first time using fiberglass, seeking advice

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Conundrum_UK, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Conundrum_UK
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

    Hi everyone,

    OK first post so I'm hoping this is in the right place, if not apologies in advance. This isn't specifically about boatbuilding but it seems people on here know a lot about using fiberglass so I came here for advice about a somewhat unusual project I'm trying to build.

    If anyone here has played Bioshock, it's the Big Daddy (a costume of it anyway). For those who haven't, I can post a link to some youtube videos and reference material if that's ok with the forum rules, but it's basically a huge armoured diving suit about 7ft tall. The costume I'm trying to make doesn't actually need to work as a diving suit, just be big and wearable, and fairly strong (I'll have to transport it from the midlands to London and back for a show that I'm planning on taking it to)

    I'm about halfway through making a rough cardboard 1:1 scale model of the body section (the limbs I'll be making with cloth and plastazote mostly). The measurements are:
    42" tall
    25" wide
    19" Deep

    Those are approximate greatest values, there would be a lot of empty space within that cuboid, but from these I've calculated a rough surface area of just under 3 square meters.

    After doing some research, I came up with a plan to buy:
    5m of 1.27m, 450g Biaxial cloth and
    3.02Kg of SP 106 slow Multi purpose Epoxy
    I planned on covering the back half of the finished male mold after putting on some type of release agent, removing the fiberglass when fully cured, flipping the mold and covering the front side leaving a little overlap, then fiberglassing the 2 halves together when they are both free of the mold. Enty and exit to the costume will be via a 2' hole in the front where the head dome will be slotted into place. The entire shell will be held in place using a modified backpack that will be attached to the inside.

    That's the plan, but so far it's only based on reading up on how someone else made this (though he didn't use biax) and some bits of research from unrelated projects (various canoes, surfboards, and a chair). Does anyone have any advice on this? would the materials stated work? is there something I'm missing? I've heard horror stories about the resin not curing at all if the ratio is even slightly out, should I use a syringe or something? will the cold weather be likely to affect the curing process if done in an unheated garage?

    Anyway, I'll shut up now, but thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
     
  2. Itchy&Scratchy
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Itchy&Scratchy Senior Member

    Hey conundrum

    Post the links so we can have a look. where are you in the UK

    Itchy
     
  3. Conundrum_UK
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

  4. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    these guys do full on big scale commercial stuff, for shopping centre christmas grottos etc, including some pretty amazing anamatronic work. Might be worth a look through their website, or some questions by email...

    http://www.kddecoratives.com/kd/kd-production/
     
  5. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Use something besides fiberglass cloth. Ask Itchy&Scratchy why. ;)
     
  6. Conundrum_UK
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

    Ah, hadn't thought of that, I'm guessing it'll itch a lot wearing it?
    what if I put an extra layer of resin on the inside, would that do?

    edit: Oh, thanks for the link Tiny Turnip, but I prefer to make things myself, the challenge is part of the fun :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  7. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Oh, yes, definitely, me too. just thought there might be helpful information on materials or techniques that might be useful to you...
     
  8. Conundrum_UK
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

    oh, ok, sorry, I misinterpreted. :)
     
  9. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    If it is just a costume, why not use papier mache or some other friendlier art medium?
     
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    You can use a light fabric (about 120 gram m²) it can be sewn using polyester yarn. When saturated with resin it approx. doubles its weight. The completely cured stuff does not itch! And when using epoxy resin it does not lead to allergic reactions on the skin. But careful!!! the uncured epoxy / hardener DOES !!!

    Regards
    Richard
     
  11. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I didn't even think about the chemicals, but they're pretty inert when cured. I thought the costume was a full suit with working joints like the Tinman in the Wizard of Oz, and you'd have a hard time keeping that from itching. You could probably do it with regular glass. It's not the resin, it's the fabric that itches.There are other fabrics beside regular fiberglass, that don't itch. Kevlar, nylon from a fabric store can work, just about anything that is fairly compatible with the resin should work.

    It's a remote danger, but you might want to think a little about flammability and how quick you could get out of it.
     
  12. Conundrum_UK
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone,

    just to clarify, it's only the main body, head, and possibly drill blade that will be fiberglass, the limbs should be cloth and possibly some type of padding or wire to fill them out.

    @hoytedow: The main reason for using fiberglass is durability, the first costume I made got damaged in transit and it took almost the rest of the day to repair, so I try to overengineer them now. I was going to use plastazote origonally (a type of flexible foam sheet that can be fairly durable when made into a solid structure) but after seeing the Volpin suit, I figured fiberglass would be more durable and rigid, and would overcome a few disadvantages to using plastazote.

    @apex1 & SamSam: Thanks for the info, does it work with any fabric? any idea what the strength would be compared to glass? I'll do some research on this.

    Oh, also, I had thought about the flammability issue, so far my plan consists of "avoid fire"...
    I'll try to make the helmet quick release from the inside.
     
  13. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Has it to be transparent?

    I cannot really imagine what you are planning, a picture would be helpful!

    You must not fear fire when using poly or epoxy resin and glassfabric. That is pretty much flame resistant.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  14. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    PVC pipe and a couple of dustbins??? Or would that look too much like Bill and Ben the flower pot men.

    Sorry folks this is Brit stuff.
     

  15. Conundrum_UK
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    Conundrum_UK New Member

    Thanks again for all the replies so far, any information is appreciated. Here's the best picture I could find, it's the one with a drill I'm trying to make:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bigdaddy-renders.jpg

    It shouldn't be transparent, since it's the metal parts I planned on using fiberglass for, I'll be adding either transparent portholes or some type of periscope system to see through. I'm mostly copying this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5vps6lizg0&feature=player_embedded

    It's been done before by adapting cardboard boxes, plastic bins, and other household items to act as the main body, but as cleverly as people have modified them, it's never quite the right shape until the one in that video.

    @Frosty: lol, I wouldn't want to end up looking anything like Bill & Ben, or I'd keep being searched for weed ;)
     
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