Yes, two-part molds insure the material of the finished body will be relatively thin and uniform...depending on how precisely the inner mold segment is made. My completed epoxy molds and parts these days have perfect surface finishes and can be as thin as .020".
Early Corvettes were made using a similar process to what I described, but today's 'Vette bodies are made in matched steel molds using a process called resin-infusion. Boats, kit-car bodies and aftermarket "tuner" parts are still very often made in open molds with the chopped mat and resin mixture sprayed in, as you mention, but it's still quite common to see short runs of parts, and tooling in particular, done the old-fashioned way using brushes to wet-out the dry mat. If the manual wet-out is done correctly, there is no dry fiber apparent when the part is cut or trimmed. Hand layups often produce higher quality results than the "chopper-gun" spray layups, but require more highly-skilled operators, more time, and are more expensive. I apologize if you feel this is too much of a digression and detracts from your thread, and I'll happily remove it in that case.
Yeah, the blower in the old AMT'57 Chebby looks pretty good, I agree, but it's not really accurate for a S.C.o.T unit...not enough fins on the housing. I've been working on figuring out what the AMT kit unit looks the most like in 1:1. The S.C.o.T blower is shown below.
The GMC 3-71 and 4-71 units were popular in the early post-war days and well into the '50s on flatheads. Barney Navarro is usually credited with being the first guy to run the venerable GMC unit, pirated from a surplus landing craft engine, on this dry-lakes racer in 1948.
The problem I'm running into on all my old-school blower setups is doing the multi-V-belt drives that were common before the Gilmer belts took over. This is Navarro's 3-71 equipped engine. The V-belts were a problem for him too. I may just use a chain drive to get this one done without having to machine a bunch of tiny pulleys.
"A nightmare of epic proportions"? Probably not. I don't know if you're a fabricator by trade...but I am. Anyone competent to measure, drill, cut and weld steel ought to be able to do it. I've seen a multitude of bodies swapped on to frames they weren't designed for over 40-odd years in the business. Some were hack-jobs, some were very clean. Whether it was ever really done is moot. It could have been done, and here's why it MIGHT have been done. Suppose you have a fairly nice '57 body shell bolted to a frame that's been lozenged or has a badly bent front rail. Entirely possible. Again, I've seen this kind of damage frequently. And also suppose you don't have access to a frame machine or tie-down pots and a dozer capable of straightening the '57 frame, but the junkyard DOES have a straight '56 frame, maybe under a burn, cheap. There's your reason to do a backyard swap. So...agreed, it's probably not the best way to go about building a drag car, but it's entirely within the realm of feasibility.
Welcome indeed! It's pretty cool for you to be one of the builders whose work has been re-created. I'm certain a lot of us here would LOVE to see some of your originals. I sure would. This is the John Teresi build mentioned above...
Well...it like...ummmm...has a picture of an apple on it...and like...well...it might be an apple you could eat, right? And then there's the mystery of just exactly WHAT Chicken of the Sea is all about...
Nice work so far. I like your grafting in the straighter rails from the front of the '53 pickup. This is something very much in keeping with how a real car is built well from junkyard bits. I went in a slightly different direction and only removed the OEM suspension bits. Here's a link to my own version (which I will happily remove if you feel it's the least bit distracting from your work here).
Just got another one of these little guys, really cheap, and complete / unstarted. Though this is the "new-tool" kit with the engine-scale issues and the misshapen nose and hood, it's also a good parts source for other stuff like the dropped-and-filled front axle and the wheel / tire combo. I'm beginning to put together and mockup what's going to be necessary to combine the "new" and "old" kits to make an accurate one, and I found I'd already pirated my other (new tool) kits for several bits I'm going to need.
Just an additional thought...attitude is important. There is growing scientific evidence that suggests the mind-body relationship in fighting any kind of disease may be very real. Try to stay positive, though this may seem difficult. Fight hard, and keep repeating to yourself you can beat it. The survival rates for what you've been diagnosed with are very high these days, particularly when it's been caught early...as yours apparently has. Try to keep this in mind, because you have a VERY good chance of walking away from it in good health. Medicine has come a long long way in a relatively few years, so remember, the odds are decidedly in your favor for a complete recovery. Let that knowledge strengthen your resolve.
Damm. That would probably explain why the pain wasn't responding to the meds or the physical therapy. All I can do is echo what others here have already said. We all care about you and hope for the best possible outcome.
That's pretty much the technique. Usually, on larger parts that will need surface finishing, a material called gel-coat, which is nothing more than thickened resin, is applied to the inside of the mold first. This provides a slick surface (duplicates exactly the surface finish of the mold, which duplicates exactly the surface finish achieved on the master) which can be lightly sanded, and which isolates the glass reinforcing fibers away from the surface. Gel-coats may be clear or tinted with a wide variety of colors. The next laminations will be dry glass mat, "wetted-out" with liquid resin. Timing and thickness of the first layer gelcoat layer is somewhat critical. Too early with the additional laminations and you can disturb the surface and get fibers too close to it. Too thin and you can get a phenomenon called "alligatoring", where the gel-coat wrinkles and partially releases early from the mold. Laminating too late and you may have adhesion problems between the gel-coat and the reinforcing resin / fiber matrix. It's a lot of trouble to go to to make model-sized parts. I used to make molds for some of my own custom model parts from the identical glass-reinforced polyester material your early truck shell was made from (its in the center of the shot below), but now, after much experimentation, I use a high strength epoxy that makes much thinner, lighter molds and parts...and with the procedures I use now, eliminates the requirement to use a gel-coat to get a slick surface.