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How do you lay carbon fiber?


#1

I have been doing some research on vacuum forming and laying carbon fiber cloth but I need a bit of help.

I understand you need the carbon fiber cloth, the epoxy and epoxy hardener (2:1 ratio), the release agent, accessories (gloves, scales etc.),

Would this work: http://www.easycomposites.co.uk/Products/carbon-fibre-laminating-starter-kit.aspx ? Thanks for any replies!


#2

im not sure that kit will be big enough to make a battery box. if that’s what you are doing.

plus that kit does not include any peel ply or bleed cloth and barely enough PVA (imho)


#3

I may do some enclosures with it in the future but I just wanted to learn how to do it and get some opinions on what to buy. Thanks for the tip lowguido!


#4

if its just the experience you want then that’s a pretty good kit. although you will need to buy all the vacuum bagging equipment as well.


#5

In the video the company posted they didn’t use a vacuum bag. They put release agent on, epoxy on, carbon sheet on, epoxy on, carbon sheet on,epoxy on, carbon sheet on, epoxy on.


#6

Yeah you can do it that way. It wont yield the best results though.

the thing about carbon fibre is that it is light and strong. this maximum strength density can be achieved with vacuum only.
you can lay it up like fibreglass and paint the resin on with a brush, but you wont get a perfectly even resin coat and you end up with a thicker layer of resin than required. the resin is heavier (relatively) and you end up getting a weaker heavier product. which if its just the carbon look that you are after is fine, but if you are going to use the carbon for its intended strength density (that you are paying for)

vacuum bag is the way to go.


#7

Could you provide me with a link to a vacuum bagging kit or a video maybe? Thanks!


#8

#9

http://www.carbonmods.co.uk/products/vacuum-bagging-starter-kit.aspx This may work but it sounds a lot more complicated if you use a vacuum bag.


#10

yup. that’s why carbon fibre things are expensive.
the actual carbon is relatively cheap, but there are loads of consumables and other equipment that make it expensive.


#11

Now people are even doing alot of vacuum infusion.


#12

vacuum infusion is boss. best thing about it is that you can pull a vacuum and make sure your bag doesn’t leak before you infuse! haha.


#13

I may just vacuum form abs or just do carbon fiber without the vacuum bag just to start off. Thanks for all the tips!


#14

For enclosures only i think a vacuum setup is overkill. I have all the parts to start playing with vacuum bagging now so i’ve been doing a lot of research.

I got my supplies from Fibreglast. Not cheap.

Film/bag - Stetchlon 800
Release Film - Low Temp Perfed Release Film.
Breather Fabric - 4oz Breather/Bleeder Fabric.
Sealant Tape - Gray Sealant Tape: (½" wide; 1⁄8" thick; 25 feet). (you can also try cheaper “butyl” tape)

I also got some release Fabric to compare with the film. Film is supposed to be shiny but perfed may pull too much epoxy out. The fabric gives a matte texture and less epoxy is lost. Not sure so will try both.
Not exactly what i got - but here’s the Fibreglast Release Film ( i got the West System 879 Release Fabric instead).

So that’s the materials. Then you need vacuum…

Two options - a vacuum pump (1 or 2 stage). 1 stage is loud, 2 stage is quiet and faster and more expensive. You can google how to make a vacuum pump from an air pump/compressor or a refrigerator coolant pump.
Robinair or similar are well known in the AC/Automotive trades. $$
Option 2 - Venturi pump - hook up to your air compressor and it creates vacuum.
A third option - hand pump. There is one in this kit.

Material - I’ve had good luck with some suppliers on ebay for relatively inexpensive CF. I personally would practice with some GF/Fiberglass first until i felt comfortable doing it.

You might also look at vacuum forming ABS/Kydex as a start for just enclosures. I’m planning on doing a layup like freshair on a deck so might also do the enclosure so it’s more seamless…

Start reading lox! tons of info out there. one nice thing about fibreglast site in particular is their videos in each of the areas on the product. lots of good info.

GL!


#15

Had absolutely no experience layering carbon fiber or vacuum bagging, and here is my result

Learned some valuable lessons doing this layup, and would have changed a few things to get it to look it’s best cosmetically, but all in all think it turned out alright considering I was rushed…which happens to be the biggest thing I would change, is give yourself LOTS of time to get prepared and think things over.

One thing I would recommend is to NOT use a roarockit vacuum bag if you plan on doing organic cures, waaay to thick to be used for curves. It is possible but you absolutely must use a plug!


#16

Thanks sl33py. Don’t worry, I will do my homework. PS: The flysky screws were to small so I am going to hot glue or thread lock them. Thanks for the detailed post!


#17

Ok. I will go slowly that’s a good tip. Thanks Wanderer!


#18

I found this: http://www.easycomposites.co.uk/resin-infusion-starter-kit.aspx
I watched the video and it’s a complicated process but the end result like you said, was perfect! Would the mould be made by vacuum forming abs?


#19

A true mold can be made damn near out of anything… but i’d be worried the ABS would be too flexible. AND since epoxy is exothermic (see i did pay attention) when curing it heats up. Heat and ABS might be an issue depending on temperature.

Ideally you have an absolute pristine surface, with MULTIPLE (seriously 10+ coats) of wax so it doesn’t stick to the mold. So between the surface finish of ABS and possible flex/heat issues i don’t know if ABS would be a good mold material.

Someone who truly knows should chime in - this is my guess.


#20

Alright. I will probably make moulds out of wood then. Thanks!