Building a Fiberglass center console with FAST Fabrication

Discussion in 'Shop - Body and Paint' started by F.A.S.T.clothing, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    FAST Fabrication decided to build a fiberglass console for the race truck. This is not the first fiberglass thing we have built on the truck (we did the scoops, upper visor and lower visor and valence); however this was the first time we used the wire mesh purely for skeleton shape purpose. I will tell you how we went about getting to the point we are now, and will continue to post updates until the final product is ready for paint.

    Step 1: We built the main structure out of thin wall tubing, and put a compound bend so it could go in between the seats and down to the back seat bar. The 3 major components going in the console were mounted to this framework: shifter, intercom, and master shutoff. Everything was put in place so either the console would lay flush with the top of the components or lay over the components edges to hold it in place.
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    Step 2: Once we had the tube structure completely welded with all the components going into the console we built a structure to lay the fiberglass on. We used ¼” wire mesh and ½” mdf to build our framework for which the console would be built on.
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    Step 3: We needed to come up with a way to lay the fiberglass, but be able to separate it from the wire framework once it was complete. We tested a hefty 1.1mil black trash bag with a puddle of mixed resin to make sure it did not burn through the plastic and would separate after it cured.
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    Step 4: Next we cut the trash bags up and used cellophane packing tape to get a nice tight fit and laid plastic over the flooring of the cab.
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    Step 5: Time to start building a fiberglass console, first we cut the cloth and mat to shape of the console with 1” overlap at joints. We laid our first layer using cloth and then let it cure for an hour.
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    Step 6: We laid our second layer using mat in sections, with the same overlap as above and used any extra mixed resin to buildup areas already completed. Applied the extra resin so when we sand it to smooth out the shape, we don’t sand into the glass. We had originally planned to do a 3rd layer of mat, but the 2 layers (cloth & mat) are rigid enough for our fiberglass console that is basically just a cover.
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    Step 7: After two hours of cure time, we removed the trash bag with the console connected from the wire mesh framework. As you see in the pictures above, those yellow and light color areas were spots were the fiberglass was already separating from the plastic not air pockets. Once we had it out of the truck we simply pulled the plastic away from the fiberglass shell. We then trimmed excess with scissors and next we will do the final shape trim with a cut-off wheel.
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    Some dna was left in the console
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    The skeleton framework after console removed
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    Couldn’t wait till after final trimming to check it out
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    Future steps to come: we will be sanding and shaping the glass to our liking. Once the console is the shape and size we want, we will cut the whole for the components and mount it. Then paint will follow after that. If you built a mold, basically the reverse of doing a frame, you could build the smoothness into your mold so you skip the whole step of sanding and shaping. Normally in a mold the first thing you would spray down after your mold release would be gel coat, we however will not be doing gel coat on this con sole, just primer and paint.
  2. doby369

    doby369 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Looks good. Always looks easy when someone else is doing it. Where are the cup holders though?
  3. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    no time for drinking when your racing and got a helmet on...
  4. Jester

    Jester Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Location:
    Riverside, California
    What ounce of fiberglass mat are you using?
  5. dan200

    dan200 #BSF200

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ USSA
    And how much resin did you go thru?
  6. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    Here is a supply list

    Big jug of fiberglass resin. $35
    1-2 bags of cloth $4.50 each
    autobody mat, either get at autozone or you can get it all at walmart or buy on ebay for bigger quantity
    2" throw away brushes, need a lot. To hard to try and clean after each mix $1
    1 qt clear plastic cups .87 cents
    Acetone
    80 grit sand paper
    1/4" wire mesh in outside section of home depot
    1/2" mdf
    3-black trash bags
    roll of aluminum duck tape

    the prices came from walmart, this is not the only way to do this. You can use foil instead of a 1.1 mil black trash bag for separation from frame. You can leave the frame inside depending on application. There are lots of ways to lay glass and building a positive or a negative are your options for the actual process you will follow.

    Updates.

