Introduction: Fiberglass Body (Citadel Baja Vehicle)
The Citadel Baja team used fiberglass laid in two layers in less than ideal conditions. Still to be done, the panels need to be sanded and painted to greatly improve the look of the panels.
Step 1: Collect Raw Materials to Prepare Laying Fiberglass
The materials used to lay the fiberglass body for the Citadel Baja Car includes: 6 mil plastic sheet, epoxy fiberglass resin, epoxy hardener, acetone, paint brushes, quart size disposable mixing cups,duct tape, fiberglass cloth, and fiberglass mat. The 6 mil plastic sheeting will be used to make the molds/ wrap the frame of the cart. The epoxy resin and hardener will create the matrix. The fiberglass mat and cloth is the reinforcement medium. Acetone is the release agent, so that the fiberglass will not stick to the plastic once the resin has cured. The paint brushes will be used to apply and spread the acetone and resin. The duct tape will be used to hold the plastic to the frame. The mixing cups will be used while mixing the resin and hardener.
Step 2: Apply Plastic to Frame
Wrap the portion of the frame to be fiberglassed in plastic. Ensure that the plastic is pulled tight and smooth any waves and wrinkles out. Apply bracing underneath the plastic to ensure that the plastic does not droop as the resin cures. Hold the plastic in place using the duct tape.
Step 3: Cut Fiberglass Mat and Cloth to Shape
Lay the fiberglass mat and cloth over the area to be fiberglassed and cut the material to shape leaving about a half of an inch overhang around the shape. After the shape is cut, remove it from on the plastic and lay it to the side.
Step 4: Put Acetone on the Plastic
Apply the Acetone generously to the plastic covering every bit of plastic that the fiberglass will touch. If the fiberglass will touch the metal at all, put acetone on that part of the metal frame.
Step 5: Lay Fiberglass Mat
Lay the coarse fiberglass mat (thicker material) on the plastic and align it on the plastic in the correct orientation.
Step 6: Mix the Fiberglass Resin and Put Into the
Mix the fiberglass resin in the quart size mixing cups. Pour one quart of resin into the cup and mix a cap full of hardener into the resin. Stir the hardener and resin together well. Pour the resin along the fiberglass mat and then use a paint brush to spread it out. Ensure that the resin goes all the way through mat and spreads out evenly. If rollers are available, use the rollers to get any bubbles out of the fiberglass.
Step 7: Lay the Fiberglass Cloth Down and Spread Resin Through It
While the resin from the last layer is still curing, lay the fiberglass cloth over the mold. Ensure that the cloth is positioned correctly before any part of the cloth touches the resin. Then, mix another quart of resin/hardener solution and spread it through the cloth. Allow approximately 12 hours for the resin to cure and cut the panel and join panels as needed.
Step 8: Repeat Above Steps Until All Fiberglass Work Is Finished
Step 9: Attach Panels to Vehicle
Weld threaded weld studs to key places on the body that your panels will cover (e.g. the corners of the panels). Then, drill the panels where the studs line up on the panels. Finally, screw the panels to the vehicle. Paint the panels to finish bodywork (this had not been done at the time this was written).