Portal Turret Build: Fiberglass Wings Part 2

Portal Turret Build: Fiberglass Wings Part 2

Estimated Time: 4-5 hours

Tools Needed: Paintbrush, Fiberglass Cloth, Resin, Exacto-Knife, Scissors

Other Items Needed: Aluminum Can, Disposable Mixing Stick (nail or something)

This week is the same technique as last week’s except the outside is far more curved which means that fiberglass is going to crease if you don’t smooth it out. To ensure that there are no creases or folds leave extra fiberglass around the edges so that the creases will not be over the form.

Step 1: Prepare the Resin and Fiberglass

Cut the fiberglass to shape, rectangles work well and minimize the amount of creasing. Mix equal parts of the resin and the catalyst. And apply it to the outside of the wing. Be sure not to fill the handle area to maintain its shape,

Step 2: Apply Fiberglass

Lay the fiberglass on top and apply it smoothly across the surface. Do not push the fiberglass into the handle as this will be fixed later. Finish the fiberglass with a final layer of resin.

Step 3: Trim

Once the fiberglass is set trim away the overhangs of the fiberglass as well as the centre area for the handle.

Outer Wing

Step 4: The Handle

Once the area for the handle has been cut out. Cut a rectangle of fiberglass about twice as long and 3 times as wide as the handle. Prepare a small amount of resin.

First apply the resin to the inside of the handle and then apply the fiberglass. In order to keep the fiberglass against the sides of the handle shape I used 1 inch foam covered in plastic. Once the fiberglass has cured, remove the blocks and pull out as much of the plastic as you can. Use the Exacto-Knife to closely trim the fiberglass around the handle.

Next week I will go over fiberglassing the knee caps, which is about a 3-4 day job. Please follow on Twitter and leave any comments or questions below.


Portal Turret Build: Fibreglass Wings Part 1

Fiberglassing: Wings Part 1

Estimated Time: 4 hours Tools Needed: Paintbrush, Fiberglass Cloth, Resin, Exacto-Knife, Scissors

Other Items Needed: Aluminum Can, Disposable Mixing Stick (nail or something)

So begins the fun part, fiberglass. This is the first process which I would describe as hurry up and wait. Resin generally takes 1 hour before it becomes unworkable so each piece of fiberglass will take 1 hour of application work and 1 hour of trimming. This week will go over covering the inside of the wings, it’s a relatively simple shape to cover.

Step 1: Cut the Cloth Cut the cloth so that it will evenly cover the inside of the wing without too much overhang; too much overhang makes it really annoying place it somewhere to dry and also wastes fiberglass cloth.

Step 2: Mix the Resin Follow the mixing instructions on the bottles and mix in the aluminum can (it’s reusable and easy to clean)

Resin to FoamStep 3: Apply Resin to Foam This is why it was important to get the resin that would not react with the foam. Apply resin to the entire piece of foam but it does not need to be too thick. Not applying resin may cause the glass to separate from the form.

Fiberglass on FoamStep 4: Lay the Fiberglass Start at one end and slowly move down the form pressing the fiberglass to the form. With the inside of the wing be careful that the fiberglass stays along the foam from along the curve, it tends to pull up if you’re not careful.

Step 5: Second Layer of Resin Apply a final layer of resin on top of the fiberglass. This helps it to form to the shape as well as increases the strength of the fiberglass. When the fiberglass is saturated in resin it will act like wet clothes forming well to almost any shape, of course this flexibility is reduced as the resin cures.

Step 6: Let the Resin Cure This takes about 16-20 hours but it depends on the environment.

Trimmed FiberglassStep 7: Trim At first i thought scissors would be best for this how ever i found that they would be stopped by areas of the fiberglass that had slightly pooled resin. In these instances I resorted to tin cutters but this can all be avoided with a simple tool, an Exacto-Knife. I found that the Exacto-Knife was faster, more accurate and much easier than the scissors. The knife can be run along the form easily and cuts smoothly. You could easily do both wings in about 2 evenings if you have the space to let them cure.

The method described above is what I used on all pieces however the following posts will cover issues I encountered as well as techniques to avoid them, such as the Exacto-Knife over scissors. Next week I will go over the outside of the wings. As always please post questions, follow on Twitter and like the Facebook page for updates.

Shopping for Fiberglass

So I hope to keep this short so that you can go find all you need.

Item 1: Fiberglass Cloth

This is the finely woven fiberglass not the rougher patterned fiberglass. This fiberglass is slightly more expensive than the tougher knit but really slightly. I was able to get 7 square meters for about $30. Its really easy stuff to work with and sheds less which is great, really amazingly great.

Item 2: Epoxy Resin

This is what you will be used to harden and attach the fiberglass cloth to the foam body pieces. It’s important that an epoxy resin is used as most other resins will eat through the foam giving you a not so great surface. The brand I found is called System Three, it comes in 2 parts resin and hardener. It is expensive however, I found it for $50 per litre per part so a full system its $100 and you get 2 litres of resin out of it. This will “just” barely work for the entire turret if you do not make too much per batch.

Item 3: Paint Brush

Any paint brush will do as long as its not too unwieldy or too small.

Item 4: Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits can be found at any hardware store. Used for cleaning any spills of resin or your paint brush post session.


If you have any questions about the items mentioned there please leave them in the comments below. Next week I will begin on the first set of fiberglassing. We will start with the wings. Good luck shopping, it took me about 3 weeks to find the right stuff.

