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Technical Fiberglass Bodies. How can I build one at home.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by LilBlue82, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. LilBlue82
    Joined: Dec 16, 2015
    Posts: 102

    LilBlue82

    For sometime now I have always wondered how to work with fiberglass. I worked with it a little when i co oped at a body shop but that was just sanding a hood or two for paint i never really learned how to make that hood or how to make other stuff like bodies. Then the desire took a big time dip into obsession when I Learned about and studied Ed" Big Daddy" Roth. Can someone Please shine some light on how to make a fiberglass body at home. I have tools but i'm not sure which ones i need, or need to make or purchase. I'm not looking to get into production. I just wanna learn about a new material to work with Besides steel. yes i know there are DVD'S But i trust them about as much as i trust a porcupine with a pet me sign. Any advice is welcome. and thanks in advanced.
     
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  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Try Googling it. Seriously, if you Google search, a link to the HAMB will probably come up on the first page. Or you can check the 1 million links that go into detail about it. Good luck.
     
  3. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,265

    upspirate
    Member

    Three ways to go about it (simple explanation)
    1. make a "buck" in the shape of the body out of plaster , then glass over it then break the plaster male mold or buck out of the inside. This is the way Ed Roth did his
    2. make the body shape or fiberglass over a current body to make a female mold, then lay-up a body on the inside of the mold
    3. Forget about it!!!
     
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  4. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,049

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    You can try contacting a known body component manufacturer to get an idea about how to make a complete body or parts.
    I seem to remember Jim “Jake” Jacobs making a hood and blister panels. It may have been covered in Rod & Custom in 1973.
    By the way, Jake worked for Ed Roth and owned the Outlaws body mold during the 70’s before giving it to Robert Williams-Look it up on the HAMB.
     

  5. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,537

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    About a million years ago a good friend of mine build a solid fiberglass Henry J body out of fiberglass.

    There was some mods he wanted to make to the body so he took an old body, made mods on it with simple stuff, think he used Bondo and fiberglass and once that was done he made a mold off of that and then built his glass body out of that mold.

    Came out nice but a lot of work, time and money....
     
  6. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,004

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This season on Full Custom Garage followed building a buck and mold and finally a body from fiberglass. I don't know where you are located. If you are near Santa Clara county you could try talking to Jack Costella who has made several glass bodys. Or Maybe someone near you if you ask around.
     
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  7. LilBlue82
    Joined: Dec 16, 2015
    Posts: 102

    LilBlue82

    What plaster do you use for such a operation and i know what bucks are they are used in sheet metal work alot
     
  8. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,004

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You can use Spackle or Bondo or plaster of Paris or what have you. Foam is good to get a shape and then plaster over it. You are making a full size model of what you want to end with. A few of Jack's efforts. jack&wayn.jpg jacy.jpg
     
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  9. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 456

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

    Also in searches look at home boat and airplane building.
     
  10. 34Phil
    Joined: Sep 12, 2016
    Posts: 273

    34Phil

    If you use Plaster of Paris, seal it, as I did this and the resin soaked in it so had to do more sanding than anticipated.
     
  11. CoronetRTguy
    Joined: Dec 26, 2012
    Posts: 826

    CoronetRTguy
    Member

    That is interesting to use foam to make a body. I had no idea. Does it shrink any when wet? Or is there a special foam for it.

    Sent from my Z971 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  12. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 843

    rod1
    Member

    Get the right foam or it will melt.Didn't Fritz write a book about this?Check out Willys36's thread on the Mysterion clone and his book.Good Luck!
     
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  13. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,004

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have seen a video of making an engine cowling on a home built aircraft. They wrapped the engine in aluminum foil and applied the foam as a liquid. It grew about 4 or 5 times as it set. Then they carved it to the shape they wanted and covered it with bondo or something that was sealed. See Plaster of Paris comment above. Then they put on the fiberglass for the mold. Removed that when set and glassed the mold to make the finished part.
     
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  14. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,283

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Assuming a male mold to destroy: If you use the pink or blue foam, it's easier to shape n sand, & glues easily. But I'd still seal it w/at least something. I know masking tape works well - oddly enough, resin doesn't seem to stick very well once it's "gone off". & doesn't wrinkle like black plastic garbage bags. Possibly latex paint, although I haven't tried that yet.. Ya, it's kinda a crummy way to do it, but what you're after is filling in the rough surface, & you want something that will not curdle/melt/etc when you apply the resin. Bondo can easily damage the surface of the foam, as the MEK is "hot". While it doesn't really matter if you're destroying the male mold, too much damage & you get to spend time fixing that area. Styrene foam beads melt real easy-like, but Plaster of Paris should work ok as a sorta thick skin coat. Still should seal the PoP to slow down the "bite" that the resin will have into the PoP. Epoxy isn't as bad as as far as being "hot" but damn, it's expensive, & you really don't want to breath the fumes. Oh, don't forget to make the male mold smaller in every direction, by the thickness of the glass skin you create. You can, of course, lay-up the inside w/additional layers/reinforcements after you've removed the male form. If it's foam, acetone works to melt t he foam. I'd chunk it out 1st, & use a putty knife to clean it out better. The melted foam is rather messy.

    Female molds have to be perfect, which means the male mold has to be perfect. Or you get the same defect in each, & then in the piece you want. Might not mean much, esp iffen you want a real quick n dirty replication, & are willing to do a lot of finessing to get it presentable. Ok for a one-off type part or one-use/one-part-only sorta deal.

