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10 Dec 2009 - 22:0523657
Fibreglassing?
Does anyone have any experience with fibreglass?
I'm thinking of going that way with my helmet mod for a macross costume. It's either that or vac-form, but that would involve making masters as well as the vac-form box itself. As well as finding an oven to heat the ABS in.

Im thinking of laying the fibreglass on to a clay master and using car bodyfiller to bring it to a smooth finish. Probably not the best way but, maybe the best for someone with no experience.

Any advice?


10 Dec 2009 - 23:1623661
be careful with resin, it gives out fairly toxic fumes, so make sure you get the right breathing equipment.

If you still want to go down that route, check out tutorials on line. I have used resin with moulds rather than build on a matrix, so I can't comment on your idea. I would have thought that car body filler might be heavy to wear as a helmet...


11 Dec 2009 - 00:2823664
I agree totally with Wyrdsister. Fibre glassing involves hazardous materials.
I have experience using fibre glass to make moulds and mouldings.
The first thing I would point out is the fibre glass matt is made up of,,glass strands. This is where the strength comes from with GRP products. (GRP = Glass Reinforced Plastics). Point being that this stuff gets in your skin like tiny glass splinters, especially when you cut through the stuff and fine particles come off it. Of course it goes woithout saying that you definitely do not want to be breathing fibreglass dust in!
Second - the polyester resin which bonds the fibre glass matt together is a potent noxious subsatnce, and the hardner used to solidify it contains Organic Peroxide which is a hazardous chemical, bad if you get it on your skin. So you really should be wearing protective gloves when you are using the stuff. Sidenote -if it does get on your skin soap won't wash it off ..neither will detergent ..neither will even white spirit. The only thing that will remove uncured resin is Acetone - and you really don't want to be washing your habnds in Acetone. There is a specialist hand cleanser that you can buy from the fibre glass supplier.
Third - when you have catylised the resin with the hardener a chemical reaction takes place which produces heat and fumes as the resin sets. As well as being extremely strong smelling (you really have to do this all outside or at least in a well vetilated outbuilding) as well as that the fumes can harm you if you breathe them in. So ideally you need to protect yourself with an industrial respirator fitted with an organic filter (not just a dust filter!)
Forth - apart from the hazards to your health the resin has to be catylised with the right amount of hardener. Get it wrong and either the resin will set in the pot before you get chance to use it, or it may never set completely and your project stays a stickey mess. Ambient air temperature will effect the setting time. Fibreglassing can not be done below a certain temperature - excessive cold will prevent the chemical reaction to properly take place..something to bear in mind if you are thinking of doing it outside,, in the winter. If you do it inside with a heater on be carefull because the fumes are, you guessed it, Flammable.

Have I put you off yet.

Now- if you still want to do this sucker using fibreglass, and fill it with car body filler I think the whole thing will end up very heavy on your head. AND it will smell of fibreglass resin inside it for about a year..


I would suggest go a differnet route and use something a lot more user friendly - paper and glue can produce very tough and very lightweight results. Surfaces can be filled and smoothed using tile grout or household filler, primed with PVA glue and painted to a good finish. You would save yourself a lot of grief and you could work away on it inside in the warm during the winter months. A friend of mine just made a helmet using a formula he got off the net. I think it was paper mache coated with polyfiller + PVA glue. Anyway this helmet is like a rock hard shell.


11 Dec 2009 - 01:1123667
You put me off and I've used it before...lol.

On a serious note, I've only resin for castings, never with fiberglass for the very reasons you highlighted...



Last edited by Wyrdsister (11 Dec 2009 - 01:12)
11 Dec 2009 - 12:5223671
Quote Ranma1-2:
The only thing that will remove uncured resin is Acetone - and you really don't want to be washing your habnds in Acetone.


I can second this! (I work with acetone on a regular basis- it's not nice stuff)

Quote Ranma1-2:
As well as being extremely strong smelling (you really have to do this all outside or at least in a well vetilated outbuilding) as well as that the fumes can harm you if you breathe them in. So ideally you need to protect yourself with an industrial respirator fitted with an organic filter (not just a dust filter!)


working with most resins requires low level extraction (opening all the window wont do it!), unless you were in a proffessional workshop equipped for this kind of work I wouldn't do it indoors at all!


11 Dec 2009 - 13:5223675
The advice given here is pretty sound. Fibreglass can be extremely dangerous to work with and I had a friend, who is actually on this site and may show up later LOL, who used Fibreglass in an area which was not well ventilated enough. He ended up in quite a bit of agony as it also badly affected his skin as well as his lungs and he still has scars a long while after doing it.


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11 Dec 2009 - 15:3023677
Well, I'd definetly say i'm too scared to use it now!

I think maybe paper mache it is then.
Thanks guys.



Last edited by motokokusanagi86 (11 Dec 2009 - 15:32) Reason: typo
11 Dec 2009 - 20:1023702
Quote motokokusanagi86:
Well, I'd definetly say i'm too scared to use it now!

I think maybe paper mache it is then.
Thanks guys.


protip on paper mache:

use cartridge paper and evostik wood adhesive (comes in a green bottle with a red lid). you'll end up with the toughest (non toxic!) paper mache ever.


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11 Dec 2009 - 20:4723703
Different kinds of fiberglass
Hi.
The fiberglass resin normally used for bodyworks on cars is bloody smelly and quite toxic, due to the solvent, so its better to use protective clothes, goggles and avoid to breath directly.

BUT I've found a resin WATER based, absolutely non toxic and less smelly that you can actually work in your living room, of course with the window(s) open.
The product is named JESMONITE.

Regarding the fiberglass fabric, its pretty itchy and dangerous to use without gloves, since microfibers of glass can enter the skin.

I've just bought the resin and the matts, done the "first tests" (in my living room) and everything is fine.

Good luck for your project


12 Dec 2009 - 00:3623716
I can second Xae's advice on the cartridge paper/wood adhesive, I've used it before to laminate many of my props and it's strong stuff.

I would also suggest considering cardboard to construct the helmet. Bear with me here, I know card is not everyone's first choice of material but it can be quite versatile. I used it to construct my MGS4 Raiden helmet and if a little bit of time is spent on it then it's possible to get some impressive results that are cheap and non-toxic.

I have attached a step by step guide here on how to construct a very good boba fett helmet from card. Perhaps it can be of use to you.


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13 Dec 2009 - 19:4323761
Thanks for the help guys. And as for that Boba Fett helmet......WOW! I know how expensive it is to buy those helmets from people who cast them out of resin, fibreglass and ABS. I can't believe how perfect it looks being made out of cardboard. It makes me think of paper/card craft in a whole new light.^o^


16 Dec 2009 - 08:5523848
One thing I'll just clarify if you decide to use card to make the helmet, make sure you use the thin, flat card which is usually available from art shops and not the corregated stuff.

Corregated card will just lead to problems further down the line as it's difficult to mask the corregated texture.

The flat card should be next to the mountboard in most art shops.


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16 Dec 2009 - 12:1323855
I'm personally not a fan of fibreglass. I used it for my first set of Sephiroth armour and I found even with a reasonable thickness it still broke as its very ridgid. I do think you need somethng that has a bit of give in it to cope with the wear and tear at a con.

I do recommend plastic sheeting or KillingDoll's sugguestion of cardboard.


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