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- How much time is required for the hands on projects?
- Where can we find more information on manufacturing with composites?
- Does this merit badge require “hands-on” activity with composite materials?
- Are there any project suggestions for inland scout troops that don’t have access to the ocean or making surfboards?
- Are there any planned “Boot Camps” or training sessions we can attend to prepare for the merit badge activity?
- How many scouts are recommended at a time to perform projects for this merit badge?
- Are there composites industry events that Scouts and their Counselors could attend to see products, meet companies and view live demonstrations?
- What materials are needed for this merit badge?
- Where can we obtain these materials?
- Are these materials safe?
- What special storage and handling precautions are recommended?
- What safety precautions do we have to be aware of for the scouts and scout leaders?
- Are resins safe for my son to handle?
- Are glass reinforcements safe to handle?
- Where can we do a composites project, a garage?
- What experience level is recommended for counselors and scouts?
- Is this a heavy supervised activity?
1. Obviously, this is project dependent. Our intention is to put “step-by-step” instructions for the projects listed in this website including approximate completion times. It is important to note that before work begins, the entire project needs to be laid out and every step considered. Safety is paramount. Working in an open area is mandatory with no open flames. Please read all safety instructions when planning your project.
2. This BSA portion of the ACMA website is an excellent source of information on general composites. The BSA manual does give the basics of the hand lay-up procedure on page 58. Another avenue is to run a search on the internet for instructions for manufacturing composites/fiberglass.
4. Interestingly enough, most of the Scouts that participated in the Composites booth at the Boys Life pavilion during the 2005 National Scout Jamboree were “land-locked” troops. The “Project ideas” section of this site lists several suggested projects more applicable to your geography.
5. This is a new badge and therefore this will be new to all Scout Camps. The ACMA Composites Merit Badge Committee was formed to assist Scouts and Counselors on a local level. We intend to work with camps to set-up the composites badge. This will take time. Send an email to email@example.com with your interest or contact your local council or Scout camp for times and dates in your area.
6. This merit badge requires the individual Scout, working with their Counselor or instructor to make the project. Larger projects could require more Scouts to build the project. In this case, a group of Scouts could work on a project. The number of participants will greatly influence the type of project selected. A troop project could yield a greater number of participants. At the 2005 National Scout Jamboree, we had 8 Scouts and 2 training personnel making the surfboard. This configuration allowed for all to equally view and participate with plenty of ventilation under a large tent.
7. Yes. The ACMA has a exhibit and conference called COMPOSITES. If you are interested in attending, please visit www.compositesshow.org. You may also want to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
1. This is project dependent of course. Most smaller projects can be done with the materials found in a standard “fiberglass repair kit” found in hardware, sporting goods, automotive, boating and hobby stores. A kit will normally consist of a quart to a gallon of resin, fiberglass cloth or mat and the appropriate initiator.
2. Since there are so many composite (fiberglass) products, repair kits are found in several types of stores. Most smaller projects can be done with the materials found in a standard “fiberglass repair kit” found in hardware, sporting goods/surf shops, automotive, boating and hobby stores. The best procedure is to call ahead to verify that your intended store stocks this type of kit.
3. Yes, with a warning. These materials are safe when handled in accordance with the labeling on the packaging or the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). Proper ventilation (with appropriate mask) with eye and hand safety is paramount for safe use of these materials. Please read all instructions carefully. Also refer to the Merit Badge Pamphlet for safe handling of materials.
1. This is project dependent, of course. The standard fiberglass repair kit found in hardware, sporting goods, automotive, boating and hobby stores costs approximately $20 and could easily be shared with other Scouts doing smaller/individual projects.
1. The best answer for this question will be found on the chemical packaging labels. All chemicals are required to include safety and handling requirements. The Composites Merit Badge pamphlet also includes a safety precautions section on page 43 and how to read MSDS sheets on page 45. Please read all of the labels and safety instructions as you plan the project.
2. The Composites merit badge pamphlet has an excellent section on safety precautions on page 43. Fiberglass work is definitely smelly, tends to be messy and should not be done inside anyone’s living quarters (including basements). The resins and initiators produce a smell. The smell can remain there for days after the project is complete depending on the ventilation in the work area. The fact is that prolonged exposure to vapors is dangerous and should be avoided. Please make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and work is done with a respirator, safety-rated eye goggles and gloves. Any project must be done with a Counselor present.
3. Resins are flammable liquids that need to be properly stored and appropriately handled. Resins are packaged with all the necessary guidelines for safe handling. The project must be completed in a well-ventilated area with the Scout and Counselor wearing a mask, protective eye gear and gloves. Be sure to read page 43 in the Composites Merit Badge pamphlet. Of course, resins are a flammable liquid, and all work should be done in an area without open flame or other heat source. Please be safe.
4. Yes. Fiberglass can be safely handled with work gloves. You should also use protective eyewear (safety goggles) and have full body covering with long pants, long-sleeve shirt, etc. The fiberglass used in these projects is similar to the fiberglass used in insulation. Contact with bare skin normally creates an itch at the contact location (from the small glass fibers). The itch can be lessoned if the exposed area is washed with soap and water and properly dried.
5. Yes, a small project can be done in a garage, but with a warning. A garage that is well-ventilated (door/windows open) would be an acceptable structure. DO NOT WORK WITH YOUR PROJECT IN A CLOSED GARAGE! You may, however, want to consider putting some sort of barrier (towels, rugs) between the garage and the door that leads to the home to avoid the smell entering your living quarters.
Also, since you are working with flammable liquids, be sure to keep your work area away from flames, including pilot lights. Other areas could include:
- a. a large tent in an open field
- b. contacting a local composites manufacturing facility and requesting to use their facilities and (potentially) assistance from qualified personnel.
- c. Boy Scout camp facilities that are supplied with the appropriate materials
Remember, the smell is substantial and it is not recommended that the project be completed in or near living quarters.
1. The BSA requires that a Merit Badge Counselor have a working knowledge of the subject he is teaching. Counselor’s should have a working knowledge, or even better, actual working experience, with the hand lay-up manufacturing process.
2. ABSOLUTELY! All projects must be done under the supervision of a Counselor or instructor. Any activity involving chemicals, flammability, hand tools, etc. should be heavily supervised. Please see page 43 of the Composites Merit Badge pamphlet for safetyrecommendations.