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How to Make a Fiberglass Enclosure


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Velocity Motors 
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Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: March 15, 2006 at 10:27 AM / IP Logged  

Here's some simple steps and photo's on how to make a fiberglass enclosure/amp rack. The techniques outlined in this step by step is my own personal techniques and experiences so please feel free to modify the way it is done here. Hope this will help you in your enclosure fabrications and these techniques can be transferred to fabricate other fiberglass parts & projects....even vehicle body parts & home audio projects.

Let's start from the trunk:

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Here is the trunk of a 1992 Plymouth Laser Turbo ( or Mitsubishi Eclipse or Eagle Talon ). We start out with a clean trunk and an idea of what we want to do with the enclosure and the equipment that we're installing into the trunk.

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The next step is to draw out the base of the enclosure and use poster board paper cut into strips to contour the edges of the base. This will ensure a tight and accurate shape around the trunk edge.

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Next step is to mask the sides of the trunk to avoid fiberglass from sticking to areas that you don't want it to. **TIP: for large areas that doesn't require a mold you can lay down two layers of tin foil and some plastic to save time and masking tape **

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After you have cut the base out of MDF( Medium Density Fiberboard ) & masked the edges of the trunk you can start building the initial shape of the enclosure you designed. Using MDF I cut the peices that I needed to frame the inside of the enclosure and hot glued & super glued the peices in place. Using Cyanoacrylates (best known as Super/Krazy glues) bond in seconds through the evaporation process when in contact with air.

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After you have cut the MDF trim ring you must mount the trim ring and suspend it in the position you want. I used strips of MDF and super glued them in place to hold the position.

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After you have framed the entire enclosure and glued all the peices in place securely, you are ready to wrap the project in fleece and start with the resin.

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Using an pneumatic staple gun I used light weight fleece from my local fabric store and started to staple the fleece to the enclosure. ** TIP : Make sure you staple the fabric on the bottom of the project and not the side ( if possible ). This will save you time in the end because you won't have to cover your staple divits you create when you attach the fleece to the MDF.

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Here is the enclosure pre-resin state. Make sure that you attach the fleece on the top of the project with spray glue or staples. This will ensure that the fleece is attached to the frame. I used 3M Super 90 spray adhesive & you can get this at any Home Hardware store or Home Depot.

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Here is the first coat of fiberglass resin that I used on the enclosure. Soak it down until the resin shines on the fleece , this will indicate that the resin is completely saturated with resin. Allow this to dry and next step will be the fiberglass matting and resin.

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After you have the first 3-4 layers of fiberglass matting alow it to dry. I used a roller to smooth out the bubbles and also this allows me to sqeeze out all the extra resin that I used. I just applied more matting to soak up the resin that the roller sqeezed out.

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Here's the enclosure after the 2nd 4 layer coating. THere is 8 layers of matting on this enclsoure and now it's time to smooth out the fiberglass and continue to the final stages of the enclsoure.

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After doing a little sanding to get rid of the small pills of resin your ready to apply the first layer of filler/fiberglass resin. Note the smoothness of the fiberglass and the fact the we need little sanding here to go tot he next step. The entire project requires it to be sanded to 80 grit for the filler/fiberglass resin to adhere properly.

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Next you will need some body filler ( Rage Gold is what we used ) and some fiberglass resin, mixing cup and hardener for both.

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By mixing a batch of body filler and resin ( 5:1 ratio ) you create a thinned out mixture that you can paint onto the project. Add the appropriate hardener amounts for each of the resin and the body filler as normal

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** TIP: this allows you to use this mixture to fill in dips and cracks without having you spread it on with a body filler knife.

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Here is the completed subenclosure with the mixture completely covering the project. Get it at the stage where the mixture is 75 % dry and use 36 - 50 grit sand paper on a soft sanding block and go to town and sand down the project before it totally dries. It will gum up your paper rather quickly but will take off lots of the semi dry mixture ( which is what you want ) because this is the excess stuff that is the high spots on the project.

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Next we covered the trunk with a thick plastic sheet and proceeded to make our enclsoure cover.

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We placed the enclosure into the trunk and made another trim ring to fit on the outside of the subwoofer with a reverse mount on the sub for asthetics.

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The enclosure was completely masked over and the amplifier was tin foiled to add protection incase of some resing getting through the first layer of tin foil.

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I used 2 layers of tin foil to cover the entire enclosure so that when I fiberglass over top, I will be able to remove a perfect mold of the enclosure. Use 2-3 layers of matting for the shape of the cover as this will be plenty strong enough for the cover peice. After you have the cover peice glassed and edges cut and sanded your ready to use the body filler/resin mixture again on the cover.

