How to Make Fiberglass Body Panels

Written by quyen tong
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How to Make Fiberglass Body Panels
You can replace damaged body panels with new fibreglass panels that you make at home. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Being in a car accident can leave your car with not only internal damage but also external physical damage that takes away from the aesthetic (and monetary) value of your car. Damaged body panels can be expensive to replace and may not be covered by your insurance. However, you can learn how to make your own fibreglass body panels at home. Although working with fibreglass requires a lot of patience and a good attention to detail, it can save you a lot of money and you can even custom design the panels to make your car one of a kind.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Styrofoam
  • Bondo
  • Sandpaper
  • Polyester Primer
  • Moulding Wax
  • Resin
  • Polyester Resin and hardener
  • Plastic mixing cups
  • Brushes
  • Fibreglass roller
  • Fibreglass mat
  • Razor blade
  • Wooden mixing stick

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Carefully replicate the dimensions of your car's body panels on a piece of paper. Although you can customise the panels as you would like, you need to make sure all of the pieces fit. Your design should include where the panels will connect to the car, a slight miscalculation will result in a nonfunctional panel.

  2. 2

    Carve the foam block to form a mould according to your design. You can glue several smaller blocks of foam together to form a larger piece that will fit the panel. Use 180-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the foam. Cover the foam in Bondo and allow it to dry. Sand the dried Bondo with 220-grit sandpaper until smooth.

  3. 3

    Spray polyester primer on top of the Bondo. The primer will be very thick unlike the watery paint primer. Allow the primer to dry. Drying time will vary according to brand. Use 180-grit sand paper to smooth the surface. Continue to sand with finer grits until you are wet sanding with 1000-grit paper.

  4. 4

    Allow it to sit for 3-4 days. During that time period, wax the piece 3-4 times. The wax will ensure a smooth surface which will make your body panels smooth. Spray with Tooling Gel and allow it to sit until tacky. Once the gel is tacky, apply the resin.

  5. 5

    Take the fibreglass sheets and separate them until they are in smaller fibreglass strands. Lay the fibreglass directly on top of the resin.. Use the fibreglass roller to remove any trapped air bubbles underneath. Repeat 6 times so that your body panel will be strong.

  6. 6

    Allow the resin to dry before removing. Use a razor blade to clean up any protruding bits of glass. Use the wooden mixing stick to gently peel the panel out of the mould. You can use an air gun to blow in between to speed up the process.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves to keep the chemicals and glass from touching your skin. Also wear a mask to keep from breathing in hazardous fumes

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