Bondo resin alternative?

I’ve been going through the rod puppet course, and a big obstacle that I’m facing is the use of bondo resin.

I have no access to a spray booth, and am therefore unsure where it would be safe to use this product, when making the fibreglass mold.
Is working in our apartment parking garage safe? Or is there a non toxic alternative by some chance? I’ve been trying to find some, but have had no luck.

any help would be greatly appreciated,
cheers all!


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    Matt WinstonMatt Winston Admin
    edited May 2020
    Hi Chase, Here's some advice from instructor David Monzingo:

    Hey Chase!
    Unfortunately there really aren't any non-toxic substitutes to fiberglass resin, all the substitutes use various kinds of resins and while some might be a little less hazardous to your health, they have their own drawbacks such as speed and ease of use.  
    I understand your conundrum, and appreciate what a big obstacle that presents.  I've been there, and struggled with a lack of an appropriate workspace.  
    The inhalation of polyester resin can irritate the respiratory tract. It can also cause nausea and suffocation in cases of prolonged exposure. The substance is particularly dangerous if inhaled in an enclosed environment without adequate ventilation.  If inhaled, you should move outdoors to allow for proper ventilation and rest until medical assistance arrives. To avoid respiratory dangers, you should wear a vapor mask and ensure the work area is well ventilated.
    Now I have "played with fire" myself and made fiberglass molds at home without a spray booth.  I worked outside and used box fans to try to blow the fumes away from myself... but I wouldn't recommend this unless you had no other alternative.
    Personally, I would not recommend trying to do this in the parking garage of an apartment building.  Depending where you live there are probably civic ordinances prohibiting the use of toxic chemicals in "public" places... so you could be opening yourself up for some trouble.
    If you live anywhere near a big city, perhaps you can find a makerspace near you that would allow you to work in their facility.  If you've never heard of makerspaces, they are places set up to allow people who "make" things to work in a fairly well stocked environment.  It won't be free... you have to pay to use these facilities, and I can't guarantee that they all would allow you to do this kind of work there, but it's a thought.
    Another possibility, again depending where you live, is to find a spray booth that is available for rent.  Automotive body repair places usually have spray booths, and you may be able to find one that will rent you time in their booth.  Here in Los Angeles there is one place that is a chain of booths that allows you to rent time in them.
    These options are not free... but they are safer than trying to do this kind of work in your personal space.
    Hope this helps you... I know it's not an easy road you are treading.   Best of luck to you!
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    Thanks Matt!
    Your message was very helpful!
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    Hey Chase,

    Happy to hear that you found David Monzingo's advice to be helpful. He's always so generous about sharing his guidance with SWSCA students.

    Good luck with your project!

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    edited September 2020
    Very important Advice for all. Respect you sir.
    Post edited by Chris Ellerby on
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