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Old 04-29-2015, 12:46 AM   #101
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Can I bend the PVC foam core with heat? Is there any benefit to doing that instead of cutting, fitting pieces, and sanding off the high spots? I learned from searching elsewhere tonight that BID is short for bi-directional cloth. In step 5 you mentioned both cloth and fiberglass; what's the difference in the two?
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:31 AM   #102
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"Fiberglass cloth" is sometimes called "cloth" and sometimes "fiberglass" by lazy people like me who prefer single-syllable words.

You can bend the foam core before you do a layup on it. After that, you can park a car on it and it won't bend. Fiberglass is incredibly rigid, especially on a core. There's a story that supposedly the wings of the B-42 bomber (aluminum and steel ribs) droop 1.5 feet at the very wingtips. Remade with fiberglass they'd bend a quarter inch (or something like that).

The standard process is to put the foam where you want it, and shape that with sandpaper, cutting tools - whatever. Get it exactly the shape you want, which is easy (which is why people who like this process... like this process in the first place). Then do the layup, and it keeps that shape forever. You can make curves, angles, join multiple pieces with 5-minute epoxy to make complex shapes, etc. When making things like ducts you can remove the foam core later if you cover it with duct tape before doing the layup - epoxy won't stick to duct tape. For others, you leave the core there and it provides additional rigidity and crush resistance.

You can crumble 3/8" PVC with your bare hands, and shred raw BID cloth the same way. But once laid up (just two layers) and cured, you can walk on both without making a mark. (Lightbulbs going on in my head - I just realized how I want to make my roof deck.) If you make a structural shape like an I-beam and use a few extra layers, you can park a car on it. There's literally a math formula you can use to determine its strength, determined by the type and weight of the cloth you use.

Tools required:
* Epoxy. The $30 West kit from hardware/boat stores is fine if you aren't building an airplane. Get their pumps too, it's like a $12 pair you stick on their cans that dispense pre-measured amounts.
* Rubber squeegees. In a pinch, you can cut one from a coffee can lid - that soft plastic is about the right strength. Round the corners so they don't drag. It needs a smooth edge.
* Mixing sticks and disposable paint brushes. Get the Harbor Freight "chip brushes". Don't even bother trying to clean them.
* BID cloth. You can get all kinds but anything that says "BID" is fine if you aren't building an airplane.
* Disposable scissors. Well, these don't have to be disposable, but fiberglass will dull a cutting edge very quickly. I like the Harbor Freight shears they sell for like $1.99. They last a few months.
* Mixing cups. Wider/flatter are better.
* Microballoons. A 5lb bag will last forever.
* Dedicated hair dryer. Optional but VERY helpful. You want the epoxy to spread smoothly and evenly, and heat helps it along. A heat gun is too much. This also lets you work when it's colder out. You WILL get epoxy on it, so don't use your wife's! Walmart, $10.
* Nitrile gloves. Epoxy is sensitizing! Never touch it. It won't kill you, but you will get a nasty rash, it sucks, and there's no reason to have that happen. If it doesn't happen the first time, it will happen the tenth, or the hundredth - but it will happen eventually, guaranteed. Wear gloves and you'll be fine.
* 3mil plastic. Anything will do, but it's best if it's full width and isn't folded. I buy mine for like $12 a (50yd) roll online from some shipping company. (The folds in the ones from Home Depot make creases in the layup).
* A dremel or (better) Black & Decker rotary tool. Get a few dozen sanding drums and the little raspy cutter thing - the one they sell for drywall.
* Some hacksaw blades. Hacksaw not required. You can make amazingly straight and clean cuts in fiberglass by just hand-pulling one of these blades along a line or straightedge.

Sounds like a big list but a lot of people have most of this stuff lying around. Most of the money goes into cloth and epoxy. For what you're trying to do, with careful shopping, you could probably do it all for $200.

I'm not specifically trying to "pitch" you on doing this project with fiberglass. Plenty of people hate it. But if you DO want to do it, I'll post here all day long about how to get it done. At least I can contribute some value to the forum.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:35 AM   #103
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Now that I think about it, I think I'll start a thread just for this.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ho...ass-10837.html
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:50 PM   #104
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I believe and trust you but I used to work at a place that sold many new surfboards. We used to make accidental dents with our thumbs when moving them around from display to display or to let a customer have a close look. They were foam core fiberglass skinned boards. Why so fragile? It made me leery of using it where strength was needed.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:06 PM   #105
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I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared to click that link!

image.jpg

Great article though! I'm glad I clicked it!
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:05 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiemae View Post

I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared to click that link!

