How to Make Fiberglass Repairs on Boats

How to Make Fiberglass Repairs on Boats

When boat owners find that their precious fiberglass boat has been damaged, no doubt one of the first things they think is, “I need to find a fiberglass boat repair near me.“ However, going to a boat repair specialist comes with astronomical fees of up to $3,000.

But here’s the surprising truth most boat experts won’t tell you: most repairs really aren’t that expensive. Patching a fiberglass boat can cost as little as $500 or less if you’re not afraid of some elbow grease.

This article will discuss fiberglass boat repair: how to do it yourself, how much it will cost you, and the materials you’ll need.

Fiberglass Boat Repair Overview

Before we get into the specifics of doing a boat hull repair, let’s briefly discuss the material you’ll need.

In most boats, “fiberglass” is a combination of fiberglass strands and epoxy resin, finished with a thin layer of pigmented resin called the gel coat. That outer coating gives fiberglass its sheen.

The depth of the damage will dictate how you’ll approach the repair. Is just the outer layer damaged or does the inner fiberglass core need repairs too? If it’s just the gel coating, you should be able to sand it down and apply a fresh coat. However, if the core has been damaged, it will need to be filled. You’ll know that the fiberglass core has been breached if you see fiber strands.

Fortunately, fiberglass is straightforward to repair. You can fix even the gravest of damage with relative ease and minimal expense.

Preparing for a Fiberglass Gouge Repair

If you want to achieve the best results, you should prepare the affected area for repair.

First, remove any decals or stickers on your boat using a heat gun set at the lowest setting. Gently run the heat gun over the decal and peel carefully. Use an adhesive remover to clear off any residue as needed.

You should also check the surrounding areas for delamination. If you find any it’s best to remove these spots altogether. Use a screwdriver and tap the affected fiberglass – any dull sound is a sign of delamination. These areas can cause issues down the road, so you should cut them out. Repeat this process, checking the edges of the hole and enlarging each as needed.

Fiberglass Boat Repair Cost and Materials

One question that will pop up when you start any hull touch-up project is, “how much does fiberglass repair cost?”

Fortunately, it’s relatively inexpensive to do a fiberglass repair. Boat scratches, deep gouges, and even holes can cost less than $500 in materials. If you have the required tools, then the cost might be even lower.

It’s essential that you buy and prepare everything ahead of time so the repair session goes smoothly. Here’s the equipment you’ll need to perform the repair:

  • Heat gun
  • Rotary tool
  • Disposable spray gun
  • Variable speed buffer
  • Wool buffing pad
  • Burr nose grinder bit
  • Sanding block
  • Paper cups
  • Stir stick
  • Sandpaper

Then, you’ll need materials. Most of the materials are available at any hardware store. Or, you can contact Plastic Materials Incorporated to buy everything in one convenient place.

  • Acetone
  • Gel coat (try contacting the manufacturer to match the exact color to your boat model)
  • Gel coat reducer
  • Buffing compound
  • Powdered fiberglass filler
  • Wax

Lastly, don’t forget your safety gear:

  • Safety glasses
  • Respirator
  • Chemical resistant gloves

How to Fix a Fiberglass Boat: Step-by-Step Solutions

This guide will show you how to repair deep gouges that have penetrated the fiberglass core.

  1. Use a V-shaped grinder bit to cut grooves into the gouged area. Smooth the edges of the gel coating to eliminate any sharp areas.
  2. For lighter scratches, you can use sandpaper to sand it down. Start with 80-grit sandpaper, then move a 150-grit, before finally finishing with a 240-grit.
  3. Prepare a gel coat filler in small batches. Gradually mix gel coat and powdered fiberglass together until they form a paste resembling peanut butter. Add the hardener last and mix thoroughly for a full minute to remove any resin patches.
  4. Apply the gel coat filler on the gouged areas. It’s perfectly okay, and in fact recommended, to overfill, as you will sand these spots later on.
  5. Allow the filler to cure for 1 – 2 hours. You can touch it to tell if it’s ready.. The filler should be fully hardened without a sticky texture.
  6. Prepare a batch of gel coat mixture, which consists of a gel coat, gel coat reducer, and hardener. Place it in a disposable spray gun and use short bursts to apply it over the affected area.
  7. Wait for the gel coating to cure.
  8. Finish the repair areas with sandpaper. Start with 600-grit, then move on to 800-grit. Finally, end with 1,200-grit before buffing.
  9. Re-apply any decals you want, and then wax.

