===== Fibreglass repair FAQ 0.1 26 Aug 94 =====
This FAQ looks at (a) fixing dings in "conventional" surfboards and
(b) some other materials and uses
Thanks to (at least) for comments, advice and comments that I've
ruthlessly plagerised without permission.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric N. Valor - Ding Repair Suggestions)
email@example.com (Tom Tweed - setting fins)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Flynn - building a board)
dmp@bmesun1.MCG.EDU (David M Parrish - aircraft epoxies)
Charles.K.Scott@dartmouth.edu (Charles K. Scott - more aircraft stuff)
1. Fibreglass for Surfboards
Ding Repair Suggestions
Building a Board
GRP - Fibreglass and resin sources
2. Other Stuff
Epoxy and Other Materials
Composite Workshop Review
1. Fibreglass for Surfboards
For big holes - clean out the hole, cut a chunk of foam to fit and stick
it in with resin. Shape (180 grit) and re-glass.
For small holes - pre-mix glass beads with resin. Add catalyst as normal:
ie 7-8 drops MEK per 20ml of resin (more if cold, less if hot weather).
Reglassing - (torn or missing glass). Clean all torn bits. Fill any hole
or depression to taste. Feather the edges of the glass (sand @ <
30 degree angle) with 80 to 180 grit. Wipe with acetone soaked rag.
Cut glass cloth to slightly over cover hole+ feathered bits. Mix resin.
(if anything go under on the MEK). Use a bit of sponge/squegee to apply
resin to totally wet the glass. Then use the sponge to remove all excess.
Do this by dabbing/wiping with the sponge, periodically squeezing out the
sponge. The finished surface will have the texture of the cloth.
Once this has set, sand (w' #180) any rough bits or high spots. This
also keys the resin for the hot coat.
Mix another batch of resin, this time hot (extra MEK-1 extra drop per 20ml)
This will gell really quickly (5-10 minutes). Brush on just enough to
provide a smooth finish. When set, sand smooth with progressively finer
paper (180, 280, 400, 600 then cutting compound) until either bored or
satisfied. [Mals tend to be finished with an additional hot gell coat,
and highly polished- competition boards are often not even sanded at all.]
Resin, MEK and microballons can be bought from most shapers. Offcuts of
foam and cloth can usually be scrounged from the same sources.
The process I've described is time consuming and most shops don't do that
when they "fix" a ding. They mix up a hot batch of resin with
lots of microballons, fill the hole & sand. It's quick (only one
setting time vs 3 or 4). It's also weak. Some at least mix some chopped
mat in to give it some structural strengh, but you've still got a future
source of leaks.
Ding Repair Suggestions (Eric N. Valor)
First off, fill the holes with foam. Most surf shops that do ding
repair may have some around that they'll flow you. Either that or
find a shaper in the area. But do NOT fill in a hole with just resin;
it makes for bad weight and an ugly repair. Cut out the hole until
it is nice and even, then cut a piece of foam to shape and insert.
Make sure it matches up evenly or you'll get ugly lines.
btw: that powder is most probably microballoons; small glass bubbles
with air. They space out the resin and make it a bit lighter.
Ok, next: Use 10-12 drops of catalyst per ounce of resin. I don't know
how big your dings are, so I don't know how much resin to use. Just
eye it. Stir the catalyst in for about 60 seconds to get a good mix.
Then coat the bottom of the "filler foam" with a bit of resin
and insert into the hole. Then cover with a sheet of fiberglass
(cut to shape of the hole) and pour a little bit of resin on top and
smooth it out over the hole and the existing glass
(you'll sand off the excess later).
Put a piece of Saran Wrap over the top and let set overnight.
You can use 80 grit sandpaper to start the process, then once you start
to get down to the existing glassjob, switch to 100 or 120. To finish
off, use 400 wet/dry (and use a bit of water). That should do you.
Fins are a bitch to set properly, as placement of the fins absolutely
determines how the board will respond. Make sure you get right and
left fins for the twins (yes, there are sides) and a normal single
for the rear (this is a tri-fin, right?). Angle them out a few degrees
from straight up-and-down, and toe the front edges of them in just a
bit. This is the hardest part, as they have to be braced while the
resin dries.. it's a bitch and I've only done it (badly) once.