    We did the final trim, basically laid it on our permanent fixture the tube and drew a line with marker and then used a cut off wheel to cut the shape.
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    cut our components and did some sanding
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    Here is a look at the top, its close still some work here and there[​IMG]
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    working on sides as we speak

    we have used 48 oz so far..... i bought the big jug at walmart for $35

    not sure on ounce our neighbor gave us a huge bag full, but im pretty sure its the normal auto body kind sold at walmart and autozone
    1 person likes this.
  7. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    Another long day of sanding, I’m sure there are other ways to do this but it’s the way we were taught.

    Yesterday we worked on top of the glass and sanded and added resin until we got it smooth using 40 grit. We completed that all the way till where it drops down and did it all with resin and sanding. There is one little low spot in back will float with bondo once we do the drop down part.

    Today we worked on the driver side it was the worse because the cable was coming through it. We sanded and added resin to get the smooth look on the front (the part that is seen). After sanding the back we laid a skin coat of bondo to float the back part in between the seats and hit any high or low spots left on the front. Then we sanded most of that off with 80 grit once we had it to where we wanted it. Next we took glazing/spot putty and filled in any pin holes. This is where the picture is at, I will try and take more progress pictures when doing the other sections
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    We sanded the putty with 120 grit, it comes off real easy and your pin holes are filled.
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    Next we took our high build primer (same thing we used before we painted the truck on all the fiberglass and cab, to give it that new smooth look). We sprayed the first coat on you can already see the huge difference from how the driver side looked when we pulled it off the plastic. A day later and lots of sanding it’s pretty sick.
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    When you spray the primer it’s really easy to see any pin holes (most are so tiny you have to look very close, my dad had like 8 spots before I took my eyes to it) you have in the layers between resin/mat and bondo/primer. We hit all those with the putty, just takes a tiny bit. Then we sanded the whole thing with 120 grit, taking mostly everything off.
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    This is nearly the finished product of the driver side, once we have done all sides we will hit it with the high build primer again and sand all that off with a 500 grit before painting.
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    Got a start on passenger side at end of day, it was pretty smooth up in the front area that you see. So there was no need to add resin after we had sanded the whole side down. We did a skin coat of bondo and sanded it and then one more layer hitting the low spots. Tomorrow will do the primer and putty and move onto the back.
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    If you have any questions on what we used or the process just let us know. Most of the entire thing was elbow sanded, we used a palm sander when doing the primer and some of the other areas that were already smooth from hand sanding. We hand sanded most of it because we use a home built block that gets you a nice flat sandable surface so only high areas are taken down while you are sanding. The whole garage is covered in dust, even my seat and steering wheel and spare tire. It is much quicker and easier to build a wood or metal/aluminum structure and either paint it or lay a felt of some sort on it. We wanted a nice light cover, so we chose to build it out of glass. Not looking forward to the doors, the front pieces of the console won’t be as bad because you can take a flat wood cutout and lay the glass on that. Once you separate it just some finishing work and a lot less sanding is required. I will show you this process once we do it as well, but will not be tackling those pieces until after fabrication is finished and outside gets new paint job, since expo is right around the corner and those things need to be done before the cosmetic things on the inside.
  8. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    The final product, weighs 5 lbs. Once we are ready for paint will sand the primer with 500 grit and paint the console. It looks like it leans in the pictures, and it does but that is because its on a flat surface. When its laid on the tubes, it sits level. One tube has more of an angle in it, the driver side. The throttle cable comes out the bottom, underneath the glass were that lil hump is. The shifter cable comes out of a notch on the bottom of driver side as well. We will be wrapping all the edges in that black trim we put on the scoops and visor to protect it when taking it on and off. When we do the dzus mounts we plan to make it so you can remove it with the seats in it. Might get a picture of that tomorrow. Well here they are.
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  9. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Thanks for the write-up!
  10. F.A.S.T.clothing

    F.A.S.T.clothing Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    np are u going to build one... im going to send you the spreadsheet, but i want to update with a new column, the size gauge wire used on each component before i send it to you
  11. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Gonna build one hopefully in the next year. . .hopefully not later, but not sooner than late summer/early fall in a '79 F-150.

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