Buying bulk fiberglass cloth and epoxy ? Any tips on cheapest suppliers ?

Discussion in 'Composites' started by KeithO, May 31, 2019.

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  1. May 31, 2019 #1

    KeithO

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    So I'm located in Michigan. We don't seem to have any serious composite suppliers in the state that I am aware of or perhaps they don't advertise....

    I would like to buy a roll of 7781 (satin weave bid) and a roll of UNI, something in the 50-125 yard per roll range. I would also like to get about 5 gal of structural epoxy, probably with slow hardener, given our typical hot midwestern summers.

    The supplier I am most familiar with is http://www.fiberglasssupply.com
    They are located in Burlington, WA so a very long way away and freight can be considerable and problematic with hazmat fees on epoxy.

    They list 7781 satin weave bid 50" wide x 125 yard roll for $7.58/yard Fedex ground shipping $90/roll
    The have a UNI listed as "10.35 oz x 50” E-glass, 0 degree unidirectional,Roll" for $3.28/yd 100 yard roll
    Thy have knitted biaxial "10 oz. x 50", 0°/90°, Biaxial, Roll" 160 yards for $3.64/yard (has no csm in it)

    For resin, they list 5 Gallons, Hydrex 100 Vinyl Ester Laminating Resin (H-B) for $300 (price changes when added to cart) with lowest shipping being $78 through fedex assuming part of that is hazmat fees.
    West System by comparison is West System Epoxy 5.29 Gallon Kit C-6, with Slow 206C Hardener $518 with another $78 in shipping

    If I could find resin at a more competitive price locally that would help a lot. One doesn't want more resin on hand than needed due to cost and limited shelf life, but if you run out you want to be able to re-supply quickly too. Amazon and Jamestown Distributors have Totalboat Marine 5:1 epoxy resin for $124/gal (kit) for $124 free shipping.

    Any good options I have missed ? Recommendations ?
     
  2. May 31, 2019 #2

    kent Ashton

    kent Ashton

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    https://thayercraft.com/imsearch.php?search=7781

    I don't hear of many folks using vinyl ester. You can save some money by buying EZ-Poxy resin by the 5 gallon pail. Decant it into smaller clean paint cans if you like. I would not buy the hardener too far in advance. Best to use relatively fresh stuff.
     
  3. May 31, 2019 #3

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    Kent, that is an excellent link for cloth, thanks. Free shipping !!!

    It used to be that any resin was substantially cheaper than epoxy resin, but nowadays it seems the differences in price are no longer that significant. If one steps down from epoxy resin, Vinyl Ester is supposed to have some of the best properties (low shrinkage and good strength) compared to polyester resins, but it seems there is little price advantage any more. For whatever reason, these products seem a lot more affordable in the EU than in the US, same with PVC foam core and the like.

     
  4. May 31, 2019 #4

    BoKu

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    Thayercraft used to be really inexpensive, now they're often more trouble than they're worth.

    Back around 2008 there was a pretty rich composites salvage market from developers and fabricators folding up shop and dumping their inventory, but now all that has dried up. Back then I could get full rolls of 7725 for about $4/yd. Those were the days!

    * Resin: I get my standard laminating mix from Aircraft Spruce for small orders; it's about $100/gallon shipped. If I ever need a lot of it, I'll buy a drum direct from Jeffco and make a road trip down to go get it. My bonding mix is a pair of standard Epon products; I pick up a five-gallon pail of each every once in a while. For engineered epoxies like 9430 and 9360, I just search the web for the lowest as-shipped price that week. For our black-part mix, I get it straight from the manufacturer.
    * Fiberglass: Thayercraft looks like it might be a good deal in full rolls; for most jobs these days I just get it from Aircraft Spruce at retail.
    * Carbon: Soller Composites has the best bang for the buck. They're also good for carbon/kevlar hybrids and carbon sleeves.
    * Kevlar: Sweet Composites has the best deals.
    * Vacuum bagging consumables: These days I get that stuff from Fiberglass Supply, who buys it from Airtech. I used to buy it direct from Airtech, but they've taken all the good stuff off of their online store and don't want to deal with you unless you are buying pallet loads of stuff.

    Edit add: Vinylester is tough stuff to make airplane parts from. It cures so fast it's hard to vacuum bag unless you do some specialty tweaks to the chemistry. I mostly use vinylester for topcoats, primers, and gelcoats, and almost never for laminating. There are some UV-cured vinylester chemistries that might be interesting, but they won't work with carbon since light, UV or otherwise, doesn't go through carbon. When there's an x-ray-curing vinylester, I'll be all over that!
     
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  5. May 31, 2019 #5

    Doggzilla

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    Eagle Nonwoven in St Louis is where many aerospace companies get theirs. I know one of my customers who is a large rocket manufacturer uses them.

    But I'm not sure what the minimum is. They often do entire truckloads, but they also do partial loads through LTL shipping companies too.
     
  6. Jun 1, 2019 #6

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    Boku, on the 7781 Thayercraft are half the price of the folks in WA. I doubt anyone is going to beat the prices on the knitted fabrics though. Its a long way from WA though, ground shipping can take a week and a half and Fedex has no depot near where I live so if a package has to be signed for it can be a giant hassle. An hour and a half drive one way during working time to pick up at the nearest customer center....

    Good tip on the Jeffco epoxy, that is certainly the lowest epoxy price I have seen yet.

    As far as I am aware, there seem to be people building planes like the KR using polyester resin, but if the Vinylester resin is so expensive there doesn't seem to be any point in using it. Maybe for tooling ?
     
