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Old 09-22-2012, 09:57 AM   #1
therivermonster OP
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tacoma, WA
Oddometer: 319
Fun With Carbon Fiber

Hello everyone! Being the DIY type, and loving to make all kinds of things that look flashy as well as being functional, I decided to take a serious look at composite work. After hours of reading threads, watching videos, reading blogs, manuals, and dreaming about beautiful carbon fiber parts, I believe that the time has come for me to dive into the wonderful world of composites and carbon fiber.

The goal of this thread is to share my experiences getting started with the learning curve required for such work. I have already placed a couple orders for materials, and will take pictures of the products when they come in. Once everything has been collected, it's off to the school of hard knocks for us when we start finally making some carbon fiber parts.

Inmate Twin-shocker advised that time spent laying up fiber glass (FG) in an open mold is priceless, and I fully intend to spend quite a bit of time doing just that before getting to the dark stuff. Like Napoleon said, it's all about the skills, and these are skills I have not. Fiber glass to the rescue!!

As of now, my goal is to replace all of the body work on my 05 DR650 with CF pieces made in the garage. I would like to work from the back to the front with the grand finale being the fabrication of a Dakar style fairing and dash to hold all kinds of goodies that are necessary for an ADV bike. More of that to come soon.

Aren't the internet and ADV great! Both are unbelievable resources. Like I mentioned above, I have been reading, reading, reading. Below is a list of great resources that I have found to be unbelieveably helpful in learning how all this stuff works. I'll add to this list as I find more.

Resources:

Anything by Ebrabaek here at ADV is great. He has dedicated a fairly large portion of his life to CF, and has shared great ways on how to work with carbon fiber with common tools. the link below will take you to his Facebook page dedicated to CF. He has many great build threads on the page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/High-Desert-Carbon-Works/437413126297979

Composites 101, another great discussion here on ADV about working with CF. Read it all and take it in.
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=706964

A guide on how to build a beautiful CF and kevlar fuel tank by tygaboy. The thread is very detailed and lengthy. Even if you don't want to make a fuel tank, the techniques are a wonderful learning tool.
http://bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=145975

Learning How to Work With Composites, by jesusgato. This is another great thread, much like this one actually about the same great stuff. There are so many great resources available!
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=670566&highlight=working+composites

Videos:

This video by TapPlastics gives a great description of the differences between different weaves and types of fiber glass and carbon fiber.


Some quality video from ebrabaek showing the manufacture of some CF exhaust parts.


Another great video from ebrabaek showing us what happens to epoxy resin when you put it in a vacuum.


A great series of videos by a gentleman that puts carbon fiber to work on some great projects. Even though this isn't motorcycle stuff, it still shows some great techniques on how to work with CF. Watch the whole series of videos for maximum schoolage.




Materials Sources:

US Composites: Great site and great customer service. This site has a great selection of CF, and a discount section for short roll CF fabric. Really, they have everything you need. I have ordered fabric and parting materials from this company. Top notch.

Polymer Products: These guys have a great selection of quality epoxy resin. As you'll remember if you've read any of Ebrabeaks guides above, he highly recommends the epoxy resin from this source. I have ordered the Max CLR HP epoxy resin from PP, and it arrived quickly, and was packaged nicely.

Elite Motoring: Another great Ebay resource for a wide selection of reasonably priced CF, Kevlar, and other compositing fabric, and materials.

Fiberglass Supply: These guys carry a wide selection of products and pretty much everything that you would need for a project.

Fiberglast: Another great supply house. Fiberglast also has some great guides on their website.


Miapoxy: I learned about black E glass, and these guys have the best price that I have found so far. For the price and comparrison with CF, this black fiberglass looks pretty interesting.

Soller Composites: Whoa! I just found this place online and this store has a TONE of different kinds of fabric - by far the widest selection of FG and CF I have seen so far.

My Project Index:

Click on the links below to quickly move between projects in this thread. The links will get you to the thread page that the project starts on, so if you don't see the project right away, scroll down the page and look for the key titles or pictures. Sometimes previous projects will end after other projects have began, so if you are reading about a certain project and you see another project begin, continue reading to see the finishing steps of the current project that you are reading about.

Project #1: Moto fairing model. The project starts after this post.
This was my first composite driven project. Basically, I wanted to begin to develop the skills necessary to build plugs. I chose to use foam board for this small project.

Project #2: DR 650 Exhaust Shroud. The project starts about 3/4 of the way down the page.
Of course I wanted to build a part for the DR sooner rather then later, so I began the process of creating a mold and casting a final part out of carbon fiber. This project let to a number of additional developments which are outlined in the build process.

Project #3: Vacuum press system. The project starts about 1/4 of the way down the page.
After using the open molding process for a while, I thought that the time was right to get into compression molding using vacuum pressure. To do this, I needed to build a vacuum press system, so that's what I did.

Project #4: Epoxy gelcoat Experiment, and subsequent carbon fiber bowl. The project starts about 2/3 of the way down the page.
My past molds had worked OK, but it was time to step up the mold building process by using a proper gelcoat. I didn't want to buy any of the poly products, so I just learned how to make my own out of epoxy.

Project #5: X650 Chain guard and two part mold making process.The project starts about 1/2 way down the page.
I took on this project for a friend, and as a way to challenge the skills that I had build up to this point. The project proved to be the perfect challenge, and I learned a lot.

Project #6
Carbon Fiber hand guard deflectors. This project outlines the development of the plugs, molds, and final custom hand guard deflectors.
A friend of mine was in need of some new fancy hand guard deflectors, so I decided to take on the job. I had been wanting to develop a plug using dense insulating foam, and now seemed like a great time to get started with the project. I use a number of different techniques in the building process of the plugs and the final parts.

Project #7 Getting Started With Resin Infusion. This project shows the steps I took to get acquainted with the resin infusion process.
My Hand Guard deflector project needed a quality upgrade, so I decided to dive head long into infusion. That process can be found here.

Project #8 Designing and Developing a Multicopter Frame From Scratch.
Like motorcycles, I have always had a thing for RC toys. Well, they aren't the toys that they used to be, and multicopters take the cake. (This project is currently on hold)
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My Virgin ADV Trip
, Rocks Flyin', Me Cryin', and God Looking On - A WABDR Adventure, Fun With Carbon Fiber

therivermonster screwed with this post 04-23-2013 at 08:54 PM Reason: spelling errors
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