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scratch built fiberglass body

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by snakecbaker, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. snakecbaker
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 78

    snakecbaker
    Member
    from Keyser, WV

    I am wanting to build my own body but there are a lot of different ways of doing it. I have heard of building them from cardboard, plaster, and wood. I have found a dvd spritz by fritz How To Build A Fiberglass Body At Home is it worth the money to get it. Has and one built there own and if you have photos please post.
     
  2. ParkinsonSpeed
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 429

    ParkinsonSpeed
    Member

    I worked at a shop called Regal Roadsters up here in madison WI, we hand laid and rolled complete 55-57 thunderbirds. A mold is ideal but you can laminate and create from scratch. Definitely any literature or videos are going to be your friend, a lot of different ways and one of them may relate to you better than others.
     
  3. James427
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,740

    James427
    BANNED

    Have you priced Resin and mat lately?
     
  4. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Look at old pics of Ed Roth working on his projects. Chicken wire, plaster, big files. Wow. He made the plaster bucks, then did pretty crude (one part only, not production) moulds from that. Then assembled the moulds and laid up the body or parts. That gives you a nice smooth, as your mould is, finish to work and paint. You can do it over a buck and then work the rough outside to a finish but it hard work and not near as nice as the pieces from good moulds.
     

  5. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    You can also use polyurethane sheets to build the shape then glass over it on both sides. Makes a strong lightweight body. It is basically the same method they use to build surfboards.
     
  6. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,676

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    :rolleyes: A car body in no way should be as thick as a surfboard. In any part of the body.

    Your idea does not apply to building car bodies.
     
  7. actually it does.
    Clark did a removable hard top for a roadster that way, only he didn't glass both sides.

    i've seen a bunch of stuff (up to and including entire car bodies) carved out of poly block then glassed over. its quite effective.

    I have the Fritz video. the method is really rather crude, but it works. it makes a HUGE mess, but it works. i think that the spit wad method in the video can be combined with other techniques to accomplish the same thing with less effort and mess.
     
  8. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    I built a duplicate body for my 28 chev 3 window in 1962,I was 19 yrs old.I used the original steel car that I had been driveing and showing since I was 15 yrs old as the patterns for my molds. I did change the deck lid conture so it is flush instead of overlapping,and the door latching system is from a mercedes 300sl.The body mold was about 15 pieces,all flanged together so that the body shell itself could be one piece. Doors were made with inner and outer shells,the inners mocked up with wood patterns in position on the stock doors. Fenders,splash pans and running boards were all realitvly easy 2 or 3 piece flanged bolt up molds.I ended up pretty much building a whole new frame/suspension because at the time, I was paranoid about the glass body parts stress cracking from frame flex.You must keep in mind, I was a 3rd year mech engineering student and as such had a better grasp of these things than most,but I was totally wrong on that one! I used a center X frame 58 chevy section complete with the coil rear suspension. I used some of the original 28 side rails,boxed,and I think it is a 48 chevy master front independent suspension.Motor was (at that time) the same 301 sbc with 2x4 and a 4spd t-10 that I had in the steel car.Over the years I became interested in other things,built and owned a FRP molding shop (production parts) and the 28 went to pasture in one of my barns where it has remained to this day. The acrylic lacquer paint is still perfect however the interior was gutted out around 1969 and never replaced.This being the 50th aniversary of its creation, my plans are to resurect it,repower it,put an interior back in it and celebrate!
    If you have any questions I can answer,I'll be glad to help.I did a lot of mold and pattern work for the parts we built includeing 2 different drag boat hulls,one being a runner bottom flat and the other a pickelfork hydro.This was all in the early 70's so pics are pretty nonexsistant except for the 28, of which I have a few downloaded from 35mm snaps.

    john
     
  9. SJR
    Joined: Feb 17, 2011
    Posts: 126

    SJR
    Member

    heres some small cars I made


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    I made the pattern from wood and bondo painted with Duratech then waxed it and made a 2 piece mold off the pattern, then made parts off the mold, I can add images of the process if you like
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  10. Nocero
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 489

    Nocero
    Member

    I sure would like to see that. Do you have a thread or any pics.
     
