My First Belly Band Thread - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-17-2013, 11:46 AM   #29
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Great thread, love the details. For sure a keeper.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:34 AM   #30
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Monday's Progress

This is how it looked last night. Tomorrow, I should be done glassing.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Front - Curb Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Front - Street Side 02.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Rear - Curb Side 02.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Rear - Street Side 03.jpg  

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Old 06-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #31
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Given the weather lately I assume you have a nice place to work inside.

I am enjoying following your progress.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:27 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Given the weather lately I assume you have a nice place to work inside.

I am enjoying following your progress.
A couple years ago Canadian tire had a sale on a double wide car tent. It was $275. No walls, just a roof. It is 20' x 18'. I set it up when I started this project. It doesn't help with the mosquitoes though.

I was volunteering at bingo yesterday, (my twins are in the music program at their high-school) so no new progress. I have to get this done soon, so I can start on the 4500. I have to have that one water proof by July 27, when my vacation starts.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:29 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
It doesn't help with the mosquitoes though.
The mossies are getting drowned out on this side of town.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:51 AM   #34
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Jim, I have heard that Escape bolts the two halfs of their moulds together, so this is not an issue. Can you confirm this? What is under your belly band? How is it attached to your trailer? Can an Escape be ordered without one?
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:24 PM   #35
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From the Escape site. I am not sure how the belly band is attached, but I do know it is just decorative to hide the seam.

Quote:
All Escape trailers have a 100% molded fiberglass body. The body is constructed from a top and bottom shell, which are fiberglassed together at the center prior to demolding, to create a seamless body construction. This eliminates any chance of water penetration while maintaining a strong, long-lasting, lightweight RV.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:49 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
What is under your belly band? ... Can an Escape be ordered without one?
Going without the trim is not offered as an option. My understanding from conversation with Reace is that it would be expensive due to the length of seam to be hand-finished, so he is reluctant to offer this. My guess is that it would also be problematic for production scheduling. Personally, I think finishing the area to smooth but not pretty and using a tape stripe instead of the mechanically fastened trim would be a good compromise, but I am not in a buying position and thus have not discussed this possibility with Escape.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:03 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I think finishing the area to smooth but not pretty and using a tape stripe instead of the mechanically fastened trim would be a good compromise, but I am not in a buying position and thus have not discussed this possibility with Escape.
Is the present belly band riveted on? That would seem a counter intuitive thing to do, after going to the trouble of making the shell in one piece. I get the reluctance to do the finish by hand. The time I have put in so far would be really expensive if I was paying someone to do it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:15 AM   #38
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Zen and the Art of Fibreglass

OK, I have laid down as much fibreglass as I need to. The next stage will be to grind the excess down to close to flush with the edges of the work area. Not too close, the last part of it will be with an orbital sander and some 80 grit sandpaper.

I would like to try to encapsulate what I have learned so far. Little as that may be. Most of what follows is the advice of my neighbor. I have mentioned him often. He is the best neighbor I have ever had. He runs an HVAC business. He is also quite experienced in fibreglass. He says it is his favorite medium, which surprised me because he has built flat deck trailers, and small dump trucks in his back yard for fun. He says if he were to divide his profit by the hours spent, then he is making cents per hour. He picked up an old, mostly fibreglass motor-home at the auction for cheep. It had been run into a low bridge and had a gaping hole in the top. By the time he was done you could not tell there was ever a problem. But since it was a really old motor home, it was never going to be worth much. He has offered to paint my trailers, if I buy the paint and do the prep, (sanding and masking). He really just loves to paint. Best neighbor EVER!

This has been quite the learning experience. My fist batch of resin was quite stressful. It is mixed in the cap that covers the top of the tin. On the shelf the cap holds the little tube of hardener. The resin that I mixed was kinda lean on the hardener. It took about 24 hrs to cure. I put much more hardener in the next batch. Eventually I settled on between 15 and 20 drops per cap, depending on how full the cap is. This gives you about ten minuets to use up the resin. After that it starts to gel and won't soak into the fibreglass mat. It is best to move on to another area once what has just been laid down gels. It hardens to hard enough to sand in one to two hours. The sanding is just to rough up the surface and remove any wax like residue on the hardened resin. Then you can lay down more glass.
The act of putting resin and glass down is more art then science. It is like a combination of paper mache and bed head. There is no one way to do it, but when laying down long strips, I paint the sanded surface with resin, then stick the cut glass mat strip onto the wet resin. Then paint more resin over the dry mat, till it is saturated. Using as little resin as practical. Sometimes, when I was filling the place that the metal plates came out, I would dip a precut patch of fibreglass into the resin, then put it into the depression that I was trying to fill. The excess resin would be soaked up by the next patch of glass. Eventually filling the void left by the plate till it is level with the surrounding fibreglass. Getting those glass fibers to lay down, in the shape, and place, you want is a skill. At first I was sure I would never get the hang of it. I would use brush strokes that were too long when trying to wet down the mat I had just stuck down. The glass would all fluff up and I knew that was wrong. My 18 year old son came up to me and asked some question about what I was doing. All I remember was answering “I don't have a clue what I am doing”. The resin not hardening up on schedule was a very discouraging end to that experiment. After a few more batches of resin I was starting to get it. My last batch was my best work yet. In fact this has been a great experience, because every time I work on the trailer, I am much better then the last time. Very rewarding experience.

An important safety message:
When sanding freshly hardened fibreglass, some of those hairs did not lay down. Rubbing your hand on this surface will give you slivers of resin hardened fibreglass. Wear gloves till all these stray hairs have been sanded off.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Shelter 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Front - Curb Side 02.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Front - Street Side 03.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Front - Street Side 04.jpg  

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Old 06-20-2013, 06:28 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Is the present belly band riveted on?
Yes, as of my discussion with Reace (over three years ago), the Escape trim is fastened with aluminum rivets. This is one reason that I would be interested in eliminating the trim.

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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
That would seem a counter intuitive thing to do, after going to the trouble of making the shell in one piece.
I agree, but I think they are closed-end rivets (so no leaks through the rivet) and the design still has the advantages (over the old Trillium approach) of precise alignment, no gap between the shell halves to bridge, and no steel bits embedded in fiberglass.
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:05 AM   #40
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Back in the Bunny Suit

So today I was grinding fibreglass while my city and my Provence floods. We are OK, but they are evacuating a nearby neighborhood. Weird.


Yes, back to grinding. I am now using a flat sanding disc on the grinder. I am also using my battery powered grinder, (enough power to get the job done, not enough to hurt my self too bad). I tried to grind the full width and messed up right away. I settled on grinding the bottom of the seam first, then do the top. The bottom is way thicker then the top. Go figure. I got about 2/3rd of the way around on the bottom. The other third and the top will have to wait. I am grinding down to the gel coat on either side of the seam, when the gel coat starts to recede, then it is time to move on. When the top has been ground as well, then I expect a ridge down the middle of the seam. I will sand that down with an orbital sander.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Before - Grinding - Bunny Suit 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Glassing - Tools 02.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Curb Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Curb Side Oops 01.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Front - Street Side 03.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Rear - Curb Side 03.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Rear - Street Side 04.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Street Side 01.jpg  

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Old 06-21-2013, 04:02 AM   #41
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I wonder if a belt sander would be easier to control and provide a more even surface? Raz
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:48 AM   #42
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More Grinding

I finnished the bottom of the seam, I am now about 1/3 done the top.

I don't have a belt sander.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Curb Side 02.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Front - Street Side 04.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Front - Curb Side 04.jpg   Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Rear - Curb Side 04.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Belly Band - Grinding - Rear - Street Side 04.jpg  
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