Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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Posted by CompositeWerkz at 10:14 PM
1. Remove and loose or broken resin or fibre
2. Rub down area with coarse abrasive paper
3. Cut reinforcement for repair patches
4. Thoroughly mix epoxy repair resin with hardener
5. Apply a coat of epoxy resin to damaged area
6. Apply reinforcement and wet-out with resin
7. Stretch release-film over the repair
8. Leave to cure fully (for 4 – 6 hrs at 20°C)
9. Once cured, remove release film
10. Flat any wrinkles prior to final overcoat
11. Overcoat with a final layer of resin
Posted by CompositeWerkz at 10:12 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Making your own carbon fiber pre-preg is easy and doesn't have to be messy. Learn how to DIY from Algie Composite Aircraft and Woodward Aerospace. You can also use these same techniques for prepreg fiberglass or any other composite material. Working with prepreg has it's advantages, and many builders prefer it.
Posted by CompositeWerkz at 12:07 AM
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Posted by CompositeWerkz at 9:58 PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Part 3: Tools & Equipment for DIY Carbon Fiber Projects
This section will focus mostly on wet lay-up overlay carbon fiber projects, and not on other vacuum bagging, vacuum infusion or using pre-pregs (dry carbon fiber). For vacuum bagging or vacuum infusion, the same tools will be needed as below, only with the addition of your vacuum bagging/infusion equipment. At this time, DIY Carbon does not sell nor support vacuum bagging/vacuum infusion equipment, and you will need to research & obtain this equipment on your own. If we sense enough demand to expand our offerings to sell vacuum bagging/vacuum infusion equipment, we will also expand this section of our Carbon Fiber Tutorial.
First and foremost, an appropriate workspace is fundamental to the success of your project. A wet lay-up can be very messy, so do not try this on your dining room table (unless you are prepared to scrape dried resin off of your table). Another key component of your workspace is the fumes that are produced by the resins, as well as the temperature and humidity of the room. Most resin systems work best at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity – warmer temperatures will shorten your working time and curing time, and colder temperatures will increase your working time and curing time. If your workspace is too cold, the resin may never cure at all. What works well for many people is to perform the wet lay-up/overlay process in a moderate to slightly cool room, then allow the pieces to cure in a warmer room, or even under hot lamps to accelerate the curing phase.
If using PER or VER resins, be sure to work in a well ventilated space using the proper safety equipment, fume hoods, fans, or other ventilation procedures to protect yourself from the VOCs being emitted by the reactions of the polyester/vinylester and the MEKP hardener.
Another key component of your workspace is that you’ll want it to be in a clean, dust-free environment. There is nothing worse than having dust or debris land on a wet part, and having that piece of debris curing into the final product. Maintaining a dust & dirt free environment will minimize any imperfections or foreign materials introduced to the curing piece of CFRP.
Lastly, a well lit environment will help you avoid mistakes, and notice imperfections. Use plenty of light!
Tools & Equipment Needed:
DIYCarbon provides you almost everything you’ll need in our comprehensive kits. Aside from a few simple hand tools which you likely have lying around the house, everything from the carbon fiber fabric to nirtle gloves and a particle mask are all provided in our kits, making them perfect for a complete amateur, or a seasoned carbon fiber veteran looking to create a new part. However, we have provided a comprehensive list of tools & equipment that you should obtain, whether through us or otherwise, if you choose to embark on creating your own carbon fiber parts:
Carbon Fiber Fabric – in the weave pattern, size & weight of your choice. You should have more than enough to cover the surface of the part plus a little extra.
Epoxy Resin & Hardener – preferably professional grade epoxy resin that is UV treated.
Mixing Materials – mixing cups, mixing sticks, and measurement cups will help you achieve the correct ratio of resin to hardener.
Cutting Equipment – to prepare your fabric to make the proper shape to fit your mold, you’ll want a handy array of (sharp) cutting equipment such as box cutters, utility knifes, scissors, and similar tools.
Measurement Equipment – simple tools such as pencils, sharpies, rulers and tape measures will help you plan your cuts into the fabric and make sure you are not wasting any extra material. Measure twice, cut once.
Gloves – resin is messy and potentially dangerous – gloves are strongly recommended. DIYCarbon kits come with nirtle gloves which are thicker than standard latex gloves to keep your hands safe.
Hand Tools – a standard set of hand tools is recommended, just in tase. Mallets, hammers, flat head screw drivers an pliers can get you out of a pinch depending on the part being overlaid or mold being used. Another extremely useful tool are a set of (or several sets of) clamps to help hold things in place as they cure.
Brushes – bristled brushes work best for applying the resin, although foam brushes will work fine too for smaller projects.
Sanding tools – once the resin has cured, you will likely need to sand off imperfections. Have plenty of sandpaper from coarse to very fine as well as wet sand paper that you can sand your parts smooth with are crucial. A dremel or rotary tool can be great for removing drips or large imperfections as well. Sanding blocks and a particle mask are also very good ideas.
Clean up tools – acetone will go a long way for cleaning up any resin spills or sticky tools. Likewise a strong hand soap is a good idea if you don’t have some, such as gojo .
Vacuum Bagging or Vacuum Infusion Equipment – there are many components involved in creating a working vacuum bagging or vacuum infusion setup. This can be costly, but for certain parts that require extreme precision or have irregular or complex shapes, this investment is necessary to achieve the end product.
Mold Making Equipment – a mold can be made many, many different ways. As long as you have a shapeable, non-porous material that won’t decompose or warp over time, you can likely make a mold out of it. Due to the endless possibilities we won’t even attempt to name them all, but common materials such as wood, metal, or plastic are commonly used to create molds.
