Working with fiberglass
is not among my favorite
these fiberglass tips
and techniques helped me out as I went along, and may also help you
simplify the fiberglass phase of your build.
I used electrical tape
and duct tape to do the masking. The
fiberglass resin won’t stick to
them. I wanted a
fine line around the
plexiglass bubble where it met the fiberglass.
So I used two layers of electric tape, one on
top of the other. I
used an aggressive sand paper until I got
to the first layer, then I switched to a finer grit until the second
everything was removed it
left a small lip, the thickness of one layer of electric tape, at the
Mask off everything!
The fiberglass resin will get anywhere you
This fiberglass tip saved
me loads of rework time.
I found that several of
the fiberglass pieces didn’t fit
exactly the way I wanted. Also,
tip arrived there was a spot about 10 inches across where it dimpled in. I could push it back out,
but as soon as I
let go it would pop back in. So
I used a
heat gun and fixed it.
I put on my welding
gloves (any thick leather gloves will
do) to allow me to handle the fiberglass when it got really hot, then I
a heat gun at the offending spot.
the fiberglass was hot and pliable, I pushed it into shape and held it
cooled in the new position. This
several shots, reheating at slightly different locations until I had
shape I wanted.
Don’t be in a hurry with
this process. If
you try to bend the fiberglass into shape
before it is hot and pliable, it may crack or break.
I heated the fiberglass
until it got sticky and I could
easily move it around with gloved hands.
Then I turned the gun off and worked the part
into shape. The
hardest part was holding the piece in
shape until it cooled enough to no longer be pliable.
Wait until you are ready
to paint before making a lot of
final touches. You
can spend a lot of
time and the project can easily get bogged down.
I made the parts
structurally sound. But
I didn’t spend any time making them
have seen lots of planes that
weren’t painted yet, but the fiberglass was immaculate.
I think this is a little bit of wasted
effort. You will
have to go back and
work the parts before painting anyway.
So my though is to just wait until I am ready
to paint to do the final
touches on the fiberglass.
For example: I have
the canopy skirt made. It
fits well, and
is structurally sound. I
can go fly
with it as it is. But
it does need more
work before painting. I
still need to
smooth out the edges where it meets the plexiglass, and there are still
pin holes that need filling. Also,
trailing edge needs a little work to get it to the perfect shape.
After I have flown, and
am satisfied that no modifications
need to be made, I will tackle the finishing touches.
I will start at the front and work my way to
the aft end of the plane, cleaning things up and prepping for paint.
had always heard that I
needed to use a flap wheel to
sand the edges of fiberglass into shape.
I tried it, but I found Scotch-Brite discs
worked a lot better. The
fiberglass is hard on the Scotch-Brite,
and I went through several pads, but it was quick, and gave good
all the platenuts that are attached to
fiberglass with a tap before you install them.
They are so tight that the screws have a hard
time going in. I
ripped one out as I installed the wingtip
light. So I had to
remove the wingtip to
make the repair. That’s
a lot of screws
to remove and re-install just to fix one platenut.
I think you'll find that the fiberglass tips on this page will help
your build to go faster and smoother.
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