Eric N. Valor
Setting Fins -(Tom Tweed)
A trick that some of my glasser friends use is to set the fins with a
bead of hot-melt glue right on the bottom- have the front and back
toe-in marks penciled on the board, and a little cardboard template cut
for the camber angle (usually about 5 degrees outside of perpendicular
to the bottom). Slam the fin down while the glue is hot right on your
marks, slap the camber template up against the side and hold it steady
for 15-30 seconds while the hot glue solidifies. Voila! You're ready
to rope and glass them in without the obstruction of tape braces, etc.,
holding them in place. Don't bump them too hard, though, it's not that
strong before glassing....
Tom Tweed- La Jolla, CA e-mail: email@example.com
Building a Board
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Flynn)
Subject: Re: Building a board...
Date: 24 Jul 93 05:40:52 GMT
In article pa_warren@Merrimack.edu (Warren Crossfield) writes:
>Anyone here build their own board(s). If so, any tips (materials) for a
Well it looks like this is a good time to give you all the update on how
my board-building project went. First, a little review.
I have been surfing an old 60's style Team Becker. It's 7'4", kind
of half-way between a longboard and a bonzer. It has a round tail, and
a very wide, round nose, with a large concave. These characteristics
give it nice watch-catching ability, even in small surf, good handling,
and it nose-rides like a champ.
The board I just got finished building is based on this design, and has
almost all the desirable characteristics of its predecessor. I chose
to copy this board because I like it a lot, and the guy who owns it wants
I went to Monterey Bay Fiberglass and purchased all the materials necessary
which ended up costing about $150. I then had a shaper here in town shape
the blank, which cost $70. I was fortunate enough to run across one of
the guys who used to glass for the Haut,and he basically taught me how to
laminate. I paid him for his time, bought him lots of beer, and ran him
around town for a couple weeks ( he doesn't have a vehicle ) in retrun
for his help. In the meantime, we have become good friends, and this
worked out so well we plan to build another board.
The next board will be a 9'3" shaped by Doug Haut, and glassed by me
and Jeff Thompson.
One other stroke of good fortune: Jeff happens to be a personal friend
of Jimmy Phillips ( of Pack-Your-Trash fame ), he talked Jimmy into
designing a custom logo to put on my board. I paid Jimmy for the work,
but I can tell you that I got it at a very handsome discount.
I took some pictures of the new stick before I waxed it, and plan to use
the scanner at work to digitize a few and will post them to the surfing
GIF mailing list. The board came out really nice, and it surfs like a
So I guess I ought to address the questions asked at the beginning of the
First, it helps _worlds_ if you can find someone experienced to help you.
My board woulda been a giant resin barge if I hadn't had Jeff there to
bail me out of some really sticky ( literally! ) situations. Failing
this, at least get someone to let you watch them glass a side or two so
you can see how laminating is done.
Second, you will need a place to work. A spacious garage is what I used.
You will need an enclosure of some sort for the hot coat and gloss coat,
otherwise the resin may do nasty things like split or get bugs in it.
Next, you will need the following equipment and supplies:
Grinder or Sander/Polisher - I use a Makita 9207SPC
Paint brushes 2,3,4"
Wide wall-papering brush
60 grit, 100 grit Aluminum Oxide
400 grit, 600 grit Wet or Dry
Jars or #10 cans
Canister-style organic vapor rated respirator - IMPORTANT
X# gallons of resin - I prefer Cargill, its stronger than some others
1 gallon of acetone
masking tape - don't get the cheap kind,
get 3M paint masking from a paint store
Single-edged razor blades
X# yards of fiberglass cloth
I'm not going to try to explain the whole process, but here are some
helpful hints in general:
A plastic trash bag masking taped around your waist make a cheap
disposable apron. And speaking of disposable, go down to the thrift
store when buying clothes you plan to wear while glassing.