Part 3 Conclusion
As you’ve probably heard a million times, having the right tools is essential to creating any project. The right tools will save you time, create a better finished project, and are sometimes critical to your safety. Before you start any carbon fiber project, ensure your workspace is clean, your tools are ready to use and easily accessible, and that everything is in order. Due to the limited working time of resin once a hardener/catalyst is introduced, it is essential to have all of your ducks in a row before you begin working on your project.
Posted by CompositeWerkz at 1:31 AM
Part 2: Carbon Fiber Production Basics
There are several ways to produce finished carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts – the most common for hobbyists is a wetlay (or sometime referred to as an overlay), although many other options exist but are generally only used for projects of considerable scale or quantity. In this section we will give a brief overview of each, although if you are planning on using a DIYCarbon kit, you will be using a Wet lay-up/Overlay and skip the rest of this section (unless of course you are interested, then please read on!).
Wet lay-up or Overlay – A basic Wet-layup or overlay is the most common method for hobbyist or DIYers looking to create carbon fiber parts as it does not require any specialty equipment. In this process you will overlay the carbon fiber over an existing part. You will want to make sure the part you overlay has smooth, non-porous surfaces that the wet carbon fiber fabric can be laid against. In this process you will combine your epoxy resin & hardener, then soak the carbon fiber fabric in the resin/hardener mix. You will then take the soaked carbon fiber fabric and lay it up over the part. You may choose to lay-up several layers of carbon fiber fabric at once, but the resin & layers will only bond to each other if they resin hasn’t cured yet. After allowing the resin to cure, you will need to remove the mold, sand and then finish the carbon fiber reinforced plastic in the method you prefer (be it paint, clear-coat, or any other kind of surface finishing). The downside to this method is that the part you overlay is part of the final product, so it does not save any weight and in fact adds a marginal amount of weight. This method is perfect for aesthetic applications of carbon fiber like automotive interior trim, as you can ensure an OEM-like fit and finish and reuse the OEM mounting points, while only gaining a trivial amount of weight.
Molds & Patterns – This process is much like an overlay, only instead of overlaying an existing part, you create a mold (also known as a plug, a pattern, a master, or a buck) that is used to create the part. The mold is then removed from the final product, requiring no core or base product that gets overlaid. There are several ways to create a mold – commonly materials include wood, metal, or plastic. The materials for the mold should be easily shapeable, resistant to the materials being used, non-porous, and strong enough to uphold their original shape over multiple uses (poorly made molds will warp or become distorted over time, causing the final product to be misshaped). The mold needs to be perfect in cases of creating replica automotive parts like hoods or interior parts, otherwise the final product will not fit correctly or possibly not fit at all.
Vacuum Bagging – In this process, the wet-laid carbon fiber and its mold are sealed in a plastic bag, of which all air is removed, thus pressing together the wet carbon fiber against the mold to ensure a void-free covering. The advantage is that the fiber is vacuum pressed against the mold, preventing any wrinkles, bubbles, or irregular shaping – the final product will take on the exact shape of the mold. The disadvantage of this method is that it requires extra equipment including the vacuum bagging, a pump to create the vacuum, breather cloth, peel-ply, and many other materials. There are several resources around the internet on how to create a simple vacuum bagging system using a tire pump for a bicycle, although obviously there is more advanced equipment available as well. This system is great for very complicated parts that have lots of uneven contours, odd shapes, or need to be extremely precise.
Vacuum Infusion – In this process, carbon fiber is laid dry onto the mold, and the vacuum is created before the resin is introduced (in Vacuum Bagging, the resin is applied before the vacuum pressure). Once a complete vacuum is achieved between the carbon fiber and the mold, the resin is then injected into the vacuum where it covers the carbon fiber, then the extra resin is then sucked out of the vacuum sealed mold. There are several advantages to this method over Vacuum Bagging, most notably that less resin is used (minimizing weight) and the procedure is much less messy than vacuum bagging where the carbon fiber still has to be wet-laid. The disadvantages are again cost & equipment – much more specialty equipment is required to create a vacuum infusion system, and maintenance on the equipment is more involved since resin (which will harden & cure) is injected through it.
Pre-Pregs (Pre-Impregnated Fabrics) – unlike other methods, this method is entirely “dry” and when you hear of “dry carbon fiber” this is how it is created. With Pre-pregs, the fabric is pre-impregnated with a resin system that will cure when heat is applied to it. Generally the pre-preg material is frozen and stored in very cool temperatures until it is ready to be cured, and then baked in an oven at extremely hot temperatures. This process gives you much more control over the process and allows you to use stronger resins than a wet lay-up, and will be 20-30% stiffer and stronger than an equivalent-thickness wet laminate. The disadvantage of this method is again cost, as well as equipment to bake the material. Applications such as (high quality) mass produced carbon fiber hoods, F1 race parts, and airplane/aerospace parts will use pre-pregs to create a highly controlled, extremely high quality end part on a large scale.
Part 2 Conclusion
There are several ways to create parts, all of which depend on your budget, the scale of the project, and the complexity of the part being created. For the purposes of the rest of this guide, we will be concentrating on wet-laid carbon fiber projects that use overlays or simple molds which will be ideal for most small projects done by DIYers and hobbyists. Many of the principles throughout this guide can easily be expanded to vacuum bagging and vacuum infusion as well.
Posted by CompositeWerkz at 1:30 AM