Monday, January 15, 2018

More fiberglass work

Dateline 01/13/2018 - Worked on more fiberglass this weekend.  Focused on the other door panel.  Pretty much the same routine as last weekend. The difference though is that I didn't wrap the panel as tightly with Saran Wrap as I did the other one and that caused some problems after the epoxy set!  I've got some lumps, air bubbles and bridging that I'm going to need to sand or cut out and repair.  Lesson learned, wrap it tight!

I also did the carbon fiber layup on the reading light switch using the vacuum bagging technique.  I had the same challenges as I had before, but the results turned out okay.  Will still need some finishing work and coats of lacquer, but it should be fine.

Finally, I got the car running.  I had to put some gas in it, but I did get it started pretty easily.  I've called the paint guy to look at the differences between the doors and the body but I need to drive the car over to the shop.  Maybe this weekend.

Well, that all to report!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Continued work on Door Panels

Dateline - 01/07/2018 - Continued work on the door panels and center console this weekend.  Sunday was a very wet day, which makes for a good day to work in the garage.  The morning started with getting set up for epoxy work, which means clearing an area, putting down cardboard, and prepping and staging everything so that it is ready to go, which included cutting three layers of 10lb fiber glass mat to fit the buck and one layer of peel ply.  This was the layup "schedule" for the part.  Here are pictures of the buck and the layup schedule:

Right back door-card buck

Fiber Glass layup schedule - three plies of  10lb fiber glass

I then started the actual layup by putting the first layer on top of the buck and started spreading epoxy.  It takes quite a bit of epoxy to do an entire door panel.  Fortunately I had gone to West Marine on Saturday to pick up more (105 Resin, 206 Hardener) because I emptied the container I had and made good dent in the new one.  I didn't keep count, but I probably used 15 pumps (the pumps are calibrated to deliver the correct amount of resin to hardener (1:5)) of resin to do the entire panel.

After the first layer was applied, I put on the second and continued to work epoxy into it to make sure it was completely "wet."  Once that was done, the third layer was applied.  As more layers are applied, less epoxy is needed because there is always extra from the layers below.  The key is to add epoxy where the fabric isn't wetting and making sure to squeegee the resin to bring as much to the surface as possible.  I use my hands (gloved of course) to move the epoxy around, as well as the stirring stick and a plastic squeegee. 

Once all the layers where done, I put the layer of peel ply over the top and then started wrapping the piece in Saran Wrap.  I could have used the Shrink Stretch material I got from Fibre Glast, but I knew that the Saran Wrap process works well and the peel ply will make it easy to remove.

Door panel epoxied and covered in Saran Wrap
Once the epoxy set (Monday) I was able to easily peel the Saran wrap and peel ply off to get the panel.  All it needs now is to cut off the waist and sand a few areas.

Door Panel with Saran Wrap and Peel Ply removed
I spent about three hours working the door panel and by the time I was done, I didn't feel like working on the other door.  So I did some work on the center console.  I stated last week that I was trying an idea to put the reading light switches in the center console.  Looking at it after a week, I really didn't like it.  So I filled in the hole I had cut with a block of foam and drywall plaster and looked for a new location for the switches.  I found it!  The switches will go on the back of the front center console, ahead of the cup holders.  This was the location of the rear air vent in the original car which I am no longer using. I didn't know what I was going to do with that area, so this seemed like a good solution.  I could put the switches there, in a holder similar in shape and size to what I used for the power window switches, and even use carbon fiber to keep the theme.

Open area above cup holders to be used for light switches
To prove that this idea would would, I cut a piece of foam to hold the switches and fit in the spot. It was perfect.

Foam prototype for light switches
Because I know the foam would not work well in the vacuum bag, I went ahead and modeled the part in Blender and printed out a couple of test parts on my 3D printer.  (Note:  The pink abs plastic is a leftover from printing a bunch of Lego "Pussy Hats" for a friend.  I have three lbs of pink plastic, and prototypes are just about the only use I can find for it!)

Light Switch Holder Blender Model

Light Switch Holder Blender Model
3D printed prototype for light switch holder in situ

Prototype light switch holder with light switch frames and center USB adapter in place
So now I just need to do a final print of part and carbon fiber cover it using the vacuum bagging tools.  I'm pretty stoked!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy New Year!

Dateline - 12/31/2017 - Had a long weekend with the New Years holiday so I got a couple of days to work on the car.  It was all consumed by door panels and fiberglass work.  I completed the left and right hand rear door panel bucks.  This required a lot of foam cutting, gluing, sanding and fitting!  What I learn on one side I can apply to the second, but since everything is a one-off, they are all a little different.  Too bad I'm not building these for a full production run!  I'd have everything ready to go! 

I also did the layup on the other armrest as explained in the last post.  I now need to cut openings into the rests, fabricate the metal reinforcements and glue them into place.  Once I have that done, I can fabricate the mounting points that will go on the doors, which will require pulling out the MIG welder.  Oh the fun never ends!

I also worked a bit on the center console in the back. I bought two switches for the back reading lights as well as a duel USB adapter that looks like one of the switches.  I cut open the center console to mount the switches, but I'm not sure I really like the results.  Still thinking this through. The nice thing is that the only thing I lose is foam and time.  Better to prototype to see if I like it before I expend fiberglass and carbon fiber to the effort!