new here and a composites instructor

Hi, I am new to this forum and I think it is a good one so far.

I instruct composites at a Skills Center in WA State. The students are 16-21 years old that dont have a diploma or GED. The skills center is also available to adults who go through the local community college, but dont get many. This will be the second year and each time it gets better, more materials and projects. We focus on skateboards for the basic laminating instruction with different cores and thicknesses. Then we get into vacuum baggin the lay-up and even resin infusion. Later we get into mold design using the basic hood scoop as the project shape. Make a foam plug and finish it, then make a mold from that, then make a part from that. Good learning experience for the kids who want instant satisfaction and have no patience.

I have had lots of experience in the composites field in the last 20+ years. Everything from boats, car parts, skate/snow boards, commercial/military airplane parts, autoclave/oven cures, wet lay-up to prepregs to thermoplastics. I also do the training program for a advanced composites company in town. Every aspect of new hires to yearly certification of current employees and any updated with new materials or procedures.

Glad to be here and hope to build this with more info and sharing of projects and info to teaching this composites field to the kids who will make it their furure too. Bill

Welcome to the forum and let’s exchange classroom project ideas as I also teach 16 year olds and adults in a free Composites and Plastics Calif. job training program.

I have many local So. Calif. Composites manufacturing companies that support my program with supplies donations and maybe we can swap ideas, suppiles and handouts to make our jobs easier!

Do you have a contact with Boeing in Seattle surplus bldg. as it has been many years ago that I was up there and almost bought out the place? LOL!

Let’s share!

One long project i have the students do is a model rocket race cars with solid rocket motors!

They have to design their own (this is a tough one to get them think for themselves…) and make a 2 view blueprint with top and side veiws.

Then they transfer that to a block of Coastal Ent. PUR block and shape to the blueprint.

Then they cover the PUR with RevChem Plastics PER (polyester resin) a few times sanding in between coats as this makes for a vacuum forming mold.

Then they vacuum form PS over the body mold with mold release agent and trim with knife.

Then they have make a wood (melamine) chassis vacuum mold. And vacuum form PS sheeting over the wood mold too and trim it out to fit the body.

They also have to injection mold their own wheels (plus other parts too).

Then assy. the whole car, paint and detail the body, and fine tune it for the race!

Last night of the semester, we have an open house competition with everyone gets to vote for best of the car show and the top 3x gets trophies.

Then comes the single elimination drag races down the hallway, at night, under the lights with flames (c60 rockets), fumes, spills and thrills as they cover 100 yards in less than 3 seconds …if they go all the way to the end!

I have a set up with 2x alum plates with clamps for the mig wire and the chassis have 2x tunnels for the wire has to go thru to keep them safe and directed down the hallway!

Then 3x more trophies and the student race winner gets to run against the winner between myself and my aide (but my aide tends to cheat me by adding quarters to the inside of my chassis to slow mine down…) for the “King of the Hill” award!

I also tend to award some cash to the top 3x of both competitions…

I’ll take and post some photos later or in the next day or so of some of the cars.

I do have a set of rules that they have to use but offer suggestions around them as I’m also a racer…in an attempt to get them to use their own brain!

And every step is a graded exercise and with a due date too!

JM / Werksberg / GGROP

GGROP, sounds like a great class. Too bad you’re on the other side of the country.

Can you tell me about your vacuum former? We are looking for one and have seen books on how to build one yourself.

We would like to pick up a used one but have only seen a couple on ebay.

What are your thoughts on building one or a good place to find a used one. Thanks.

Thank you. I might in the future try to add here a monthly pay per-view section with a full online classroom, but never enough time lately…:rolleyes:

I have 2 large vacuum formers here and 3x little ones (one is maybe 4" square and anyone remember the toy version too? I have a new in the box one here too!) at my classroom.

I sold one of my large ones on Ebay to last year and with local pick up only. The guy was from a place in the upper mid west…go figure. A friend of his was to come and pick it up…never happened! Try Ebay and ask the sellers if they know of one in your area or a dealer.

Try your local packaging companies as skin packing is a vacuum former. I know of several Calif. companies that makes them, but shipping will kill you.

Always get the largest one that you can afford and they are also great as stated before as a skin packing products too!

Welcome Bill E. Great to have you aboard. I am a Cnc and Cad\Cam Instructor with North Orange County R.O.P. in Anaheim

Bill, do me a favor and say hi to my father-in-law!!!

