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I'm wanting to build a custom removable livewell for a buddy. He wants it out of fiberglass, and its a wierd shape to fit into the transom. Its basically going to have the shape of a capital "D" to slide up against the center console. We need to build two, and he wants them to look identical. If I guessed, they are going to be about 20 gallons each. Yeah, it would be easier to buy a icechest and make a livewell out of it, but this is an over winter project. his Dad has expressed interest in a pair for his boats as well, but I want to get the first one done so I can see where I made my mistakes before we build the usable models in Jan/Feb.

My question, should we build a jig and fiberglass over that, and then add in the sides? If we build a jig, what do we do to keep the fiberglass from sticking to it? What's the best material to build the jig out of, sheet metal maybe? Where can we get the roving and mat? What is the best resin? Basically need to know as much as possible to reduce down the $$$ wasted to inexperience.
 

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2006 Skeeter Cookoff "2nd Place Brisket"
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Call me Blacktip, will Pm my #..... I worked in a fiberglass prototype shop for 5 yrs building molds for offshore buoys..... Will be happy to provide advise, and maybe some help..... I also have a good material supplier in the Houston area.....
 

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sounds like a good project. i'm still plannin out some things to build to put onmy scooter.... i was thinkin of buildin a replica out of ???? then glasin over that to make a mold. tehn make my finished sotarge box. about 38" x 24" x 18".........JJ
 

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Badhabit said:
Call me Blacktip, will Pm my #..... I worked in a fiberglass prototype shop for 5 yrs building molds for offshore buoys..... Will be happy to provide advise, and maybe some help..... I also have a good material supplier in the Houston area.....
You sound like a handy guy to know, you could probably pick up alot of 'side work' with your knowledge. I've built some parts out of carbon fiber for race cars and race karts. We needed a good shiny exposed surface and would use the smoothest cleanest plexiglass we could find for making curved parts. BH could probably tell you all the in's and out's. Too bad it would be too much to explain by posting it up but would be neat to know how to do it...
 

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Bh, I'll give you a shout tomorrow afternoon.
 

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2006 Skeeter Cookoff "2nd Place Brisket"
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Big Daddy said:
You sound like a handy guy to know, you could probably pick up alot of 'side work' with your knowledge. I've built some parts out of carbon fiber for race cars and race karts. We needed a good shiny exposed surface and would use the smoothest cleanest plexiglass we could find for making curved parts. BH could probably tell you all the in's and out's. Too bad it would be too much to explain by posting it up but would be neat to know how to do it...
I build my plugs for parts out of wood, then glass over them, then tooling gelcoat, then sand and sand and sand for a perfect finish, all the way to 600 grt sand paper, then polish and buff, then wax and wax, the wax is a release agent for the mold..... Peice of cake, just time consuming.....
 

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I'll get the name of the stuff they build molds out of where I work. It is something like a masonite product. There are any number of mold releases available that will need to me applied to the mold before you start laying glass. As far as resin goes, any good polyester resin will do for a project like this. Also, you are going to need a gelcoat to keep things water tight. As far as fiberglass, I would consider looking at a veil, 3/4 oz chopped strand and a woven roving, maybe 24 oz.

Once you have your mold ready and perfect, your lay up will be something like the following. Mold release, gelcoat, veil, 3/4 oz chopped strand, woven roving, 3/4 oz chopped strand, veil.

The only thing I can tell you about working with resin and glass on a project like this is to take it slow. Catalyst can be added to resin in different amounts to make it "kick" faster or slower. Slower is what you want. It will give you time to roll the glass out and work out air bubbles and voids before it gets hard.

Other stuff you will need. A couple of glass rollers, all-metal shears or scissors to cut glass with, lots of disposable gloves, acetone or dbe to clean up with.

Also a word of caution. The catalyst will most likely be some type of organic peroxide, perhaps Hi-point 90. This is really nasty stuff if you get it on your skin.

I hope this helps some and feel free to pm me with more specific questions. I have access to guys at work that are master fiberglass craftsmen.
 

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2006 Skeeter Cookoff "2nd Place Brisket"
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Catalyst will be Methyl Ethyl Keytone Peroxide, mold releasae varys between a wax and Poly Vinyl Alcholol (PVA)...... Wax gives the best finish.... Rollers are a must as is acetone......
 

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Darrell,
Funny you should mention fiberglas and polyester resin, I made surfboards in California (Ocean Pacific) in 1969 and Surfboards East of Hawaii before that here in Texas.
So you should be able to appreciate this story.
About 1972-3 I was working at an industrial fiberglas factory making pipe and huge vessels. One day I had just popped a 8' dish-head of a mold and was going to install a man-way with flange. We used 2 gallon paper buckets and this was a job I figured would take at least a gallon. So I got the resin and catalyzed it and stepped into this big bowl, but I couldn't reach the center with one step.
As soon as I picked up my foot, still on the ground outside, I slipped and put the bucket of resin on like a hat all in one motion.
With the styrene and MEKP burning my eyes I quickly made for a 55 gallon of acetone with a foot lever for the top. I took a deep breath and went head first into the acetone scrubbing, came up and did it again. By then my co workers were there and held open my eyes so everything could evaporate. YOWL!
 

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Here's a better idea......did what you want to do for a freshwater tank inside an odd shaped cuddy compartment.

You probably want the live well insulated so line (fit) the transom with cardboard and then whatever thickness foam you want......1/2" - 3/4" would do well. Resin coat the foam and lay your fiberglass over it. 1/8" would be plenty and remove it when cured. Remove the cardboard and apply fiberglass to the outside and be careful to keep the dimensional thickness less than the cardboard. You dont need a mold for just 2 parts and SO MUCH LESS WORK!

I own a composite manufacturing company and I can sell you the materials you need at cost.....Can GIVE you all the scrap glass you want and a used roller..good for what you need...buckets etc.

The foam will cost you the most but not that much....use divinycell or something close.

George

PS. This method will yield a perfect fit in a odd shaped compartment.
 
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