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Fiberglassing inside a studio apartment? Answered

First off, I want to preface I know the dangers of fiberglass fumes, and will not do anything too stupid: I'll only use it if it works and is safe.

Anyways, I live in a studio apartment downtown, so outdoor space to do stuff like this is non-existent. On top of that, I don't have very many good friends in town, as most have moved away, so borrowing a hunk of lawn elsewhere is a bit of a pain. My question is: is there any sort of fume hood I could make/buy (that won't break bank) that would be big enough to work on a helmet in, and would be able to extract the working fumes, along with the drying fumes. Noise isn't a major issue, but the quieter, the better. 

Alternatively, is anyone knows of any sort of trick place to work (like a back room in a hardware shop) I'm open to suggestions!

Thanks in advance.



4 years ago

If you live close to Smelter Ave no one will notice the smell. Or the air base. Why not just find a garage to work in? Granted it is starting to get cold out but there are a lot of semi heated garages there. If you don't know of anybody that has one I might be able to give you a few contacts there. My kids are in Havre and have friends in GF. But no guaranties on actually finding a place for free.

Sadly, I don't. As far as garages go, I kinda had a stupid realization that I never asked anyone at my work. One of my coworkers is looking to build a shed for his crafts, so I think I may be able to work in there. Though I'm thankful for the offer of contacts!

The only thing that'll suck up the fumes is probably an active charcoal filter.
Are you using styrene or epoxy resins ?

My major concern with that is lose of strength. I haven't looked too much, admittedly, but I have seen a few people that state lower-styren resins tend to crack and warp more so then the higher styren ones.

since they are used in industry extensively, maybe there are wrinkles to their use you need to find out. maybe you have to accept a lower cure speed?

Regarding alternative locations, it would be useful to know [roughly] where you are...

Is Mt Elliott too far?



4 years ago

I used the system (made of plywood rather than cardboard) in attached drawing to vent paint fumes from my basement when building railroad models. You'll need about 12 inches or so space from the fan to the back of the box to create a plenum.

Exhaust box.png

Probably a stupid question...but whats the point of the plenum?

If the air in the box isn't moving away from your face, the whole set-up is pointless.


4 years ago

Find a non-profit makerspace, hackerspace, workshop in your town.

These people will rent you space and usually have any machines you might need.


That was the first thing I jumped on, but sadly, no one in my town has one. Or, at least, has one publicly listed.

Sorry to hear that.

In your small town there may be a garbage dump or dead end dirt road.
where you can lay the glass on a weekenday and sanding ... two of the worst smell steps.

That is an option, but to save time driving (lazyness, go!) if I can do it at home, that would be awesome. If not, then a road trip to do it may be in order.

BTW be careful .... if you stink up your place
An angry resident may call the fire dept or bombsquad on you..

I plan to! If I find some sort of indoor system, I'll test it with cans before doing any proper fiberglassing.

No matter what you do the smell is going to be awful and linger for days or weeks. This quite aside from it not being good for you.

Find an outdoor un-living space. Fume extraction isn't going to work. The object will smell fore weeks after the styrene has cured.

As bad as this is, I'm fine with the faint lingering smell the project will have for the weeks after its cured. At my old place, I would leave my project outside for a day, and drag it into the house (usually in the bathroom).
As for outdoor space...thats the issue. With where I live (both the town and where I live in the town) finding such a space is a pain.

Then you need to suck the smell outside with a good strong fan & a hood just like you do cooking smells.

Go for the much less stinky low-styrene resins ?

Doing fiberglass in an apartment building is extremely inconsiderate of your neighbors, and may be considered a violation of your lease/rental agreement (read the fine print, very carefully, to make sure your landlord can't evict you!).

If you're in an urban environment, check your phonebook (IRL or online) for body shops or metal-working shops (welding). If you know what you're doing, and can offer to contribute to a shop (clean up, bondo work, whatever!), I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly they'll agree to host you.

People who make stuff are pretty friendly to other people who make stuff :-)

Thus the reason for fume extraction! I don't want it in my studio, nor do I want it in any o my neighbors apartments. As far as the land lord goes, I'm golden to do that in the building. The issue comes in with the smell disturbing others.

As for the host idea, I'll have to give that a shot! I don't live in a town with a lot of shops (wielding, body work, or otherwise) but I will give the few near me a call!