Tech Question: “Can I apply resin to foam?”

foam-blockMany of our customers look to make sculptures out of fiberglass and resin. Foam is a common material as it’s easy to carve and sand to your desired shape. But, can you put Polyester resin on the top of it? It’s a question we get asked constantly.

Your first step needs to be finding out what kind of foam it is. Certain types of foam have different temperature variations. Polyurethane foam, like the kinds we sell in 4’ x 8’ sheets offer different temperature variations from things like Polystyrene. Once you figure out which foam you have, you can figure out what you need to do.

With Polyurethane foam, it will easily withstand Polyester or Epoxy resin applied to the top of it without having to do anything special. We recommend scuffing the surface with some sandpaper to get the best bond, but once the standard surface prep is done, you can apply your gelcoat, resin or epoxy.Polyurethane foam

With Polystyrene or Styrofoam, you can’t directly apply Polyester or Epoxy directly to Styrofoam, as it will melt the foam. Fortunately, we have a couple of products you can use to still make it work. The first product is an FGCI product called Styrocoat that uses a standard epoxy activator and will provide a protective shell over the Styrofoam. The other product is made by Duratec and is called Styro-Shield. Styro-Shield is a Polyester-based product that uses MEK-P and will provide a protective coating once hard.

So, no matter what kind of foam you use, we have a way to make your fiberglass mold or fiberglass-based product. Don’t forget that if you have questions, we are here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-272-7890, or e-mail us or contact us through Facebook or Twitter!

An interview with Chip Davis

Chip Davis VW Bug

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I just finished the VW Bus and I’m trying to figure out what else to do after that.

What made you decide to work on that?

I always look to make something weird and make people look and say “What the Hell?!”

What different products did you use to make that?

I started off with sheets of Styrofoam and glued them together and carved it with a hot wire or even a serrated steak knife. I coat it with PVA, then gelcoat, and finally, I used your Boatyard Resin to apply the coating.

How did you start this kind of work?

I started with Autobody work and started doing props for my church, I actually made a baby grand-piano completely out of foam, and one day, my neighbor fixed up my jet-ski, so I made him a jet-ski mailbox and I had so much fun with it, I kept going, ya know, just playing around with it and trying stuff and if it doesn’t work, trying something else.

I started with covering the foam in wax, to keep the gelcoat from melting it, and then I moved on to different coatings from there, just trying different things to see how they work.  I learned that you can learn anything from YouTube.

chip davis jetski

How often do you come to Fiberglass Coatings?

Every week or two, depending on the project; I come in and talk to Pat and everyone is more than happy to answer any questions I have.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to do this?

Don’t be shy, just go try something and see if it works, and if it doesn’t, try something else. I also learned that too thin of gelcoat wrinkles up like bacon, so be sure to load it up pretty good; same thing with the PVA, I learned that you can apply it pretty thick and wait for it to dry and you’ll be good to go.

Lastly, how did you make the VW emblem?

It is leather, actually! I got some pieces of leather and cut them to the right pattern and painted it.

Check out Chip Davis on Facebook and see some of the really cool pictures he has of some of his amazing products.

Tech-Tip: Coring Material

Coring Material is a very important step in your fiberglass project. Coring is what takes a sheet of fiberglass and turns it into a solid panel, for decks, boats, and so much more. Coring material can give the sheet flexibility or rigidity or even insulation (which is important when making a cooler). We carry several different kids that offer pros and cons. It’s important to find the material that works best for you.

Honeycomb –

honeycomb

  • PVC honeycomb with a fiber covering.
  • Very flexible and light-weight.
  • Does not rot and has great bonding properties.
  • 5lb density sheet

Diab –

diab

  • Offers several densities (3, 4 and 5lb denisty) for different jobs.
  • Much more rigid than plain polyurethane foam
  • Tan color (used to be multi-colored).

Polyurethane foam –

Polyurethane foam

  • Great in-expensive coring
  • Light-weight
  • Does soak up resin and has a good bond.
  • Does compress if you aren’t using the proper density.
  • Greatest R-Value (insulation) of any of our options.
  • Sold in 2lb and offered in 4lb density

Kay-Cel –

kay-cel

  • 25lb density sheet with 18 oz Woven Roving in the middle
  • The most dense, heavy material we have
  • Perfect for transoms or pieces with a heavy load

Balsa-Core –

balsa

  • Seal-coated wood to reduce resin consumption, keeping the weight down and increasing the bond.
  • Very lightweight, and inexpensive solution.
  • Does eventually rot without proper sealing.
  • Very good compression tolerance

An Interview with business owner, Mariano Pinal of Insulated Packaging Systems.

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1. When did you start your business and why did you start it?

This business has been established for over 30 years. I am actually the third owner. I had the chance to speak to the first owner and he created this business to help the small business industry. He wanted to help the small businesses that couldn’t afford to buy large quantities. I bought this business 5 years ago from the second owner. By speaking to the first owner, I was able to find out the reason he created this business and I wanted to keep the same business purpose.

2. What kind of products or services do you offer at your business?

My business has many different products and services.

• Products
→ Fiberglass floats
→ Foam lettering and signs

• Services
→ Custom packaging material
→ Packaging peanuts

3. How often do you shop at Fiberglass Coatings? What makes you a repeat customer?

I visit Fiberglass Coatings once a week or once every 2 weeks. It’s depends on the demand of the project that I am working on.

First, I go to Fiberglass Coatings because it’s like going to see a family member. Mark and Pat are always helpful with answering my questions and being there is like being at home. Even though, I’m in Clearwater, driving to Fiberglass Coatings in Saint Petersburg is a fun trip. You can talk with Mark and Pat about anything.

Second, I could buy products from other stores, but I would rather buy from Fiberglass Coatings because I feel treated like a friend rather than a customer. Sometimes I come in to buy rollers but I could end up speaking to Mark and Pat for hours, the kind of person I am that means a lot to me.

Third, I should go through my sales representative but I would rather come into the showroom to speak with Mark and Pat because they are like my brothers. We have a bond. I deal with many vendors but with them, it’s special.

4. What products do you normally buy from Fiberglass Coatings? Can you tell us a specific product/products you buy and what you use them for? 

I buy many products from Fiberglass Coatings. I buy hardener, resin, MEK, rollers, gloves, scissors and sometimes pigment for special projects. I also buy chopped mat, which is a very important product for my projects. I buy them all from Fiberglass Coatings.

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Insulated Packaging Systems is located at 1611 North Hercules Avenue in Clearwater, Florida. You can contact them by phone at 727-447-0085 or by email at insulatedpackaging@gmail.com. Check out their company website at http://www.ipackfoam.com, as well as blog site at http://www.packagingfoaminsulation.com. They also offer free quotes on custom packaging.