Soak your squeegee and paintbrushes in acetone overnight before
glassing. They will be much more pliable and easy to work with.
Tape down a couple layers of tar paper (roofing cloth) on the floor
so you will not leave any post-Columbian artifacts thereon.
Have two pairs of scissors: one exclusively for cutting fiberglass cloth,
and the other for cutting sandpaper and other such things.
When you cut the cloth around the edge of the blank, leave a 2-3"
lap, begin careful not to leave any dangling strings. These will be a
real pain later if you don't eliminate them now.
Use the wall-papering brush to smooth out the fiberglass on the blank.
This helps to avoid the cloth "floating" off the blank.
Laminating has three basic steps: 1) saturate the cloth 2) squeegee out
the excess and 3) work out the cloth to a burlap texture. Start your
pour near the middle and work toward the ends of the board. This is
where it gets hard to explain without someone holding your hand and
showing you what to do. The basic idea is to keep the squeegee vertical
and apply just enough pressure to spread the resin and saturate the
cloth. Then, using a bucket to catch the excess, take firm even strokes
the entire length of the board, squeezing the excess resin out of the
cloth. No doubt there will be some dry spots, so use the resin you catch
to thoroughly soak them, and squeegee out the excess again. Once this is
done, take medium firm strokes the length of the board, starting at the
middle. The key here is to leave the squeegee in contact with the surface
as much as possible. If you pick it up, you will create a puddle.
The hot coat and gloss coat follow in much the same way, only you use a
brush to apply them.
After the hot coat, use the grinder to sand the board smooth. The fins and
rails should be done by hand. Then wash the board with a soft rag soaking
wet with acetone, much as you would wipe down a table, catching the debris
by folding the rag. Do the same with your bare hand while the acetone is
still evaporating. You will be able to feel when the surface is clean.
After the gloss coat, you have the option of polishing it. I personally
think boards surf just fine unpolished, but a mirror finish on a showroom
board will sell faster to be certain.
NOTE: ALL of the organic chemicals used in surf-board building are KNOWN
carcinogens. Although many people have had long and happy board-building
careers and never gotten cancer, please use all due caution when dealing
with these volatile, corrosive and highly toxic chemicals!
Buy a respirator like the one mentioned above and WEAR it!s
Well, if you all want more gory details, feel free to mail me at
email@example.com, or post a question in reply. I'm pretty new at this,
and as I mentioned above this is far from a complete description of the
process, but it should at least give some idea of what you need to know.
GRP - Fibreglass and resin sources
Fibreglass is more properly known as Glass Reenforced Plastic (GRP).
Most surfboards are built using 1950's materials - plain woven glass
cloth and polyester resin with Methyl Ethyl Ketone peroxide catalyst on
a polyurethane foam blank, reenforced with a single wooden stringer.
You'll have to pay for your resin, hardener and micro-balloon filler.
If you know a local shaper you should be able to scrounge some off-cuts
of foam and glass cloth. Rovings (basically fibreglass 'rope') are
usually bought, but if you're cheap, pull apart some cloth.
Boat manufacters usually use either chopped strand mat - which is much
weaker than cloth or a sort of spray gun which pulls in fibreglass rope,
chopping it up and sucks up resin, mixes it with catalyst and the chopped
strands before spraying the lot out. Usually into a mold.
Speaking of molds, watered down PVA (White wood working) glue apparently
works well. YMMV.
2. Other Stuff
Epoxy and Other Materials
Not suprisingly, materials have come a long way since 1950. Almost
everyone knows about Carbon fiber and Kevlar. Not so well known are
the changes in the foam and resin. Most high-tech fibreglass jobs
(ie commercial and homebuilt aircraft, and some sailing boats)
are constructed using a two-part epoxy, with a stronger glass fibre.
Some surfboards have been made, using a special closed cell
(to stop waterlogging) polystyrene or polyvinylxloride (PVC) foam,
both in the West Coast of the USoA and on the east coast of Oz.
The few reviews (Aust.Surfing life had one recently) seem impressed
by the weight and strength of the boards - down to 2.5kg for a 6'
board you can jump on. One other advantage is that they can be
repaired with 2-part expoy glues (such as Araldyte).
