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Old 04-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #91
JagLite OP
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Oddometer: 1,382
Cool2 Side cover cover/protectors

How I made the case protectors for the Tracker. A simple project?
I am sure there are other ways to do this and I am NOT saying this is the best way.
Just that this is how I did it.

First, remove engine and tape over the sides with wide plastic clear tape (the resin won't stick to it)

Oh, OK, engine removal is optional

Then you want to wax the tape with car (polish) wax to make absolutely sure the resin won't stick to the engine.
It is usually recommended to do the waxing three times when using a mold.
Cover well beyond the area you are going to glass so no resin runs down onto the engine.

Now cut the fiberglass cloth, mat, and roving to oversize multiple layers.
Decide on the layup you want to use and the end thickness you desire.
I used 3 layers of 6 ounce cloth and then 3 layers of 24 ounce roving.
I covered it finally with one layer of a polyester fabric that is similar to Kevlar for abrasion resistance.

Once I had the layers cut and stacked in reverse order I mixed up the resin for the first batch.
I used epoxy resin from System Three but there are many very good epoxies available and regular polyester resin would work fine also, it just stinks, but it is less expensive and you can regulate the speed of curing by varying the catalyst amount.
Epoxy has one ratio it must be mixed at.
That ratio varies by manufacturer.

While you could lay up all layers on the engine mold, I prefer to just put the three layers of cloth on first and let them harden up.
I then remove the shell from the mold (the engine in this case) and trim them up.
Then I mix up more resin and start laying on the roving that gives the part the real strength.
The cloth is very thin and has no real strength but it shapes easily around the curves and holds together unlike roving which does not make sharp bends and will come apart.
I don't use mat as it has a binder that holds it together that does not work with epoxy resins.

I also mixed black tint in every batch of epoxy so that it is colored all the way through.
That way as the surface gets abraded by my boots, it will not show a different color.

So, parts drying with extra heat. First layers:

After pulling the covers off I trimmed the edges with a Dremel tool cut-off wheel and did a quick light sanding to smooth any irregularities.
Then mixed up the next batch of epoxy, added the tint, and using a brush to wet out the cloth I added all the roving and the final abrasion fabric.

I always try to catch the resin when it is at the stage that it is hard but not fully hardened.
Once it hardens enough I can use a utility knife to cut the overhang, or excess material away.
That is easier and less messy than cutting it after it is fully hardened.

Then to sand again and final trimming with the Dremel tool.
Next I mixed up filler, tinted it, and covered the whole cover.
The secret for me to work with fiberglass (hate it!) is to do as little sanding of the glass as possible so I cover it with filler and sand the filler to shape.

Again I put them in front of my convenient garage project heater to speed up the epoxy set time.

For appearance I decided to build up areas to be able to make the edges sharper rather than rounded.
The Duct Tape acts as a dam to contain the filler.
No, it doesn't end up being that thick.

Then lots of sanding to get it nice a smooth and shaped the way you want.

After it was shaped OK I put on the last coat of tinted epoxy.

After putting them on the bike and looking I decided to sand them for a dull black "sand cast" look since I didn't care for the shiny black.

For the Tracker I wanted to cover the entire side case for protection but mostly to disguise the shape of the engine.
You can make covers this way to cover as much or as little as you want.

Again, the end result:

I have ProCycle SS side covers on my other DR and they are great!
For what they cover. They don't cover the oil filter though, nor the entire clutch area. Much better than nothing!
And easy to buy and glue on.

I may make some more of these for the other DR, but I hate working with glass so I am in no hurry to do it.

I finished up by getting adhesive back Industrial Strength Velcro to hold the covers on.
The Velcro will also provide some give when there is an impact against the side case cover.

The layup I used of 3x cloth, 3x roving, 1x abrasion fabric came out to about 1/4" thick not counting the varying thickness of filler.
It is very strong and very stiff yet epoxy doesn't crack like polyester resin does.

This is not a very difficult project if you have experience working with fiberglass, or better yet, you have a friend who has experience...

If you haven't worked with it, this could be a fun learning experience but you will need much more detailed instructions than I have posted here.
Like everything, the less you know about it, the easier it seems it will be.

Any questions?
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