Contact Us
Team Speed Racer
Soap Box Race Los Angeles

The Female Mold

Yes, it is getting to be about that time. Hours, days and all the sweat we could muster were spend on this body plug and we are just going to throw it away! So next up is the Female mold. The first step? We are going to prep the plug for the layup. This includes waxing the vehicle, spraying it down with a parting fluid and finally setting up a clay barrier that will help us make our mold flanges. Keep your eyes pealed, we'll have an update soon!

Ok, so the female mold is WELL underway, Unfortunately the fiberglass layup is pretty messy, so photo taking is a bit more difficult.

We finalized the plug with a layer of Gel coat and started by waxing the mold. 5 layers of wax on this thing and a bunch of buffing. This thing is nice and shiny.

IMG_4462

IMG_4485

IMG_4488

After we got this thing all waxed up we had to lay up a clay barrier. The barrier is going to be used in order to block the fiberglass and help us make various sections to the mold. Each section has a flange and each flange should be able to bolt together in the end so we can have a complete mold all ready to go.

IMG_4475

IMG_4473

IMG_4472

IMG_4489

IMG_4497

IMG_4497

IMG_4506

At that point we sprayed on a layer of parting fluid. This is a fluid compound that is designed to help the fiberglass separate from the plug when it is time to pull it off. This was sprayed on with a standard paint gun. Once it cured we were ready for layup. This began pretty standard. We are using a chop fiberglass so we don't have to worry about woven issues like working around the contours we have on the car. We simply tear the fiberglass up into smaller pieces and layup each piece with a bit of overlap to create a layer. Once each layer cures we work on the next layer. We are doing 3 layers on the female mold with encapsulated foam blocks that will serve as support. We are hoping to get a bit of strength and stiffness by using the blocks in the layup.

IMG_4512

IMG_4513

IMG_4516

IMG_4518

IMG_4520

After the first part of the mold was finished and cured we had to move on to removing the clay. In retrospect it would have been smart of us to put the clay on something, like packing tape, but it sure didn't seem like it could possibly be this tough to get off the mold.

IMG_4525

IMG_4529

IMG_4534

So we wised up the second part of the mold. First we taped all the flanges with a nice layer of packing tape. This is to keep them separate so they don't cure together. Then we taped the areas where the clay would be put down. So when the clay was in place and the tape was ready we sprayed it down with a parting compound again and began layup.

IMG_4538

IMG_4541

IMG_4544

Once we got the full mold laid up on the body we had to pull the mold. This sounds pretty easy, but turns out to be fairly difficult.

IMG_4548

IMG_4552

We started off by cutting away anything that was stuck to foam and trying to get our fingers under any edges we could. This was a bit daunting to be honest. It took a lot of sweat and a lot of crackling. Eventually things started to come apart, unfortunately so did most of the female mold.

IMG_4557

We moved on to filling the mold up with water, this is supposed to dissolve the parting fluids that we used and help separate the mold, so we got started.

IMG_4562

IMG_4563

IMG_4570

After hours of messing with the mold and a lunch break we finally made some progress.

IMG_4571

IMG_4587

IMG_4585

IMG_4591

So we got the thing all cleaned up, bolted it all together and went on our way to fixing any divots that we may have in the mold itself.

IMG_4597

IMG_4622

IMG_4621

We sanded the mold and it is ready for gel coat. Hopefully we will be finished Gel coat tonight, on to wax tomorrow and laying up on Thursday!

Many an hour has been spent since I last wrote on this site. But lets cover the build:

We got Gelcoat on this thing and discovered that there were a LOT of small pinholes that showed up, so we had to really do a full bondo job on this mold. IMG_4646

IMG_4659

after the bondo and next gelcoat were completed we were able to bolt it all together and get it prepped to lay up. The prep work consisted of waxing the mold, taping all the seams, then PVA coating the entire mold. From there we were able to start our layup.

IMG_4675

IMG_4682

IMG_4690

IMG_4692

IMG_4700

Red Bull came out for a visit, this time one of the wings girls had visited us at the old shop last year. She was pretty excited to see the vehicle and things we may do pretty well in LA...we'll see.

IMG_4703

We then started layup. The mold was prepped, all the tape was sealed off and the first resin was mixed. When we laid the first layer (out of 3ish) it took a total of 3-1/2 hours. That was much more than we anticipated. The first layer took a lot of extra care to eliminate bubbles and pinholes. The following layers took a little less time to get through however so we were able to get through a lot more layers in one night, the second night.

IMG_4733

IMG_4741

IMG_4756

Eventually we had to fill in the nose and the tail of the vehicle. This required a milled fiber mixed into a goo...(tools can't get into the nose and the tail otherwise) so we had to tilt the vehicle on end to get these parts all fixed up.

IMG_4771

IMG_4777

IMG_4784

IMG_4783

IMG_4795

IMG_4803

Of course the night we had to do layup was one of the coldest that we have experienced so far. The problem with that is the resin cures quicker in heat. So we made a point of bringing space heaters. Between layers we cranked them up and closed off the room. This got the temp up to a nice 80 degrees(ish) in there and really helped cure the resin quickly.

The second day of layup was intense. We really had to get the body pulled on Sunday so the only way that we could do that was to finish the layup on Saturday. We pushed it into the night with the nose and the tail and all the body layup minus the first layer and got this thing finished. In the process however, there may have been some shenanigans and some exhausted team members.

3:29am:

IMG_4814

3:30am

IMG_4815

IMG_4817

IMG_4811

We kept pushing hard, finishing around 4am but getting it all done and anticipating the separation of the mold from the body.

IMG_4837

IMG_4851

In the end, we laid in a red bull can and a red bull cola can, just like last years craft. Hopefully they give us wings again and we are able to finish strong!

IMG_4862

The next day we were on film from redbull, so we weren't able to shoot as much as I had hoped. We were pulling the mold and it just popped off! I couldn't believe it! The whole plan actually worked! When it came off we were left with a smooth body that will require only minor work.

IMG_4896

IMG_4907

IMG_4910

Next up, body work, mounting the body, bondo, sanding and all the things we do a lot of, but this time our timeframe to get it in paint is... Thursday.

Other Posts In This Category