There are rumoured to be people making kevlar (reef-proof) boards in
South West Oz.
Many of the newer resins come preimpregnated in carbon/glass/kevlar
cloth (to order) and require autoclaving (cooking) to set.
I'm not going to go into detail on my own, but rather I'll include a
few articles from regular rec.aviation.homebuilt contributors. Tune
in there for more info (unfortunatley they don't seem to have an all
singing/all dancing composites FAQ). Also try rec.autos.racing.*
and rec.models.rc (or whatever)
Strengths of materials
Tm Tensile Modulus
(Giga Pascals 1gpa = 10^9 Newtons/m^2 ~= 140,000 psi, i think)
Ts Tensile Strength
D Density (grammes per cubic centimeters)
Material Tm Ts D
E-glass 77 2.5 2.54
S-Glass 85 3.5 2.48
Graphite AS4 190 2.8 1.80
Kevlar 49 130 2.8 1.45 - note kevlar is shitty
Aluminum 70 .14-.6 2.7 in compression.
Note these are unidirectoinal free fibre, with no expoxy.
Reality is only 1/4 as good.
There are lots of different grades of each material.
Some books - various people
(I haven't been able to find these at my local library -
I haven't tried the Uni yet.)
"Graphite Fibers and Filaments" by M. S. Dresselhaus et al,
Springer Series in Materials Science 5, (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1988),
chapters 1, 2, and 12.
ASM Engineered Materials Handbook
Volume 1: Composites
ISBN 0-87170-279-7 (v. 1)
(c) 1987 ASM International
'Composite Construction for Homebuilt Aircraft' Jack Lambie's
"Composite Basics". Andrew "Bud" Marshall
"Composites Design", by Steve Tsai
"The Behavior of Structures Composed of Composite Materials"
J.R. Vinson and R.L. Sierakowski
Composite workshop review (by Daid Parrish)
This weekend, I attended the composite basics workshop put on by
Alexander Aeroplane in Griffin, Georgia and I thought that others on
the net would like to hear my impressions on the workshop and what I
think are some very useful techniques presented.
First off, a little about the workshops and in particular, the
instructor for the composite workshop, Stan Montgomery. Currently,
Alexander is running three - two day workshops on basic composite
construction, welding and fabric covering that are held in Griffin,
Syracuse, Oshkosh, Trenton, Bloomington, Houston, and Lakeland and
will soon be adding workshops on other topics like wood and
metalworking. Stan also mentioned the possibility of three and five
day advanced composite workshops and another workshop on finishing.
Stan Montgomery is a very good speaker, has a masters in chemistry, so
he knows his resins, and was a military pilot and has built numerous
homebuilt aircraft, so he knows airplanes and composite construction.
He's also VERY passionate about composites. This has caused some - er
- disagreement with illuminaries such as Dick Rutan, but anyone that
can make a spar shear web out of heavy, finely woven bid glass and
achieve 40% resin, BY HAND, and still use peel ply should be listened
For those that don't have the foggiest what I just said, some extra
information. The spar carries the weight of the plane through the
wings, and the spar web carries the load between the upper and lower
spar caps, forming a strong and very stiff I-beam inside the wing. In
fiber/resin composites, the fibers carry the load while the resin
keeps the fibers together. If there is too little resin, the fibers
don't stick together as well, and the part is weakened. If there is
too much resin, which is much weaker than fiberglass, then the resin
starts taking some of the load, and produces a weaker product.
The problem is, most homebuilders think that if resin is good, more is
gooder. But anything above 60% resin, 40% glass, is actually weaker
than 50-50 or 40-60 and is both heavier than it should be and more
expensive, since any resin, from $20 a gallon polyester to $100 plus a
gallon epoxies are expensive to buy.
Bid glass is a fiberglass cloth that has nearly equal number of fibers
both along and across the bolt of cloth. Peel ply is a light weight
and finely woven nylon or polyester cloth that is used as the last
layer in a layup. When peeled off, it fractures the resin surface for
a stronger bond with subsequent layups without using sandpaper, which
damages the glass fibers on the surface.
