Vacuum bagging

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May 26, 2014
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Fresno CA
#1
I am looking into the hobby of vacuum bagging small parts and small sections of my hull as I reshape and repair them. Have been doing a lot of research and asking around. Want to see the input on what's the best pump (but cheaper the better), what kind of materials (going to start with glass and carbon later), and where to get them. I know that there are more variables than I can think of. But just looking to do somewhat of quality work in my garage.

Thank you
Stuart
 

hydrostyler

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#2
Hello, I'm one of the garage composite guys that started with patch work and went as far as building a few hulls and nic nacs. It's a lot of work, but is cool to create things from scratch and put them to use. As far as supplies, some guys have started out with a basic $89 Harbor freight vacuum pump. As long as you have a perfect seal, you can clamp off the vacuum line and shut the pump off. You can work up to a 4cfm or larger pump and add a vac control system to it like this https://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/EVS/concept.htm I'm from the Midwest and get most of my supplies from www.expresscomposites.com I know that California Freestyle and Hurricane get supplies local to them near the San Francisco Bay area, but they probably won't share that info. When selecting your bag material, get the thicker non stretch bag and get good with pleats. The stretch bags will just give you headaches. Once you get a few bagged parts under your belt, don't be scared to move to infusion. It's not much more difficult or expensive and your quality of parts will be so much better. Send me a message if you think any of this info will help you and you have any more questions.
 
Joined
May 26, 2014
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Fresno CA
#4
Hello, I'm one of the garage composite guys that started with patch work and went as far as building a few hulls and nic nacs. It's a lot of work, but is cool to create things from scratch and put them to use. As far as supplies, some guys have started out with a basic $89 Harbor freight vacuum pump. As long as you have a perfect seal, you can clamp off the vacuum line and shut the pump off. You can work up to a 4cfm or larger pump and add a vac control system to it like this https://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/EVS/concept.htm I'm from the Midwest and get most of my supplies from www.expresscomposites.com I know that California Freestyle and Hurricane get supplies local to them near the San Francisco Bay area, but they probably won't share that info. When selecting your bag material, get the thicker non stretch bag and get good with pleats. The stretch bags will just give you headaches. Once you get a few bagged parts under your belt, don't be scared to move to infusion. It's not much more difficult or expensive and your quality of parts will be so much better. Send me a message if you think any of this info will help you and you have any more questions.
Thank you, that was a lot of good info. I have been looking at a few pumps on Amazon for about that same price. I just dont know what size (if that makes a difference) to get. I have been getting my materials from US Composites. Can you use 3 to 1 resin and regular fiberglass mat
 

hydrostyler

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#5
Thank you, that was a lot of good info. I have been looking at a few pumps on Amazon for about that same price. I just dont know what size (if that makes a difference) to get. I have been getting my materials from US Composites. Can you use 3 to 1 resin and regular fiberglass mat
Nope. Epoxy doesn't break down the binder glue that holds the chopped mat together very well. You can use polyester and vinylester for that. The pump size just gets the air out quicker. If you get a smaller vacuum, you can push the air out or suck the air out with your mouth, then hook up the vacuum. One of the most valuable tools I use for bagging is an absolute vacuum gauge. Mine is from advance German composites and is rather pricey, but I know if I have a perfect seal or not. www.compositeenvisions.com is another place for supplies. Us composites is good, but I always thought their shipping was rather high.

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hydrostyler

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#7
Trying to order a pump and some of the basics this weekend. Dose it matter if the pump is dual stage or single stage? Would this one be ok
That looks like a good pump to start with. I'm pretty sure the dual stage pump will pull a few microns deeper vacuum than a single stage. Remember to change the oil out once in a while to keep the resin fumes from damaging the seals over time.

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Vumad

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#10
Do your first trial part in a half-added mold inside of a ziplock storage bag for comforters. Just prep the mold like normal, cover with peel ply, then breather fabric. Put a small towel at the valve. Suck it down and put the cap on it. Cost a few bucks more than a hand layup.

After that, you can apply the same principals to buying a vacuum pump, gauges, proper bagging film and tapes, etc. My first vacuum was my water box mount in a harbor freight bag. Came out good, but buy better quality bags. Harbor freight bags are low quality and leak.
 
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#12
What type of fiberglass material should I use? Going to be building up my own tray, reinforcing the bond rails and cutting up a hood and doing something with it. Just know there are a lot of types of fabrics and dont know where to start.
 
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#13
I guess what I am trying to ask is , are some types of glass and carbon that are made to flex more or be stronger with less layers etcetera? I am going to be using an epoxy resin during the layups
 
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#15
I guess what I am trying to ask is , are some types of glass and carbon that are made to flex more or be stronger with less layers etcetera? I am going to be using an epoxy resin during the layups

Yes. But unless you are engineering parts to very specific requirements, it's not worth worrying about. Get some quality woven glass without mat and call it a day. Twill or 4hs s glass.


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