    As mentioned there are a lot of books, n now dvd's, n also youtube vids out there. Worth your time to look. Both to learn what to do, as well as what not to do. I'm sure you'll get some real good advise here. None of it's real hard, but like anything else, does take time. Can actually be enjoyable iffen you're not in a big hurry.

    It isn't hard, but it is messy - like *real* messy, seriously stinky - make sure you have *very* good ventilation. I didn't always do that, & it actually didn't do my lungs any good. Not sure how bad it hurt them, but didn't help any...
    Some folks have a reaction the the 'glass fibers when they grind or sand the 'glass. I didn't/don't, but just be aware it is possible. Showering off in cold water will help keep the glass threads from getting deep into the pores. Do wear a tight long sleeve shirt n long pants, + a decent respirator, & I like to dbl-glove w/nitrile gloves. Easier to take outer pair off, still protected if outer one tears. & the acetone won't get get into your skin, nor would the resin/MEK. Use fresh resin & hardner. I'd stay away from autoparts stores as suppliers.

    FWIW.
    Marcus...

    FWIW.
     
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  15. I go thru the whole process in my book on building my Mysterion clone.

    big Final McFarland.jpg
     
  16. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,551

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The "normal" way is to do as the guys said and form your body out of foam and or plaster to get the exact shape you want and then use that to make a female mold to use to make the final body.
    On the other hand there is plenty of info about making a male plug and forming the body over it and then removing the male plug. It is a lot more lay glass and then block it out though.

    When I bought my sailboat about 15 years ago the rudder was pretty beat up an I sanded it down and laid glass cloth and resin and sanded it reasonably smooth, laid on another layer and sanded it and went again until I got it where I wanted it. You would have to do the same thing over a male plug to form your body if you didn't use a female mold.
     
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  17. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,489

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    I built my car the Futurian using Roth's plaster and vermiculite buck method.[​IMG]

    The pic above is the plaster buck in process
    [​IMG]
    This pic is the rough glass body. Lots of grinding and bodywork required
    [​IMG]
    This is the body after paint[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  18. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    ago
    Member
    from pgh. pa.

    Regardless how you do it, you are in for a lot of work!
     
  19. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052

    rooman
    Member

    If you go the foam route the green stuff seems to work best. I made this plug out of plywood, MDF and green foam. Once the shape was established I covered it with a layer of fiberglass to integrate the different base surfaces and then bondo'ed it until it was smooth. Once it was painted we made the molds and then had the parts laid up. Putting in the return flanges for the doors and nose, tail etc to sit on was a whole 'nother matter.

    Roo

    Scan_20141227 (2).jpg

    Scan_20141227 (13).jpg

    Scan_20141227 (8).jpg
     
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  20. With all the glass bodies currently available at virtually every price point I just don't see how it would ever make sense to build your own.

    There are guys on the web selling decent bodies for cheap. I would think buying one of those and cleaning it up and building your own inner structure (which you would have to do anyway) would be the way to go.

    Post some pics whatever route you decide to go.
     
    upspirate likes this.
  21. There are also loads of videos for free on YouTube. Good luck and, if it's H.A.M.B. appropriate, post your project thread here.
     
  22. Not if its a one off body!
    I thought that this thread was about one offs
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  23. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248

    Hackerbilt
    Member

    Buck + mold + finished body to end up with a one off seems like a lot of work and expense to me.

    I'd be leaning towards the plaster or foam sacrificial build form.
    Yeah...you gotta do a load of bodywork to make the final shape you lay over it smooth, but you gotta do that anyway to get a perfect plug if you go the mold route.
    Then you have to build that multipiece mold, with all the bracing and bolt together flanges it involves...and then you finally get to pull a body.
    The time, effort and expense would be staggering for a one off.
     
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  24. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,404

    manyolcars

    So far this thread has mentioned pink foam, blue foam and green foam. What is this stuff? Spray foam? Sheets?
     
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  25. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 722

    G-son
    Member
    from Sweden

    Whatever method you decide to do, make several practice objects first! Even if you know the theory, you will learn alot once you actually get your hands dirty, and you don't want to learn on the final product.
     
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  26. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,004

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Poison Arrow 033 copy.JPG
    Everything I think I know about this, I got from talking to Jack. So take it for what it's worth. He did what you describe for his first couple of cars. But he decided that the finish work on the body was more effort and mess than finishing the buck. Which was soft and formed quickly. Smooth buck=smooth mold=smooth body. Of course Jacks cars do not have complex shapes and we live near to PolyForm. And Jack has friends there, so they shoot to finished body. What workes for him may not be best for you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  27. Contact Forgotten Fiberglass or
    Dave Koorey Enterprises
    they know fiberglass bodies........
     
  28. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,283

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Pink n blue foam comes in 4'x8' sheets, at home depot, menards, etc. It's the std insulating sheets for homebuilding.
    White is usually the "bead-board", same as your coffee cup.
    Green is the foam that florists use. I'd forgotten 'bout that stuff. It comes in blocks, & smaller cubes. I do not think it melts from 'glass resin. It is a little crumbly, but shapes nicely.
    Marcus...
     
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  29. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,265

    upspirate
    Member

    best bet would be to make some small parts like a scoop or something to get the feel of the process,materials involved etc
     
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  30. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823

    zzford
    Member

    As I recall, almost any kind of foam can be used IF you seal it thoroughly. I believe that latex paint will do the sealing job.
     

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