  7. Jun 1, 2019 #7

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    My initial project is a lightweight kayak for my wife. She has an 18' sea kayak but she cant lift it by herself which really impacts how much it is used. So I need to make her something less than 25lb.
     
  8. Jun 1, 2019 #8

    BoKu

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    I've bought a few things through Composite Envisions, and it looks like they have some pretty good prices on epoxy and vinylester resin systems:

    https://compositeenvisions.com
     
  9. Jun 1, 2019 #9

    narfi

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  10. Jun 1, 2019 #10

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    I see USComposites.com has 1.5 gal epoxy kits for $74. No hazmat fee. They call it their 635 thin epoxy system.
     
  11. Jun 1, 2019 #11

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    Looks interesting but I'm not sure I have the patience for making a tiny frame boat like that.
     
  12. Jun 1, 2019 #12

    DeepStall

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  13. Jun 1, 2019 #13

    KeithO

    KeithO

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    Looks like West system / Pro set was set up in Bay city, near Flint, an area generally devastated by offshoring of the US Auto industry. Distributors are large scale wholesale only. All the marine suppliers are at least as expensive as Spruce and Wicks
     
  14. Jun 2, 2019 #14

    KeithO

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    Just to make a few comparisons, based on feedback on this thread, and thank you to everyone who did contribute:

    Thayercraft: 20 yards 7781 50" 497A Silane $107.81 (free shipping) $5.39/yd
    136 yards 7781 50" 550 Silane/Volan $395.50 (free shipping) $2.91/yd
    118 yards 7781 60" 538 Silane $236.00 (free shipping) $2.00/yd

    UNI :100 yards 7721 55" 6224C Silane $379.21 (free shipping) $3.79/yd
    20 yards 7721 55" 6224C Silane $118.21 (free shipping) $5.91/yd

    Fiberglasssupply.com

    Style 7781, 8.9 oz./yd.² X 50"
    16+ yards $7.92/yard + shipping (approximately $74 via Fedex ground)
    125 yard roll $7.58/yd + shipping (at least $74 via Fedex ground)

    100 yard 10.35 oz/sq.yd. x 50” E-glass, 0 degree unidirectional,Roll $3.28/yd + shipping
    16 yds. & Up, 10.35 oz/sq.yd. x 50” E-glass, unidirectional $3.85/yd + shipping
    Note with UNI being 50" wide vs 55" wide from Thayercraft, you are getting 10% less product.

    US Composites:
    635 low viscosity resin kit 1 gal resin 1/2 gal hardener yields 1.5gal EPOX-6355564 $75.50 no hazmat + shipping

    West system 105b epoxy (WEST-105B) 1 gal $82.05
    West System slow hardener (WEST-206B) 1 qt $34.75 Yields 1.25 gal total $116.80 no hazmat + shipping

    Aircraft Spruce:
    West system resin: 105 1 gal $95.75 206b hardener qt $46.90 = $142.65 +18.81 shipping ground
    Unidirectional Fiberglass 38" Width RA7715/F16 01-00641 $10.65/yd ($15.41/yd extrapolated from 38" to 55" width)
    FIBERGLASS CLOTH 7781-50 Finnish is F16. 50" Width. Sold by the yard. 7781-50 $8.75/yd

    Wicks
    West system 105B +206B hardener (1.25 gal) $147.17 + shipping
    RA5177, Uni Fiberglass 38" wide $9.88/yd + shipping ($14.30/yd at 55" width comparison)
    7781, E Glass Cloth 50" wide $9.82/yd + shipping

    So there is a lot to be saved by using some alternate suppliers



     
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  15. Jun 2, 2019 #15

    282ex

    282ex

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    The old Glassairs and Wheeler/Composite Aircraft Tech Express are vinyl ester. VE does not have very good shelf life (6 months) so you should be ready to build if buying bulk. Epoxy much better shelf.

    If building an aircraft, highly recommend using the recommended composites for the designed structural integrity.
     
  16. Jun 3, 2019 #16

    KeithO

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    The link provided by Boku for Composite Envisions
    https://compositeenvisions.com/2-1-two-part-thin-epoxy-resin-system-kit-size-1-5-gallons/
    has a 2:1 ratio epoxy resin (slow) for $74 (1.5 gal yield) with UPS shipping adding another $15 which seems a really good deal.

    There does not seem to be any incentive in this market to use VE resin. If one started buying in industrial quantities perhaps it would make sense. I know of an inventor who has a youtube channel and who moved to the jungle in Panama. His place is only accessible by boat and he seems to buy what I believe is a VE resin by the 30 gal drum. I'm guessing that epoxy resin is pretty much unavailable / un-affordable but of course he is only building things that float and dome buildings with his material....
     
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  17. Jun 3, 2019 #17

    geraldmorrissey

    geraldmorrissey

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    To carry this one step further, I need 3K plain or 8 harness weave 250 degree or 350 degree carbon fiber prepreg. Small (20 yds) quantity. Suggestions?
    Thanks
    Gerry
     
  18. Jun 3, 2019 #18

    KeithO

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  19. Jun 28, 2019 #19

    lvaero

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    I was unaware of this website. Thank you!
     
  20. Jun 28, 2019 #20

    lvaero

    lvaero

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    Take a look at EcoPoxy's products. Very easy to work with, non-toxic and no funky smells. We are not using it on our full scale aircraft outside of the cockpit (they will not provide us with mechanical properties info for legal reasons), but we used it on our 25% proof of concept models to immense success!

    We are currently working with them on the possibilities of formulating a resin/hardener whose performance is on par with AeroPoxy's laminating and structural resins for sale with our production kits once our prototype proves itself in flight test!!
     
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