Rear wings on race cars incorporate aerodynamic designs that generate downforce, essentially the reverse concept of an aeroplane's wing. A typical racing wing has a flat upper surface and a convex lower surface. Racing wings are fabricated using many types of materials and shaped to suit certain types of racing. Perhaps the most obvious example would be the huge sheet metal wings used on drag racing cars and the trim composite wings used on Formula racing cars. Fabricating sheet metal wings requires extensive knowledge of metal work and special tools. You can make a fibreglass rear racing wing in a workshop using woodworking tools and a fibreglass kit.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 3/4-inch medium density fiberboard (MDF)
- 1/4-inch MDF
- Table saw with finish blade
- Wood glue
- Pole clamps
- Electric jigsaw
- Belt sander
- 80-grit sanding belt
- Fibreglass kit
- Two-part body filler
- 40-grit sanding belt
Establish the width and length of the wing. Cut a piece of 3/4-inch thick MDF to the length of the wing using a table saw with a finish blade. Cut a piece of 1/4-inch thick MDF to the length of the wing.
Set up the table saw with the rip guide. Rip the length of 3/4-inch MDF to one-third the width of the wing. This piece will be the thicker, leading edge of the wing. Rip the length of 1/4-inch MDF to two-thirds the width of the wing as the middle and trailing edge of the wing.
Apply wood glue to one of the long edges of each piece. Lay the pieces flat on a surface with the glued edges facing each other. Align the ends of the pieces and secure the glued seam using a pole clamp at each end and in the middle of the wing. Allow the glue to cure overnight before removing the pole clamps.
Shape the desired configuration at each end of the wing with an electric jigsaw. Round over the edges and the ends of the wing using a belt sander with an 80-grit sanding belt.
Cut two pieces of fibreglass cloth that cover the upper, uniform surface of the wing and extend past each end of the wing 2 inches. Mix a batch of resin and catalyst and apply the pieces of fibreglass to the uniform surface of the wing and over each end. Allow the fibreglass to cure completely.
Sand the hardened fibreglass with the belt sander and a 40-grit sanding belt. Sand the excess at the ends of the wing to conform to the shaped ends.
Place the wing flat with the uniform surface down. Cut four, 2-inch wide strips of fibreglass cloth to the length of the wing. Mix resin and catalyst and apply the fibreglass strips at area along the glued seam of the thicker and thinner MDF. This is necessary to fill the void and allow for a smooth convex shape at the underside of the wing. Allow the fibreglass to harden completely.
Cut a piece of fibreglass cloth that covers the lower surface of the wing, wraps over the thicker leading edge, and extends past each end of the wing one inch. Mix a batch of resin and catalyst and coat surface of the wing, including the fibreglass strips that filled the void at the glued seam, as well as the leading edge of the wing. Apply the fibreglass cloth and allow it to harden completely.
Sand all surfaces and edges of the wing with the belt sander and a 40-grit sanding belt. Apply additional layers of fibreglass along the thicker, leading edge and the convex underside of the wing for added downforce. Sand the fibreglass wing to a uniform finish. Prime and paint the wing if desired.
Tips and warnings
- Consult an expert race designer or additional suggestions on wing design and aerodynamics.
- Make uprights that support the wing above the rear of the race car using MDF and fibreglass.
- Attach the uprights to the wing using high-strength epoxy glue and lag screws.
- Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding fibreglass.
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