Building
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 09 29th, 2017 | | 1 Comment »

Its funny how we do things that we think are not only the right way but the only way only to find out later that there are better ways. Years ago, when I first discovered the use of dry foam as a medium for plug construction, I thought that I had found the perfect plug building material. I easily carved out complex structures in a fraction of the time that it used to take when I used plaster and wood.

Then my bubble burst. I finished carving the foam for my new plug, covered it with resin and sea glass from the hobby store and let it cure. To my surprise, when I was applying bondo and glazing putty to level the surface of my plug, the plastic putty knife that I used easily went through the surface of my plug. It was then that I realized that the outer skin of this plug was too weak and needed re-enforcement. I fixed this problem by removing the thin layer of glass that I used to cover the foam and applying a 1/8 inch layer of bondo over the entire surface of my now less than pretty plug. Since this episode, I have always used foam in my plug construction but I always took that extra step with shaving down the foam and covering it with a layer of bondo before I start the final finish.

Recently, I began to evaluate my plug building procedures. While my tried and true method described above never failed me, I wanted to try something new. I recently was building a plug that I wanted to move quickly with. After carving the foam, I went ahead and decided to cover it as it was with 1 ½ ounce chopped mat and resin. I remembered when I had my bad experience with this method I had used very light material from my hobby shop. The 1 ½ ounce mat worked perfectly. It provided a very solid surface to work with without adding excessive size to the plug that I had carved from the foam.

I basically did two things differently with the foam. The first thing that I did was thoroughly saturate the surface with resin. The second thing that I did was use a much heavier chopped mat to cover the plug.

I always read and research fiberglassing techniques. I had not really researched or evaluated my plug construction techniques for years. This “new to me method” saved me a TON of time and materials (bondo). I don’t believe that this way of plug building affected the quality of my final product at all.

I would recommend trying this method for your next project.

Happy Glassing


Steve

www.fiberglassmoldmanual.com

Sep 28
RHIB – Fiberglass build continues……
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Boat on 09 28th, 2017 | | No Comments »

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes my work gets in the way of my projects – I hate it when that happens! Anyway, I had not taken photos of my sketches for this project at the time of my last post. I will post more pictures with more text this weekend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 27
Building Fiberglass Fenders: Part III
posted by: Steve Jones in Fiberglass Fender Project on 09 27th, 2017 | | No Comments »

With the recent application of bondo leveled and cured, I can now smooth out the surface of my fender – again. As it turned out, the two outer thirds of the circumference of my fender were about the same height. The middle section was about ¼ to 1/3 inch on the shallow side. It is in this center section that I need to reshape the fender around my newly formed ridge of bondo. I accomplish this with more bondo and a credit card that I use as a spreader. I like using credit cards or other thin pieces of plastic as spreaders because they can be used to produce a flat smooth surface or a nice smooth curved surface. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 25

When I first started working with fiberglass, I found it a fascinating yet frustrating material.  While I enjoyed the fact that it was water proof and could be formed into any shape, I was often frustrated by my attempts to finish it in a way that would make my final product look presentable.  Over the years I have come to the realization that Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 24
Joining Fiberglass Halves
posted by: Steve Jones in Uncategorized on 09 24th, 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


Steve

www.fiberglassmoldmanual.com

Sep 19
This Fiberglass Mold Making Blog Was Hacked
posted by: Steve Jones in Blog Issues on 09 19th, 2017 | | 1 Comment »

Hello fiberglassers,

I maintain Steve Jone’s web sites and blogs.  Well, I sort of maintain them. I had to move this blog to a new server due to a couple of issues.

  1. I did not stay up with WordPress Security Updates which resulted in the site getting hacked. (You would think hackers could find something constructive to do with their time.)
  2. The older version was a pain for Steve to manage.

I am sincerely sorry and apologize to you for the time this blog was down.  Know that Steve will be posting his no fluff straight talk posts on Fiberglass Mold Making and Fiberglass Fabrication.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Mike Claggett

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