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Styrofoam with fiberglass?

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  • Styrofoam with fiberglass?

    So I have begun my carputer project... I am wanting to cram all my hardware in a rather constricting hole in my center dash. The center dash storage bin that is, of course, not big enough. I am shy of about ~5mm or so.. So, I either want to remove material from the original dash unit to make it fit OR remake the dash with fiberglass that provides enough room and still allows the door mechanism to operate.

    Here is my parts list:
    Car: 2003 Honda Accord
    CPU: VIA-M10000
    PSU: M2-ATX
    Screen: Xenarc 700TS
    Storage bin: (top right corner)


    I kinda’ want to go the second route and remake the storage bin, mainly so that I can more easily create the custom mounting points that will be necessary to house all my hardware pieces. The second reason for this is that I have never worked with fiberglass (other than boat repair) and would like the experience.

    My thought was to remove the door from the original storage unit and ‘sculpt’ the bin part out of styrofoam. Once I have a working outershell model, I figured I would wrap the mold in foil and fiberglass around that. I will need to have the Styrofoam removed after it cures.

    My question is this:
    Does anyone have any experience with styrofoam molds? Is it possible? Any tips for me? Is there a better way to make such a complex 3D mold?

  • #2
    styrofoam is ok to use. The only bad part about it is when shaping it if you trim to much its kind of hard to 'put it back'.

    What I usually do is get small wooden dowel (sp) rods from a hobby store (Michaels, home depot, etc...) and glue together a small skeleton frame. Then I staple and/or glue the fiberglass to the frame and make it. Then I just pull or cut the wooden dowels out. It's worked pretty good so far, and since this really wont be visable and doesnt need to be extra perfect it might work for you.
    '02 GTI
    [Routis '04] [Opus 90W] [160GB Maxtor HD]
    [Lilliput 7" TS] [VIA M10000] [XMPCR]
    [512MB RAM] [Custom housing]
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    • #3
      careful with styrofoam, make sure you get the stuff from a craft store not the packing stuff.
      Continued Worklog... Upgrades in progress:
      *15.4" WXGA LED backlight touchscreen upgrade
      *Custom fiberglass dash bezel

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      • #4
        I actually picked up some styrofoam used for insulation in a house/door/window.

        What qualities am I looking for by purchasing craft store styrofoam?

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        • #5
          I think the pink stuff from home depot is OK. IIRC it is because it "closed cell". Whatever it' not the styrofoam that falls apart in little balls. I'm in the middle of a project like this. I think what I might try to do is use a balloon of some kind to "puff" out the shape I'm trying to get.

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          • #6
            I used the green foam from the craft store once. It worked great. the best thing about it is that when shaping it all you do is cut your rough shape then smooth the edges by squishing them in or rubbing or sanding them smooth. It shapes real easy and works great.
            Actaully didnt even need the fiberglass when done. I sprayed it with some spray on bed liner wich looked the same as my dash and it also gave it a hard surface. Mind you it wont take a kick from your girlfreinds shoe when you got her spread eagle in the car but it is durable.
            If you need to have a harder surface you could probably make a mold from the foam and lay the fiberglass over it.
            New Age Garmin - Skin for RR
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            "It's called CODE because I don't want you to know"

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            • #7
              ah! Well the styrofoam that I have now is in fact the 'break up into little balls' type. I will look into the floral arrangement foam (green stuff) and possible Great Stuff (foam in a can)

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              • #8
                The stuff that breaks apart is a no-go with fiberglass. It melts down and becomes a goo almost like napalm. A fiberglass supply store should sell foam for molding purpose.
                Continued Worklog... Upgrades in progress:
                *15.4" WXGA LED backlight touchscreen upgrade
                *Custom fiberglass dash bezel

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                • #9
                  also there is a FG 2 part foam i think its available in polyester and epoxy.

                  mix well watch it expand into the cardboard box

                  start "shaping"....and its meant for this
                  06 Altima..SER front bumper.
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