Today I wanted to share with you the next couple of steps that I've managed to complete with my Captain America ball chair project. In my last post I showed you the mold that I had to put together for the six inner wedge parts that need to be made. This is a crucial step in the project and I would rather not mess it up right out of the gate with my first attempt at making a fiberglass mold. So with that in mind I've been working on something much simpler to test this process on.
I put together this simple little mold so that I could use it to make a simple part from it. Call it two snow balls in a box or two buns or whatever but it should serve my purpose well enough. The half spheres I found at my local Walmart in the craft department and are only 4 inches in diameter. I hot glued these to a Styrofoam base and then added a three inch high perimeter around the spheres that are tapered so that parts can be pulled from the mold once I have it all prepped for that purpose.
Here I have the interior of the little test mold already fiberglassed and waiting to cure over night. Once this is done then I will go through the process of putting on a coat of fiberglass resin and micro-balloon mixture to fill the fiberglass cloth weave. After that a lot of sanding is in store to make the interior of the mold smooth and ready for use. The mold is only 10" x 12" x 2.5" in size so it should not take a terrible long time to get it into shape so I can try it out. If making parts in this mold fail at least I will not ruin my big mold for the ball chair and will learn from the process if I do make a mistake. But from what I have been learning online about making molds I think I will have a good shot at having the process fall into place so I am hopeful that this part of the project will be of some use and I will have another skill set added to my bag of tricks in the workshop. I have the mold release wax and PVA mold release liquid ordered so I will be ready when it arrives in the shop in about a week so and I can proceed further.
Along with the little mold test part I have been proceeding further with the fiber glassing of the larger parts for the ball chair. This is one of the four assemblies that make up the chair. The inner portion of the ring had already been fiberglassed so I was able to sand the outer surface of this ring to prep it for additional fiberglass applications. The inner portion of this piece like all the ring assemblies need to be fiberglassed from the inside first to give the structure the strength that is needed so that I can sand it easily to get a nice smooth surface on the outside for fiberglassing. Sounds kind of backwards but it works very well and since the inside of the ring will never be seen once the chair is completed no further finishing work will need to be done.
Here you can see what this ring looks like once it has been fiberglassed on the outside. It looks a little darker is all but once it has cured properly the outer surface is quite strong and will take very little effort to prep it for a good finishing surface ready for paint. I'll let this ring sit over night to let it cure and then finish up the outside my turning the ring over so that I can glass the edge and outer face of the ring where I had not glassed today. You can see that the bottom portion of the ring is a lighter color where fiberglass has not yet been applied to the assembly. This makes it easier to do it this way otherwise the ring is wet on all surfaces and handling it gets to be a real pain to not mess up the work that is already complete. Simpler to do this in a couple of steps and get it right.
Once I get the ring completely glassed on the outside I can go back to work on the inside and remove the unneeded Styrofoam that makes up the structure at this point. The new fiberglass will retain the shape that is needed for the ball chair and more fiberglass will be added for additional strength so that each ring of the chair can be bolted together.
I was looking at this ring as I worked on it on my work table today and thought it would be pretty cool if I could make a huge quad-copter using this ring. It would be great to see but it would need a mess of power to make it fly. Another idea for another project for another day. Anyway I'll keep you posted on my progress as I keep going along with this project. Enjoy the photos and your weekend.