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$40 Home depot custom enclosure

I wanted to finally start logging a build here at the risk of making something that dosen’t work so we can all learn together.

One of the hardest things I’ve found about esk8 is sourcing well-fitting enclosures cheaply. One route is ABS or Kydex. However, I don’t have an oven big enough to soften the stuff to form around a mold, plus my lady will kick me out if she finds me using the oven to bake anything other than food again.

I have some decent experience in shaping foam and laminating surfboards, so I thought I’d give it a go. The be clear, this is my 4th attempt at building a fiberglass enclosure, the first 2 didn’t work so well for various reasons, which I’ll touch on here.

The goal was to make this from locally sourced and readily available material. Sometimes the FEVER grips me and I can’t wait for 2 day shipping. I need it NOW. This is the exactly where I found myself this weekend, so I went to the local hardware store to see if I could make this work.

I took some insulating foam and cut it to rough shape with a table saw. You can use whatever you want to cut it, it’s just foam. But I wanted straight and square cuts, plus I wanted a 10 degree releief to get the foam out once the glass sets up, and that’s easy to do with a table saw. A bit of sanding magic, then blow the dust off. Then I cover the foam in tape because foam melts when it contacts resin. Mold release is not enough. The foam gets taped to the deck and the whole workspace is prepared for the mess (waxpaper is key here). Finally, the taped areas are waxed with a generous coating of automotive wax. You can’t put too much here… not enough and your part will be stuck permanently to the mold.


Next, resin. I’ve always ordered the “correct” resin online but this time I wanted to try table top epoxy. The plan is to make it super thick so I hope it won’t matter much that it’s not for laminating.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/FAMOWOOD-1-qt-Glaze-Coat-Clear-Epoxy-Kit-5050080/301826159
I didn’t use polyester resin even though it’s cheaper because it’s harder to work with and it stinks to high heaven. I’d recommend staying away from poly unless you’ve done it before and know what your getting into.

I used fiberglass mat for the first layer because it’s easier to work around the corners. You can use the woven cloth but you’ll have to notch all the corners and line everything up or else the glass won’t lay down and you’ll get voids in the corners.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Bondo-8-sq-ft-Fiberglass-Mat-20129/202077814

Progras so far… about 1/2 a day’s worth of work… the little package of fiberglass mat is just enough to cover the mold, and the quart kit of resin is enough for at least the initial wet-out of the cloth and one gloss coat after a rough sanding.



I feel like at this point, you could just trim the edges, drill holes and mount the sucker, but I might do some more sanding and gloss coats to make is smooth… we’ll see… It’s not terrible as is…at least it was cheep

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Some progress…
The foam mold was partially destroyed, but it came out in one piece. If you don’t have enough mold release (wax) it will take more work or be impossible. This one pretty much popped right out (10* relief helped here as well)

Material removal was done with a grider and a cut off wheel, then 60 grit flap disc. Be kind to yoursef and do this part outside with proper safety gear👍

I went right to the edge of the deck, the lip that’s going to take the bolts looks a little skinny in some places, but I’m confident I can squeeze the bolts in. 12s5p here we come!

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yup. That’s how its done.

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Looks good man!

You going to paint it or skin it?

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Looks great! Something about this post just reminds me of the good old day when the OGs were figuring this stuff out.

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I learnt this the hard way.:joy: I spent 2 hours shaping a piece of foam and then it just melted!

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Thanks!
Yeah, I’d like to skin it, but for now I’d settle for “kinda smooth” lol. Once it’s smooth I’ll either try and vac bag the last carbon layer or float a coat with some black pigment and or mica flakes or graphite or some other cheap and available product. Or lineX it…

This is how one of the previous attempts to make this met it’s end. I tried so hard to save it with sanding and bondo and more sanding in the end, I should have just started over :rofl:

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I tried the same thing… And failed miserably!

This is awesome, I literally just stood in my garage for half an hour mulling over whether to spend all the dollars on an enclosure and its shipping cost, or just DIY it and see what happens. Ima DIY

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Cool man, keep us posted!

Be sure you protect your board well so you can get it out and try again👍

This resin feels a touch “softer” and has been easy to shape down. This is the result of a bit of sanding and gloss coat today. If I had the patience, I could work it until it was glossy smooth all over… we’ll see lol

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Nice work, looking good!

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Good job there

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If you can get some 2000 grit wet dry sand paper you can get that thing to feel smooth as a babies butt. In the first wet out you can see some air bubbles did you use a heat gun to get those out? You have come this far you might as well skin it with some fabric and make it look bad ass.

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This is one layer of fiberglass? How is if for strength and rigidity?

So after a decent cure time I can say with some certainty that this layup is more flexible than the woven cloth and proper resin layups that I’ve done before, but it’s thicker (2 lams thick and it soaks in a lot of resin). Feels similar to an ABS enclosure I have here. Some of this is due to the resin used, some to the use of chopped mat. Honestly, I’ve never worked much with chopped strands because chopped strand is softer and weaker than woven fiber layups. But I have had trouble with woven fiber before as it’s harder to form around corners without a vac bag setup, and thought chopped strands would be easier to get around the shape I wanted. In this regard, I’m very happy. The glass and this table top resin with $40 worth of material and requisite elbow grease is quite satisfatory to hold the shape enough to protect esk8 guts… but for how long? This is anyone’s guess. This one came out nice so worth the investment to beef it up a little more, and I want to be sure it will last.

The shape is really growing on me so I’ll probably spend more time with proper materials now that I have a nice shape to follow. I’d like to top this enclosure off with woven mats (carbon/glass) inside and out.

@Briman
Not ot my finest hour, this frenzy to build this, I’m out of practice lol. Yeah there are some horrific bubbles , so sanding them open and doing the patch work has been the task. There are no mistakes in fiberglass work, only more sanding!

I think I will skin it with something nice if I can,

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I think it looks good better than what I would do as I have never worked with fiberglass until recently I didn’t have a respirator because you don’t want to mess with fiberglass without one.

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The edge is about 3mm thick all the way around

Material is flexible but surprisingly tough. I tried to snap a piece that I cut off the edge and could not!

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Nothing fits like a custom enclosure.
Such a small gap to fill, but it feels like a country mile when water gets in :beer:

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Impressive results so far, I hope it holds up.

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