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learning to fiberglass

  1. #1

    learning to fiberglass

    Okay over the next few weeks my friend is going to be helping me with some small projects in fiberglassing. Hopefully in the end i will be able to fiberglass some armor but im going to start off small by reinforceing my jason mask with Fiberglass.

    Most people have told me i can get most of my stuff from Home Depot or lowes but i have no idea what to look four. If anybody can give me pics of what im looking for it would be apprecieated. (the actual fiber stuff, hardner and don't know the other thing..)

  2. #2
    Cruzer's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Here's what you should be looking for. I got all this stuff at my local Home Depot, but Lowes should carry it as well. You can buy the resin in a smaller size like that of the acetone, but it may not be enough resin for larger projects. A tube of hardener will come with the small size of resin, and two tubes will come with the gallon size. There are two basic types of cloth you can get, weaved and matted. The weave kind is in the bag and behind it I put some of the matted. I like to use the weaved type if I want a thinner application with less resin used, or for making curves. It's just lays down cleaner in my opinion. You don't need the acetone for fiberglass work, but things will get sticky quickly so it's a good idea to have some for clean up, especially for your hands if you choose not to wear latex gloves. I don't wear any type of gloves so I go through plenty of Acetone. I usally buy it in the gallon size too, but they're all out in my area.

    Also, be sure to work in a very well ventelated area because the fumes are very strong.

    Let me know if I missed anything guys!

    Cruzer
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dsc04082-jpg  

  3. #3
    Cruzer's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    The differences in the cloths didn't show up in the pic so here's a better shot showing the differences and also a pic showing an example of the weaved used in an application.

    Cruzer
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dsc04086-jpg   dsc04088-jpg  

  4. #4

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Wow thanks i might try to get some tonight. Another thing whats the estimate on how much this cost all together?

  5. #5
    CombatBaby's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Cloth is usually in bags for $4-5

    Resin is usually $9-17 depending on size

    and acetone depending on brand is anywhere from $4-16


    -=QuinN!

  6. #6
    cal196's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    That stuff smells so bad, I almost passed out reinforcing something.

  7. #7
    batninja's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    I am very interested in the fiberglassing process as well, and will keep an eye on this thread.

    Cruzer, what's the mold made out of? Anything special? Silicone, rubber, etc?

    I would LOVE to see a tutorial on this...

  8. #8

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Thanks for the price range, maybe this won't be as hard as i expected.

  9. #9

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    cal196 said:
    That stuff smells so bad, I almost passed out reinforcing something.
    Oh yes Plenty of ventilation is required in my rulebook!

    Just a couple of pointers covered elsewhere, but since you are on the subject of products.

    Fibreglass resins comes in several different types and the two main used types by proppers are Jelly/Putty and Regular resin. The Jelly and putty is often like bondo or regular fiberglass jelly. The jelly sets much harder than bondo tho and you look for hardness when buying. The jelly and putties (also called fillers) can be used easily and fill up gaps fairly well.

    The regular resin is messier (as stated in above posts) and tends to level itself as it is a liquid and often times is difficult to work with on verticle applications (unless spread fairly thin, which is the best method anyway, several thin coats).

    Resin/Hardener mix is very important, follow the package instructions. I also use the plastic caps they provide as a mixing bowl, after the resin has hardened you can just flex the bowl and break out the resin and reuse. Also if the resin/hardener is not mixed properly, then you r mix may take too long to harden, or not harden at all, harden to quickly, or unevenly harden leaving "slow" spots that take longer to dry than their surrounding area. Finally when the mix becomes "gloppy" or "chunky" (doesnt move uniformly when stirred) then it is starting to harden and you should stop using it as it will leave uneven areas on a surface.

    The methods and other items are coverein in other threads here on the board.

    Also Wal-Mart, and K-Mart have the resins and materials in their automotive section typically with the automotive paints.

    Also some fiberclass will not stick to certain surfaces for very long unless they have been roughed up. Most smooth plastics and metal fall in this category, sand the smooth surfaces first.

    Here is a quick guide

    1. Work outdoors or use ventilation and a mask!
    2. Clean item free of dust/loose paint, etc...

    For bodymaking (freeform, as in you shape/ sand the peice without a mold)
    1. Sand item if needed
    2. Start with a layer of resin by itself applied to the area you want to cover, if its a repair, follow the instructions on the can.
    3. While the first layer is still wet lay down the mat or weave and saturate the top of the mat or weave with more resin. Let this dry.
    4. Fill gaps where needed after the resin and material have dried. You can use all kinds of things to fill the gaps such as bondo, superglue and baking soda, or spackle/joint filler.
    5. Repeat Items 1-5 as needed for stronger applications.
    6. Sand
    7. Seal with a final layer of resin

    Using moulds its the same method as above but do not sand and use a gap filler. and when you pull the item from the mould you can sand and use a gap filler then.