Back to the workshop.
The syllabus had an ambitious schedule that we were unfortunately
unable to keep up with because of time constraints. Even saying that,
the most important points and procedures were hit upon. The first part
of Saturday was a lecture that covered what composites are, safety
with composite materials, and various techniques used in composite
construction. Most of the rest of the two days was hands on building
of a short section of a canard with interspersed discussions on other
composite techniques, including a hands on vacuum bagging.
The construction of the canard started with a block of blue
polystyrene foam and a pair of templates, so we had to hot wire out
our own canard cores. Hot wire cutting the foam is a very intense few
of minutes where you have to be aware of wire temperature, cutting
speed, wire drag, tension against the template and exactly where your
partner on the other side of the wire cutting frame is at on the
templates. This is done by numbers around each template that one calls
off and the other gives faster or slower cues as the pair cuts around
Once cut out, the leading edge just in front of the spar cap recess is
hot wired off and the front edges of the trailing edge part were
rounded so there are no sharp edges for the spar web to go over. Once
rounded, the spar web area is filled with epoxy filled with
microscopic glass balloons or Alexander's superlite filler. Both are
very light in weight and prevent raw epoxy from soaking into the foam.
A quick, unsolicited ad for the superlite epoxy filler. This stuff is
a very light weight epoxy filler that can be used in place of either
Bondo or microballooned epoxy and was developed by Stan. It has a
density at least half that of Bondo, doesn't shrink, is very sandable,
and contains a built in chromate conversion for use on aluminum. It
also contains an agent that helps tiny entrapped bubbles rise to the
surface and burst so pinholes are greatly reduced. The only thing I've
tried it on so far is to fill an aluminum nose gear fork, and it has
very nice working properties. I'm definitely going to try it when I
start finishing the wings on my Velocity.
Anyway, next Stan showed us how to a layup with 40% resin, yet still
be fully wetted out. First he cut out two ply of glass cloth to
approximately the right size, weighed them, and then placed them on a
piece of plastic and poured on a weighed amount of epoxy to an exact
40% resin, 60% glass by weight ratio. He then put another piece of
plastic over the layups and worked the epoxy into the glass. To evenly
distribute the epoxy, he would occasionally fold the glass and work it
some more, making sure not to crimp any folded glass and carefully
applied heat from a hair drier to thin the epoxy out. When he was
done, the layup was totally saturated with no white streaks indicating
dry spots. Once this was done, it was applied to the canard core and a
sheet of peel ply was squeegeed onto the surface, further reducing the
epoxy content of the layup.
According to Boeing, this is impossible. They can achieve a 37-63
ratio, but only by using multi-million dollar autoclaves. While a
40-60 ratio takes quite a bit of experience, I was able to do a 50-50
layup with no problems on my first try. Wake up guys. Homebuilders are
at least ten years ahead of anything that comes out of the big iron
plants. The only thing that may come close would be the formerly Beech
Starship, and it was designed by the homebuilder's homebuilder: Burt
I do have one nit to pick with Stan on epoxy though. Being a chemist,
he wants exact molecular ratios of resin to hardener, therefore the
only way to do this is by weighing both the resin and hardener before
mixing instead of using an epoxy pump, which does do ratios by volume.
For me, working alone, all that extra weighing of resin and hardener
just takes to much effort and time. Assuming the pump is working
correctly, the volume ratio is based on the weight ratio of the two
components and the only weight ratio change would be from the
DIFFERENCE in the expansion rates of the components with temperature.
Since most epoxy systems has a 5% margin of error, I'm not overly
concerned about this difference, but I am going to retest my pumper at
various stroke lengths. Also, if you have a scale that can only
register to 2 grams and you're doing a batch of ten or twenty grams
for a small layup, you may end up with an error greater than 5%
anyway. Knowing the weight of the glass and the epoxy used in most
layups I totally agree with.
