Fiberglass....tissue ??

DR4296

Active Member
Anybody ever used something called "Fiberglass tissue"? I just read something in a book about somebody using fiberglass tissue... with an epoxy resin... over high-density foam... but there were no details about this product or method. Was curious to see if anybody here's used it.

A quick "google" suggests maybe "tissue" is what it's called only over in Europe, suggesting maybe it's just called "cloth" over here in the US and I'll need to carefully check the thickness of it before I buy?

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 

sculptor01

New Member
Hey yeah I've used quite a few grades of 'cloth' and tissue. Its well, similiar to tissue like but made out of fine fibreglass strands, you can literally tear pieces off. Its fine in texture, soaks up resin really easily and is perfect to get that first layer of cloth inside a mould, but alone wont really give much strength.

Then theres the next step up which is basically the same random arrangement of fibres but much coarser, we used to call this chopped strand mat, and then there is the cloth which comes in all different types of weaves and thickness'. For the type of work here, tissue followed by chopped strand should be enough as anything fancier was designed for strength like more industrial applications.

Hope that helps?
 

DR4296

Active Member
Yes, sculptor01, that info helps, thanks!

So the tissue doesn't provide much strength, eh? Well, I'm wondering then, why this guy (whose build I'm reading about) bothered to use it over foam...and then even over styrofoam.... on the EXTERIOR of his build. I guess my only clue is that he ends by saying the tissue gave a subtle wrinkle effect that simulated rubber. But he kind of says that as if it's an added bonus. Oh well.

I saw a Youtube video recently where somebody takes EVA foam and coats it with PVA Adhesive and then that Smoothon stuff in order to harden the foam's surface into plastic. But instead of EVA foam, I have a lot of large pieces of high density foam lying around from a previous build. So, I thought I'd glue them all together (with 3M 74 foam adhesive), then carve my piece, then follow that same method. (Figured I'd just hollow-out the foam later, leaving a thin layer of it behind, similar to what it would have been if I'd have made it out of an EVA foam exercise matt.)

But then I read about this similar build where all he did was coat the foam with fiberglass tissue and epoxy resin... and started to wonder if that was a better idea... because it sure seems sometimes like the best build for a large piece would be to make the whole thing out of a thin layer of fiberglass anyways. I'm just not sure how to accomplish that, outside of making molds, which I'd rather lean away from. And, I've used the fiberglass cloth before with fiberglass resin... but only on the INSIDE of pieces. I've used just the resin to coat exterior pieces, but sanding it was always "fun".

Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 

sculptor01

New Member
As far as strength I used to work for a contractor doing Ministry of defense projects, astute submarine staves and ac-130 rear doors, were talking 50 layers of infused resin cloth, a couple of inches thick so take me saying 'not very strong' with somewhat of a pinch of Salt.

A few layers of tissue will be strong enough for a prop but bump it, as in a reasonable tap with a hammer or anything accidental could easily cause damage.

I dont know about every foam/resin combo but I do know a lot of the sculpting type foams we use in things like this will melt to some degree on the surface with fibreglass resins. i belive this may be one reason why to coat the foam, as you say above with PVA or something similiar.

Building fibreglass over a shape, then sanding 'fun' huh hahaha. isnt the worst way, but god its bad for your health. Again you can build an armature/design out of pretty much anything that you can fibreglass over. Even papier mache... in fact, loads of good reference for a similiar technique is what you can search for here and its what people are doing with pepekura paper sculpts.
 

DR4296

Active Member
Well, good point about fiberglass and health. I'm more health-conscious these days, so maybe that Smoothcast stuff will be a better choice. Thanks!

-= Dave =-
 

mdb

Sr Member
I used only two or three layers over my Black Widow and it survived international travel and more than a few bumps.. so definitely use it! I also use epoxy resin which will *not* I repeat *not* melt foam. Most people in the hobby use polyester which will melt polystyrene like woah but epoxy is wonderfully non reactive to most other substances even if it can be temperamental when it comes to setting up. Mix in a large wide shallow container (in an ice cream container about an inch deep no more.) In a narrow container or in large quantities you can say goodbye as it sets up in minutes and gets super hot and you worry about it say.. catching fire. I've had smoking resin but not yet any melty damage to anything else.

Also tissue will gel very quickly in hot resin (ie resin already going off) and will not soften at all if you have cold resin so you need to be patient and have good temperature control.

I love tissue and will use it in combination with cloth (woven) over a heavier matting when I can now. Just got to get better at whole patience thing.

I use epoxy despite an allergy to it because it is so wonderfully versatile and once you are okay with a different time frame to urethane casting it's definitely preferable for props and costumes that need to be durable and light. My videos of me working with the stuff have all failed because I am not photogenic and it distracts from what I'm doing ;)
 

thevitamink

New Member
i also saw the video ( xrobot?) of the guy coating eva with smoothon 65d. i 've tried this too. it works well but a few things to be mindful of. if you let the first layer totally set up before applying the next, you run the risk of it delaminating. it will literally flake apart. you have to wait for the first layer to gel( it won't be runny anymore but still sticky) then you brush on the next coat. also, i found it's only good for small batches. it sets up so quickly that if you mix a large batch to cover a larger area, you have next to no time to brush a consistent coat before it sets. resins set more quickly the larger the mass. i hope that helps. I wanted to do this when i built my Wrex costume but turned out to be no good for the big pieces.
 

hansicle

Sr Member
Just had a project that used the fiberglass tissue. Never heard of it before. So, basically the project involved some large foam building ornamentation. The ornamentation was cut out of styrofoam on a large mill. I was curious about the process simply because the foam was just a base that was going to be glassed over. I know they weren't going to be able to glass directly on the foam if they were using polyester resin because it would just melt. From what I was told, they were going to basically coat the foam with spray adhesive and cover it with a layer of aluminum foil, then a few layers of this fibergalss tissue, then body filler. These things were pretty big and going on the exterior of a building. I honestly don't know how well they'll hold up.

The tissue had me intrigued simply because I've done a few projects with glass that I wished I had something thinner than standard glass woven cloth that would take complex curves better.
 
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