I gre up in Port Townsend and my Wife in PA. Small world aint it?:smiley:

Well if I happen to see him, but it really is a big world. I dont know maybe I knew your wife:D

School starts on tues and im all ready. Never got the new vac pump ($), maybe got the air compressor fixed. But did get a load of plywood pieces for tool backs from the local luxury yacht manufacture. Too bad it has west system already sprayed on the surface. This is not good for the iso resin, but maybe a good example for the students. Ordered some needed supplies and there is goes 1/2 the budget. Trying to train a new director for the skills center as to how we do it. Like when the fumes are strong the best thing is to go outside and get fresh air. He says we should stay in the classroom and stay academically involved. How in the world are they to stay focused for three hours with no breaks, and keep busy waiting for the resin to kick-off.

Well better get over there and be involved in teacher work day and get setup and print out some syllabus and straighten out some cabinets.:eek:

Easy there BUCKO!!! lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Do you know Jeremy Saxton? He’s a Baptist Minister up there and runs a small auto shop. Out near the raceway.

Sorry really dont know them:rolleyes:

First day at school and it went pretty well. Got a couple of return students so I must be doin somethin right. Just keep all 11 of the kids accadenic focused for three hours each day.

Any good projects you can think of would be nice.

Also I do composite training at work for the newhires, so it was non stop all day plus some:cool:

Ya, my Plastics classes starts next Tuesday and the room is unfinished! :o

Let me try to upload my MRR directions and rules here:

General Information:
The car is to be constructed using the Vacuum forming process with Polystyrene sheeting and the wheels are to be injected molded. The body and chassis are to be independently manufactured and can be connected by any suitable method like screws or pop rivets.
The design (from blueprints) must allow for enclosed wheels (no open wheel designs will be allowed) only!
The body will be painted in such a manner to give the impression of a car with an “occupant area” for a driver and / or passengers. MUST BE A “SEDAN” TYPE BODY
The design must also include motor mount (1x C60 solid fuel rocket motor, which we will provide), 2x provision for a guide wire (which should not drag on the ground) and 2 axles (4x wheels).
Min. overall size: 2” tall body (from bottom of chassis to top of the body)
5” width
10” long
Min. Weight: 150 grams without the motor (to be weighed on the triple beam scale before the race)
Min. axles: 2x metal 1/8” welding rod (no alum tubes) with 2 wheels per axle
Outline of Process:
1.) Blueprint (has to be finished before proceeding with making the car)
a) Full size (to use for laying out the cutting of foam for the body) with all dimensions stated with proper Blueprint methods on provided ¼” per square graph paper.
b) 2x views (top & side views).
c) Body must have draft angles on all parts. No “under cuts” or reverse draft angles which would trap the mold with the formed plastic.
d) You can have “added on” accessories (wings, fins, etc.) but they have to be on the blueprint.
e) Turned in for reviewing and grading. Due date: on or before DEC. 15th!
2.) Body Mold
a) Lay blueprint (Top view) onto foam block and punch holes into PUR foam thru the blueprint lines.
b) Cut PUR foam block with band saw or any other device.
c) Lay out side view onto PUR foam (compensate for any curves) and punch holes into the foam thru the blueprint lines.
d) Cut PUR foam block with band saw or any other device.
e) Finish shaping the body mold and sand (must be to legal size first or you must add filler in this or the next step to make up the difference).
f) Push 4x map pins or screws into base of PUR foam.
g) Coat body mold (add filler if under sized) with Polyester (PER) resin and let dry.
h) Sand surface smooth. Repeat as needed to get a smooth surface….
i) Drill any extra vacuum holes need (may have to drill out larger holes underneath or channels).
j) Wax the body mold.
3.) Vacuum form body shell with Vacuum former molder and Polystyrene (PS) sheeting (white)
a) Use the Vacuum former sheet-cutting template to cut the full size sheet (use the class directed procedure) and just score the plastic with a box cutter. Back bend the plastic to snap so to finish cutting the sheet.
b) Place sheet into Vacuum former sheet clamp.
c) Place finish mold onto Vacuum (table side) of the machine (you may want to tape off 2 rolls of vacuum holes for a better molding) and spray mold release onto the mold.
d) Heat the plastic PS sheet until very rubbery.
e) Pull heated sheet over onto the mold, hold clamp frame down and vacuum the air out so the top air pressure to form the plastic over the mold.
f) Let cooled, remove the sheet from the machine and the mold. You may have to use the air nozzle to assist the removal by “Hydraulic” it loose.
g) Use a box or Exacto knife to cut out and trim the finished body form.
h) You can now cut out and attach any “Added on” accessories.
i) Turned in the finish body for reviewing and grading with FPS and the blueprint.

