|09/14/2007, 06:27 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Detroit Area
Vehicle: 03 Red Eclipse GT Manual
How To: Custom Fiberglass Front Lip
I made this custom front lip for my car from scratch using foam, fiberglass, and bondo filler, but this is not limited to a front lip at all. You can make anything out of fiberglass. The difficulty level is not that hard (consider this was my first experience with fiberglass) it just takes a lot of time to make the piece, and a lot of refitting.
Materials Needed: Green Foam from local arts and crafts store, Bondo’s Fiberglass Cloth, Sandpaper (and an electric hand sander came in very handy), if not use a sanding block, Bondo’s Fiberglass Resin with hardener, Bondo’s Body Repair Kit, plastic wedges used to apply bondo, cheap wooden paint brushes, Masking Tape to keep car from getting scratched when fitting piece, thin cloth sheet ( you can use an old bed sheet), a lot of disposable gloves, face masks to keep from breathing in the dust when sanding and vapors from resin, safety glasses, black sand able primer from Duplicolor, an old can to mix the fiberglass resin in,
above is the bed sheet material i used
Above is the Foam i used to shape it out
NOTE: Be aware when you buy the two kinds of fiberglass cloth they say 8 sq feet on the bags, THAT IS A LIE, there is much less in the bags, its more like 4 sq feet, so my advice is to go to a boat store and buy these things in large quantities. The resin should also be bought in the large gallon tanks because it dries quickly and once you make some and start using it on the cloth it will start to dry and get chunky in the can and you will have to make more. Also when shaping the foam to the shape that you like, if it breaks into two pieces DO NOT use superglue or rubber cement it will not stick it will only melt the foam.
Step 1: Shape out the green foam into the shape that you want using a knife with teeth and sandpaper.
Step 2: Mix the resin with the hardener as instructed on the side of the container.
Step3: Put a thin layer of resin mix on the foam and quickly stick the cloth or bed sheet on top of it. Be aware if you use a lot of resin it will melt the foam, I tried covering the foam with aluminum foil to preserve the shape but the fiberglass does not stick to it. (Use gloves or risk giving your arms a bikini wax.)
Step 4: Place a layer of fiberglass cloth on top of the bed sheet cloth and dab resin with brush until you can see through the fiberglass. At first do a couple layers with the raggedy fiberglass not the nice pattern stuff because that’s a top layer. I advise to let each layer dry individually so you can trim it before doing another layer.
Step 5: After doing 3 layers of the raggedy stuff I did two layers of the nice pattern fiberglass.
Step 6: Make sure that the piece fits good and you can move on to the bondo body repair kit step.
Step 7: The bondo comes with a hardener also and needs to be mixed, read side of can for directions. Bondo also dries quickly and so make small amounts at a time, but instead of using a brush you use plastic wedge things to apply it to the fiberglass.
Step 8: Apply thin layers because bondo is known to crack if applied really thick, but in places where the foam might have melted and deformed the shape its ok, to go thicker just make it level.
Step 9: After letting the bondo dry it is time to sand it. Use a rough one like 60 grit at the beginning and move your way up to 150, 250 and finally 1000 grit sandpaper.
Step 10: After sanding there might be small imperfections in the bondo, what you can do is buy a thinner bondo filler from local automotive store that comes in a toothpaste bar instead of a bucket and is for the smaller stuff, you still have to mix it with hardener.
Step 11: After final sanding with 1000 grit the piece should be smooth and can be spray painted with a black sandable primer from Duplicolor.
Step 12: The black primer can be wet sanded with 1000 grit sandpaper for a really smooth surface.
Step 13: Paint the custom fiberglass piece. I took mine to a shop to get it painted. You can get the paint code to match your car in the FAQ of the forum or under the hood on the firewall.
Step 14: As for installation on the car, you can use screws, nuts and bolts, or double sided tape all depending on the piece. I used screws and bolts, which lets me take off the front lip in the winter time. Also you can scrape out the foam if you want.
I bolted it through the bottom of the bumper
Have fun and be creative, in the end you will have a rewarding feeling of accomplishment and a one of a kind piece to go on your car. I hope this is helpful, if you have any more questions on this PM me.
2003 Eclipse GT 5speed