Make/mold a fiberglass full fairing?

Yeah I guess the better the foam mold is the best the fairing will be.
But I'm having real trouble with the foam over the tank, and its very difficult to do the exact same shape on both sides... So I guess I will have to to some filling and sanding job After the Glass.

Here is my current progress
 

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Maybe it is time to take a step back, get a beer and think through how you want to proceed. If I recall correctly, advCo has classical skills and consequently good advice doing all sorts of fiberglass and mold making. I hate making molds and consequently have a less conventional approach. I think with what you have so far you will have a great deal of trouble removing your work from the bike and then removing your new part(s) from your mold. When I do work like this, I have no ambition of ever being able to "remove" the foam form or mold from the project, at least not as a single piece. I remove the "mold" by simply carving and grinding and sanding it away and basically reducing it to chips and dust. Messy, but fast and easy. You may be able to achieve a similar result using packing tape as a finish surface before the glass work (pretty much nothing sticks to packing tape except, well, more packing tape!), but all that duct tape and then the packing tape will make even a very finely crafted "mold" become pretty crude. Keep in mind that laying laminates of glass over anything will make it lass precise, so starting with anything than absolutely the best you can do is very counter productive.
It is true that pretty much any degree of bad result can be ground down, sanded, reshaped, filled and reshaped, refilled etc, etc until satisfactory. If you started again, and again, and yet again from scratch, you would still be doing far, far less work than I have seen guys do to remedy a starting with a initial form done poorly. The notion of "It will be fine, I'll fix it later" is a dreadful path and invariably results in a barbaric and monstrously heavy part.
It is obvious that you have a lot of time and effort to get where you are, but in my opinion you will be very well served indeed to give it another shot and start again from scratch. You will be able to re-use most of your foam, and now that you have a scheme to get things started and attached to the bike, as well as a fair bit of practice, starting again will be vastly easier. Easier as in only 1% of the effort it will take to massage glass work over what you have now into what I am sure you have in your head. I think it matters not at all whether you do your glass work directly on the foam, or wrap it in packing tape barrier first - either way you will be well served to start with a much better form on which all the rest of your efforts will be based. Keep this in mind - the best composite fabricator on earth will still make garbage from a rubbish form, and even the most inept novice will look good starting with a flawless form. It is an unhappy fact that 95 % of the work in composite fabrication is in the mold making. Whether it is in creating a one off foam form like you are doing, or building negative molds for making multiple pieces, the vast majority of the expense and effort is in the molds. Making the part itself is hardly worth mentioning in comparison, as that is the gravy work!
 
Im not an expert but if done some glasswork... If I were you I would simply use a good car wax and wax the heck out of that duct tape and start laying up... Yea you will have more work getting the farring smooth but laying up thick and an random orbital sander will get most of it done...bondo to finish.. If you were making a mold so you could make mulitiple farrings then I would agree with the previous posters .. Its a one off and your just learning... If it dosent turn out the way you wanted you can adjust your method..

I say it wont matter much .. If you dont use a mold and gel coat your looking at alot of finish work anyways.

Psy

My 2 cents...

Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk
 
Well, it will sure be a pain to re do all this job... but hey, I'm here to learn anyway.
So even if this took me a lot of time, I can start again, however, I'm not sure how I could do better, beside not using packing tape?

either way you will be well served to start with a much better form on which all the rest of your efforts will be based.

Could you point me (on my pictures for example) the bad parts I've done and needs to be improved?
I am pretty happy with the front part, the foam under the duck tape is actually very smooth, I used duck tape only to protect it. The very messy part is all the area over the tank and where the front part connects to the tank. This was extremely difficult to do because it is a ton of tiny foam pieces (sometimes as thin as 5mm), and I don't think I could do better than this with the skills I have :(

So I have no problem replacing all the duck tape with packing tape, but I don't really see how I could improve the tank part.
Oh and the tank itself is also part of the mold, all the top of the tank is part of the mold, I will just glass over the tank to just have one huge piece that goes over the tank and make the fairing.

I don't really mind if my mold gets damaged when removing the glass, well execpt for the gas tank part of course lol, but won't I be able to remove it by carving the foam out and using a lot of packing tape and release wax on the tank?
 