4.) Chassis wood or PUR foam mold
a) Get a piece of ¾” to 1” thick Melamine (plastic faced particle wood) or HD PUR foam which is ¾” thick or so.
b) Measure the inside of your finished body mold and cut the melamine to be 1/8” shorter in both the width and length to allow after vacuum forming the plastic over the wood mold that the chassis part will fit into the body part.
c) Once you have cut the Melamine / PUR foam into a “True” rectangle, place the body mold onto the Melamine and draw a line around it on the inside but do not cut it out yet.
d) Since the chassis needs parallel axle locations and wire guide to run straight, we will now need to use a square and a scribe to score lines into the melamine on the other side (bottom) so once we vacuum form the plastic sheet over the mold, we will have lines in the plastic to help us drill the holes.
e) First, measure the width, divide into two for a center line, measure and mark in the front and the rear, place a steel ruler on these marks and use the scribe to cut a deep line into the Melamine. This is very important for your car to run in a straight line on the wire.
f) Next, get a previous made chassis (template) to locate rocket motor mount area. Place it on your chassis mold using the centerline as a reference and allowing about ¼” from the rocket mount hole to the back edge of the chassis mold. Scribe your Melamine mold around the inside hole of the template.
g) Next, look at your body for possible locations for your axles (the rear one has to be ahead of the rocket mount hole and not thru it. Using the square ruler and the edge of the rectangle mold base, line up the axle locations and scribe the Melamine mold.
h) Using the previous made chassis (template), line up the axle lines to scribe the wheel tubs (where the wheels will go). You can use that previous made chassis (template) as the router template to cut the wheel tubs/rocket mount (you will need to drill a ½” hole to get it over the router bit and move it opposite of outside routering) fast and cleanly.
i) After you have finished routering/cutting the chassis mold out, you need to drill 1/8” axle holes indents for the axles in the wheel tub area. Using the axle scribed lines to locate where they need to be placed, measure down about 3/16” from the bottom and drill in about 3/16”.
j) Now cut on the inside body lines and fit (sand, grind, etc.) the chassis to the body leaving about 1/8” clearance for formed chassis part to fit inside the body.
k) Next, you need to make 2x mounds for the wire guides on the chassis bottom. You will need to get 2x small pen barrel or pencil pieces (grey box), double side tape and oil base clay. Cut small strips of the double side tape and place those on the centerline on the front area of the chassis and just in front of the rocket mount hole. Place a pen barrel / pencil piece on each of these spots and press. Take a little oil base clay, plug ends and make the sides of the pen barrels to fill in the under cut area. Double check all steps before proceeding.
4.) Vacuum form the chassis (see step #3 for instructions) Turn in both mold (FPS) and part (FPS)
5.) Wheels: I’ll give you instructions in early Dec. for you to work on them when you can.
6.) Motor mount: Lop off the top of the motor mount film with an extended box cutter. Clean off any mold release spray with soap and water. Use the die grinder to cut a half hole into the back of the chassis. Take the PVC tube, duct tape one end of it, place it into the rocket mount area with plugged end facing the front of end of the car and duct tape over the top of the tube to secure it to the chassis.
7.) Axles: Measure the width of each axle locations on the chassis, add 3/8” to the length (1/8” goes into each of the wheels and 1/8” for side clearances) and using the Lineman’s pliers to cut welding rod to size. Leave it rough on the end. Press an axle into a wheel; slip axle into chassis hole and press the other wheel onto axle. Should have 1/16” clearance each side, any more and it will not roll easy and straight.
8.) Test fit body to chassis and make any changes. Next, wash the body with soap and water. Let dry, spray paint the body with thin coats, pinstripe and or air brush detail onto the body. Use the black or white shelf paper to define the windows. Mount the finish body to the finish chassis with screws or rivets.
Complete car Due date: on or before JAN. 31st!
Open invite Car Show and Race, Thursday, FEB. 2nd from 6 to 9:30 pm

Here’s more pictures…

You always seem to have the ‘bug’ thing goin:)

I have some one on that has a fiberglass toy car like yours and I sent your name.

I would really like a splash of that car and some instructions for the frame and such. Someone could make a killin$$

I have been making ACVW products since 1980’s (been in my own business since 1977 doing auto trims and pinstriping for dealers)…hard to get away from them in my blood!

I do have a couple of those steel bodys as I have been wanting to cut and extend a longer version than that size toddler pedal car (which I had sold 50+ of those in my former days…) and pop a mold from it.

