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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Talk to me about fiberglass fab

I'm starting on my center console project here this weekend. I'm planning on doing the method where you build a frame, stretch material over, and then use fiberglass resin to hold.

I've read a few write ups, but have a few questions:

First of all, is there a material that works better than others? I've seen felt used, as well as some other stuff that wasn't listed, but is felt the best? Is it easy to fit?

Second is: after the resin hardens, do you take the frame out of the box, or leave it in?

Next, I want a textured look. I've seen them covered with fiberglass filler for a smooth, ricer look, for the sub boxes, but I want some texture. If I just sand the resin a bit, will it look textured?

Lastly, how messy is this really? I'm going to do it in my garage, but do I need heavy rubber gloves, or are standard nitrile gloves okay? Do I need a respirator?

Thanks homeys.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and does anyone have a sewing machine?

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 08:46 PM
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I can sew and have a machine... I also really want to perfect my fiberglassing skills to eventually redo my dash and center console into a smooth peice more fit for all my additions and desire for future additions. (some audio and some junk like my CB)

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Sweet, I need 4 or so shift boot covers made up, so I'll be talking to you for sure.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AxleIke View Post
Oh, and does anyone have a sewing machine?
I have one too. I have about 12 feet by 14feed of black vynal, 6 yards of black suede, i think i have a yard of gray vynal and a few colors...even some tan suede left over.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-04-2008, 06:55 AM
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I've wanted to do the same thing with the console on my truck but I will be following this closely so I can learn. I have some fiberglass sheeting in my garage I'll take a pic and send it to you I got it at home depot a while back. It would have a canvas type texture if you didn't put a crap load of resin on it.

I've done it in the past where you take some foam and mold it to the shape you want (in this case an RC plane wing) cover it with the cloth and then put the resin on. Once it's dry poor gas or solvent on the foam and it melts away from the fiberglass and all you have left is your part. Works scary slick.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-04-2008, 07:18 AM
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The hardener for the fiberglass resin is MEK - bad stuff. You DEFINITELY need gloves and if the ventilation is not reallly good a respirator.

I have seen everything from 4way stretch lycra to sweatshirt material used.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 10:51 PM
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Are there any good stores in Denver that have stuff for making fiberglass speaker enclosures and grills?
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AxleIke View Post
I'm starting on my center console project here this weekend. I'm planning on doing the method where you build a frame, stretch material over, and then use fiberglass resin to hold.

I've read a few write ups, but have a few questions:

First of all, is there a material that works better than others? I've seen felt used, as well as some other stuff that wasn't listed, but is felt the best? Is it easy to fit?

Second is: after the resin hardens, do you take the frame out of the box, or leave it in?

Next, I want a textured look. I've seen them covered with fiberglass filler for a smooth, ricer look, for the sub boxes, but I want some texture. If I just sand the resin a bit, will it look textured?

Lastly, how messy is this really? I'm going to do it in my garage, but do I need heavy rubber gloves, or are standard nitrile gloves okay? Do I need a respirator?

Thanks homeys.
Stick with epoxy. Stay away from polyester or vinyl ester... nasty stuff, plus they never fully cure, so when it heats up in the sun you will be able to smell it. If you use epoxy, once it has hardened you can sand it easily. Once hardened, it is basically plastic. If you go with epoxy, no respirator needed, but you can use one to be safe. If you don't use epoxy ad go with a vinyl ester or polyester resin, I would wear a respirator. Latex or Nitrile gloves will be fine.

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Are there any good stores in Denver that have stuff for making fiberglass speaker enclosures and grills?
Fort Collins Plastics (behind regis off prospect) carries West Systems Epoxy and several different types of fiberglass cloth, some woven and i think some mat.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poorboyota26 View Post
I've wanted to do the same thing with the console on my truck but I will be following this closely so I can learn. I have some fiberglass sheeting in my garage I'll take a pic and send it to you I got it at home depot a while back. It would have a canvas type texture if you didn't put a crap load of resin on it.

I've done it in the past where you take some foam and mold it to the shape you want (in this case an RC plane wing) cover it with the cloth and then put the resin on. Once it's dry poor gas or solvent on the foam and it melts away from the fiberglass and all you have left is your part. Works scary slick.
Acetone works well if you use standard bead styrofoam or the blue foam.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Talk to me more about this epoxy stuff. The only stuff I've seen in write ups is just called "fiberglass resin". You'll have to forgive my ignorance on what that is, component wise, and why it doesn't cure?

So far, I've picked up some 1/4' ply wood and a half inch dowel for my frame, and a chunk of spandex type material for the cover.

Next question:

Do I cut the holes out for my accessories and cup holders before I apply the resin/epoxy, or after it cures?

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 09:51 AM
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Usually, the "fiberglass resin" you're looking at it polyester or vinylester resin. I have never heard of anyone using anything else, nor did I ever have the problems mentioned above.

You staple the cloth around any opening like that, preferably down inside. While making a slit in the cloth usually helps you get a good stretch, I would trim it out after, when it's been coated in the resin, you'll get a much better edge.

When are you planning on starting this? I could come over and show you the basics...

