In building a part, the first step is a mold. This can be made from many different materials, in this case a silicon rubber mold. Most of our molds are rigid, and made of fiberglass.
With this complicated part, first a colorized structural putty of chopped glass, amorphous silica, and resin is applied to the mold, and worked into all the nooks and crannies. Then a backing layer of fiberglass and resin is applied for strength.
Once pulled from the mold, grinding, sanding, and finishing are done. In this case, a fiberglass back plate is also added.
FIberglass products have an excellent ability to survive the outside environment, and can take on a natural aged finish similar to old marble when left alone. Easily painted with the proper paint.
Credits to Chandler Davis for his work at the shop. See our CREDITS page for more of his products
The plug is basically a full size model of the final fiberglass part. It can be made of any material compatible with the chemistry of the mold material. Often wood is a good choice. A finish is necessary to seal the wood. Any imperfections or finsheswill be transferred over to the mold, and then on to every fiberglass piece, unless the mold is reworked.
Delicate plugs often do not survive being demolded without careful release techniques, such as multiple layers of wax and a sprayed film of PVA (polyvinyl alcohol). Intricate molds, such as above, may need to be made of flexible rubber to release the final product.
Plug design can play an important part in in final production. A plug with positive draft can result in a one piece mold, simplifying production, and eliminating parting lines required in a multipart mold, with bolted flanges.
We have modest wood working tools, and can build simple molds from your drawings. More complicated plugs are often referred to our brother Mike's wood shop, click the credits and references button above.
AS ALWAYS WE ARE HAPPY TO WORK WITH YOU ON THIS OR ANY PHASE OF YOUR PROJECT
While we do not market or ship materials, we do sell products to the local DIYers and field repair folk. Our supply of containers is very low, so best to bring your own containers for liquids.
We generally stock the following:
10 oz x38" cloth
1.5 oz x38" mat
24 oz x 38" roving
stitchmat (also called Fabmat) a combination of 1.5 oz mat and 24 oz roving 38" wide
Fumed silica- glass powder for thickening
1/8" chopped strand glass, for reinforcing putties
We have 2 different laminating resins:
Ortho polyester resin- used for general purpose laminating
Iso polyester resin- improved chemical resistance and best for direct contact with the marine environment
White Gelcoat, marine grade, same chemisty as the iso resin
Various products used in working with fiberglass:
2" chip brush
3"x1/2" fiberglass ribbed roller
mold release wax
DDM 9 catalyst
DDM 30 Catalyst- 1/2 strength of DDM 9
We do not have a shipping department, and are not equipped to handle shipping these items. Check our references page for possible sources.