Another neat technique he showed us was with unidirectional spar cap
tapes. The tapes are only a few inches in width and produce a thick
layup. The rovings are held together with a sparse cross thread, but
any weaving in a glass cloth reduces the strength. What he did was
find the single fine thread on the edge that held the cross thread in
place and removed it after the tape was placed on the canard. Once it
was removed, the cross thread was carefully removed, leaving straight,
flat fibers in the spar cap. That one even surprised the epoxy
manufacturer that sat in on our workshop on Sunday.
Recommended tools were scales, layup rollers and a hair dryer. The
scales are used for weighing the glass and epoxy to calculate their
weight ratios. The rollers are for working out air bubbles and to
distribute the epoxy. He was against using a paint brush to remove air
(a process known stippling) because it tended to break up bubbles
instead of removing them. Layup rollers are shaped something like a
small paint roller, except the roller is plastic or aluminum and has a
grooved surface that allows entrapped air to escape. The hair dryer is
probably his favorite tool. With it he can drastically thin the epoxy
to improve wetting of the glass and speed up the setting time.
Another point he made was that all epoxy layups should be post cured
at an elevated temperature. All epoxies have what's called the glass
transition temperature, where it looses it's strength. They all have a
maximum transition temperature, such as 190 degrees Fahrenheit, but
the actual temperature that it weakens is only thirty or forty degrees
above the temperature the resin was cured at. If it's 60 degrees when
you make a wing, the wing will sag when the skin reaches only 90 or
100 degrees. Not good if you fly down to Sun 'N Fun!
To fix that, after the initial cure is done, Stan post cures the part
by heating it to 130-150 degrees for a few hours with the part
supported so it doesn't bear any weight. This can be done by painting
the part with black tempera and leaving it out in the sun or by
putting it in an 'oven' made out of cardboard boxes and a small
forced air heater.
All in all, I really enjoyed the workshop. There were some problems
that I think were due to the newness of the workshop and limited time,
but over all, it was well worth the $150.
I finally got to try the techniques from the workshop, and the short
answer is: It's harder than it looks.
That's not really a fair statement, as I didn't really allow for the
differences in my application. My first trial was the installation of
my canard bulkhead into the fuselage. To do that, the bulkhead is
aligned plumb and square with the proper station in the fuselage and
then taped in place with 2 ply of bid cloth cut at a 45 degree angle.
The tape goes about an inch and a half up on the bulkhead and down on
the fuselage, both fore and aft, along the full joining line.
So I used a string to find approximately what length of bid tape to
use for the four sections. (Fore and aft and left and right of the
nose gear door cutout.) I cut the tapes to length, weighed them, and
poured an equal weight of epoxy over them on plastic film. With the
layup roller, I spread the epoxy out. With narrow bid tapes, this can
be a bit difficult without the tapes distorting, but the roller did a
good job as long as I didn't move the epoxy ahead of the roller too
quickly. They're rather expensive, but I think they do a better job
than stippling with a paint brush.
Once wetted out, I cut the film to rough size and carried the whole
thing over to the plane and put it in place. One thing though. The bid
tape conforms to the surface much better than the plastic film that
keeps it from stretching, so you have to carefully peel the cloth from
the film as you put it in place. Once in position, I used the corner
and layup rollers to press the cloth in place and covered that with
peel ply squeegeed in place.
When I peeled the peel ply off the next day, there were streaks were
there was no epoxy between the bulkhead and the bid tape, mostly on
the vertical surfaces of the bulkhead. The problem has to do with the
surface of cured triax cloth that was used on the bulkhead. In triax
cloth, there are three layers of fiber bundles, stitched together like
a quilt instead of woven, giving it greater strength. But it also
makes the surface more uneven, with valleys between the bundles of
glass fibers. The streaks I saw were the valleys that had not filled
My mistake was not heating the layup with a hair dryer to thin the
resin out. I had even prewetted the triax with resin on one side as a
test before taping and it didn't seem to make much difference. As a
second test, I cut out a 3 by 3 inch piece of bid and laid it over the
original streaked tape and out onto the bulkhead, this time using
heat. When I peel the peel ply off this time, the dry streaks were
OVER the bundles of glass, indicating I'd used too much heat and
pressure and had worked too much resin out of the cloth. The valleys
were filled nicely though. Ah well. Live and learn.