  11. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    Not to be argumentive, but you would need more than 2 breakaway sections for that body. I see 1 for the firewall,1 for each side,1 for the cowl top and dash,2 for the cockpit returns,and 1 for the deck lid rear pan. I see 7 pieces minimum.Keep in mind I did this for a liveing for 40 yrs.That body is also a spray up,buit with a chopper gun.I had Glas Craft and Glass Mate boom units. What did you use? Gelcoat was sprayed too. I used a Venus airless gel coater,yours?

    edit) I buit probably 200 of those 32 front shells over the years.Thats a 4 piece breakaway,one for each side,a rad cap return and a front panel. The front panel has to be molded full then cut out at trim, or else it will be too flimsy to pull and ship. Just a fyi
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  12. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    I dont have a thread,when I did this there wasnt an internet or computers! I can put some up a couple at a time.
     
  13. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,143

    Marty Strode
    Member

    My friend in the picture, built this from scratch, using foam sheets and blocks. He shaved the shape with an electric knife, filed and sanded it until he was satisfied with the look. He laid fiberglass mat and cloth, using epoxy resin, once he had it sufficiently covered, he turned it upside down and peeled the foam plug away. It was a long project, but it is finished and driving now.
     

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  14. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,588

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Yes, it does. The foam doesn't have to be as thick as a surfboard, and when you're done, just chisel, grind, or break out the foam and glass up the inside. I build a custom hood for a Suzuki outboard that looked like a (slightly larger than original) Mercury Mark 55 for our sons wood runabout. Styrofoam blocks, epoxy resin, mat and cloth, then ground the inside out when it was done. Light, perfect, AND soundproofed!

    Brian

     
  15. BOBCRMAN
    Joined: Nov 10, 2005
    Posts: 846

    BOBCRMAN
    Member
    from Holly

    If you shop around the price isn't too bad. Locally it's $50.00 per gallon. Oreally's had it for $39.00 with my commercial account discount

    When I started to make the glass front for my Studebaker Lark gasser. I went on line and Ebay had a dealer selling gallons for $24.00 per gallon plus about $40.00 per case shipping, Works out less than $35.00 per gallon. Also has Gelcoat for good price. The trick is to get everything on one shipping invoice.

    Also there is a place selling 6 yard "Ends" of heavier matt and Heavy Quad axis cloth to bulk up large panels. Price at 1/4 of what the local shops want.

    I made molds from the original fenders, hood and panels after Bondoing them up to almost paint grade and three coats of paste wax. Laid up resin and matt just enuff to cover. then added 2x2 lumber and cloth and urethane foam (Great Stuff brand) to stabilize mold.

    Popped out mold forms. Repaired minor bubble etc. Waxed up again. Then laid in Gelcoat and resin/glass.

    Resulting parts are very good. Added a hood scoop and some custom stuff to the headlite panel. Heavier/thicker than Drag race stuff but not too heavy.

    For less material cost than the price of an aftermkt hood, if one were available. :D
     
  16. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    This is how it is today.On the interior I did old school maple rails bonded into the body in the mold. The door and lower body sills were built in the mold too,over maple forms that are still encapsulated in the shell.The door pilars are full tubular sections ,again finished while the shell was still in the mold. The hinge and latch pockets were backed up with 5/16" brass plates,dirlled and tapped thru drill jigs after the body was pulled. Floor sections were not molded in the shell mold,they were built later over wood paterns that were covered with mylar sheet to prevent sticking.They were then trimmed,fit and wet lay-up attached to the lower sills.The result was a body that was so rigid that it didnt even need a frame ,especially since this was all built before I had any spray or chop equipment.It was actually my firstfrp project and done in my dads 3 car garage. I did recieve a LOT of tutering and help from a guy I met in college , Dick Hadlock,who was doing his masters work. He was employed by Molded FiberglassBody Corp in ashtabuhla ohio,(aka MFG). they built boats,all the corvette bodys,the Avanti bodies, and a lot of parts for Westinghouse Medical.Years later,dick would have his own shop in Geneva Ohio,Hadlock Plastics Corp.Its still there,he sold it out 10 yrs or so ago and retired.I did almost all of his overflow and low volume parts,UPS front fenders,white truck floor panels and lots of different fan shrouds,medical equipment wire raceways for cat scan equipment,and much more. I'm off topic and rambling now,so back to car parts.The hardest part of that body was keeping the door openings square so as to fit the doors that I hadnt made yet! The old chev stuff was all wood and pretty loose by this time. I had to x brace the openings after the mold was assembled to maintain the measurements I needed because all 4 sides of the door opening had to have breakaway flanges and separate mold flares so I could get the finished body out. I was determined to make the shell in one piece and in retrospect made the whole project much harder than it had to be!

