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  #1  
Old 10-29-2007, 10:54 AM
DanH's Avatar
DanH DanH is offline
 
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Location: 08A
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Default Tip: Fiberglass Fabrication

I've noticed quite a few RV builders are a unsure about fabricating glass components. I thought it might be useful if they could see a part fabricated from scratch. Those who are already comfortable working with glass should probably click elsewhere now.

My RV-8 is a fastback; the raised turtledeck requires a new intersection fairing for the tail surfaces. No way the Van's fairing will fit.

First step is to develop a shape. You can use whatever works. Clay is popular. I used pour-in-place foam this time, and a few cut back chunks of an old Van's fairing. Tape off the aluminum to protect it and shape your medium as required. Golden rule; time spent getting the shape right early in the process will save a lot of time later.



Next cover the shape with plastic tape. Put a coat of wax on the tape.



Now proceed with layup. This is four plies of 9 oz crowfoot. You want crowfoot (not plain weave) or similar for this kind of shape because it forms nicely on concave or convex shapes. Get it well saturated, alternate overlaps between sides (like at the front of this part), work out air bubbles before applying the next layer. Stippling with a brush will work; I have a composite roller that I love for compacting plies and removing bubbles. In this photo I've covered the layup with saturated peel ply; it is ordinary polyester aircraft fabric left over from other projects.



Here's the completed raw glass part. Because I used peel ply, the glass surface requires no sanding prior to bonding additional sections or coating with micro. Just knock off any high spots with a vixen file or coarse paper and move on to the next step.



If ya'll like this stuff I'll post further steps as I proceed.
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Dan Horton
RV-8 SS
Barrett IO-390

Last edited by DanH : 10-02-2014 at 06:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2007, 11:02 AM
gstone gstone is offline
 
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Location: Johnson City TN
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Default If we like this stuff???

Absolutely!!!
Thanks, Greg
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2007, 01:38 PM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
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Default Very nice....

Yes please.....kindly do followups Dan. Where do you buy pour-in-place foam?

Thanks,
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2007, 02:10 PM
sonex293 sonex293 is offline
 
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Location: North Carolina
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Thumbs up Great!

DanH

This is a great addition!

As a fiberglass neophyte a complete listing of all items used would be most helpful! What epoxies, hardeners, flox, etc, etc, etc. This is one area that's hard to get good how-to information.

Thanks for the information! and keep it coming!

--
Michael
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2007, 02:12 PM
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DanH DanH is offline
 
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Default

Pierre,
<<Where do you buy pour-in-place foam?>>

Right now I'm trying the 4 lb density from:

http://www.shopmaninc.com/foam.html

Previously I had used clay, block foam, plaster, balsa, anything that would hold a shape. Only trick I've noted with pour-in-place foam is that you can't fool with it when you pour it. If you try to spread it or move it around in any way you wind up with varying density thoughout the cured blob. That makes it harder to sand to shape with accuracy.
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2007, 02:18 PM
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flytoboat flytoboat is online now
 
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Location: Collinsville, IL
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Default Another Source

Dan,
Thanks for sharing this project for our training.
Also, Kitplanes magazine started a series in May 07 titled "Build Your Skills: Composites (Part 1)". It is still ongoing...
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2007, 03:13 PM
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DanH DanH is offline
 
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<<listing of all items used would be most helpful!>>

Well, let's see now.....

My favorite general use cloth is 8.9 oz 8-harness satin weave, Wicks #7781 or Spruce #7781-60. Heavy weight, so it builds fast, and if you cut it on the bias it will drape into and around compound curves.

West 105 epoxy and slow hardener (206) works fine. I keep a little fast hardener (205) around but I don't use it for layup work.

Pick up a 4' x 4' sheet of 1/2 plywood, the kind with a smooth, almost plastic finish on one face. That's your cutting board. Use a "pizza cutter" rotary fabric knife, Spruce #01-00299 or better.

General supplies: Order 3 oz and 8 oz unwaxed cups, a box of mixing sticks, and a box of latex gloves. Also order some flox, cab-o-sil (fumed silica), and micro balloons. Buy a box of cheap 1" brushes at Harbor Freight or similar.

I measure all my epoxy/hardener proportions by weight, using an old balance beam gram scale. A gram scale allow me to mix any quantity from 10 to 500 grams with perfect accuracy, meaning I don't waste expensive epoxy and I've never had a cure failure. You can't mix small quantities by volume with great accuracy.

"Real" peel-ply is nylon so it can be used in an autoclave. Polyester works for room-temp cure. Leftover fabric scraps salvaged from your biplane buddy will do fine.

I prefer MEK for cleanup. Yeah, wear gloves.

A pair of barber's scissors (the thin pointy kind) work well for trimming wet cloth, all steel so you can wipe them with MEK for cleanup...no plastic handles. Spruce and Wicks sell a variety of layup rollers, stipple or ribbed. Mine is nylon, ribbed, about 2" diameter.

Composite "files" are any good grade of sandpaper glued to blocks or tubes with 3M spray-can contact adhesive. 40, 80, and 120 grits are useful.
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Last edited by DanH : 10-29-2007 at 03:18 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-29-2007, 04:31 PM
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erich weaver erich weaver is offline
 
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Default

More good fiberglass "how to" info here:

http://rv8a.tripod.com/fiberglass.html
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  #9  
Old 10-29-2007, 05:29 PM
Rivethead Rivethead is offline
 
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Location: Corvallis Oregon.
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Default

Awesome, keep up the show. It looks like you get a seamless transition from fairing to VS & HS to Fuselage sufaces. Do you use any mold release to make the fairing removable?
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2007, 01:26 AM
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n468ac n468ac is offline
 
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Default

nice write up
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