Fibreglass is an amazingly versatile substance, and it is used in the manufacture of many different items, from architectural facias to mobile homes.
To make something from fibreglass requires a mould, into which the fibreglass can be added. To first make the mould requires a pattern to work from. This is the plug – an exact replica of the finished item.
A plug can be an existing item, or it can be something made from scratch, but either way, it is what the master mould will be based on. It is important that any copyright issues are addressed at the outset. But the plug can be manufactured out of any material, but it must be rigid and stable. And its dimensions must be accurate.
Some plugs, for example, are made from foam mounted to plywood.
As a representation of the finished article, the plug can be the actual thing itself or an accurate mock-up of it. The plug allows the fibreglass mould makers to see up-close what issue they may face in creating their mould for the thing they will be manufacturing.
If the fibreglass mould is to be made from an existing part – in other words the plug is the actual item itself – then the process would normally be to mount it on a backing board first and seal it so that the two are effectively a single unit.
To make the mould, we first apply some form of mould release, to make it easy to get the mould off the plug. This is PVA-based, creating a barrier between the plug and the fibreglass mould gelcoat.
Making the fibreglass mould involves a combination of gelcoat, tooling resin and fibreglass matt or cloth.
First, we apply a layer of gelcoat to the plug, followed by a layer of fibreglass matt or cloth. We ensure there are no air pockets and allow it to fully cure. Then we add more layers of fibreglass, two or three at a time, depending on the required thickness and level of rigidity of the finished piece.
For certain large projects, we can bond other materials to the mould to give it strength. These can be metal or wood, typically added where there are stress points.
Once the layers are dry, we can remove the mould and it is ready for use.
Fibreglass Solutions are master fibreglass mould makers based in Stockport. We can pretty much make anything. Discover how fibreglass can be your miracle material and give us a call today.