Category Archives: Composite Fabrication

STRINGS, a multihull sailboat designed by Jan Gougeon

Using a Quick Mold

By Greg Bull – Technical Advisor
Epoxyworks 49, Fall 2019

Cover photo: Strings, build by Gougeon Brothers, saling on the Saginaw Bay. Epoxyworks 49, Fall 2019

I used this quick mold method in order to move the mainsail traveler cleat from the transom of Strings to put it within easy reach of the helmsmen. The part I made had to be strong enough to withstand the loads of the traveler.

A male mold was the best choice for creating the shape to put the cleat where I wanted it. I
began with Owens Corning® Foamular® 150 foam insulation, the “Pink Panther” rigid board foam sold at home improvement stores. It comes in different thicknesses and will bond easily with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to build thickness or create the desired shape. This foam is inexpensive and easily contoured with basic hand tools. I used a piece that was 2″ thick by 3″ wide and 7″ long. Continue reading

A scrap of curved fiberglass panel was the perfect piece to extend the nose of the car body to match the new profile.

Building Composite Parts

Using a car body mold to modify a race car demonstrates this approach to building composite parts using different kinds of molds.

By Don Gutzmer – Technical Advisor

Featured image (above): A scrap of curved fiberglass panel was the perfect piece to extend the nose of the car body to match the new profile.

Creating things has been a passion of mine over the years, and I continue to improve my skills and grow more proficient at building composite parts. I also enjoy the challenge of helping others create one-off composite parts. I’m happy to share some of the materials and techniques I’ve used over the years to build composites with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and provide an example of a recent project. Continue reading

A typical vacuum bag setup

Vacuum Bagging Basics

By Rachael Geerts – Technical Advisor

Featured image (above): A typical vacuum bagging setup.

What is vacuum bagging?

Vacuum bagging is when a composite that is laid up and wet out by hand is then put under vacuum to compact the laminate and force out excess epoxy. Vacuum bagging has been a choice method of manufacturing and repairing composites for a long time. Continue reading

Composite snowshoes by Mark Minter

Composite Snowshoes

By Mark Minter, Maker of Composite Snowshoes

Looking for an entry-level composite project? One that needs a minimum amount of materials and construction space, costs less than a boat, but still lets you travel on water? If you live in snow country, why not build a pair of composite snowshoes?

These snowshoes are made from a rigid foam core between two layers of carbon-fiber cloth, edged with 1″ Kevlar tape. A carbon-fiber wrapped wood spar runs across each snowshoe under the ball of your foot. This provides a solid mounting point for a couple of stainless steel eye-bolts to attach a simple toe-and-heel strap for a binding. Fiberglass tape reinforces the top and bottom edges, and the upper surface of the snowshoes where your winter boots contact them.

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Rachael Geertz, Winona Composites Engineering Grad

Winona State University Composite Materials Engineering Program

By Rachael Geerts

Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.

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Boyscout Klondike Derby sled.

Boy Scout Composite Klondike Derby Sled

by Tom Dragone, PhD

About the Klondike Derby

The Klondike Derby is an annual winter camping trip held in our district (and many others across the country) for Scouts to hone their scouting skills in a winter environment. During the weekend event, Scout patrols go from station to station around our local Scout Camp, facing challenges that require them to demonstrate their skills in making a fire, navigating with a map and compass, cooking, knot-tying, and applying first aid. The Scouts must bring all their gear with them as they trek from station to station, including ropes, stoves, kindling, and hiking staves. Hence, each patrol is required to have a sled for their gear which they, as a patrol, must haul. The sled must be strong and stiff to hold the patrol gear, yet lightweight because at the end of the weekend there is a race between patrols, and the fastest sled wins.

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Mike Barnard

Michael A. Barnard

1987—2017

The family of Employee Owners at Gougeon Brothers Incorporated lost Technical Advisor Mike Barnard, who passed away on 7/28/17. Our customers who had the opportunity to work with Mike will know that we lost an incredibly friendly, educated, and patient young man. I had the wonderful opportunity to be Mike’s manager for over 6 years, and hoped to keep him challenged until I retired. But fate took our favorite Eagle Scout well before we should have had to say goodbye. Continue reading

Stayin’ Awake at Daryl’s House

By Bruce Niederer

To stay awake at Daryl’s house requires a lot of caffeine—it must if the Box  o’ Coffee idea he came up with is any indication. Epoxyworks readers may recall his riveting article in issue 40 Dirt Bike Loading Ramp. Daryl is talented, imaginative and loves to build stuff with carbon fiber.

Inspiration hit him one day after buying a Box o’ Coffee from Tim Horton’s® on his way to teach a motorcycle safety class to aspiring scootertrash. Disappointed that the Tim Horton’s coffee didn’t stay warm very long, he salvaged the Mylar® bag with its built-in cap and built his own insulated box. Continue reading

Self Defense Canes

By Mark Copeland

After working for many years as a master plumber, followed by many more at Automotive Concept Studios where I fashioned conceptual car models from clay, I ended up with arthritis and two hip replacements. All the heavy work had caught up with me, leaving me disabled and dependent on a cane. I decided to leave Michigan during the winter months and move to Zephyrhills, Florida. I settled in and started looking for an activity to do, maybe metal detecting, fishing or golf.

Downtown, I happened by a martial arts school and stopped in to watch a class. Afterwards, the owner (Master Gary Hernández) and one of the instructors (Ms. Karuna) introduced themselves to me. Both have 4th degree black belts. I explained my health issues: limited mobility and the need to use a cane. They outlined a class Master Hernández teaches in Cane-Fu®, which is specifically beneficial to someone in my situation. Continue reading

You Can Build It With Fiberglass

By Clayton Woods

Using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy Resin and fiberglass products, I have created numerous helmets, props, and pieces of armor for costuming and cosplay. Cosplay means to dress up as a character from a book, movie, or video game. Employing unorthodox and oft times experimental methods, I have kept costs low and my creativity heightened.

Just about anything you dream up can be built with fiberglass. The only real challenge is to get a close initial shape. After that, you can add or remove material with relative ease. As it is impossible to hang fiberglass in the air, you just need something to put those initial layers on. Continue reading