How to Build Fiberglass Body Panels

Written by mike davey
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How to Build Fiberglass Body Panels
Fibreglass cloth can be used to make body panels and custom parts. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Fibreglass is widely used in the automotive industry for a variety of purposes. It can also be used in the aftermarket world to reproduce original equipment manufacturer -- or "OEM" -- body panels and to construct custom parts. Molds are constructed from original or custom parts, and these moulds are then used to make fibreglass parts. Custom parts are made from a wide variety of materials. These can include foam, plastic filler, wood or wax.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Body panel to mould
  • Fibreglass cloth
  • Resin hardener
  • Hard plastic roller
  • Gel coat

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  1. 1

    Spray the body panel to be moulded with gel coat. Apply a layer of fibreglass cloth to the exterior of the body panel. Make sure that the fibreglass cloth overhangs the edges of the body panel by at least two inches. Mix the hardening resin and apply it to the fibreglass. Apply another layer of fibreglass cloth. Apply the resin to this layer of fibreglass cloth. Repeat this procedure until five layers of fibreglass cloth and resin have been applied.

  2. 2

    Smooth the fibreglass cloth with a hard plastic roller. This will help to ensure that no air is trapped in the layers of fibreglass. Repeat this procedure for the interior of the body panel. This will provide two moulds, one for the exterior of the body panel, and one for the interior. Allow at least two hours for the fibreglass cloth to dry and lift it away from the body panel.

  3. 3

    Spray the exterior body panel mould with mould release compound. This will help to prevent the mould from sticking to the new body panel. Apply a layer of gel coat to the mould. Apply a layer of fibreglass cloth to the mould, and apply the hardening agent. Repeat the layering process until there is enough fibreglass cloth to fill the mould. Apply hardener to each layer of fibreglass cloth. Roll the final layer of fibreglass cloth with a hard plastic roller to remove any air bubbles. Repeat this procedure for the interior body panel mould.

  4. 4

    Apply a coat of resin to the final layers of fibreglass cloth before it has cured. Press the two pieces together. Take extreme care with this step. The moulds must be perfectly aligned or the body panel will not be properly formed. Allow several hours for the resin to dry. Remove the body panel from the mould. It is now ready to be prepped for painting.

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  • Thanks for the edits and for pointing out that article on Active VS. Passive voice. It's a handy resource.

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