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Old 09-09-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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fiberglass or steel?

Trying to figure out how to build the from roof where the raised roof meets the old roof. Someone I met while working on the bus this weekend suggested fiberglass.

I have never done fiberglass, and I have never tried to build something this large out tof steel. I do not have the tools to roll the steel to get a nice curve to match the roof line.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:56 PM   #2
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

I know I would tend to want to do it out of steel, but I'm not sure that's the better of the 2. For me, I know I can weld or rivet the steel in place. It may not look pretty, but I know I could do it and it would last. Using some form of plywood and then fiberglass would probably produce better looking results, but longevity MAY not be as good. Fiberglass isn't too horrible to work with. I rebuilt a transom on a boat and added stringers using fiberglass matting and resin, and it was borderline enjoyable. Just messy

A "simple" way of doing it with steel would be to forget about doing it with one large piece, just cut several smaller pieces that you could bend into place and tack. Maybe start in the middle and work your way out, using 1-1.5' pieces and overlapping so the joints could more easily be ground down and covered with body filler.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeC
I know I would tend to want to do it out of steel, but I'm not sure that's the better of the 2. For me, I know I can weld or rivet the steel in place. It may not look pretty, but I know I could do it and it would last.

I know I can do this and it may not look pretty. But I guess body filler can go a long way. I just don't know how easy fiberglass was to work with. Do I want to learn a new trick now?
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Both.

Do steel and fiberglass. I would use the steel in smaller flat peaces, riveted together for strength. I would then blend it all with fiberglass to make the perfect curvature you need to meet with your windows.

Once you have it all nice and triangulated with the steel, you could use some pour foam under cardboard as a mold. Then remove the cardboard, sculpt it to shape, fiberglass it, paint and enjoy.

I have faith in your skills. Looking forward to more pics.

Nat
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #5
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeC
I know I would tend to want to do it out of steel, but I'm not sure that's the better of the 2. For me, I know I can weld or rivet the steel in place. It may not look pretty, but I know I could do it and it would last.

I know I can do this and it may not look pretty. But I guess body filler can go a long way. I just don't know how easy fiberglass was to work with. Do I want to learn a new trick now?
I think the better question is do you want to learn a new trick now at 10 feet off the ground balanced on a ladder, and then rely on that new trick to keep you dry this winter?
If it were me, I would go with the skill I have now this late in your build season. If you were in Florida or Tx or somewhere else without a real winter, then I would be all about experimenting. But you are in a "not good for external repairs" type climate, so plan accordingly is all I'm saying.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malkier
If it were me, I would go with the skill I have now this late in your build season. If you were in Florida or Tx or somewhere else without a real winter, then I would be all about experimenting. But you are in a "not good for external repairs" type climate, so plan accordingly is all I'm saying.
What ?? I couldn't learn this and have it together in a couple weeks?
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Both.

Do steel and fiberglass. I would use the steel in smaller flat peaces, riveted together for strength. I would then blend it all with fiberglass to make the perfect curvature you need to meet with your windows.

Once you have it all nice and triangulated with the steel, you could use some pour foam under cardboard as a mold. Then remove the cardboard, sculpt it to shape, fiberglass it, paint and enjoy.

I have faith in your skills. Looking forward to more pics.

Nat
I hadn't thought of this, it might work. Thanks.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:11 PM   #8
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

"Flex" is what destroy's things built.....so steel and fiberglass on round edges is a winner....spend $25 and a weekend and make a speaker box out of felt and vatozone resin....its cool shiat....
Not hard to learn..
Ooops disclaimer: body work sucks...I prefer to cut out what is bad...unmm..and....uhhmmm...just leave it out

Google the web for fiberglass speakers and dashes....the shiat is wild...and I don't think there is a limit
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

I looked at your roof raise.
Just my half a cent?
From working on cars and body work multiple angles can be a pain.
You mentioned a slope concerned you and just doing a straight up?
Try a full sheet of either sheet metal or even for a test for a pattern lay it on your roof and have it over lap the raised part and the original roof.
Have it thin enough to be flexible for making a pattern and mark your cut lines where it will be and cut it; then you'd have a pattern to transfer to sheet metal and pop rivet/weld it in place.
I'd think that would be the fastest and easiest way to get your multiple angles.
I don't know if I am being confusing.
P.S. If that doesn't work make friends with some one who does allot of HIVAC AC duct work and sheet work for restaurants.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:18 AM   #10
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullwhacker007
P.S. If that doesn't work make friends with some one who does allot of HIVAC AC duct work and sheet work for restaurants.
This looks like the easiest way to do it.

I'm going to try to use cardboard to make a pattern and see how it will layout. I will go straight up in the back, but I have two windows I would like to add to the front. They won't fit in that area.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:57 PM   #11
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

You can see the pictures on my blog of how i did mine. I used cardboard to make templates after the frame was made. Good luck, it was not easy.

http://angieandalex.blogspot.com
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #12
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

A good HVAC person can do amazing things with sheet metal. Find a local person. Perhaps for pizza and beer, they will cut and bend the metal for you. I know a guy here who would do just that. You might have to throw in a bottle of whiskey as well.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:14 PM   #13
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex and Angie
You can see the pictures on my blog of how i did mine. I used cardboard to make templates after the frame was made. Good luck, it was not easy.

http://angieandalex.blogspot.com
Thanks, Lucky I only have ten inch raise to worry about. Mine should be a little simpler.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:26 PM   #14
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

I think fiberglass would be way easier than cobbling it up out of steel. Make a form out of cardboard or foam, lay on your glass fabric then slather on some resin. Make it thick and rigid enough so you can bolt it down for a good seal to the rest of the roof. Almost any shape is easy with fiberglass.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:29 PM   #15
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

Quote:
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I think fiberglass would be way easier than cobbling it up out of steel. Make a form out of cardboard or foam, lay on your glass fabric then slather on some resin. Make it thick and rigid enough so you can bolt it down for a good seal to the rest of the roof. Almost any shape is easy with fiberglass.
SInce I'm running out of time this year I will "cobble" something out of steel. If I do not like it, next spring I can try fiberglass. I getting to be a pro at removing rivets and can remove the new steel and replace it with the fiberglass, if I can get something that looks good and works. That is a big if, since I have never done fiberglass.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:21 PM   #16
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Re: fiberglass or steel?

"Make a form out of cardboard or foam, lay on your glass fabric then slather on some resin." Not so sure about this one unless you're using epoxy resin. Polyester resins will melt your foam right away. Epoxy would be a better choice anyhow as it's technically an adhesive. More expensive but resists the elements way better and stays a bit flexible. I built an epoxy over foam over steel frame utility trailer over 20 years ago and it still looks very nice (think rolling ice box). Painted it with a 3 part acrylic. The lighter mats and cloths (6oz.) conform nicely to irregular shapes as well. Also no visible rivets or screws anywhere on mine. Remember this stuff heats up when catalyzing and thins out just before setting so if on vertical surfaces, a dry wet out (on a table) transfer onto the surface is your friend. Spent almost 25 years in the marine repair business (engines and fiberglass).
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