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..):)
 

Cruzer

Well-Known Hunter
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

DSC04082.JPG
 

Cruzer

Well-Known Hunter
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

DSC04086.JPG


DSC04088.JPG
 

CombatBaby

Well-Known Hunter
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!
 

batninja

Well-Known Hunter
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...
 

Nachtinis

Hunter
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
 

evan4218

Active Hunter
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. :)
 
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?
 

mando wannabe

New Hunter
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
 

Kivas

Active Hunter
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??
 

fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
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 :D
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
 

Cruzer

Well-Known Hunter
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.:lol:

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!(y)

Thanks,
Cruzer

DSC04003.JPG
 
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Cruzer

Well-Known Hunter
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
 

fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
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 :lol: 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
 
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