# Using Fiberglass Sleeves

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#### AHansom

##### Well-Known Member
Another thread got me motivated to dig out some supplies and start another rocket. I have used fiberglass sleeves on the last few high power rockets and thought I would show one of the many ways to glass a body tube. I ordered the fiberglass sleeves online from Soller Composites www.sollercomposites.com. This rocket uses the Carbon Fiber/Fiberglass Hybrid sleeve. There shipping is unbelievably fast and the sleeves usually arrive within a couple of days even shipping from the East coast to the West coast. Before I start I peel the glassine layer of the LOC body tube. Then I use a nosecone to help feed the sleeve onto the tube. Leave a extra couple of inches on each end and cut of the extra. Next find a way to support the tube in a horizontal position I used a piece of 1.5" PVC resting across some stuff in the garage. Now the fun part, get suited up and get the resin out and mix it up. It was kind of cold so I used West System with fast hardener on this one. Apply some resin at the center of the tube lightly squeezing it into the weave and working away from center towards the ends adding more resin as needed. Working from the center out keeps the sleeve pulled tight against the tube. Don't work from the ends towards the center or it will bunch up. After the sleeve is thoroughly wetted out wipe off the excess resin leaving a smooth surface. It's amazing how well the gloves slide around and leave a very nice smooth finish. Now just let the tube sit and every few minuets rotate it to help keep it from sagging or running. After it's dry give it a light sanding then massage a very light coat of resin all over the tube and let it sit to cure. Usually this will leave a very smooth shiny surface with little filling reqired. Thats it time for a cold one and dream about launch day.

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#### bguffer

##### Well-Known Member
After it's dry give it a light sanding and massage a very light coat of resin all over the tube and let it sit to cure.
Just resin? Or resin and hardener mixture?

#### AHansom

##### Well-Known Member
Sorry about that I used West System epoxy and the fast hardner.

#### cobra1336

##### Well-Known Member
Just ordered my sleeve and resin kit. Any more advice ? First glass job on a 8 inch by 10 ft project

#### DMcCauley

##### Well-Known Member
Just wrap the tube, and then at the ends, twist the excess really tight and secure with duct tape (or similar). This will keep the fabric nice and tight.

Other than that, its a cinch. The only part that sucks is finishing, especially with heavier weight fabrics. Lots of holes to fill from the weaves.

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
Just wrap the tube, and then at the ends, twist the excess really tight and secure with duct tape (or similar). This will keep the fabric nice and tight.

Other than that, its a cinch. The only part that sucks is finishing, especially with heavier weight fabrics. Lots of holes to fill from the weaves.
I would put another layer of epoxy on the sleeve that is slightly thickened with colodial silicia (the white powder) to fill the weave and then sand that layer off.

I am going to get some CF sleeves and I plan on just using a clear coat of resin to sand and then wetsand to a nice finish.

Ben

#### AHansom

##### Well-Known Member
Very nice 8' x10' should keep you busy for a while. The first time I did some tube glassing I was shocked at how much epoxy I used. Be sure you have more on hand than you will need. One of the other important things is to keep the epoxy from getting hot after mixing. Working out of a low wide pan or plate helps dissipate the heat generated from the chemical reaction. If the epoxy starts getting hot it will start gelling very quickly and be useless. If you can get a helper to mix smaller batches while you apply that helps a bunch. On the last couple of sleeves I tried it without tying the end down and it seemed to work out, the epoxy kept the cloth pulled tight around the tube. The sleeves I have used from Soller Composites have been a very tight weave and needed very little fill but if it does Ben's suggestion of colodial silicia is a good one. I add enough to the mix to make it almost like mayonayse. Using gloves Rub a thin coat on and then wipe off the extra with your hands.

I also like to wrap a single layer of fine-weave fiberglass cloth to use as a sanding veil. It helps to flatten down the weave of the structural fibers and it's easy to sand off to a smooth surface.

#### AHansom

##### Well-Known Member
If you are using plain fiberglass you can also lay out all of your marks for fins, rail buttons on the bare tube before applying the fiberglass sleeve. The fiberglass turns transparent after the epoxy is applied letting the mark show through nicely. This shows how well the marks show through for a 4" 38mm upsccale Deuces Wild / Kraken

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#### Iceman1979

##### Well-Known Member
How do you think this tubing would work with a vacuum bagging process?

#### Diosces

##### Well-Known Member
Don't rule out Release treated heatshrink as a layup option. I had some very good success with it.

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
Don't rule out Release treated heatshrink as a layup option. I had some very good success with it.
where did you get yours and did you use and peelply/breather with it? I haven't done any looking for heat shrink tape in a while.

Ben

#### Iceman1979

##### Well-Known Member
here is a link to some heat shrink tube film. U-Line

#### blackjack2564

##### Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's
TRF Supporter
It also makes the build go easier if you cut the fin slots before you glass. Then when the glass gets to the leather stage of cure, you can cut the glass out of the slots very easy with a razor blade or knife.

#### JDcluster

##### Well-Known Member
I wrap wax paper around the outside of the tube, it helps with the rough weave left from the process.

JD

#### DMcCauley

##### Well-Known Member
I would put another layer of epoxy on the sleeve that is slightly thickened with colodial silicia (the white powder) to fill the weave and then sand that layer off.

I am going to get some CF sleeves and I plan on just using a clear coat of resin to sand and then wetsand to a nice finish.

Ben
Yeah, its very easy the way you say it, but sanding epoxy is a major hassle no matter what you put in it. Very tedious and messy work.

