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Old Sep 13, 2012, 01:48 PM
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Zach
Illinois
Joined Feb 2004
806 Posts
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Fiberglass Body Work for Solar Car

I am a member of a Solar Car Race Team at my local university and we are working on a new car body and canopy.

I am currently on the canopy team and we are working to create a new fiberglass canopy. We are using a technique similar to the lost foam method where we form a foam plug, cover the plug with dry wall mud to keep the resin from melting the foam and then fiberglass over that with about 3 layers of fiberglass.
This fiberglass shell will be our canopy, with a lexan windshield added later.

My question is how do we finish the fiberglass to get it to a smooth surface for painting. I know the proper way to do this is to first make a mold for the part and coat the inside of the mold with a jell coat before laying down the fiberglass. The problem is we are on a very tight budget and don't have the extra materials for the mold or anyplace to store the mold since we just got kicked out of our garage because they found asbestos in it.

My idea is to coat the entire part with bondo to fill in the weave of the fiberglass and then sand it smooth. The problem is this will add extra weight. Some other members think we can just sand the fiberglass smooth but I am worried about sanding into the fabric and exposing the glass fibers.

Any advice is appreciated.

Zach
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