How do you chop a Fiberglass Body? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:12 PM
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How do you chop a Fiberglass Body?

I saw a Fiat Topilino back in the late 50s with an angled chop and fell in love. Since today a steel Fiat is very expensive and hard to find, a fiberglass body may be my best option.

I did a photo chop so you guys can see what I mean. Iím thinking starting with the chop done so I will have more top length would be best. The second photo chop shows basic cut lines on a chopped body.

So I guess my questions are:

How do I rejoin the cut parts? Maybe use steel straps and counter sunk screws then smooth surface. Lay a few fiberglass mats over the inside so the straps do not show?

What filler works best for the seams?

Or should I just hope to find a steel one?
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:35 PM
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Mikey is hopefully going to come around and let you know particulars, he and a couple other guys here are well versed in fiberglass.

But I think what it will come down to is to simply cut and fit the parts, the cuts will be beveled and the surrounding areas ground clean. Clamp the parts in place, you could hole them with metal straps and screws I guess. Then fiberglass resin and mat over the seams and let cure. Sand it to contour and finish it in Everglass filler and regular filler for the final work. Then polyester primer is my fav on fiberglass.

Brian
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:44 PM
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It is doable..however when you make the cuts the top will not set down just right so you will need to figure out just how to get the curve just right and faired in when you reattach the top..on metal since it can be stretched and shrunk one can do some pie cuts and hammer weld in some pieces and get the curve right..On glass you will need to make a transition piece by making a temp mold and getting the curve to fit..A good glass man could do it and you can as well if you wish to go through the learning curve of building glass parts..

Would look sweet when done..Just going to be quite a pile of work to get there..

Sam
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:02 PM
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The March 07 Street Rodder has an article on chopping a fiberglass body. It was on a 28/29 A tudor sedan, so it came straight down. You will have to do a little bit more to get yours, what with pie cuts and all. If you grind it correctly, the resin and mat or cloth secondary bond should be more than enough. Metal straps would be overkill IMHO. They could even cause you trouble down the road with corrosion and/or expansion/contraction issues.

Glass is good and bad. You can be as careful as you want. Chances are you are going to get resin and glass stuck to you somewhere. And, you will probably itch like crazy for a while. But you can make some sweet stuff with it. Just mix it correctly, toss it when it starts to kick instead of trying to save it, make sure you saturate the cloth or mat thoroughly, work out all your air bubbles, and make sure your secondary bonds have a good "bite" in the old work.
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:11 PM
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I don't think it would be all that difficult really, but time consuming for sure. Determine where the cuts need to be and fit the pieces, prep the pieces by grinding a good taper at the edges, position with clamps or temporary straps and glass one side allow to cure overnight and unclamp and glass the otherside, finish with more glass as needed and filler. Holding the parts in the right position would probably be the toughest part-might require some ingenuity.
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMoreTime
...Would look sweet when done..Just going to be quite a pile of work to get there..

Sam
Thanks Sam, I think so too, and WOW guys, thanks for all the responces.

I think I will tackle the job. They say you are far more motivated if it is what you want to do. And that is my dream car.

The hardest part will be the back of the roof. I could do several (4 to 5) pie cuts and then grind down the curve and rebuilt it up and repeat until smooth. I think the cuts I showed in the pillar could be able to be done in the right place so as to fit without much extra filler. Maybe a little grinding.

As for holding the part is place, I could use straps with small screws away from the glassing area, then fill them later.

I will of course have to get more detailed in those cuts. First step is finding a glass Fiat with working doors. Even a non-chopped one with working doors. It will mean some real fiberglass work on filing the gaps went I chop it, but.... I remember someone used to make one but a web search turned up nothing. Any ideas?
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:12 PM
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Found one... Rod N Race has a non chopped one with WORKING doors. Oh well...more work. At $3700 I still might find a steel one for that much money. Either way, the budget will have to adjust.

Thanks again guys.
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:16 AM
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That is very doable, and fiberglass is super easy to work with. Use a higher quality fiberglass resin, not the Bondo stuff from you local auto parts store. You can use metal straps and pop rivets to temporarily hold everything in place until you get enough resin and cloth on it to hold it. Then remove the metal strips and rivets and glass over everything. Do not be afraid to really grind on the existing glass and go well beyond your joint with it. You must provide a superior surface on both sides of the body for the new resin to bond to. An ideal situation would be if you could actually find out what brand of resin the body manufacturer uses. You will need a good supply of heavy weight mat, cloth and resin.

Vince
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:08 AM
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My advice would be to use epoxy only. Epoxy is a much better adhesive and stronger structurally. Use the good stuff and buy the pumps with the resin - makes it much easier to mix. Also I would use cloth and not mat.

Make it easier for yourself and completely cut away the forward pillars to the roofline and refab them, then you will be able to spread the load under the roof and behind the body. As one other poster mentioned you can not bend 'glass like metal and it will be very difficult if not impossible to modify them esp. changing the angle of the pillars.
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