Fiberglass Fabrication

Today was supposed to be filled with linear actuator fabrication for the bat-disc doors.  However, after a lot of attempts it looks like I’ll have to get different actuators.  The 18″ throw is just way too much and there’s no real way to make them work.  I looked at every possible angle  😦

I’ll likely have to grab some 8″ throw actuators and tuck them right up near the doors which “should” be easier.

After being disappointed on the actuator front, I decided to do some fiberglass fabrication since it was a nice sunny day.  There were two fiberglassing jobs that I wanted to try and complete.

One was fiberglassing the trunk latch core material along with filling the hole in the trunk.  The second was building the curved ends near the hinges of the drivers side bat-disc door.

To start off with I positioned the piece of fiberglass that was previously cut out of the trunk back where it came from and taped the back-side to hold it in-place.   Then I lay down two layers of fiberglass matt on the inside of the trunk and all over the plywood core for the latch mechanism.

You can see the result in the top picture.  Once it was all solid I trimmed off the excess and started to work on blending in the piece on the surface of the trunk.  This was a process of using the grinding wheel to create a bit of a hollow and not have any high spots and then giving it a good coat of short strand fiberglass filler.

I then used 80 grit sand paper and a long sanding block to get it all smooth and even.  Then it was time for a thin top coat of glazing putty to fill in the low spots and blend everything in. Dusty!

While I was at it I also lay down a good amount of resin over top of the steel plates used for mounting the trunk hinges.  This worked well as it was counter sunk into the structure and the resin puddled over the steel and hardened with a nice smooth finish.

With that job complete I focused on fixing up the ends of the drivers side bat-disc doors.  When I left off with these doors there was just a thin piece of steel at the end near the hinge.  This needed to become a thick piece to match the arms that were on the front of the door reaching the hinge.

I decided that I would create a little form like you would for pouring cement around the end of the hinge.  I used some clear Lexan that was cut with a 1″ hole to fit snug around the hinge which created a smooth surface inside the form.

I repeated this on both ends of the hinge. I then mixed up some short strand fiberglass filler and poured it into the form.  The clear Lexan worked great because it allowed me to see just how far the filler was pushing down into the form.  I kept smushing it in there to get it as far down as possible.

Short strand worked great for this because it’s a mix of resin/filler with lots of strands of fiberglass to give it strength.  Once it had cured I popped the forms off.  The smooth finish of the Lexan made a pretty good non-stick surface.

All that was left was to trim them down to the width I wanted and then create a template to ensure I had the same curve on both ends of the hinge.

There’s still a bit of work to do around the hinge to fill in some spots but I’m quite happy with how they turned out.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rainy day so I’ll maybe start in on building the driver’s side bat-disc door.  We’ll see 🙂

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