I'm not too sure what I can add. If you go back to the unfinished pictures of the seat I made, you should be able to get an idea of what the foam looked like before I added the glass. Referencing only the cowl portion here, there is almost no finishing work at all on the glass work - just a quick block sanding. There are only 2 layers of extremely fine cloth - you can see through it quite well despite the sanding which makes the glass work much more opaque. The joints between the foam blocks is quite obvious, and you can see where some of the underside fiberglass base more or less intersects with the exterior shape and needed some Bondo to fair the foam. It was pretty fussy to to end up with a smooth and fair shape with these materials of contrasting hardness, but worth all the effort because the glass work needed almost no massaging to be right. Nonetheless, it is still much, MUCH easier to get the foam shaped perfectly than the fiberglass! It's also hugely cheaper, though if you are using polyester resin this is not too painful. I use (and recommend highly) epoxy, which is massively better for a variety of reasons, but around 8 times more expensive.
I think you will learn all of this on your own and make your own determination of what works best for you and where your time needs to be invested. To that end, I would recommend a smaller project, like the seat you have mocked up. If you proceed like you have on the fairing, certainly you can glass over your form and eventually end up with a nice part. But you will see that you have to do a very great deal of work to the fiberglass to get there, and your part will be ridiculously heavy. That may not be especially important, but your fairing is very large, and very high on the bike and not the best place for excessive weight.
Regardless, perseverance will get the job done, it's just a LOT easier to put the work in early on the form/mold.
 
I'm not sure how you're planning on installing/removing the fairing because of the way it wraps around your handlebars. From the looks of it you will have to remove the handlebars to slide the fairing off? You could split it down the middle and glass in a flange and have your fairing be two halves.

If you want to learn, I'd just say go for it. Its not going to come out perfect the first time no matter what. Its very difficult to get a perfectly symmetrical mold when you're mold making by eye anyways, and IMO thats part of the charm to it. Glass it up with a min of 3 layers of fiber (iI always use 6 oz cloth) and make sure you get all your air bubbles out. Typically I will alternate the axis of the weave in the cloth. For example, your first layer will have fibers going front to back and left to right on the bike (use a square weave, I do not recommend chop mat!! Then your second layer will be 45 degrees to that. Then third layer the same orientation as the first. This helps give your final product flex strength on different axes.

To wet it out you'll probably want to use a roller for a shape like this. Make sure all 3 layers of glass turn clear (its pretty easy to tell when the epoxy mix has 'penetrated' the cloth), and squeegee out the excess. I like to use a fairing filler with epoxy as I've found it can bond completely with your initial lay up but Bondo will work to fill it as well.
 
I too, was wondering how the hell you take that off to service the forks, etc.

Rather than tape, look into Duratec. I've made a good many foam plugs, coated with Duratec, sanded smooth, and made molds off of them.
 
advCo said:
I'm not sure how you're planning on installing/removing the fairing because of the way it wraps around your handlebars. From the looks of it you will have to remove the handlebars to slide the fairing off? You could split it down the middle and glass in a flange and have your fairing be two halves.

I'm glad you are mentonning this, the goal of my design is also to leave people wondering "how did he put this on??"
In fact, the bars are clip ons bars an I can literally unmount them in 30sec, without loosing any settings. So I just have to remove the bars, slide them through the fairing and remove or install the fairing :)

I think I'm gonna go for it be replacing or covering all the Duck tape with packing tape then a ton of was then.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find lightweight fiberglass CLOTH, I only have : 300 gr clotch, a lot of 100gr MAT, and a little bit (not much) of 160 gr Cloth.
The 160 cloth being extremely expensive...
I also have polyester resin an not epoxy, given the price of epoxy that requires also to use more expensive cloth, I though that I will make my first try with polyester, and if I'm sucessful maybe make a second one in epoxy later on.

Hum, I'll need to get a roller then
I've seen a ton of product exist like gel coat... top coat, primers, and many other stuff but I have no idea what are their purpose and when/how to use them, or if I even need to use some at some point.
 
Gel Coat is optimal. But, if you're not building a mold, and more building your part directly off the plug, a royal pain in the ass.

I'm not a huge fan of bondo in glass. Glass flexes, ever so slightly, and that can and will pop bondo patches loose and ruin a nice paint job.
 
J-Rod10 said:
Gel Coat is optimal. But, if you're not building a mold, and more building your part directly off the plug, a royal pain in the ass.

I'm not a huge fan of bondo in glass. Glass flexes, ever so slightly, and that can and will pop bondo patches loose and ruin a nice paint job.

Oh okay I now see the difference between a mold and a plug!! sorry for my misunderstanding of some of your post but I'm french and my english is far from perfect so I didn't understood the difference between the mold and plug.

I'm more into making a plug than a mold then, a mold won't make much sense as part of it is the steel gas tank itself than I will re use. So I'm making a plug.

