Molded Fiberglass tongue box lp/battery cover - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2010, 10:14 AM   #1
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I have been trying to find a way to add a dual lp tongue box/battery cover to my '85 Boler. I love the way the optional bigfoot tongue box looks and would like to install something similar. Does anyone here have any ideas how this could be done?

Thanks
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #2
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You could make your own out of fiberglass.

For example, you could make a female mold out of plywood, and then fillet the corners with thickened epoxy to make them rounded. Then coat with mold release wax and lay up the cover in the mold out of fiberglass.

You would have to work out the shape(s) to make sure you could either get it out of the mold in one piece or plan on destroying the mold, or etc.

You could either incorporate gelcoat into the molding process, or paint with a good two-part paint after you've un-molded it.

Raya
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:05 AM   #3
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I'll be making one to enclose the AC. A simple wood frame, 1/2" foam and white NRP from HD. Rounded corners to match up with the radiused look of the trailer.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'll be making one to enclose the AC. A simple wood frame, 1/2" foam and white NRP from HD. Rounded corners to match up with the radiused look of the trailer.

What is this NRP that you speak of?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRP
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
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Hi Dave,

Could you elaborate on your molding process a bit? Do you use the foam to make the mold corners somehow? What is NRP? I'm going to guess N-something Reinforced Plastic.

Sounds like you might have some new tricks, which are always fun to learn about. I don't mold very much so my skills are very rudimentary.

Thanks!

Raya
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:04 PM   #6
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Fiberglass as Raya suggests would be my first choice as well. The trick will be keeping the finished structure lightweight and with a pleasing to the eye smooth curves shape. For a form you might consider using a simple armiiture of large diameter berry wire and 1/2 inch hardware cloth. By bending the individual bars of the squares of the hardware cloth one is able to make the area smaller and make the flat hardware cloth change shape.

Once one has the desired shape simply brush the finished form with a coat of resin before laying on wetted out mat. It is important that one wet out the fiberglass mat before laying in upon the form. Lay the cut mat upon a clean sheet of corregated cardboard and with a roller full of resin coat the whole mat. Soon the agent which binds the individual fibers together will begin to weaken. Before the whole is a layer of individual strands you will be able still to lift the piece (starting at one corner) and lay it upon the form. Then gently press the mat so that there is contact most places with the form. Once cured one does the same on the inside just that small strips of wetted mat are used and they are just attachment points...the whole inside area needs not to be covered.

Our eggs are made of very thin skins as compared to FG boats thus the light finished weight. would guess a single layer of ounce and one half mat would be more than sufficient, or two layers of 3/4 ounce mat. Once cured a gentle sanding off of the spikes and a coat of micro ballons in resin (Q cell type material) will allow a final sanding and over coat of gelcoat (with surface hardener) or sealer/filler coat and paint.

The technique is applicable to other mediums. Here is a photo of a similar structure I built two years ago for my wood fired piizza oven. Because of the weight of the stucco I was overcoating the whole with I used 3/8 rebar instead of berry wire. The final result was a somewhat smooth half dome with a radius of about 30 inches.
Hope this helps,
David A.L.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:08 PM   #7
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This is turning into a fun thread. David, your mentioning more/better curves reminded me that folks have used something like rigid blue foam to make a male mold (easier to get it curvier than my earlier method of plywood/fillets, which is more just to make rounded corners). Then you can make a female mold from the male mold, and then mold your cover. Or perhaps even use the female mold if you fair it well (then you don't have to think about how to get the male part out of the female mold; but it would not be as nice, texture wise).

Raya

PS: I think I might use a lightweight cloth instead of mat, at least for one layer, just for the better texture. Of course it somewhat depends on the shape/curves.

PPS: The pizza oven looks great. Mmmm.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
What is this NRP that you speak of?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRP
I think it may be [b]FRP, or [b]Fiberglass [b]Reinforced [b]Panel.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:42 PM   #9
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NRP: Non-reinforced plastic. Like FRP but made from recycled plastic. No fuzzy edges when cut or drilled. Check HD. My son, the carpenter, is using this for the bath enclosure. I played with it and it bends really tight with no cracking or stress lines.



