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Thread: What tools do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

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    Noob Lanson's Avatar
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    What tools do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

    Hey guys/gals,

    I've done a lot of "builds" but never tackled the A-pillar pod battle before. I feel like I'm missing tools to do the job, when I see other people with these "mad-skills" pillars, like the Captain's latest Speed3 build up. I have no idea how someone could make such intricate, bad-ass grilles and stuff and I WANT to.

    I have a router, but is it time to get a router table and some sort of set-up to mount that table? Is it time for a belt/disc sanding machine, instead of portable 1/4 paper sanders? How the heck do I get so detailed, so precise? I realize I'm asking a stupid question but I've never gone into that much depth of detail, and since A-pillars are literally stared at the entire time you are driving, they need to be perfect and very detailed.

    Where do I start?

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    pocket5s's Avatar
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    Re: What tools do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

    a table is nice, but not a necessity. a circle jig and a plunge router can do quite a lot. router tables are more helpful with template routing.

    a lot of people use low temp plastic for the grill ring, or you can get creative with just the router. beyond that, material to stretch for the form, a stapler, some wood dowels for setting the angle (1/4" dowels can be cut with a pair of hand side cutters if need be) and of course the glassing materials themselves.

    I have an air compressor and an air angle grinder for sanding but you can get buy with an electric sander for initial cutting then it will end up being a lot of hand sanding.

    You will see lots of variations for the material used. fleece is popular but thick and takes a lot to sand. I use t-shirt material because you can resin it for shape then back fill it with matt/resin/duraglass/etc. and it comes out nice and smooth unlike fleece. Using aluminum tape for the shape is also a possibility if you don't need or desire 'swooping' curves.

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    Noob Lanson's Avatar
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    Re: What tools do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

    Thanks!

    I have air tools too like nailer/stapler and impact gun, but I mostly go with low SCFM tools because my compressor and tank aren't capable of keeping up with things like an air sander. Just the ~$180 unit at Home Depot (works well though.)

    I think my biggest miss, is proper materials instead of tools then.

    I'm off to go read a million threads about how to make perfect pods.

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    pocket5s's Avatar
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    Re: What tools do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

    that's a good thing to do

    you'll generally find to avoid actual bondo brand filler, use Rage Gold or something similar. they sand much, much easier than bondo. If possible avoid home depot / lowes acquired resin. Their resin (3m brand I think) is really thick and doesn't lay up (soak in) as well. I personally (and many others) use US Composites 435 resin. Some use other brands, but they are thinner and easier to work with.

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    Noob Lanson's Avatar
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    Re: What do I need to build pillar pods correctly?

    I'm fortunate to have a boat repair shop in town here in Las Vegas, but it is hard to get to compared with the local Auto parts store. I have a LOT of fiberglassing stuff in a big tub, and I have Rage Gold and agree, Bondo sucks. Bondo high-end is OK, but Rage is my choice. I'm not a neophyte to fiberglassing but I will admit here and now that I avoid it at all, and I mean ALL costs given the smell makes me retch. The smell ends up permeating my garage, then my house...bleh.

    Here's a box I made out of wood, when fiberglass would have likely been easier. This was actually more fun


    Anyway, looks like I'll be doing it again, but at least with pillars I can do it and leave them outside to cure on the porch.

    Tell ya what, this is the "tool" forum so I'll shift my next thoughts to my "help" thread, and by all means, would love your thoughts.

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