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Thread: clay and fiberglassing

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    Question clay and fiberglassing

    every fiberglassing tutorial i have seen is for subwoofers and using cloth to shape, what i am trying to do is get exactly the mold i want with clay, and i want to know if i can just put on fiberglassing right on top of the clay, or do i need to add anything over the clay first. i am still not 100% sure what fiberglassing is, from to my understanding its, like a can of paint that hardens when it drys? plz let me know anything else i should consider before i start this. thanks guys...
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    Maximum Bitrate binary.h4x's Avatar
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    fiberglassing consists of sheets of fiberglass that are held together via resin. You could mold it out of clan, but you might want to put a layer of masking tape between the fiberglass and clay.
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    Fiberglass = similar to a sheet of cloth
    Resin = similar to pancake syrup in texture.. when mixed with the hardener (watery liquid) it hardens. When the fiberglass is soaked in it it all bonds together.

    If you use clay you might want to use some mold release on it first. Then the mold should slide right out. Do do a mold properly your first fiberglassing will just be to make a mold, then you would spray the inside of that with mold release and fiberglass in that to get the exact shape of the clay.

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    The most accepted way for fiberglassing a sub enclosure is this.

    1. Lay down layers of tape and foil, then once your work area is covered with tape/foil,
    2. apply resin to the tape and then 2'x5' (or thereabouts) stips of fiberglass and saturate it with resin until the glass becomes "clear".
    3. Do this all around your area, about 3-4 layers, then rip the mold out of your trunk and remove all the tape, and
    4. apply a few more layers (depending on what kind of subs you have).
    5.Cut off excess glasss, then mount your speaker ring(s) with dowels.

    Here's where your question comes in, I can't imagine that clay would work, but you can use dowels, or folding, or any other means neccesary to shape the fabric you drape over the ring.
    6. Then just apply resin to fabric, making sure your speaker rings get firmley resined to the cloth.
    7. Let that dry,
    8. then apply resin, then glass, and saturate with a stabbing motion. Do about 3-4 layers, then test the flex.

    I could stand on mine after about 3, but i put one 4-5 so it wouldn't flex, as flexing ruins responce/performance.

    At the end i put a layer of glass on the back of the original mold, to make sure there were no leaks. Once its dry, a good way to test for leaks would be to fill it up with water in your yard, then you can see where air might get out.
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    ok, so u have to lay sheets of fiberglass on, i was thinking the resein is the only thing used with another liq. mixture. now my question is, if i have to lay sheets of FG, is it easy to go around curves, because the mold i am going to make is going to have a round inward corner that will wrap around the pillar, so for a mold like that what is my best options,is there anything besides clay i can use, where is the best place to get started...
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    Yea glass can do pretty much any form you want, althoguh it takes some patience some times because corners tend to get air bubbles.
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    you can use expanding foam and carve the shape you want out of that an fiberglass over, thats usually done with doorcard fabrication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1knows
    you can use expanding foam and carve the shape you want out of that an fiberglass over, thats usually done with doorcard fabrication.
    doesnt that stick to the surface, i only know the ones that fills into the spaces in woodmoldings, if that is what your talking about...
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    I've used clay before for modelling, and it's the best thing out there.
    The second best way to make a trim piece (or whatever) would be get it designed in 3D and pay $$'s for it to be rapid-prototyped, but that's way off for most people....(although not impossible)

    With clay, you can keep remaking surfaces, and make design changes as many times as it takes to get it right since designs will always look slightly different as opposed to a 2D sketch, or whatever you think it'll look like in your head. As you model, you get to see your creation slowly come to life and it'll all be one colour, as opposed to an eye-boggling array of sanded fibreglass/fillers/primers in which detecting bad surfaces is difficult.

    You will need to use release agent - a silicon-based spray will suffice. And when you pop the final model out, you may still need to do some filling, but all your basic surfaces are there and all the reflections and light-catching areas will look straight. More importantly, it'll give you that original manufacturer equipment look that you strive for, as you can create surfaces as complex as you wish.

    People think clay is something that's very fragile, and something that'll fall apart as soon as you touch it, but that's not the case. The clay you get at art college will be like this as it's natural clay, but automotive clay is synthetic and very hard and durable when cooled (clay needs to be warmed up in an oven to be useable).

    The best clay I've used is by Kolb - this is very light, and can even be polished very nicely to check for surfaces and reflections. I think if you manage to find this, it'll be expensive. A popular brand of clay is Chavant - very popular in car studios around the world and I think shouldn't be too hard to find. Actually, if you live near the car studios in California, you could even do worse than ask them to give you some used clay (studios throw out a horrendous amount).

    Now to use clay, you'll need clay tools - these usually consist of nothing more than home-made tools. The most basic are called "slicks", as they're known. These are made from sprung steel with sharpened straight edges. To use it you simply put it on the clay surface, and bend it until the sharp edge matches roughly with the curvature of the clay and drag it, making sure the top of the slick is tilting towards the direction of travel. If you bend the slick over the clay and there's a gap under it, you'll need to put in more clay. What you're effectively doing when working with clay is shaving away the layers until you reveal the surface you want. As you're shaving away, the excess clay can be used again as you refine the surface and you won't be choking on filler and fibreglass resin fumes for however many weekends it normally takes. Of course, more tools can be made easily as you need them. For example, a simple rake can be made by bevelling off the edge of a craft knife blade and brazing it to a metal handle. A rake will be usefull for removing larger areas of clay, and you can even grind serated edges to it.
    As for creating a radius along an edge, you will need to create the point in which two adjoining surfaces meet, then mask off the area you want to keep before using smaller rounded slicks to drag off the excess.

    It's all difficult to explain, and there are huge amounts off techniques modellers use to achieve surfaces - pretty much anything is possible - so I hope I've helped a little

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerosiggls
    every fiberglassing tutorial i have seen is for subwoofers and using cloth to shape, what i am trying to do is get exactly the mold i want with clay,
    This isnt done too often. The most elegant shapes are those made by nature, not made by man. Thus, the most elegant looking subwofoer boxes are those with boundraies defined by function (mounting plate, baffle, etc) then cloth stretched over. between the boundaries is not micromanaged with chickenwire, backstrapping, or clay because its generally undesireable. the finished product often has fundamental aesthetic issues.

    there are times when a *landscape* is managed bit by bit, but never for an enclosure and rarely for a pod for a screen, although its not unheard of. Building things like custom doorpanels are dnot done with the stretch and glass method, but rather with foam. Foam is carved out into the desired shape, then a skin made of fiberglass. the foam cna be retained or scooped out afterwards.

    that being said, yes you cna jsut lay up cloth and resin right on yoru clay, no problem. I cant think of a problem with either water based clay nor oil based clay. Hoever, I have never tried it, so I cant say for sure that it wont ruin teh clay or some other potential issue.

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