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Thread: Thickness of body panels

  1. #1

    Thickness of body panels

    When crafting body panels out of fiberglass, what thickness should be aimed for? I'm thinking 1/4" or so would be good.

    About how many layers of 1.5oz fiberglass would that equate to? It would seem to be about 6 or so from what I have seen.

  2. #2
    Senior Member swoodard23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Re: Thickness of body panels

    I would think 8-10 layers at least. I laid 4 layers out the other day and am pretty sure it wasn't an 1/8". Didn't measure though. 1.5oz matt builds thickness up very slowly. Woven roving or a heavy weight cloth will build up thickness much quicker but won't conform well to compound curves.

  3. #3
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Tampa, FL

    Re: Thickness of body panels

    Most of my parts were about 1/8 inch thick with etra layers in the high stress areas like the rockers, over the wheel opening and on the rear corners of the rear quarter panels.
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: Thickness of body panels

    That is a loaded question. Type of resin (strength of resin) and type of reinforcement matter. Most handlayed panels are about an 1/8", most chopper gun is thicker because it is weaker. If you want to maximize the strength of the lamintate I recommend you end with a layer of cloth and your panel will be stronger because the matt has no controlled orientation of the fibers. Composite technology can be very complex with the simplest being general purpose polyester and matt. But most composite boatbuilders and some street rod body builders use more advanced resins like Iso DCPD or Ortho DCPD, and a number of them like Mid-states use vinylester. This all sounds easy but the difference between OK panels and good guality composites is usually in the technology used. Usually three layers of 1.5 matt and a layer of 6oz cloth will be sufficient for most panels, but if you are using crappy resin you will get crappy results.

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