Portal Turret Build: Body Details 2

Body Detailing Part 2

Estimated Time: 3 hours

Tools Needed: Finishing Saw, Ruler (yard stick), Flat bottom Chisel (1cm wide), Exacto-Knife

Additional Items: Pencil, Epoxy Resin (Wait until Next Week)

This week I will go over the final details for the turret body and wings before starting on the fibreglassing section. This week is relatively easy but requires destructive tasks so be careful with your cuts. Today I will explain how to cut out the electronics hole in the main body as well as the “handles” on the wings.

The Body Hole

Step 1: Tracing

Traced BoxBegin by tracing a box that starts 1 inch from the top of the rounded area where the wing fits, 2 inches from the front and back (where the wing was cut) and 3 inches from the bottom.

ScoringStep 2: Scoring

Once you have your lines traced use the Exacto-Knife to score along the lines, to make it more exact you can use the rule you used to make sure your lines are straight. If you notice that your horizontal cuts, across the body, are close to a seam between foam layers do not move down and cut along this seam as it negatively impacts stability.

CuttingStep 3: Cutting

Using the lines you just scored as a template saw down through the foam with the Finishing Saw. You can use an electric saw if you want but as always be careful. This process takes awhile and remember as you approach the corners to angle your saw vertical.

Body HoleStep 4: Punch It Out

Once you have finished cutting out the box you may find it hard to get it out. Just give it a bit of force and it should pop right out.

Step 5: The Other Side

Follow steps 1-4 on the other half of the turret body. Remember to line up your measurements.

The Handles

Step 1: Tracing

Grab a smaller ruler with a bit of flex to it. Now measure and find the centre of the wing. From the centre of the wing measure 9cm in each direction horizontal from the centre then measure 1.25 cm from the ends of those lines vertical so that you have a box 18cm long and 2.5 cm tall.

Step 2: Scoring

With an Exacto-Knife score about 2.5cm deep along the box. Be careful around the corners.

Step 3: Chisel

With a flat bottom chisel remove the foam that is inside the scored box. Do not worry about being precise on the bottom as we can fix this easily after. Be sure to remove all of the excess foam when you are done.

Step 4: Repeat

Follow steps 1-3 on the other wing.


Step 5: Level the Bottom

If you have some good epoxy glue that is not too expensive to level out the bottom of the handles pour the mixed resin into the chiseled out boxes and lay the wings on a flat surface so that it will dry flat. If you don`t have any epoxy, wait until after next week when I go over the fibreglass shopping list as that will be a part of it.

As mentioned above next week I will be going over the shopping for fiberglass, this process took me about 2 weeks to research and get the stuff in but hopefully I can save you the researching part of it. As always leave you questions and comments, follow on Twitter and soon I hope to have a Facebook group which will have all of my process pictures on it.

Also I will be posting the egg SolidWorks for people to get measurements who are not comforatble with SolidWorks but need the measurements in the next few days.

Portal Turret Build: Body Details

Body Detailing

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

Tools Needed: Drill with 10cm Diameter Bore Bit, Exacto-knife, Drafting Compass, Finishing Saw, Ruler, Good Tape, Router (or Dremel) with a cutting bit

Other Items: Sandpaper, 2 pieces of 2×4 1 foot long each, 2-4 clamps

So after that long break this week will cover adding the detail of the eye, the seam which runs long the middle of the body as well as the slits on the sides of the wings. Finishing these steps turns the egg body from this flat surface into basically an un-painted turret which is super exciting to have.

Cutting Out the Eye

As you can see I didn't document properly

As you can see I didn’t document properly

Step 1: Join the Halves

This is were the tape comes in handy, line up the two halves of the body and wrap them together with the tape leaving a gap around where the eye will go.

Circles with in circles

Circles with in circles

Step 2: Circles

Mark on the joined body where the centre of the eye is, now take your compass and draw a circle with a 5cm radius, make a second circle with a 7 cm radius; if the compass does not touch due to the curvature make sure to draw parts in after.

Same Eye-dea

Same Eye-dea

Step 3: Drill A Hole

Take your drill and place the interior bit on the centre mark ensure you are drilling at the correct angle. Begin drilling slowly and don’t allow the bore bit to direct you. The bore is about 1 inch deep and will no longer drill after that thickness which is actually handy.

How the bevel looks

How the bevel looks

Step 4: Beveling

This part takes a slow approach but is simple. Take your exacto-knife and line up the end of it at the end of the bore hole then run it along the outer circle you drew earelier. By following the inner and outer circles you will create a bevel for the eye.

Preview to next week in here...

Preview to next week in here…

Step 5: More Boring

Use the knife to cut away the foam that is not sticking out of the eye. Drill another inch down, until the bore stops cutting. Clean out the bore cut again and presto you have the eye!

The Seam

Step 1: Setting Up

This method requires a bit of set up and is a little dangerous. Mount the dremel or router with the bit facing up, sticking 0.25cm above the surface of the workbench. Now clamp the 2x4s 0.5cm from the edge of the bit on either side of it. Make sure everything is safe and your not going to put your hand near the bit, that’s bad.

Step 2: Take the Body Apart

Untape the body so it is in 2 halves again.

Step 3: Routing

Turn the router/dremel on. Start at the bottom of the body and keeping the body flat on the work bench run it along the 2x4s and let the bit cut into the surface. This should not take too long and will produce a consistent, quality cut.

Next week I will go over the last few detail items, cutting out the body for the electronics as well as the handles on the wings. After that week I will go over the shopping list for fiberglass and it will get really fun from there. Good luck and as always if you have any comments or questions please leave them, follow on Twitter and subscribe here.


Hi All,

There will be a slight delay in posts as I am changing residences, I am hoping to have a sort post mid week and possibly a longer one this weekend, fingers crossed. The upcoming posts will deal with the last of the details for the body and wings.