Learn to work with fibreglass and other composites
Study Fibreglass and other composite materials and their application for making things. Composites are an important material for manufacturing. Composites are used to make furniture, boats, car bodies, roofing panels, machine housings, chemical and water tanks, pipes, containers, textiles, garden products and much more
Anything made from a composite can be damaged; and require repair.
This course lays the foundation for working with fibreglass and other composites. You will learn about different types of composite materials, and how to work with them, both making things, and repairing them.
THE CONTENTS OF THE COURSE
LESSON 1 – TYPES OF COMPOSITES AND APPLICATIONS
Fibreglass characteristics - electrical, physical, thermal
Types - characteristics and applications of varied grades of glass fibre
Carbon fibre - plain, twill, satin and unidirectional weave
Carbon fibre colour
Comparing fibreglass, kevlar and carbon fibre
Resins - polyester, iso, surfboard, general purpose laminating resin, gel coat, epoxy, MEKP, Vinyl ester
3D Printing Materials -plastics, powders, metals, resin, fibreglass, kevlar, carbon fibre, etc
LESSON 2 – TOOLS, PREPARATION, AND SAFETY
Preparing For Work With Fibreglass And Other Composites
Cutting tools, Measuring and mixing equipment, solvents, spreading tools, etc
LESSON 3 – FABRICATION TECHNIQUES
Fibreglass from part
Fibreglass from polyurethane foam
Composite part from lost polyurethane mould
3 D printing
Application process - uses, advantages, disadvantages
Spray Lay-Up - application process
3D Printing Types - multi jet fusion, direct metal laser sintering, fused deposition modelling, stereolithography, etc
Types of Software
Applications for 3D printing
Customised parts 3D Fibre fill types
Reinforcing for different loading conditions - bending, tension, compression
LESSON 4 – WORKING WITH COMPOSITES
Working with Fibreglass - safe use of materials
Sustainable use of materials
Type of project
Remove damaged material, prepare surface and perform repair
Non structural damage repair
Finishing Techniques - spraying, painting, polishing
What is Needed to Work with Fibreglass?
This course will provide a foundation of knowledge -sufficient for you to try working with fibreglass or other composites, if you have little or no experience.
This course can also be very useful even if you have some experience. It can fill in the important gaps in your knowledge, and open your eyes to doing things better, or tackling different things.
Whatever you do though, it is important to have an appropriate place to work and proper tools and materials to work with.
A suitable work area for any composite project should be conceived and put together properly. The area should be large enough to complete the work and suitable equipped with a worktable/ bench and/or floor space – depending on the scale and scope of the work being performed. The space should have storage areas for tools, materials, and chemicals and should have space to set up an area where the chemicals can be mixed safely and accurately. It should also be well lit and well ventilated.
It is important to have the right weather conditions when working with fibreglass. The ambient temperature should be between 16 and 30°C (60-85°F). If temperatures are below 16°C (60°F), curing will be extremely slow. If ambient temperatures are at or close to freezing, the resins will not cure at all. The relative humidity should be less than 60%. Water trapped in the layup can cause the layers to separate down the track, compromising the strength of the end-product. Based on these factors the work area must be weather tight and ideally feature some form of climate control i.e., heating or cooling as necessary for the location it is based in.
A utility cutting knife or scissors can be used to cut cloth.
A handheld electric saw or a router can be useful for cutting out damage in repair work or for finishing edges on a part production project.
Measuring & Mixing Equipment
Measuring cups enabling accurate measurement of the liquid components should be used. Measuring spoons can be used for smaller volumes to be added, as can syringes. Weighing scales are useful for measuring volumes accurately by weight.
Jugs, buckets, and bowls can all be used for mixing along with a suitable rod/stick for stirring. Disposable mixing equipment is often preferable as any leftover resin will quickly bonds to the mixing vessel used. Heatproof mixing vessels are best as resin can heat up during the mixing process.
PVC board for backing designs to.
Caulk for filling gaps in moulds. A marker for use in design and repair work.
Tack cloth for laying around work area to deal with spillages and mess.
Ventilator/respirator, gloves, safety goggles, enclosed footwear, full sleeve clothing – such as a smock or coveralls.
Sandpaper should be at least 60-120 grit. Finish work requires higher grits of 300-400.
Solvents such as acetone or denatured alcohol should be used to clean and degrease the area the fibreglass is to be laid upon. This is important, as grease prevents resin from sticking.
Paintbrushes can be used to spread resin. A 0.5inch thick wooden dowel or a specialised fibreglass roller can also be used. Also, for larger projects a sprayer can be used for even distribution and a uniform finish.
Finishing tape and masking tape are both very useful at different stages of the project.
Who is this Course for?
- Training for anyone working with or hoping to work with composites or fibreglass
- Handymen, manufacturers, inventors, repairers
- Automotive industry workers or enthusiasts
- Anyone making or wanting to make or repair fibreglass products eg. surf boards, garden plant containers, statuary, etc
- Anyone else who wants to work with fibreglass or other composites in manufacturing, engineering, construction, or elsewhere.