Fiberglass custom fabrication begins by taking fine glass
fibers woven together and completed by bonding them with resins. This
relatively simple process produces very lightweight materials that are
surprisingly durable and quite flexible.
There are several processes for fiberglass custom
fabrication. Two of the most widely used are chopped strand mat and filament
Chopped Strand Mats Process
Molding or chopped strand mat (CSM) is one of the most popular methods of fiberglass custom fabrication. It starts with the creation of a particular glass.
Silica sand and other minerals are heated to a molten liquid state. At this point, the molten glass is extruded through tiny orifices to form very fine filaments. After the individual threads have been coated in special chemical solution, they are gathered into a roving, which is a rope-like bundle.
Here, the roving is brought together to form a kind of woven mat, which is temporarily held together by a special binder. These flexible mats are then layered into a mold, and resin epoxies are painted over their fibrous surfaces.
As the epoxy cures, the binder dissolves and fiberglass is formed.
The versatility of molding fiberglass allows for nearly endless applications. Automotive bodies and marine watercraft hulls are often manufactured using this method. A panel manufacturer can also use fiberglass for structural purposes.
Filament Winding Process
Another common process for fiberglass custom fabrication is
filament winding. Filament winding allows for the manufacture of strong
cylinders, pipes, and containers.
Glass filaments are pulled taut and wound by
machine over a mandrel, which is the cylindrical shape the finished product
will assume. As these filaments are wound, a wind eye allows for specific cross
patterns to be achieved, and a resin is applied as the fibers are laid.
This winding is repeated over the mandrel until the desired
thickness of fiberglass is reached. After the resin has cured and the hardened
fiberglass is formed, the mandrel is often removed.
For some products, however,
such as storage tanks, the mandrel will remain as a protective, airtight
Products typically manufactured through the filament winding
process are structural poles, aerospace fuselages, and golf clubs to name a
Common uses of Fabricated Fiberglass
Fiberglass custom fabrication has become quite famous for
its many versatile and advantageous qualities:
·The strength-to-weight ratio of fiberglass is
exceptionally high, which makes it an excellent choice for automobile bodies;
providing a rigid shell while reducing overall weight for improved fuel
economy, and for reinforcing plastics.
·Fiberglass does not warp, shrink, or expand when
exposed to dramatic changes in temperature, which explains its popularity in
the manufacture of outdoors products.
·Fiberglass does not conduct electricity, which
is why the material has long been used for circuit boards and electrical
·Fiberglass does not absorb water, which makes it
attractive to watercraft manufacturers.
·Fiberglass in not flammable, which is why the
material has become the standard for home insulation.
·Fiberglass is resistant to most chemicals, which
makes it an excellent choice for storage tanks and piping in many industrial