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scratch built fiberglass body

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

  1. Nocero
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 489


    Wow that is amazing.
  2. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,676

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Well, I was wrong then :) I just have always viewed the method as rather crude.

    I suppose being a metal worker I'm just more comfortable with steel as my material of choice.

    Maybe if I was building a surfboard or a canoe :D
  3. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289


    I apoligize for the flame.I would like to see your tooling,and and I'm sure some of the others would too. I only have pieces and the larger parts of mine left and they are at my old shop in ohio.I'm going back in late may and can take pics of whats left then though. It takes cast iron balls to use a "hot pot" when working with resin,it can get very expensive in a short ammount of time. Did you use an existing body to make the tools like I did ? How did you deal with the return at the cap area on the shell? I am curious and again ,my apoligies for the flame.
  4. trbomax
    Joined: Apr 19, 2012
    Posts: 289


    There is nothing wrong with useing wood,plaster,bondo,whatever for a plug. I used a lot of clay on that 28 around the body seams and to reshape the door openings. Boat plugs are usually made of wood. I dont know how its done now but in the 60's & 70's when we were building the drag boat hulls,the plug would actually be a wood boat that we would run because things never work on the water like they are supposed to. I still have my first plug and its still operational.Full fiberglass decks were just starting to be used as a "standard" in 1967 due mainly to reduce wieght,wood deck structure was just how it was done. My first flat bottom was kind of a combination of cutting edge and old school, with a full length 3/4" runner bottom and wood decks.The boat molds were only 2 pieces with the flange running right around the sheer line.The hull would be molded and set aside,then the deck molded and flipped over.The 2 halves would bolt together at the flange and a very luckey guy would crawl all around on the inside and wet lay the 2 halves to gether.If it was a metalflake hull the parting line would be sprayed with clear and flake,if a solid color,then it would be sprayed with the color.This was done before the wet lay ups so that when done,it would look like a one piece hull,which in actuality it was.Its a very time consumeing method that to my knowledge is not used today.The flange bolts were removed and the deck mold lifted off with the OH crane. There were several fittings on the bottom of the hull mold that were plumbed to a single garden hose fitting. We would hook up the hose and literally float the boat out of the mold.I used air jets like this to blow parts before the boats came along and so did others. I got the air jet technoligy from my friend at MFG,they were useing it on the corvette stingray panels starting in 1963.
    Anyway, my wife thought it was a waste to throw that first plug out because we ran it for almost 2 years and she became attached to it,so around 1969 it came back in the shop and she stripped and refinished all the wood. she stripped the paint from the hull and I sprayed it with black gel coat 5 or 6 times,blocking it between coats. The sides were then painted in spider web panels and cleared. We ran it recreationally for a few years untill I got interested in hydros and there wasnt time for both.The hydro plug had a very short R&D time and was destroyed in a blow over at a race on the TVA in 1975. As a result, the mold had been pulled from the untested plug. It had some "funny spots" when it transitioned to running on the sponsons at around 110 mph . I later found out that the bottom at the rear should not have been totally flat,but instead have a slight rocker to assist it in blowing clean. I still have that 1st gen mold but we only built one hull as the handleing issues were too scary and there was more money makeing truck parts anyway.
  5. no limits
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 156

    no limits
    from Louisiana

    I hand built this car a few months after just learning how to mix fiber glass... Learning to mix it to the temp out side was the hardest part for me..get's hot down south, The rest came very easy.... There's no limits to what you can do with glass... Some people say it's hard to learn,,, I say they are wrong about that... Very easy...

    Attached Files:

  6. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,314


    Really sharp car! I hope he's extremely proud of it.
    My brother-in-law has built boats and when I mentioned that he and I could hand-build roadsters this was exactly the method he wanted to use for the bodies.
    I have a car-guy's chauvinism against fiberglass, but with something as swoopy and downright sexy as this car 'glass is just fine with me!
  7. Dexter The Dog
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 195

    Dexter The Dog

    I' ll try not to get too long winded on this but I've always had good luck with building a plywood "eggcrate" Some of these (Like the Fiero pictured) I've done almost freehand and used a router to make a mirror set for the opposite side.
    Others I've drafted and cut with a CNC like the DC3. These one's are exact and perfectly symmetrical.
    The structure is then blown full of urethane foam. Same stuff they're using commercially for home insulation now.
    It's then ground back to the edges of the plywood and smoothed out. Skinned in glass and body fill. Primed, polished and then we'd pull moulds or use it as a finished piece.
    For a car body you'd need to either pull a mold or skin it in sections and remove these and graft them back together.

    Urethane foam is the only thing compatible with polyester resin. Regular, pink blue and white styrofoam will work with epoxy resin but then the problem is that polyester fillers will not cure over epoxies.

    Here's a few pics which might help to explain some of this.

    Attached Files:

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


    What did you do with the DC-3 ?
  9. ESGEE
    Joined: Feb 25, 2013
    Posts: 606

    from Sweden

    Intresting thread, even thou metal is my first choice....
  10. I'm with you on this; I've been a master modeler for fifty years starting out at General Motors and I wish it was as easy as has been written. Check out my photo albums and you will see many different projects showing some of the different methods that can be used making a model/plug. Some of these projects took hundreds and hundreds of man hours to complete.
    It's funny but the fiberglass haters must be taking a vacation. Most of the time the metal guys; by the way I started out doing metal work. The fiberglass haters are in most cases to narrow minded to even consider fiberglass of any other composite. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Whatever project your going to attempt good luck with it and if you have any questions PM me and possibly I can help you out.
    Johnny Sweet

    I built this 55 T Bird over thirty years ago. The molds were Class A and this id how the body came out of the mold. Hundreds of hours were spent on the molds.

    I sculptored the 50 Merk Lead Sled in 2007. The grill pieces were first made from wood and then a mold and later fiberglass that were spray coated with chrome paint. The bumper was modified to my liking and also chrome painted. Note the French headlights.

    Grill shell for my T Bucket made from foam; later a fiberglass mold and part was made.

    Little T is a half size T Bucket made from fiberglass. The engine is a full size 392 Hemi that I made mold out of fiberglass and pourable plastic. Even the blower belt is rubber made from a mold.


    My full size T Bucket that I made all the mold for. Even the set up engine is fiberglass along with the sculptured 3 D flames on the side. Copy of Norms original Kookie Car.

    Almost anything can be made from a mold provided that you have the time, energy, and know how.
    Johnny Sweet
  11. kscarguy
    Joined: Aug 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,574


    Molds are easy to make...getting beaten up by the owner of the car you made them from without asking, that's hard. :(
    Joined: Aug 15, 2019
    Posts: 7


    Did u get it out

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