A Fiberglass Boat Repair Is Easy with the Right Materials

The quality of your repair work is only as good as the materials you use, so make sure you only get the best. For everything you need, give Plastic Materials Incorporated a call. We have everything you need, from fillers to gel coatings to epoxy and polyester resins

 

Epoxy Cure Times: How to Get the Best Results When Drying Epoxy Resin

Epoxy Cure Times: How to Get the Best Results When Drying Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a terrifically versatile material. Many hobbyists and crafters all over the world work with various epoxy resins. However, when not mixed correctly, epoxy can remain liquid and ruin your project. So, how long does it take for epoxy to dry? Here, we share the information you need for successful epoxy curing.

In this piece, we’ll be talking about mixing and drying (or “curing”) epoxy for the best results. There are many reasons why your epoxy may not be curing correctly, and we want to show you some tips that can help your project be a success!

How Long Does It Take for Epoxy to Dry?

Answering the question “how long does it takes for epoxy to dry?” depends on a number of factors:

  • The nature of the project you are carrying out and the number of pieces you are curing
  • Which brand and type of epoxy resin you are using
  • Whether or not you are using a slow-curing epoxy

How long does epoxy take to dry? Generally, it takes 24 hours for most types of resin to cure. Slow-curing epoxy types take up to 72 hours to cure. This presumes that you’re conducting your work in a well-ventilated place with a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

How Can I Minimize My Epoxy Dry Time?

So, you’re asking “how long does it take for resin to dry?” Most factors that keep epoxy from setting have to do with incorrect mixing and other mistakes. We’ll list below some common reasons why epoxy may be slow to dry, and what you can do to speed up your epoxy cure time

Old Product

If your resin is past the expiration date on the bottle, then it’s most likely not usable and should be replaced.

Moisture Contamination

If you have kept your resin mix in an environment that is not climate controlled or dry, moisture may have collected inside the resin mix container and contaminated the product. This is important to know if you’re asking how long does resin take to cure.

Improper Mixing and Measuring

Did you mix your resin properly? Different brands of resin have different mixing instructions. They’re not all the same! If you didn’t mix your resin thoroughly or measure it correctly, it might not cure. 

Dirty Mixing Cups and Inclusions

Did you make sure your inclusions were dry and sealed before inserting them into molds? Did you make sure that your mixing cups were dry and clean before mixing? These can both have a big impact on how quickly it takes for your epoxy to dry. “How long does resin take to dry?” is a question that won’t be useful if your mixing equipment isn’t clean and ready.

Are Your Molds Dry and Clean? Are Your Molds Made Out of Latex?

You should only work with molds that are completely clean and dry – epoxy won’t cure in bad molds. Likewise, certain mixes of epoxy react badly to latex. Be especially careful when working with latex molds. This can be a big factor in figuring out how long it takes resin to dry.

Too Much Hardener

This is a big mistake. Adding more hardener will not decrease cure time. Follow the listed directions on your product. 

Tips on How To Cure Resin

Here are some tips and tricks on how to cure resin effectively for successful epoxy projects.

Use More Heat

The use of heating lamps and working in a room that is at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit can help your resin cure more quickly. Make sure to abide by safety precautions and ventilation, but applying more heat can help your castings cure faster.

Try Out UV Resin

The innovation of UV resin enables you to mix a resin that dries with exposure to UV light.  This kind of epoxy needs to be applied in thinner layers and with some care, but the ability to instantly dry your resin is worth it.

Don’t Over Color

Mixing in too much of various color agents can prevent your resin from curing properly, therefore, m

easure your colors carefully and only use the recommended amount.

Make Sure Your Measurements are Correct

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not following directions and not mixing your epoxy according to the recommended directions.  This can cause your casting to cure slowly, be cloudy, or otherwise come out wrong.

Compare Different Resin Products

Different epoxy products are intended for different styles of end products. Compare different products, check out online reviews, and speak to fellow artisans. Cure times should be listed on the packaging for epoxy products, in the meantime check out our products and pick the one that best matches your project.

Let Plastic Materials Answer Your Questions About Epoxy Curing

Plastic Materials helps business people, artists, and hobbyists with these products and knows how to succeed when using resins and epoxies. If you’re asking “how long does epoxy take to cure?”, we can help you. Contact us today!

 

Silicone Molds for Resin

Silicone Molds for Resin

What are Silicone Molds for Resin?

The key to a beautiful resin casting is having the perfect negative mold, so this should be one of your top priorities.

You can buy many kinds of molds, but silicone is the best and most beginner-friendly.. The flexible and supple material allows you to create complex and unique castings without much hassle.

This article will discuss silicone molds and why you need to consider them for your next resin project.

 

What are Silicone Molds for Resin?

Silicone molds are reusable epoxy molds made primarily from silicone rubber: a durable yet elastic material. When using silicone molds for resin, the silicone’s flexibility makes it easy to remove the casting.

A critical property of silicone molds is the degree of hardness, usually measured in Shore. 

A lower Shore (0 – 20) makes a softer mold that’s easier to remove from your casting. However, overall, it is less stable and won’t hold its shape for long. 

