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I want to thank Steve at Venom Racing for sending in some photos and a write up of his experience as a first time fabricator of fiberglass parts. He has been ordering from us since last year and I asked him for some photos of his work. The write up below is two emails that he sent me.
My rear fender flare project was a great learning experience since I started with no composite experience at all. I only did them to prove to myself that I could I do it but I won’t be using these or this design on the car. I still have much to learn and maybe this winter I’ll take another crack at them. The second project was teaching myself how to do resin infusion because I needed to make a new front splitter. Again, great learning experience but still much to learn.
This was taken just after de-molding and a rough trim, hence the unevenness and leftover infusion mesh in spots. Far from perfect and I probably should’ve practiced more with vacuum bagging before attempting to make something this large but I ran out of time and I needed to just get it done.
Mounted to the new front clip of the car.
I will say that fender flare was my 3rd version of it. My plug failed on my first attempt before I ever got to fiberglassing. The second version went better but I didn’t like the shape after I took a mold from the plug. This 3rd version was a last ditch effort that I did just before I had to pack up all my fiberglassing stuff to have access to the rest of the car for different projects that needed to get done. Once I finished those other projects, the car went off to a fabricator for a while and I started on the front splitter. The splitter I showed you below was my second attempt. I started the splitter project knowing I was going to make 2 different versions just in case something happened and I made 4 small flat test panels just to get a feel for how the process worked. The first version of the splitter was simpler in design for the air-ducts but unfortunately the infusion mesh shifted once the infusion started and the mesh pierced the bag all over the place. I did the best I could to salvage it during the rest of the infusion process but it was a lost cause and an expensive mistake. After learning my lesson on the first attempt, the second attempt went better but still not great. I ended up with a spot on the lower bottom that didn’t get any resin and so I then learned how to make repairs to CF. I ground out the bad spot and laid in a patch. Since it was going to be on the bottom of the car having the look of a “patch” didn’t matter.
As a first timer on both of these projects I had to accept that I would make mistakes and that it wouldn’t be perfect. Once I accepted that and came to grips with taking on such massive first time projects, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. When I started 8 months ago, I knew nothing about the different types of resins, types of cloths, weave patterns let alone gelcoats, release agents or how to make a plug. Now I at least have a basic understanding of them and the confidence to make my own small fiberglass or CF repairs. And when I get the time, I’ll have another go at these larger projects.