    john
     
  17. COOP
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 256

    COOP
    Member

    Back in the early 80's I robbed a process that Roth used. (he had a hellova lot more patience than I did) I used plaster and vermiculite to build something loosly resembling the Beatnic Bandit. After the thing was glassed, the loose material was dug out of the glass shell. This took days. The outside finish turned out fairly well, but it did need a lot of grinding and re-glassing. Took most of the summer to get the body close to done, along with the other parts. I had a friend that had a fiberglass business that made handicap equipment, so I got a lot of glassing material really cheap. Built a tube chassis for it with coilover shocks. (weren't many then) Don't know it I would try that today. It was a lot of work, but actually was quite satisfying. Never did get the car done, somebody from Ohio wanted it more than I did. The guy did finish it and sent me a picture. However that was 30 years ago. and I have no idea where it went. The thing is, you're not going to bat a 1000 on the first try. Stick with it and enjoy the process. It's a learning process. And if you ask questions, you will get some positive responses, and you will get ridicule. However you're the only one you have to satisfy. Just do it... and don't be scared to ask questions. Everyone started where you are, at one time. Norm
     
  18. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    files didnt upload.
     

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  19. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    couple more
     

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  20. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

  21. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    these are door mold pics.last one is a set of inner/outer door skin molds
     

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  22. Clark
    Joined: Jan 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,103

    Clark
    Member

    Here's the tech I did on using glass over foam.
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240611

    I don't like buying the can resin you get at parts stores...just didn't seem as good as what you can ge from a good fiberglass shop. Check for a glass hop local to you. There's a couple in my small town. The one sells the resin by the gallon. Usually about $20.
    Clark
     
  23. Some awsome info here, I'm lovin it. I'd like to biuld an old skool shock/show rod one day. I got ftitz video and agree withAlterd pilot If you build a better buck then what Fritz does maybe a steel or wood frame and encapsulate it in the fiberglass may work. But i gotta tell you , your not going to find a lotta love on here for Fritz, although I found his video real informative and gives some great ideas.
     
  24. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,292

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    The modern way seems to be, to sculpt the body shape out of spray foam insulation then cover it with fibreglass and just leave the foam inside. It adds stiffness and insulation and doesn't weigh a lot. Similar to the Roth method but you don't have to break out the plaster.

    If you do a web search lots of guys are doing it.

    Go easy on yourself and start with something small and simple like a doorless roadster, dune buggy or Roth style monster. When you get into opening doors, roofs, etc you not only need a lot more material ($$$$$ expense) but a lot more work and engineering.

    I once set out to make a motorcycle sidecar body. I made a mock up out of scrap plywood and some old sheets of Luaun plywood paneling. It turned out so good I covered it with fibreglass, smoothed it over with Bondo and painted it. That was 25 years ago and 2 years ago it was still running around. But, it was always kept inside out of the weather.

    The point is you can make a simple body out of cheap materials. And, if it a complete flop, you can afford to scrap it and start again. So start with something simple and have a blast.
     
