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Old 07-23-2011, 09:36 AM   #384 (permalink)
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AlienMobile - '00 Honda Insight
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Originally Posted by orbywan View Post
.....Keep up the good work, I can’t wait to see the final product. I did show quality paint jobs and restorations in a former life, OK, decade, and I know how time consuming and painstaking doing a quality paint job is.
Your tail is one of the more impressive projects that I've seen on EM, so very nice work.

Yes, getting all the smooth surfaces takes a lot of time, and that's basically what I have right now over the summer. My shoulder is still pretty sore from the bike/dog accident and I limit myself to microballoning and sanding surfaces on the tail.

Originally Posted by orbywan View Post
.....When I get the shape of my boat tail finalized, I was going to skin it with aluminum, but you’ve got me thinking about fiberglass. When you have some spare time (Ha!), could you look at my ‘Aero RV’ thread photos and see what you would recommend if I was going to cover that with fiberglass?
Well to be honest, I would not cover coroplast with epoxy and glass cloth because I'm really not sure about the adhesion qualities between the two. I know Coroplast is a plastic product, but if it is anything close to the Polypropylene line of plastics, hardly anything sticks to it. If Coroplast is closer to the Nylon line of plastics, then you may have a better chance of things working long-term.

I have noticed over the years, that epoxy sticks very well to wood and itself (epoxy), but most plastics can bend enough to allow the epoxy to easily delaminate.

Originally Posted by orbywan View Post
.....The steel cage is necessary for strength because it so big, but a friend suggested smoothing out the pop rivet divots, covering it with mold release and shooting it with fiberglass shot to make a mold. That sounds way expensive and time consuming. Could you take a look and see what you think? Thanks in advance.
Covering the entire surface of your tail with epoxy/fiberglass in multiple layers thick enough to support itself, would as you suspected, be very costly and heavy.

At this point I think a better approach would be to make the entire tail shape in 2 inch thick foam and fiberglass it as you build the shape further from the back of the RV. This would be similar to what I did on the car.

I would think that you would want to build the entire tail in such a way as to make essentially four panels that can be unbolted and removed from the rear of the RV, one at a time, so that you can *easily* assemble/disassemble the tail for final fiberglassing/sanding/priming/painting and any maintenance that might be needed. Just my thoughts.

If you happen to take this approach, I would also consult the AeroHead Streamlining Template for a smoothly curving arch that follows that overall shape for the most aero efficiency.

You would end up with a very smooth surface, very light and strong, and *assuming* it's sealed properly from the elements, last a very long time as my motorcycle fairing has over the years.

As for working with foam/fiberglass, I would highly recommend purchasing the Mike Arnold DVD for construction of his AR-5 airplane. Mike is even more of a artist than I am. Truly inspiring work! And he gets into many details of working with foam/fiberglass systems.

Originally Posted by orbywan View Post
.....I also have a suggestion. When you reach the point where you are happy with the boat tail, finish and all, why not send several photos to Honda, tell them what a great car they build, and suggest they build them like yours! When a little guy like you can tell a behemoth like Honda that you have truly improved their product in a major way… I can’t think of a better complement to your skill and labor, other than inspiring other clods like me to give some of these things a try. Great work!
That sounds like a great idea!

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