    There are several threads here that cover these in a finer detail here on these and the other board areas (helmet, jet pack, etc...) good search terms are:

    Resin Fiberglass Fibreglass Putty Jelly Gap Filler

  10. #10
    evan4218's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Cruzer said:
    Here's what you should be looking for. I got all this stuff at my local Home Depot, but Lowes should carry it as well. You can buy the resin in a smaller size like that of the acetone, but it may not be enough resin for larger projects. A tube of hardener will come with the small size of resin, and two tubes will come with the gallon size. There are two basic types of cloth you can get, weaved and matted. The weave kind is in the bag and behind it I put some of the matted. I like to use the weaved type if I want a thinner application with less resin used, or for making curves. It's just lays down cleaner in my opinion. You don't need the acetone for fiberglass work, but things will get sticky quickly so it's a good idea to have some for clean up, especially for your hands if you choose not to wear latex gloves. I don't wear any type of gloves so I go through plenty of Acetone. I usally buy it in the gallon size too, but they're all out in my area.

    Also, be sure to work in a very well ventelated area because the fumes are very strong.

    Let me know if I missed anything guys!

    Cruzer
    Hey cruzer, what are you useing for your molds there, if you dont mind me asking? Looks like silicone.

  11. #11

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Thanks for the instructions now i have a visual on what i need to do. So if im reinforceing something, like a hocky mask or my darth Vader chest armor i need to sand it down real good right?

  12. #12

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Another thing--Acetone is unbelievably flammable, and acetone vapors are EXPLOSIVE!!!! Use it outside or in a well ventilated area, and NEVER SMOKE or allow anyone ELSE to smoke anywhere near you if you're using acetone!

    wannabe

  13. #13
    Kivas's Avatar
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    Sherwood Park, AB, Canada
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    my question is how do you know if it is cold cure or not? does it say on the can?
    I've looked at the local spots and can't find any that say cold cure??

  14. #14

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Good info Cruzer

    But there are a couple of other things that could be added to the mix ...

    The FG cloth and strand each have their own purposes. And of course, it's what you're most comfortable working with too.

    But when one considers the shape and detail of the negative of their mold, FG cloth may not be the best for an application such as you gaunt shells.

    Cloth cannot lay properly in detailed crevices within your mold, which forces you to "mud" up these areas with xtra resin to keep the air entrapment to a minimum. This leaves you with much thicker areas of resin build up, not as uniform. This can lead to excess exotherm (heat in the mold) in the areas that are overly "mudded". This can warp your gelcoat layer if is too thin, even if cured. Leaving you with a surface imperfection and possible warpage.

    For a case like the gauntlet shells, it would be better, at least IMO, to consider the stranded FG. This can be tamped into these negative crevices much easier, with less resin build up in your "mud" layer. If you're using gelcoat, this will be your "mud" layer anyway. You're probably already aware by now, that more resin, does not mean a stronger piece. The ares that have too much build up, will be more susceptible to "cracking" when flexed, as well as "shattering" if dropped. As has already been said, using just enough resin to "wet out" you FG strand, or cloth will give the casting optimum strength.

    I use cloth for many applications, but generally, for larger areas, with minimal detail. Stranded for more detailed applications, and a third ,"chopped", for hard to reach detailed areas respectively.

    You're definitely off to a good start man! But the only other thing I would add at this point, is that you used way too much silicone for your mold
    The next time, you may want to consider brushing on your silicone in 3 or 4 layers, and slap an FG jacket on it. Being that these parts can pull right out of a mold with no "lock" potential, you can attach your FG jacket permanently to the silicone before you demold you buck. You do this by laying some thin cotton t-shirt material over your last layer of silicone after just starts to set up enough to soak into the cotton without saturating it. The cotton (not fully saturated with silicone) is now ready for a fresh FG jacket. The resin will impregnate the remaining exposed cotton ... giving you a marriage between the silicone and the FG jacket, as they will have both cured into the cotton. When cured, you demold your "buck" (original), and you have a light weight silicone mold, with a permanent jacket support. Probably save yourself a couple of hundred bucks on silicone. Although I’ve been doing this for years myself, a sure “tip of the hat” goes to Judz Dwedd on this because he spoke of this technique here openly a couple of years ago first


    FP

  15. #15

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    I to was wondering about this stuff thanks a bunch guys

  16. #16

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Outstanding advice FP.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. #17
    Cruzer's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Sorry guys, just checked this thread again for the first time tonight.

