I learnt something new today that a fibreglass Bug body can be safely soda blasted to remove all paint and crap in all the crevices and it does not heart the fiberglass.
I watched some U-Tube videos and it gives an amazing finish. Anyone tried it ?? There is a specialist soda blasting company 90 miles away from me and they have just done a Reliant Regal.
It would be a very easy way to have a great finish on the body if it works. I am about to build all the wide wheel arches, engine side etc in fibre glass so having an ultra clean body especially in the really hard to reach areas in the boot etc
I have been told before that you can soda blast fiberglass, but have no experiance of it. I would check very carfully that the company you use has experiance of blasting fiberglass car bodies. Ask to speek to previous customers who had this done to fiberglass cars. I had a steel car body blasted once, I didn't realise untill after that the blaster was more used to doing gates and other heavy steelwork. He caused loads of dents in the steel pannels that had to be knocked out.
I have a mobile blaster guy coming to see the Bug in a couple of hours and quote me for the work. It will be great if he can do a good job of the boot area, parcel shelf etc that is just so hard to strip out properly.
I would also like the underneath blasted to take off 40 years of paint and crap. It will be great to start all the final fibre glassing with a mega clean shell.
Soda blasting was as new to me as it seems to be to everyone else here, but in fact it's been in use for around 30 years, originally developed for restoration of the Statue of Liberty inside and out. As a chemist I too was initially sceptical about the use of "chemicals" on fibreglass, but it seems the technique relies more on abrasion than chemical etching. The claims that the medium also removes the residual smell of burning, for example in restoring fire-damaged buildings, are perfectly plausible as sodium bicarbonate is long-proven to be effective in deodorising.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, the technique relies upon the impact fracture behaviour of the sodium bicarbonate particles when they hit the paint - this is not just any old kitchen baking soda, but material that's been crystallised to have a particular particle size. On impact the particle fractures explosively - imagine a windscreen shattering, the internal crystalline stresses are all relieved at once and the whole 'particle' (be it 3 foot wide glass or microspcpic soda crystal) shatters. It is this shattering that gives the localised abrasive process that scrapes away the paint, as opposed to the impact of the bulk particle. Compare this to traditional sand-blasting, where the grain of sand at the end of the abrasion is pretty much the same as when it started.
The process uses only compressed air as the carrier, as suggested by Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodablasting, so containment of the waste is an issue. It looks as though the general approach has been developed further to a truly (almost!) dustless process where contaiment is not an issue, but this is effected by using water as the carrier.
Now water of course means soda is out, since it will dissolve. So the medium used here is crushed recycled glass. Whether this behaves in the same way, micro-shattering on impact, or not I don't know, but it is plausible. In any event, being dustless certainly saves a lot of time and effort in preparation and clean up:
My main concern would be proper dryimg of the GRP before painting, as any trapped moisture is likely to catalyse the reactions within the GRP resin that lead ultimately to blistering of the paint. If you can gently bake the body that's ideal, say 30-40 degrees for 24 hours, but failing that ambient temperature is OK, the longer the better. For Scimitar resprays the recommended air-drying time is 6 weeks. That may be OTT of course, but it's like any other paint project, if you skimp on the preparation...
No luck with the blasting yet. Guy came to start the job last week with over £10,000's worth of really nice gear and it failed as he could only get 80psi of pressure and he needs 180psi. Came back again today with the unit 'fixed' by the German company and the poor guy it failed again.
He has a state of the art new German compressor, big trailer with a huge 4 cylinder diesel engine unit and they did not fix it properly. He will be back yet again !!
Nightmare getting it done. He has not had his kit repaired yet. I tried other companies and they only do sand and bead blasting. Bug is really held up waiting for a wiring specialist to do the Can/Bus system on the ZZR engine. Kawasaki, who will do some specialist stuff of the engine like the baffled sump, removal of the existing water pump and shaft etc they have not had a free slot yet to do the work so the Bug has not progressed at all waiting for all these guys.
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