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Get it at the stage where the mixture is 75 % dry and use 36 - 50 grit sand paper on a soft sanding block and go to town and sand down the project before it totally dries. It will gum up your paper rather quickly but will take off lots of the semi dry mixture ( which is what you want ) because this is the excess stuff that is the high spots on the project. Here is the cover after we removed it from the initial mold and used the same technique with the filler/fiberglass resin as before. In this stage we sanded it down to 240 grit and is now ready for some polyester filler to fill in small scratches and imperfections.

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Here is the cover pre-paint ready to get a 400 grit sanding and then a 600 grit sanding. Paint is next and installation.

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Here's the finished cover with paint and ready to install. The paint was matched to the exterior of the vehicle.

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Finished & installed enclsoure and cover.

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Another happy customer posted_image

Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
candy&chrome 
Copper - Posts: 55
Copper spacespace
Joined: December 05, 2005
Location: Canada
Posted: March 15, 2006 at 9:25 PM / IP Logged  

i'm impressed...........it's nice to know that there is this kind of info, step by step. thank you.

i just learned something new.

canada's cold eh.
laser4g63 
Member - Posts: 3
Member spacespace
Joined: February 18, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: March 16, 2006 at 1:32 AM / IP Logged  
This is exactly what I have been looking for.  Almost down to the same car, except mines AWD.  Thanks for that awesome write up!
Craig
Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,602
Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: March 16, 2006 at 9:52 PM / IP Logged  
Thanks for the props guys. I'll be putting some more how-to's later in regards to some RS installations, headrest monitor's and some more fiberglass panel.
Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
fezza_rs 
Member - Posts: 1
Member spacespace
Joined: March 17, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: March 17, 2006 at 11:27 AM / IP Logged  
posted_image great guide dude the beginners among us will get off to a good sart with this!
lukeyn 
Member - Posts: 47
Member spacespace
Joined: March 07, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: March 21, 2006 at 12:15 PM / IP Logged  
"Here is the cover after we removed it from the initial mold and used the same technique with the filler/fiberglass resin as before"
Is the technique used in this step just painting the mix of body filler and resin ( 5:1 ratio ) or is it actually repeating the whole process again?
Sorry if this is a dumb question i just wanted to know completely before i start on this
no0p 
Member - Posts: 14
Member spacespace
Joined: February 01, 2006
Posted: March 21, 2006 at 10:37 PM / IP Logged  
that looks great, nice job!
reppin' clublexus!
jlord16 
Silver - Posts: 330
Silver spacespace
Joined: September 08, 2005
Location: Australia
Posted: March 22, 2006 at 6:30 AM / IP Logged  
have you noticed a deteriation in the properties of the body filler once mixed with fibreglass resin, or has it been all good??  Do u think its possible to use that technique with any sort of body filler.  Great walkthru, install looks absolutly awesome.  lukeyn i beleive that velocity made a cover for the box using fg, meaning that once the bodyfiller was applied he made a fibreglass mould of the box and then painted it to make like a cover for the box
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Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,602
Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: March 22, 2006 at 8:40 AM / IP Logged  

lukeyn wrote:
"Here is the cover after we removed it from the initial mold and used the same technique with the filler/fiberglass resin as before"
Is the technique used in this step just painting the mix of body filler and resin ( 5:1 ratio ) or is it actually repeating the whole process again?
Sorry if this is a dumb question i just wanted to know completely before i start on this

Not a dumb question at all Dude, all you need to do is mix the body filler and resin ( 5:1 ratio ) after you have the cover piece thick enough. We made the cover pice about 3 layers thick to allow it to be heavy enough not to create rattles and thin enough to be able to still be somewhat flexible.

Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
Velocity Motors 
Moderator - Posts: 12,602
Moderator spaceThis member has made a donation to the12volt.com. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Electrical Theory. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Fabrication. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Security and Convenience. Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: March 08, 2002
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: March 22, 2006 at 8:44 AM / IP Logged  

jlord16 wrote:
have you noticed a deteriation in the properties of the body filler once mixed with fibreglass resin, or has it been all good??  Do u think its possible to use that technique with any sort of body filler.  Great walkthru, install looks absolutly awesome. 

The body filler's consistency is thinner but the characteristics of the end result is harder to sand in the dry stages. It doesn't sand down like chalk because there's fiberglass resin in there and makes a tacky feel but is absolutely dry. We did this installation about 2-3 years ago and the customer is still using the system and the cover had not shrunk one bit since we made it.

Jeff
Velocity Custom Home Theater
Mobile Audio/Video Specialist
Morden, Manitoba CANADA
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