    Batninja and Evan, the mold is made out of silicone that's specially formulated for a movie prop shop in the L.A. area. They've recently worked on movies such as the Matrix's, Pirates of the Carribean's, and the Spiderman's. I don't think it can be bought, but I believe the closest stuff to it that can is the MoldRite25 silicone from Life-Casting.com. From their info on it, it seems to have similar high elasticity properties. Save your pennies though, one look at the prices and you'll know what I mean.

    Fettpride, one of the head honchos there made that mold for the shells of my kid gauntlets and I've seen their mold room and it's loaded with all kinds of box molds like the one I have. So for smaller objects they seem to prefer box molds to shelled molds. They also make a lot of 2 piece molds so they have many box molds in permanent boxes. They buy this silicone by the truck load so they can allow themselves the extra silicone to make box molds. I consider myself very lucky that they made this mold and will be helping me to make the other molds for the smaller pieces to complete my kid sized gauntlet project. And hey when it's on the house...I'm not going to argue with how they want to make the molds.

    Thanks for the tips. I did try casting these gauntlets with the matted cloth too and I prefered the way the weaved cloth laid down flatter with less resin used. To me, less resin means less weight and I don't want them to be heavy if kids are going to be wearing them. There is some flex in the sides with no cracking occuring and I like that because they're durable. I cut weaved cloth pieces for the three main surfaces with overlap and did mud up the nooks and crannies before hand to decrease bubbles and because I did notice it was difficult to get cloth in the crannies.

    I think they turned out ok.

    Sorry if I hijacked your thread Andle, but I think the knowledge that's being exchanged here is good info concerning your original questions!

    Thanks,
    Cruzer
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dsc04003-jpg  
    Last edited by Cruzer; May 11, 2006 at 1:37 AM.

  18. #18

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    They look really good, is that a top coat of white primer or a white gel coat of some sort?
    Nice work...

  19. #19
    Cruzer's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Thanks, it's white gel coat. I got it from a local fiberglass shop that makes fiberglass racing boats... the kind that race at speeds up to 250 mph. So it's really good stuff from what I was told. However, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some of the grey stuff that I know people use here, to try it out one of these days.

    Cruzer

  20. #20

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Cruzer said:

    Fettpride, one of the head honchos there made that mold for the shells of my kid gauntlets and I've seen their mold room and it's loaded with all kinds of box molds like the one I have. So for smaller objects they seem to prefer box molds to shelled molds. They also make a lot of 2 piece molds so they have many box molds in permanent boxes. They buy this silicone by the truck load so they can allow themselves the extra silicone to make box molds. I consider myself very lucky that they made this mold and will be helping me to make the other molds for the smaller pieces to complete my kid sized gauntlet project.
    Heya bud, wasn't trying to step on your toes there. Was just trying to help you out. I had no way of knowing how advanced you are. I certainly didn't know you had pros making your molds either. For bigger biz, of course it's easier/faster to do molds this way, what's saved in time more than makes up for the excess rubber. For the little guy though, every red cent counts. Again, wasn't trying to step on your toes.


    Cruzer said:
    Thanks for the tips. I did try casting these gauntlets with the matted cloth too and I preferred the way the weaved cloth laid down flatter with less resin used. To me, less resin means less weight and I don't want them to be heavy if kids are going to be wearing them. There is some flex in the sides with no cracking occurring and I like that because they're durable. I cut weaved cloth pieces for the three main surfaces with overlap and did mud up the nooks and crannies before hand to decrease bubbles and because I did notice it was difficult to get cloth in the crannies.

    Well, I did say that it's also about what your most comfortable with too.
    But you may have missed my point. I was actually preaching "less resin" is better as well Nevertheless, looks like you got it covered either way.


    Cruzer said:
    I think they turned out ok.
    Absolutely! I never said they didn't In fact, I remember singing you open praises on your gaunt sculpt fairly recently

    The sole purpose of the post was to help educate members on the right and wrong ways of doing things in the industry. That's all bud.

