Cutting Fiberglass - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-21-2008, 05:57 PM   #15
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Ah, the Dremel kit I was looking at has just that guide:
400-3/55 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool Kit

Maybe it's a sign I should run out and buy it today =)
I was taught that every project needs a new tool (or two...)
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:56 PM   #16
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Hey guys! Father's Day is just around the corner. Maybe it's time to plant a few seeds. . .
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:14 PM   #17
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Byron, what tool bit did you use?
If you look at the link I provided above you'll see a router type base and three spiral bits. I used one of the spiral bits. The base holds the bit perpendicular to the surface. I found it very easy to use.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:32 PM   #18
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When we were building our house I was a seasonal worker so had a fair amount of time and not much money - we did a lot of the work ourselves. I just decided if I had to do the work I would buy the best tools I could so at least I couldn't blame the tools if I screwed up =)

Of course, after a while you run out of tools to buy and the savings from not paying a contractor means you can do other fun things... like playing with trailers!
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:20 AM   #19
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Some thoughts on cutting fiberglass:

1) I set heavy-duty vinyl tape right at the edge of my cut, then scribe the edge of the line with a sharp utility knife. This helps keep the chipping of the gel coat to a minimum and stops the cutting tool's feet from scratching the gelcoat.

2) Beneath the gel coat are glass fibers that run every which way and that, causing your cut line to wander. Since you're going to cut the center of the hole out anyway, try screwing some furring-strip guides into the center at the right distance from your finished cut line, then use that as a guide.

3) My tool of choice: a Roto-Zip cutting tool. Much more power than a Dremel. My alternate is a "saber saw." both have a foot one can press against a guide, and the Roto-Zip can be purchased with a nifty little hole-cutter tool that's great for making proper radius curves for windows and such.

4) I have never managed to cut a perfectly straight line in fiberglass.

5) There will be A LOT OF FIBERGLASS DUST. Ever got fiberglass in your skin? Fiberglass dust is even more dangerous when inhaled. Wear a NIOSH respirator to keep the dust from getting into your lungs where it can cause all sorts of problems.

6) There will be A LOT OF FIBERGLASS DUST. It hangs in the air for hours and gets everywhere. Cover everything with plastic drop sheets from the paint section, then let the dust settle for several hours before pulling the plastic sheets off. Better yet, if the thing you're cutting can be easily removed and taken outside, do it.

--Peter
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:03 AM   #20
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I have had to make a number of cuts as I have been upgrading and rebuilding my Boler. I have the Rotozip, Demel, Router, Sawzal, etc. Yes I am a tool junkie. Anyway, for small irregular shape jobs I found the Dremel with a Rotozip bit worked pretty well. Any of the large straight cuts however, a spinning bit is going to try and wonder all over the place. I Have been doing all of the larger straight cuts with a 4" Right Angle Grinder with a cutting wheel for metal. It makes nice smooth cuts and it is large and heavy enough to control it. I just elastic band the shop vac hose to the grinder to help control the dust.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:30 AM   #21
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That 400-3/55 400 Series XPR Rotary Tool Kit is exactly the attachment I was describing in my last post. It really helps cutting a straight line.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:38 AM   #22
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I'm surprised no one's mentioned this - I've tried Dremels and jigsaws and Sawzalls and they all work, but they're all really slow. If you want to cut a hole in fiberglass NOW, use an angle grinder.

It's easy to cut more than you planned, but pretty also easy to follow a line. If you need to smooth out a section, just use the flat of the grinding disc instead of the edge.

Naturally, it kicks up dust like nobody's business, so wear a mask or two.

I was doing some mid-level surgery to my Burro with one today. And you can pick one up at Harbor Freight for like $15 usually.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
I'm surprised no one's mentioned this - I've tried Dremels and jigsaws and Sawzalls and they all work, but they're all really slow. If you want to cut a hole in fiberglass NOW, use an angle grinder.

It's easy to cut more than you planned, but pretty also easy to follow a line. If you need to smooth out a section, just use the flat of the grinding disc instead of the edge.

Naturally, it kicks up dust like nobody's business, so wear a mask or two.

I was doing some mid-level surgery to my Burro with one today. And you can pick one up at Harbor Freight for like $15 usually.
I use what is referred to as a die grinder also, with a thin 3 1/2 or 4 inch wheel. Yeah it does cut...... and a lot of dust... but with a steady hand goes thru it like hot butter. Larry
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Old 05-25-2008, 05:23 PM   #24
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If you have a jigsaw, the most controllable cut comes from using a RIFF blade like this:



The blade has a grit edging, lasts a long while and cuts sweetly - the problem with wood blades is that they start out overly aggressive, have a short sweet spot before they become just plain blunt and start burning the edge as much as cutting it.

Andrew
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:40 PM   #25
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I once had a problem with the shear pin on a stern-drive for a boat. The pin was frozen in place and I was reluctant to do more than tap on it for fear of damaging the gears or aluminum housing. The pin was about the same diameter and length as my little finger.

I found a round hack-saw blade with the same carbide grit on it as the blade above and filed on end to the same diameter as the rest of the blade. Drilled a hole down the length of the pin, inserted the blade, fitted the frame and sawed the pin into two pieces which tapped out nicely.

BTW, the propeller was still frozen to the shaft, so I put the boat in the water on trailer with no shear pin, started engine put in gear and goosed it. Prop came free of shaft.
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