Check out my avatar with my ROP class Fiberglass go kart Bug body too!:wink: I have also been wanting to make a pedal chassis for them too… watch out, there’s a lot scams on there. I perfer forum myself.

Where do you think the name “Werksberg” came from for my business?:rolleyes: You may have seen the name on “Pink’s”, “Monster Garage” (me too) and my race windows in “Herbie goes Nascar”…

Well I am on the 2nd week of class and am doin good. 14 students. 3 girls. All seniors and one junior. 2 returns.

Went through the Fiberlay how-to manual. Basic little bit of everything in there. Watched the Cooks Composites videos. Chemestry of Atoms, MEKP Safety, and Gel Coat Spraying.

Made 3 laminate skateboards. Each with more layers of woven roving to see how each gets stronger but heavier. Also seeing that the 0/90 of the roving has no torsion stiffness, 45’s to come when we get in the knitted fabric and core materials/vacuum bagging. Had every one do a little laminating. Everyone did some cutting of the fiberglass cloth and used the cutoff wheel to trim the finished boards.

Did a set of test samples of 12 x 12 wovin rovin with different amounts of resin 20/50/80%. That came out good and they really saw the difference and could tell which would be stronger and why. They started lookin at how much resin we would use and tell the others less resin/ more resin.

Today we started the hood scoop plugs that will get a mold made from them and them pull a part from that. Didnt get to far but everyone has a different idea for their shape from scoop to pencil holder to CD case to small purse(them gurls).

More later as we get along. And add your ideas!!

Need a good drawing program for the computers so the kids can draw their project out before they start with measurements and BOM and material cost etc. Any ideas??

Well week 3 went well and the kids are really gettin into it!!

Everyone has a hoodscoop plug shaped, glassed, and a coat or two of surface coat(gelcoat). A little extra sandin and polishing and they will be ready for a few coats of Paste-All release paste wax.

Next will be to at least pull a part off to see how it releases and how good they look. Then a gelcoat and a layup to get a mold. Then if everything goes good they can actually make a scoop out of the molds.

Pretty fun havin 14 kids all askin is this OK, is this smooth enough, what about here…All I can say is look at the skateboard mold and say is it as smooth as that is and how long do you think it took to get it that smooth.

Its too bad these kids cant do a drawing of a simple mold like this. Dont they teach this in school anymore?? It is really ridiculous to see their drawings even though I did one on the board to show them how to do it.

For all readin this… any ideas??

Welcome to the great world of education in the USA!

Most HS students don’t even know what a Phillips screwdriver is…let alone their parents don’t know too!:rolleyes: There’s so few shop classes in HS now a days…that is one reason the manufacturing world is going to China!

Try and get them to do some simple math (costs of materials, even with a calucator)…like that finish project sheet I sent you with the formula already done for them and they still won’t attempt to do that section!:o

It is not like when I went to school!


Where are your classes located? are they open to general public? tuition?


We are doing class at the North Olympic Peninsuls Skills Center.
It is in Port Angeles WA and is available to 16-21 year olds that dont have a diploma or GED. It is also offered at Peninsula College in town for adults. There is a certificate offered there and consists of three 10 credit composite classes and all the others to get the cert. Most adults want a job now and dont want to wait a year or more to get this, and the cost involved.

The composites industry is so different in which aspect you get into it is hard to cover them all ie. sporting goods, aerospace, automotive, ship building etc. Most is learned with the specific employer and on-the-job training.

We pretty much got the hood scoop projects out of the way. Everyone laid theirs up and tried a few of the others. We started doing different layup schedules to find different stiffnesses. All is good and we used pigment in the resin so they could make different colors. This gives them interest and makes it a little more fun. We even did graphics from the computer and cut them out and put them in the scoops. The pigments were used sparingly. Only dip the tip of the tongue depressor in the pigment for a 150cc of resin.

Now the students are making longboard skateboards. I have alot of rigid foam and cut blanks 10" x 3-4 feet. Some of them I machine a concave on the deck side, others I just leave flat. I have a bunch of planshape templates that they can mix and match. A quick rough-cut and edge sand, then round the corners with the sander and hand sand to the correct surfboard rails. We laminate each side separately with a piece of knitted material cut a little smaller than the size of the board and a piece of 6oz wrapped around the edge. Then turn it over and do the other side. Colors and graphics area good thing and make it theirs.
They do ride nice and the concave feels good. We bolt on some trucks and wheels and try them out in the lab. We get alot of feedback on the design and shape. Pretty weird to see a kid get a flip on a 3-4 foot board. Only had one break so far, but that is good cause we get to evaluate it further and make suggestions.