    Good Luck on your project

    FP

  21. #21
    Cruzer's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Oh, no way man, no toes stepped on here. I'm still new to all of this molding business. So I am a new guy when it comes to fg casting from molds. I just consider myself very lucky that some prop people took me under their wings and showed me how they did it. For the most part I just sat back and watched them work. But I would love to try molding a few pieces on my own one day, but your words ring very true...the silicone is just too dang expensive for those of us not in the industry buying it by the barrelfulls. And yeah, I'm sure they make up for the ample use of silicone big time doing those big blockbuster movies and gett'n paid. In the pic you can see just a hint of the molds stacked up in the back.

    And I am going to try your suggestion about tamping some of the matted kind of cloth in the negatives, especially in the small areas at the very peaks of the gauntlet tops to decrease the resin that fills up those areas. Really, thanks for the tips...cuz I'm really going to use them , and I might give it one more try with the matted stuff since you recommended it, maybe I just wasn't doing it right, so I'll see how it goes this second time around.

    I'm also trying to make the work that it takes to cast these minimal so that I can get these out to the TDH dads with Fett costuming kids at a very low cost. So, I'm trying to keep this fun at the same time. And this project won't be a $$ maker for me, I just want to be able to share what I was able to make with other Dads.

    Oh, and I do want to try some of that grey gel coat too, this white stuff has to be sprayed on and it's a pain to clean the spray gun afterwards.

    Naw, come on FP, my toes are good! I appreciate any advice from you.
    And I'm really looking forward to that Jango helmet. I was the first to post interest so hopefully I'm towards the top of the list...hopefully .

    Now I've hijacked your thread Aldle!

    Lorenzo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dsc033872-jpg  
    Last edited by Cruzer; May 11, 2006 at 2:24 AM.

  22. #22

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Cruzer said:
    Oh, no way man, no toes stepped on here. I'm still new to all of this molding business. So I am a new guy when it comes to fg casting from molds. I just consider myself very lucky that some prop people took me under their wings and showed me how they did it. For the most part I just sat back and watched them work. But I would love to try molding a few pieces on my own one day, but your words ring very true...the silicone is just too dang expensive for those of us not in the industry buying it by the barrelfulls. And yeah, I'm sure they make up for the ample use of silicone big time doing those big blockbuster movies and gett'n paid.

    And I am going to try your suggestion about tamping some of the matted kind of cloth in the negatives, especially in the small areas at the very peaks of the gauntlet tops to decrease the resin that fills up those areas. Really, thanks for the tips...cuz I'm really going to use them , and I might give it one more try with the matted stuff since you recommended it, maybe I just wasn't doing it right, so I'll see how it goes this second time around.

    I'm also trying to make the work that it takes to cast these minimal so that I can get these out to the TDH dads with Fett costuming kids at a very low cost. So, I'm trying to keep this fun at the same time. And this project won't be a $$ maker for me, I just want to be able to share what I was able to make with other Dads.

    Oh, and I do want to try some of that grey gel coat too, this white stuff has to be sprayed on and it's a pain to clean the sray gun afterwards.

    Naw, come on FP, my toes are good! I appreciate any advice from you.
    And I'm really looking forward to that Jango helmet. I posted first so hopefully that means I should be towards the top of the list...hopefully .

    Now, I've hijacked your thread Aldle!

    It's all good then. I couldn't tell if you were offended

    If you use the stranded mat, like the packaged "Bondo" brand mat at the auto parts store, be sure to work it a bit in your hands. Twist it, and turn it, and pull at it to losen it up a bit before using it. It will make it easier to "wet out". And of course you can pull as few or as many strands from it as you feel needed for any particular application. If you're using the pro's stuff at the shop, they'll most likely have different weights for you to use, so you won't have to play with it as much. If you don't want to use all stranded, just use the stranded for detail, and back it with cloth.

    As far as the gelcoat goes, they can all be sprayed, or brushed. The shops prefer to spray usually. Personally, I prefer brush up application on small items like your gauntlets. You're right, the clean-up of the guns are a pain Your guys can get gray gelcoat I'm sure. Or, you can take the white, and ad black polyester compatible pigment if desired to make gray.


    Don't worry about the helmet bud

    FP

  23. #23
    pennywise's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Thank-you Cruzer and Fettpride for sharing that info! Good stuff guys!:thumbup

  24. #24

    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Yes, thanks alot.

  25. #25
    MARROW SUN's Avatar
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    Re: learning to fiberglass

    Hey! I reconize that room! I've been there! There's more molds in there than an international cheese party!

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