One thing I feel fairly certain about is the actual best resin to
glass ratio will depend heavily on the weight and weave of the cloth
and how much work you want to put into thoroughly wetting it out.
The next time I try layups like this, I'll try the other technique he
showed us. In it, he marked off the size and shape of the layup on the
plastic film with a Sharpie pen and cut the cloth to approximately the
correct size and shape. After weighing the cloth, he poured an equal
weight of epoxy directly on the film and spread it evenly with a
plastic bondo squeegee. He then laid the cloth on the spread epoxy and
worked the epoxy into the cloth. When the glass was completely wetted
out, he used a razor blade to cut both the cloth and plastic film to
the marked line, leaving a layup ready to be used.
Within the next couple of weeks, I'll be ready to skin my left wing,
so I'll be reporting again on how well the layup rollers do when
working on (very!) large areas of glass.
"You have to be crazy to build an airplane and not yet be a pilot."
Fiberglass update (corky Scott)
As promised, I put in a call to Alexander Airplane Co. to ask their
epoxy expert about some of the concerns aired on the network.
1.David Doshay asked: how accurate must the mix be? Stan (Alexanders
epoxy exptert) stated that the mixture must be within 5% of the ideal
mix ratio by volume or weight in order to be a properly bonded
2. Venky asked: Even though the mixture I've been talking about is
odorless, does this mean it's safer, or must a mask still be worn.
Stan said that this particular resin, and all the resin's they are now
struggling to formulate are safe to be used WITHOUT A MASK. He further
stated that as long as the room was properly ventalated, use of mask
was not necessary. He said that basically he and Hexcel decided that
the old MEK type blends were too dangerous to use, that most old timers
distained the use of masks and were therefore putting themselves at
risk. So the latest batch of resins are formulated without the two
most potent carcinogins, and also, without the smell.
We spoke for some time, he had lots and lots of interesting things to
say, among them was this; the bonding of the resin and hardener can be
enhanced by as much as 30% by placing the part in an area of sustained
heat of about 120 to 130 degrees until cured. Normal room cured
fiberglass achieves about a 50% bond, he said but if you can figure out
some way to heat the area evenly, you can get a bond of closer to 80%.
During experimentation, while he was attempting to figure out ways of
heating his wing for the first time, he actually melted the core right
out of the wing. But, as he stated, that's how you learn, by trying
He further stated that he was designing and building a composite *6
PLACE AIRPLANE* with a gross weight of 4000 lbs and capable of carrying
a ton of load. He's planning to break the around the world record for
a single engine airplane with an engine bumped from 600 to 900
horsepower. "Uh", I said trying to sound casual, "what type of engine
would this be?" He said it was a Titanium block Ford Nascar engine.
The block alone was worth $35,000. This guy is serious about the
Finally, I spoke about using fiberglass for my landing gear and he said
that was not a problem. When I was ready to do that, all I had to do
was give him the gross weight of the airplane and he'd calculate the
width, thickness and dimensions for me and explain how to make the
mold. He also recommended that when the time came to build this, that
I buy one of their weight scales to make sure the ratio was not just
close but perfect since the weight can vary depending on temperature
and humidity. He also stated that they'd work out a "veil" to coat the
gear with to act as a UV barrier and fuel barrier so that nothing could
penetrate the gear and cause a delamination or failure.
He signed off with these words. "Corky, our advice is free, but we
want to be your supplier".
I thanked him profusely and hung up very impressed. Stan has worked
directly with Hexcel for several years to work up new resins that are
safer and more effective. The guy knows his resins and fiberglass.
What do you think Venky? Worth giving this stuff a try? It's Hexcel
Sue Ralph Nader, too, he was supposed to have prevented this kind of
thing by now. Oh, and my fee is 40%
Ed "gettabike" Green, rec.motorcycles
"Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSnail: QPSX Communications, Private Bag 24, West Perth 6005, Australia.
Numbers:(ph) +61 9 262 2000, (fx) +61 9 321 2984 (dod) 0604