  25. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289

    trbomax
    Member

    If you have any marinas or boat repair places around you, they will have drum resin. Its not as viscous as the stuff you get pre packed, mostly because its intended as gun resin.The pre package stuff is thickened up with fumed silica (cabosil). Down side is that drum or gun resin will not have a surfaceing agent added which means it will cure tackey. Reason is because in production,normally you would either chop or lay up 1 layer of 1 oz matt directly against the gel coat,let it kick,then come back and finish the layup schedule.You need it to "bite" Here again ,in production work,the last layer is usually dusted with PVA (poly vynl alcohal) release agent to seal off the air.Then it cures non tacky.Package resin has a surfacent added,useally parafin which floats up and seals off the air. Problem is,in order to get adhesion you must grind or sand all that parafin off the surface.
    When doing your layup,resist the urge to use woven roveing to build up thicness fast because in the first place its only strong in 2 directions,on the bias to the weave it is weak.Second is that it soaks up a lot of resin,and when resin cures it makes heat,and that heat will "print" the roveing pattern thru the surface.Youve no doubt seen this on boats.Boat builders are in a hurry and the roveing usually goes in too close to the surface. They also will run thier resin "hot" or at high catalyst rates because they will have 3 or 4 guys rolling for one gunner,and so it goes fast.Putting roveing or cloth against another woven product is also a big no.There should always be a layer of matt (usually 1 1/2 oz ) between woven products because matt is extreemly strong in any direction. The glass fibers lay at all directions so it resists tearing best. It does not resist punctures,but woven products do. This is the big reason they are alternated in a layup schedule,especially in boats.Hot rod parts dont need roveing.10 oz cloth yes,but only one layer and keep it deep in the layup so it doesnt print.
    Dont try to work the air out of a layup with the resin brush.You will end up moveing the glass around and end up with 2x the resin yo need. Use a plasitic or aluminum roller.They look like a stack of different sized washers and remove air better than anything else, includeing squegees. You are striveing to get a 50/50 mix of resin/glass ratio. This is the maximum strength ratio. Resin by itself has no strength,its ony there to hold the glass in the shape you want and provide a finished surface.
    Polyester resin will cure just fine at 1/2% catalyst rate (MEKP). resist the urge to over catalyze because it shortens your work time and makes heat. We would run 1/4 % in the resin guns and 2 -3 % in gelcoat,mostly because you dont work the gelcoat so no mixing occures after it hits the mold. 3% is the max rate. More than that will actually prevent a proper cure an result in wrinkles and soft spots.
    Polyester resin is a simple product. We blended our own as do most production shops. This way you can get exactly what you want and you know what you have.You start with a drum of styrene monomer. Given enough time it will solid up on its own so we add cobalt napthalene, which is a promoter. This is what gives the resin its blue/purple cast. We add cabosill to get the viscosity we want and blend all of this with a mixer blade in a specially built mixing drum. When you add the catalyst (MEKP),it is an oxident which breaks down the cobalt ,which in turn accelerates the "CURE".
    My fingers are tired and so am I so I'm done for tonight!

    edit) one more thing,when blending the resin,IF you want what is commonly called surfaceing resin,or resin the cures w/o a tack,you melt a 6 - 8 oz stick of just regular grocery store parafin in a can,and add it SLOWLY to the resin when its in the mixer.You can do this with 1 or 2 gal quantities too if you dont want a whole drum of it,just use about a tbl spoon/gal of parafin.I hardly ever did this because it cures kinda cloudy on top. I preferred to mist it with PVA,you can wash that off after trim and have a nice clear resin look. You have to wash trimmed parts anyway because there will be PVA on the mold side when it comes out and there was always a MBC with PVA in it hanging in the booth .

    john
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  26. SJR
    Joined: Feb 17, 2011
    Posts: 126

    SJR
    Member

    if the OP wants to see the process Ill share, this is all hand layup grill mold is one peice, body mold is 2 peice , seperated at the side bodyline molding bump and across the firewall, I was in the industry 27 years , I used a 2 qt pressure pot to spray the gelcoat, this process is simple just takes alot of time and dedication , good luck and keep us all posted as you go along
     
  27. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    hotrod40coupe
    Member


    I never said it would be as thick as a surfboard, just use the same technique. The polyurethane sheet comes in a variety of thickness all the way down to 1/8 ".
     
  28. n.z.rodder
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 1,016

    n.z.rodder
    Member

    Jeez you guys make my job sound sooo easy. I've been a pattern/mold maker in the fiberglass industry for a number of years, it's not as easy as some make it out to be. Take small steps first, read the books, listen to the experts not the guys that have done a few things in their backyards using cardboard etc... You can't learn a trade in a couple of minutes on an online message board. P.M. me if you need any advice, I'm here to help.

    Scotty
     
  29. snakecbaker
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 78

    snakecbaker
    Member
    from Keyser, WV

    thanks everyone for all the information. I have work with fiberglass before but nothing as big. I have modified body kits to fit and built custom subwoofer enclosures. I would build my body out of metal but I don't have the tools to do so. I only have a welder, grinder and hand tools. I know it could be done but would look like a box. thanks again for all the information.
     

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