Fibreglass work

14 October 2012 Bodywork 1903

As I will be fabricating a complete GRP front end for my V8 I have the opportunity before I refit my lights etc. to my Cortina Deluxe to make GRP molds of the lamp bowls. I have never made GRP molds before, so this is another first. I hope to show you what is done to achieve this task. Let's hope it works out OK. To start with the area was thoroughly cleaned. Areas not requiring fibreglassing were masked off to protect from resin contact. Both headlight bowls were then coated with Mold Release (Cannuba wax).  Each coat was waxed on and then polished out before it dried. 30 minutes were left before applying the next coat. 5 coats were layed on before applying a coat of PVA releasing agent (blue coating).  This has to thoroughly dry before laying on the Gelcoat which is my next task.  Come back soon.

12/11/2012 - The headlamp bowls mold have now been completed. Additional photos have been added to the gallery above. These include the matting cut out ready to lay up, a couple of rollers used to make sure all air bubbles/pockets have been eliminated, the materials used, headlamp bowl with the gelcoat applied, matting layered up (1 x 300 and 2 x 450), matting trimmed while still green.  This will be left for a week to harden before the mold can be removed.

27/11/2012 - I have decided the type of scoop for my bonnet will be the induction cowl type. So, another first as I will want to make my own and whilst at it make it part of the bonnet as a one piece unit.

My first task is to make use of my other Cortina bonnet before it gets resprayed and re-fitted. To ensure I get the central ridge line in the center of the bonnet for my induction cowl I will be taking a mold of the center part. From this a thin layer of fibreglass will be made to form the top part which will make more sense as the project develops and you see the pictures.

To date (see pictures below) I have sanded down the center part of the bonnet to make it as smooth as possible. Masking tape was used to protect the bonnet trim at the front, hide the holes where the FORD letters were and the sides marking out the boundary.

As above, 5 layers of wax were applied and a coat of Release agent brushed on. When completely dry a layer of gelcoat was then brushed on.  After the gelcoat was done, I realised this was unnessessary for what I had in mind (another lessoned learned).

Due to the cold weather I have not managed to get the layers of fibreglass matting applied. However, the next stage for me was to work out the size and shape of the induction cowl. You will see a picture below showing the front end of the car mocked up. With some wooden spacers placed on the air filter a spirit level was used so I could transpose the height measurements down to the bonnet - front and back of the filter. Masking tape was used to mark out the side ridges of the bonnet to give me a crisp solid line to take measurements from. Using the edge of the tape I marked out the inside line of the induction cowl sides which will be made of thick MDF. The outline curve of the bonnet was marked on a large piece of MDF.  This was simply done by holding the bonnet at 90 degrees to the MDF and using a Sharpie to mark the line of the bonnet. The height measurements were marked up and the curve from the front of the bonnet to the start of the fixed height had to be marked up. What I did was to use grease proof paper (from the kitchen) and trace through the bonnet curve. This was then cut out to use as a template. The template was positioned, taped up and the outline marked out on the MDF board - see pictures below. You will also see a few crosses, you will have read this a million times but it is true, measure, measure and measure again before you cut.  It paid off here :)

Update: 28/02/2013 - More pictures added to the gallery below. Following from above you will see the layering up the bonnet with fibreglass matting, the mold removed and being washed down and the sides cut out and bonded onto the bonnet after grinding all the paintwork off to form a good key. The sides were given some support braces to make sure they held firm furing the build up. A thin layer of fibreglass was layed up on the new mold and when cured, removed and fitted over the side supports for a trial fit. Due to the overhang a further short piece was layered up using the existing bonnet from my other Cortina.  The next few pictures show the new fibreglas panel fitted, marked up, screwed down and cut to size.  Following from the trim down comes the filler work to blend in the panel. After the initial filler work and sanding down a couple of light coats of etch primer is applied to see what it looks like. More to follow soon...