A higher Shore (40 – 80) results in a more rigid mold that better retains its shape, but you’ll find it harder to remove the object from the mold. These molds are also prone to breaking when you apply too much force while removing the casting.

Epoxy resin molds with a moderate Shore (20 – 40) offer the best of both worlds, giving you stability and reasonable flexibility.

There are plenty of ready-to-use molds available in the market. A resin mold kit is also a great option. However, for creating unique objects, nothing beats having your own custom silicone molds.

Read on as we discuss how to make your DIY silicone mold.

 

Silicone Mold Making: With and Without a Template

There are two ways on how to make resin molds—either with or without a template. In both methods, you’ll use a “blank” to determine the empty spaces of your mold. 

A template is a kind of frame that contains silicone to prevent it from overflowing when you pour it. You’ll place your blank in the template frame and then pour the silicone over it. After the silicone hardens, you can simply remove the mold from the frame. A template is helpful if you’re creating duplicate molds to ensure each one is the same size and shape.

You can also create a mold without a template. 

In this method, you place the silicone in a mixture of water and detergent so it remains pliable. Then, you take the silicone and wrap it around the blank, ensuring you sufficiently cover all areas. Depending on what shape you are trying to achieve, you can either leave an opening so you can remove the object later, or you can cut the mold after it hardens.

 

How to Make Silicone Molds: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now we get to the main event—a step-by-step guide on how to make a mold. In this example, we’ll be using the template method.

  1. Construct the frame or template. It should be 100% tight (free of cracks where silicone could seep out) and  allow ample space for silicone to flow around the blank. You can use any material to create the template, except for glass. A smooth MDF board is a popular choice.
  2. Once the frame is ready, place the blank inside, making sure the side to be pictured on the mold faces upward. Fasten the blank to the frame’s base using glue or tape so it will not move when you pour the silicone.
  3. Prepare the silicone according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It would be wise to measure how much you’ll need in advance.
  4. Release any air bubbles on the silicone mixture by tapping the bottom of the cup on the tabletop.
  5. If you’re using a wood frame, coat the inside walls with a release agent or a silicone-compatible oil. 
  6. Pour the silicone on top of the blank. If it has many edges, nooks, and crannies, you might need to fill these first using a thin silicone jet before pouring in the rest.
  7. Fill in the rest of the frame with silicone. Tap the sides of the frame to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Allow the silicone to harden. This process varies from 1 – 24 hours, depending on the size and shape of the blank.
  9. Gently remove the silicone mold from the frame and take out the blank.
  10. Straighten the edges using a pair of scissors or a scalpel. You can also rub the silicone mold with talcum powder to keep it supple.

 

Why Use Silicone Molds?

Silicone molds are one of the most accessible molds to work with, especially for beginners, due to their flexibility. You can create complex shapes for your casting and still easily remove your final work..

This kind of mold is also readily available in a variety of shapes. Or, if you want to get creative with your casting, you can make molds yourself. This DIY process allows you to make anything you wish..

As a material, silicone is non-toxic and doesn’t cause any allergic reactions. Therefore, you can safely use it for a variety of projects.

 

Ready to Make Your Own Mold?

Plastic Materials Incorporated has all the materials you’ll need to create your silicone molds and epoxy resin castings. Contact us today or visit our website to find our complete selection!

SUNDSTRÖM SAFETY INSTRUCTION OF THE SR 500

SUNDSTRÖM SAFETY INSTRUCTION OF THE SR 500

The SR 500 system is a belt mounted Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with tight fitting face pieces, loose fitting respirators or loose fitting hoods that protects against particulates, gases and vapors, or a combination. It is designed to be used in oxygen sufficient and non-immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) environments. The SR 500 PAPR system functions as an alternative to Air Purifying Respirators (APR) in all situations for which these are recommended. This applies particularly to work that is hard, warm or of long-duration. The filtered air is supplied through a breathing hose to the tight fitting face piece, loose fitting respirator or loose fitting hoods. The above- atmospheric pressure then generated prevents surrounding pollutants from penetrating into the breathing zone. Typical applications includes agriculture, asbestos, mold and lead paint abatement, construction & building renovation, demolition, chemical industry, food & beverage processing, lead battery plants, medical & health care, metal work, pharmaceutical manufacturing, power plants, pulp & paper processing, recycling plants, smelting and foundries, surface preparation, painting, coating, and more.

CORE MATERIALS FOR ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE

CORE MATERIALS FOR ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE

Check out one of our newest core material suppliers, CoreLite. CoreLite is one of the leading force in composite technologies with their advanced end-grain balsa, PVC foam board and PET foam core material solutions. CoreLite provides competitive pricing with precise assembly and that is one of the reason we are proud to represent this brand. They have been around since 1939 and this is a little backstory of the company and their products.