PolyWall is an extruded Plas-Tex sheet with an embossed matte textured surface on 1 side, smooth the other, similar to vinyl wall covering. 100% waterproof. Fiberglass-free. Does not support mold, mildew, or bacteria growth. Made from 100% recycled resins. USDA compliant/CFIA approved. Can be scored with utility knife and snapped. Nonabsorbent: No swelling, rotting, or water discoloration. For interior use only. Install using a moisture-curing, nonflammable latex adhesive using a notched trowel. Maintenance is simple with a clean rag and any household cleaner. Plas-Tex is unaffected by most corrosive chemicals and solvents. PolyWall can be used for both commercial and residential settings that have a lot of moisture or are washed down for cleanliness. Field applications include: Bathroom walls, laundry rooms, utility rooms, commercial restrooms, commercial utility rooms, commercial kitchens, break rooms, shelf liners, etc. Size: 4' x 8'. .060 thickness. Bright white.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:37 PM   #10
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A BIG WARNING!!

If you place the battery in the same box with the propane; you had better partition them. In case of a leak, you do not want a stray spark to light up your life. Battery must be vented upward to allow hydrogen gas to escape; propane vented down as it's heavier than air.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
NRP: Non-reinforced plastic. Like FRP but made from recycled plastic.
I learn something new every day!

I may have to go wander the store isles. I searched Home Depot's website for:
  • "Non-reinforced plastic"
  • "PolyWall"
  • "Plas-Tex"
and got [b]Sorry, we could not find any matches
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for the NRP info.

And btw, FRP is Fiber Reinforced Plastic (or sometimes Polymer, but not Panel).

Basically, it's what we call fiberglass (which used to be Fiberglas, by Owens-Corning, but has turned into a Chapstik/Kleenex-like name for FRP in the US and maybe elsewhere). Some people use GRP also (substituting Glass for Fiber).

Raya

PS: I see that Home Depot first says "FRP Panel" and then says "Fiberglass Reinforced Panel." Either they are being a bit sloppy with their terminology, or whomever wrote the web entry did not realize what FRP stands for in the real world, or they are making some other type of panel seem like FRP.

PPS: Dave, are you molding your tongue box then, if you are using a panel material? I ask because the the original poster was looking for a molded box, like our eggs. The NRP seems like it would be more like a panelized construction using pre-molded fiberglass - more like those trailers that are made of fiberglass panels but are not molded, per se. That's why I was asking more - I wondered if you were using the foam and NRP to somehow make a mold for your molded tongue box.
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:34 PM   #13
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Camping world has a black plastic (polyetheylene) Tongue Box at a big discount up thru next month. Member price was over $125 now $59. It was just a bit too short at 19 inches tall to house 20# tanks. But you could use it as a mold or extend the height with a fiberglass wall, I'd imagine.


http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/...-tool-box/36996

Regards,

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Old 05-30-2010, 11:14 AM   #14
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I picked up a nice box from Menards - made by Contico. It costs about $50 and I fastened it to the tongue of my EggCamper. It holds my Honda 2000i generator / 50' 12ga cord / extra rinse hose / chocks / jack crank / gloves / and a 20# propane tank. I had to use a dremel to cut thru a few 'webs' on the lid to allow for the height of the 20# tank - but it's perfect since it also secures it from moving, since I only cut out little 'slices' that close down over the top piece of the tank. The width is a bit snug for the Honda 2000i AND the 20# tank to sit side by side, but I put a piece of Reflectix between them to act as a friction barrier.

It's a great box for the price - strong, light. roomy, but not too large! I drilled breather holes in the floor and up under the molded 'handle' pieces. I has provision for double padlocks. I mounted mine 'backwards' to allow more room for the lid/hinge swing when open, since it was a tight fit on the tongue - I kept my battery box separate just in front of the tongue box for safety reasons. I don't run the generator in the tongue box - it is always removed for use and locked to the trailer via a 9' plastic coated cable with double loops.

I can post a photo if anyone is interested - just don't have one handy today.

Bill
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