I tried that "blue" stuff and it was still really tedious / hard.

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
Yeah, its very easy the way you say it, but sanding epoxy is a major hassle no matter what you put in it. Very tedious and messy work.

I tried that "blue" stuff and it was still really tedious / hard.
Not if you have a good sander and paper. Another key is to let it dry 100%!!!! I work on 2 (ok WAY more than 2) projects at a time so when I glass something I can let it sit for 3-4 days and be 100% hard and cured. If you sand it to early all you do is leave scratch marks and clog the paper you don't really sand.

Ben

#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
here is a link to some heat shrink tube film. U-Line
Just be aware that untreated heat shrink tubing will stick to the epoxy during the curing and you will not be able to remove it.

If you do not use the Soller treated heat shrink, you must employ some other some other means such as a waxed paper layer between the composite and the shrink tube to prevent sticking.

Bob

#### Iceman1979

##### Well-Known Member
Just be aware that untreated heat shrink tubing will stick to the epoxy during the curing and you will not be able to remove it.

If you do not use the Soller treated heat shrink, you must employ some other some other means such as a waxed paper layer between the composite and the shrink tube to prevent sticking.

Bob
Oh, I was going on the assumption you would use the shrink wrap in place of vacuum bagging and you would still use peelply and breather fabric.

I kinda like the idea of shrink wrapping directly over the fiberglass tube with the Soller treated heat shrink. I would think that would give it a nice glassy look to it if done right.

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
Oh, I was going on the assumption you would use the shrink wrap in place of vacuum bagging and you would still use peelply and breather fabric.

I kinda like the idea of shrink wrapping directly over the fiberglass tube with the Soller treated heat shrink. I would think that would give it a nice glassy look to it if done right.
The thing I don't like with the tape is the marks it leaves. If you overlap or put the tape run side by side it still leaves marks. vs shrink tubing with peel ply/breather

Ben

#### Iceman1979

##### Well-Known Member
Ah, thats a good point. I guess the shrink wrap would be a nice uniform shape too.

Good to know

#### ben_ullman

##### Well-Known Member
Ah, thats a good point. I guess the shrink wrap would be a nice uniform shape too.

Good to know
For FG sleeves where you want to make it easier to sand not really going for looks I would have no problem using it. I am going to get CF/FG hybrid colored sleeves and I want them to turn out right and I want them to have a nice finish I can clear coat. I am going to make a Deuce's Wild and I am going to cut the sleeves to that signiture curve around the body tube. So I need them to look good with a uniform finish.

Ben

#### Iceman1979

##### Well-Known Member
Oh I see, yeah that would be important to have it clean uniform shape there.

#### DMcCauley

##### Well-Known Member
Not if you have a good sander and paper. Another key is to let it dry 100%!!!! I work on 2 (ok WAY more than 2) projects at a time so when I glass something I can let it sit for 3-4 days and be 100% hard and cured. If you sand it to early all you do is leave scratch marks and clog the paper you don't really sand.

Ben
I guess it depends on how much you like sanding.

#### cobra1336

##### Well-Known Member
So the mail came and in the box from Soller Composites was a totaly wrong product. I asked for a 9 inch tube and I recevied a 13 inch wide tube. So who is going to pay for the shipping. Made a call and they are closed for some time. Not a warm and fussy feeling here.

#### AHansom

##### Well-Known Member
If it measures 13" across laying flat it should open up to be a 9" circle

#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
So the mail came and in the box from Soller Composites was a totaly wrong product. I asked for a 9 inch tube and I received a 13 inch wide tube. So who is going to pay for the shipping. Made a call and they are closed for some time. Not a warm and fussy feeling here.
What size coaxial braid did you order and what is the diameter of your airframe?

The actual airframe diameters that can be covered for a nominal coaxial braid diameter are listed here. http://www.sollercomposites.com/light-sleeves-sock.html and their product line are listed here. http://www.sollercomposites.com/composites/carbon fiber sleeves.html and how you use them is explained here http://www.solarcomposites.com/MakingShafts.html

A nominal 9" sleeve can be expanded over a ~10+" diameter airframe and pulled down over a 4" diameter airframe and when laid flat will be approximately 13" to 14" wide.

Shipping costs are in the noise compared with the cost of the sleeving. The 9" lightweight sleeving is ~$7 per foot and 6' to the pound. The 9" heavy weight sleeving is ~$11 per pound and 3' to the pound. UPS and USPS shipping rates vary but aren't typically more than \$4 per pound in small package weights.

Jon Soller is a great guy, and is very responsive, but he's a one man shop so if he's not in the office, or on the road with a client, he can't answer the phone. If there was a mistake on his part he will make it right, and if you kept your original packing, you will most likely get a prepaid return authorization for a return shipment. I would suggest you send him an e-mail at information@solarcomposites.com

Bob Krech
TRF Moderator and a satisfied Soller Composites customer

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#### cobra1336

##### Well-Known Member
So, am I understanding that the sleeve can be "pulled" down to fit my 8 inch tube ??

#### Diosces

##### Well-Known Member
Sleeves will change diameter by manipulating them lengthwise-either pulling or psuhing. Try slipping an end over you body tube and then 'cinching' it tight over the tube. Kinda like the chinese finger cuffs you find at a novelty store.
But if soller made a mistake Jon will make it right. Soller has Great products,prices and service

Also with release treated heat shrink--when shrunk properly--from the center first, leaves an outstandigly smooth surface. I'll include some pics of my tubing from my jag build thread on RP later

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