So I guess the Duratec product you were mentioning is the duratec primer? Found out that it was a brand making many different produts
 
coming from a design standpoint, I'd say you're getting overzealous in your desire to start throwing fiberglass at something. if you want a fairing that will work, take some pictures of the bike, front, side, top, use those as reference for some sketches, show them to other people, show them here, sketch until you're satisfied with the design after being scrutinized by people other than just you, then take those sketches and turn them into a wire model on the bike, I like to use 1/8" crs rod and a mig welder, it makes things fast and the wire bends enough to curve it to lay out your important curves, then you can build on those curves with more rod until you've got a mesh on the bike that looks like the sketches you were happy with. at that point, you can skin it in tin foil and throw some fiberglass on it, or laser scan and bring into cad, whichever your process, getting the design intent is the most important, if you're too quick to throw material at something, then you're going to have a weird looking thing that tells more about how it was made than what it was intended to look like... just my $.02, it's your bike
 
Well, having very little ressource avaiable, and a small budget (I dont even have a garage, I'm working on a parking spot in my basement without electricity, I use a 12v battery for light...) and since I've built 3 cafe racer bike that way, I now have a more practical approach...

For example in my built I never did anything required angle grinders or a welder... Well because I do not have any of those. So I try to find ways around...

Same goes here, I've made some sketch or ideal fairings.. but I prefer to update them on the build process when I see what I CAN do and what I can't.. this is m'y practical approach... Not being to ambitious about something and learn by doing.

I would not bé able to do any of thé things you mention because I dont have the ressources for that.
And as for the design of the fairing, as long as I like it, I dont see the problem... You know taste and colors...
 
I hope all this talk isn't discouraging you. I like the concept and if you're happy with the look then I say glass that sucker.

You can always make another version if you aren't quite happy with the turnout. 8)
 
advCo said:
I hope all this talk isn't discouraging you. I like the concept and if you're happy with the look then I say glass that sucker.

You can always make another version if you aren't quite happy with the turnout. 8)
And Get some experience along the way!

Psy

Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk
 
Yeah getting some experience is always about and the best part about those projects :)

jpmobius said:
I'm not too sure what I can add. If you go back to the unfinished pictures of the seat I made, you should be able to get an idea of what the foam looked like before I added the glass. Referencing only the cowl portion here, there is almost no finishing work at all on the glass work - just a quick block sanding. There are only 2 layers of extremely fine cloth - you can see through it quite well despite the sanding which makes the glass work much more opaque. The joints between the foam blocks is quite obvious, and you can see where some of the underside fiberglass base more or less intersects with the exterior shape and needed some Bondo to fair the foam. It was pretty fussy to to end up with a smooth and fair shape with these materials of contrasting hardness, but worth all the effort because the glass work needed almost no massaging to be right. Nonetheless, it is still much, MUCH easier to get the foam shaped perfectly than the fiberglass! It's also hugely cheaper, though if you are using polyester resin this is not too painful. I use (and recommend highly) epoxy, which is massively better for a variety of reasons, but around 8 times more expensive.
I think you will learn all of this on your own and make your own determination of what works best for you and where your time needs to be invested. To that end, I would recommend a smaller project, like the seat you have mocked up. If you proceed like you have on the fairing, certainly you can glass over your form and eventually end up with a nice part. But you will see that you have to do a very great deal of work to the fiberglass to get there, and your part will be ridiculously heavy. That may not be especially important, but your fairing is very large, and very high on the bike and not the best place for excessive weight.
Regardless, perseverance will get the job done, it's just a LOT easier to put the work in early on the form/mold.

Sorry I think I missed this answer for some reason, yeah you are perfectly right, but since I got there (with a lot of time and effort) I'm thinking : I might as well just glass my what I have with my polyester resin and MAT, this would be a nice practice run, see how it goes, see how I can improve the proces... and it would not take me much time compared to having to remove all that stuff from the bike anyway.
It was also my idea when I ordered my resin/fiber, Epoxy is great but as you said it would have cost me 8 times more money, my idea was to first make a practice one, which cheap components (polyester) and when I learn, get some experience and see what can be improved, go for an epoxy one.

I'm now ready to glass the fairing, I did remove all the duck tape from the front piece, sanded it down more to make the foam better, then covered everything with packing tape (although packing tape do not stick well on foam), I then covered everything with release wax. We'll see how it goes
 
Just looking at it - assume you are going to need to remove the handle bars to remove the fairing from the bike?
 
Ok so I started glassing it up, to be honnest I was kinda discouraged before starting knowing that it would not look great... but whatever, I though it would be a great thing to do to learn, learn how the fiberglass clotch react to resin and how to place it around edges (I've never done glass work before), what is the best shapes to cut the fiberglass cloth pieces etc.

So I did the first layer only today, I used the 160gr fiberglass cloth I had an 400gr of resin. I will be doing 2 more layers tommorrow or the next days. I had a breathing mask but couldn't stay any longer in that parking lot full of resin vapor I was starting to feel dizzy, it took me so long to glass only the first layer...

It's hard to tell if it looks good or not right now as the fiberglass is perfectly transparent, some areas look really smooth and clean, others not really.

XS750AU said:
Just looking at it - assume you are going to need to remove the handle bars to remove the fairing from the bike?

Yes that is the idea
 
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