Attachment 6786

Great article though! I'm glad I clicked it!
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Old 04-30-2015, 11:49 AM   #107
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Hahahaha, I didn't even notice that, it's priceless.

Most surfboards aren't made to be cars. They're made of soft styrofoam, much more like the stuff in your coffee cup or packing peanuts than what you'd find in a boat dock float. They're made with thin fiberglass cloth in only one or two layers because you're only floating a <250lb person, and they're (often) made with polyester resin which is more flexible.

Check out this guy's video. This is cheap-o foam with cheap-o cloth (just loose mat, not long-fiber woven BID) that you'd get at the hardware store. He chats for a long time - jump to like a minute before the end.



I'll post pics of the "real" stuff when I get home tonight - I'm pretty sure I have some scraps lying around. It's only two layers of BID over 3/8" H45 PVC foam. You couldn't dent it with a hammer. You can drive a screw into it, just like wood. But it's definitely NOT soft.
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Old 04-30-2015, 01:04 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
Hahahaha, I didn't even notice that, it's priceless.

Most surfboards aren't made to be cars. They're made of soft styrofoam, much more like the stuff in your coffee cup or packing peanuts than what you'd find in a boat dock float. They're made with thin fiberglass cloth in only one or two layers because you're only floating a <250lb person, and they're (often) made with polyester resin which is more flexible.

Check out this guy's video. This is cheap-o foam with cheap-o cloth (just loose mat, not long-fiber woven BID) that you'd get at the hardware store. He chats for a long time - jump to like a minute before the end.



I'll post pics of the "real" stuff when I get home tonight - I'm pretty sure I have some scraps lying around. It's only two layers of BID over 3/8" H45 PVC foam. You couldn't dent it with a hammer. You can drive a screw into it, just like wood. But it's definitely NOT soft.
Yup you are totally right- I've gotten many a pressure dent on my boards. But you look at race cars/performance vehicles- those are pretty solid. Even the thin fiberglass water tank I looked at the other day- pretty solid!
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:51 PM   #109
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Ugh. Progress in the past month has been absolutely terrible. Been busy doing other things, but most of all held up by that rear fiberglass cap which seemed it might never let go. But.. finally.. IT'S OFF!!

For a long time I avoided cutting the corners, thinking that I preferred to leave that for later after the roof is raised and I see how things fit together. Maybe there would be ideal and/or poor locations for the cut. In desperation I finally gave up that ideal, cut the corners, and then pried the two pieces off separately in relatively short order. It turned out that there was just enough seam sealer left sticking in just enough places that it was near impossible to remove as a single piece.

Normally I'm the kind of person who meticulously cares for tools and avoids abusing them, but this fiberglass removal drove me over the edge. Earlier I mentioned finding that a narrow putty knife/gasket scraper tool worked well when driven in with a hammer to cut through the adhesive. Finally one day, this happened:


Best custom tool I've made in a while. The blade broke at the weld edge repeatedly and it grew 3/8" shorter each time. I went through two scrapers, and probably a dozen welds on each, but it saved a ton of time and effort!
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Old 05-24-2015, 11:30 PM   #110
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Also finally got the yellow fiberglass insulation remnants cleaned off the ceiling. This deck brush on a 4 ft pole made fairly quick work of it.


The tail end of the bus has turned out not to be built like I had imagined at all.

It makes sense, though: I hadn't noticed it before, but the body is cantilevered over the engine. Now it makes sense why the rear-most window has that giant (wide) channel/post under it, rather than a stub of hat channel like the rest of the windows have. It's the post that carries the weight of the tail of the body down to the floor.

The problem is that I really want to put bunk beds (3 high) over the wheel wells, with a 12-15" high window for each bunk, and there'll be interference between the bottom window and that long horizontal C channel that forms the lower sill of the original window. I'm not sure how to resolve this yet.. Maybe raise that horizontal channel up 6 inches so that it passes above the lowest window? I'd have to extend the post in the middle, but that doesn't seem like any trouble.
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