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Dunno. Next week a little bit. I've got to build the frame first, so I guess I wouldn't be resinining things until later.

Also, its not as if my truck doesn't smell like various chemical products all the time anyway, you know: oil, 90 weight, gas, etc... A little resin won't kill anything.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 06:10 PM
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hey troy, could you teach me sometime too. Ive done a little fiberglass work but mostly patch jobs on boats and usually just winging in. Ive got a project that would take a little while in the works...

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 06:41 PM
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Here is a little quick reading on the differences between epoxy and vinylester and polyester resins.

http://www.redrockstore.com/resin.htm

I design and build protoytpe aircraft for a company in Loveland. We only use epoxy... very high end epoxy systems that are preimpregnated into carbon fiber and fiberglass woven fabrics. Unfortunately, they are not cheap and will not cure at room temp. We cure all of our composites under a vacuum bag in a Nitrogen charged autoclave at 250 deg F or above to eliminate all air pockets/voids. This is way overkill for a center console, but not when it comes to an aircraft wing. I have done a little wet lay-up in my day, and I stay far away from the vinyl and polyesters, mainly because of the styrene. Gives me a headache within seconds of smelling it, and it is not as strong.

It is all about sticking with what you know. Axle, If you can get RedTunnertc to give you a hand, he seems to have some experience in this type of fab work, and I would stick with what he knows works. My experience is more in the high end composites... CNC cut molds and autoclave cured parts.

Vinyl and Polyester resins will get the job done, I was just trying to present another option.

As far as application, the tecniques in applying either of the resins is about the same. Epoxy will give you a better / stronger result in the end.

If I was to make a center console, I would first build the required shape out of solid styrofoam or the blue foam from home depot. I would then brush on a thin coat of epoxy. Before the epoxy sets, I would apply a layer of woven fiberglass, making sure the resin completly wets out the fabric. Depending uopn how strong you want it to be, continue this process with multiple layers (maybe 4 to 6). Make sure that you get most of the bubbles and wrinkles out of each layer. Bubles create voids, and you will have to sand out all the wrinkles later. Also, try to remove all the excess resin before it cures. Once cured, sand and prime. Add bondo and sand to final shape. Prime and paint. If you want to you can grind out the foam or melt away with acetone, but not 100% neccesary. Again, there are many different ways to skin a cat, this is just one option.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 07:34 PM
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For interior glass work you can use felt,any highly absorbant stretchy type cloth. You coat it in resin after you have held it in place and you can either use filler to smooth it ot mat or cloth inside or out to build it up. The idea is tho the cloth is a closer to smooth surface to work with if it is going to be bondoed,sanded and painted or wrapped with a fabric thats going to show anything.

this pic was the start of my amp rack in the corrado.

We built a cover pannel that sat flush with the top of the amps and took wood scrap and made little legs to hold it as tall as we wanted. We just hot glued them in because its easier to take apart. After that we wrapped it as tightly as possible with some pink (kyles idea of a joke) fabric that stetched really well and stapled it in place. mixed the resin and dumped in on and used the paint brush(99cents at walmart) and coated it all over and let it sit. I have to get on the other computer and host the pics of how far it got. It turned out pretty well. It was the first time i had ever done it that way. The end product was the box sat flush with the top of the amps and just the top was visable. I had 4 little fans on each side to keep it all cool. Kustom Kar audio in boulder used felt i was told. and what we used was close but stretchier then that.

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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SL3807, great points man. I wasn't discounting what you had to say, just looking at all my options.

Russ, thanks man!

Great input, everyone. Keep it coming. i'll be starting this in the next week or so, so I'll keep it updated.

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 09:58 PM
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I've done I little bit of carbon fiber work with aircraft, is that pretty similar to working with plexiglass?
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 12:38 AM
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SL3807, great points man. I wasn't discounting what you had to say, just looking at all my options.

Russ, thanks man!

Great input, everyone. Keep it coming. i'll be starting this in the next week or so, so I'll keep it updated.
No worries, I didn't think anyone was discounting what I had to say... I might have got on the soap box a little. Hopefully I didn't sound like too much of an errogant bastard.

I am an engineer, so everything I do tends to be way over thought when it comes to this sort of thing. I have seen some pretty amazing things done with polyester and vinylester resins when used with felt or other strechable materials, but personally i have not had a good experience with it. I have seen many sub enclosures made this way that were very impressive. Again, it comes down to stick with what you know.

Totally off subject.... but, I made a few carbon fiber iPodcases at work... I was able to do it all for free, but when we ran the numbers they ended up being worth over $1000.00 a piece. Not very pratical, but they turned out pretty sweet.




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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 02:59 AM
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Thats SICK!!!!!! wouldnt happen to have one for the new nano that "fell off the truck" would you?

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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 06:59 AM
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I Want One Those Are Sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 11:53 PM
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AxleIke... whatever happened with this?
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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still working on it. I decided I wanted to do a couple of other mods first, which affect the area where this will go. To avoid doing something twice, I postponed.

It'll happen. Just going to be a while longer.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 10:43 AM
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cool, let us know.
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