Fiberglass Mayhem

I’m building a new heat shield / toeboard / floorpan / footpeg mount for Sarah out of fiberglass. I’m ok with composites, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means.

I’m Johnny Knoxville, and this is Duct Tape Layup…

Here’s what I’ve got to work with. A bit of sheetmetal I’ve clearanced around the bottom of the exhaust and glued to the bottom of the oil catch pan. And some sheetmetal that covers the headers to keep the heat off the ass of the driver. Very crude and very heavy. Not to mention very ghetto. And we’re trying to move away from the appearance of backyard engineering and the hammer as the primary tool in modern F1 rig craftsmanship.

So we yank off the brake pedal and shift linkage (shift linkage and toe shift box getting tossed anyway since the Translogic is going in) and bust out two rolls of duct tape. And we lay layers and layers and layers of tape till we’ve built up a nice thick base over the headers and platform as evenly as possible.

Then we bust out the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive and the Aluminum Foil. Laying down the foil is a simple task of a spritz of spray glue and smoothing out the foil. The foil acts as a non-stick peel layer between our glass/resin and the tape.

And then finally we bust out our 6oz cloth and dice it up into bits. More Super 77 to tack it into place, and we lay down layers of 6oz cloth till we realize we don’t have enough to finish what we want to do. I ran out and picked up more 6oz cloth and some heavy mat today. The advantages of living in a surfing mecca. So it was time to get back to work.

I finished cutting up the rest of my layers and tacking them in place with Super 77. It’s smoother than it looks, that’s the wrinkly aluminum foil showing through about six contrasting layers of glass cloth.

I then mixed up 10 oz of my blue laminating goo using enough kicker to give me about an hour of working time. After that it was about 45 minutes careful work with a 1 inch standard brush cut smooth with shears and a plastic spreader to get the goo through all the layers and work out the air pockets. Not perfect, but since I’m just going for something to mold the shape I’ve formed with the duct tape it’s not mission critical it be perfect.

And after a few days left in place to cure, it pops right off with some polite poking with plastic spreaders and a rubber mallet. I’m left with a very nice base mold with only a bit of stray foil to peel away in spots.

And this is with all the tape and bracing removed from the pipes, you’d never know any of it was there to begin with.

And the new un-trimmed part popped on just for a quick test fit.

Now mind you faithful reader, all of this work was just to make a mold. Once the -real- composite part is finished I’ll line the underside of it with heat resistant foil/mat to protect it. Dig this product from the guys over at thermotech:

That’s all on this for now… More on it once I decide I can put up with another couple weeks of fiberglass itchys.

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