How to Bend Fiberglass Panels

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Fiberglass is a lightweight yet very strong material that has many applications: it is found in cars and other vehicles, as well as in some houses. If you apply pressure to fiberglass it will bend, but its elastic nature means that once pressure is released the fiberglass will spring back to its original shape. In order to create a permanent bend in a fiberglass panel you will need to apply heat. Always take care when working with high temperatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat gun
  • Vice
  • Vice grips
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Clamp the panel firmly into a vice so that it does not move while you are working. Make sure that the piece of fiberglass you want to bend is exposed.

  • Switch on your heat gun and set it to a medium heat. Place to one side to allow the gun to warm up. Keep it away from any flammable materials.

  • Attach two vice grips to the top of the panel. Hold these and pull on the fiberglass to bend it.

  • Use the heat gun to apply heat to the surface of the fiberglass for around half a minute, holding the gun around 3 inches from the panel. Slowly move the gun across the area of the panel that you want to bend, taking care not to burn the panel. Pull on the panel as you do so to make sure it is bending.

  • Switch off the heat gun and allow the panel to cool down. Once cool, the panel should remain in a bent position. If it has not bent enough, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in a well ventilated area when using heat.
  • Do not apply too much pressure to the panel, as it may snap if placed under an excessive load.

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References

  • Photo Credit Fiberglass Boat image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com
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