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Old 11-04-2012, 03:12 PM   #196
therivermonster OP
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Back at it...

Hey everyone!! The birthday celebrations are past and the safes are almost finished. I have gotten a little work done in the shop with a focus on layup skills.

I did another layup in the exhaust shroud mold. This time I made sure that I was focusing on the resin to fabric ratio. I also did my best to keep bubbles out of the layup.


When I popped the part out of the mold, it still had some fair sized bubbles/blemishes in the surface. I figured that this would be a great time to see how I might fix a situation like this, so I sanded with 60 grit, brushed on a coat of resin and let it cure, sanded again with 60, then 220 grit and it was looking better.

Here I have just finished with the 220 grit sanding, followed by a wiping with a water wet paper towel. Water works fine to clean the part by the way.


I also wanted to try paint on a real part to see how it would do, so I got started on that process...








This is all done with rattle can paint...

Once the new paint stripes cured for an hour or so, I applied the clear and set it under the heat lamps to cure up a little.


After the clear had dried, I wet sanded it and polished it. The final product doesn't look too bad I don't think.



Project #3: Vacuum Press System

This brings me to a new chapter in my composites career. Wet layup is great, and the technique especially lends itself to some great applications. However, I now feel that it is time for me to begin to learn how vacuum bagging, and in the future, resin infusion works.

I have began to build my vacuum system. I won't be using a straight vacuum pump because I don't want it to run continuously, and because that's much too easy, right? So I decided to build a vacuum press system that included a vacuum switch to cycle the vacuum pump once the pressure rises above a certain level.

This is pretty much how it will look.


The idea is that you don't or won't have to let your vacuum pump run all the time. This is accomplished by using resivors to hold vacuum pressure that act as a buffer between the vacuum bag and the pump. Once the pressure rises above a certain point, the pump kicks back on and pulls the appropriate amount of vacuum again.

Check out the link below for a lot more information about the vacuum press. The guy has some great deals on pumps and sells a great kit to help you build your own press. It's a veneering website, but it's all the same process.

You can find instructions and information about the vacuum press here.

The pump and the kit are in the mail and set to arrive on Wednesday, but I still managed to get some work done. The vacuum chambers and the free air chamber has been built, and painted a flashy yellow. I like yellow.


Here are some other bits that you have to purchase on your own for the build. You can print the PDF instructions off their website.


I wanted to use the shroud mold that I made, but I didn't construct it in such a way that would make it easy to use with a vacuum system, so I had to modify it. Here the existing mold has been cast in a wooden box with a flange going all around the part. The flange is needed for vacuum bagging. Also shown in this picture is the vacuum connector for the bag, and a little length of mastic bagging tape.


I had waxed the entire mold and wanted to see how well the mastic tape would adhere to the waxed mold surface. Here is the tape applied to the mold surface.


The mastic tape stuck very well to the waxed surface. This is good because if the tape didn't stick well, then there would probably be vacuum leaks. Vacuum leaks are bad. (my phalanges look giant!)


I have Thursday off, so I'll get to work on the rest of the vacuum press. I'll post more as it comes along, as well as the first bag layup of course.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #197
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Seems an awful lot of trouble and un-needed work, when those parts could be made in about 15 minutes using simple compression mould tools, made with polyester resin? Guy I know used to make exhaust shields for trials bikes using that method, and the nice thing about it was they were fast to make, and very few defects.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:02 PM   #198
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Seems an awful lot of trouble and un-needed work, when those parts could be made in about 15 minutes using simple compression mould tools, made with polyester resin? Guy I know used to make exhaust shields for trials bikes using that method, and the nice thing about it was they were fast to make, and very few defects.
Not for CF.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin-shocker View Post
Seems an awful lot of trouble and un-needed work, when those parts could be made in about 15 minutes using simple compression mould tools, made with polyester resin? Guy I know used to make exhaust shields for trials bikes using that method, and the nice thing about it was they were fast to make, and very few defects.
I will be purchasing some poly to use with mold making, so I'll try a hand layup with it and see what differences I notice.

I'll report back with my findings.

I'm also not cranking any parts out. All this work and experimentation is simply so that I can learn about how all this different stuff works. In other words, it's not important for me to lay up a part in 15 minutes. It's important for me to learn how to make a quality part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beechum1 View Post
Not for CF.
Hey beechum! How is compositecentral treating you? I saw you posted over there.

Can you elaborate on your previous post?
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:41 PM   #200
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Thanks for narrating. Enjoy sharing in learning experiences just as much as reading information posted by experts.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:00 PM   #201
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Hi

This is getting very interesting

Just a tip on using rattle can paint for a surface layer, a technique that I have learnt from building Glass fabric and epoxy RC aircraft wings. After you have waxed the mould, spray the the mould with a colour (that will be your finished products colour ) Spray several layers but wait for each to dry before applying the next layer (All volatiles must evaporate), then start the laminate process. Once cured you have a beautiful finished product that is smooth and painted. Note do test samples first to make sure that there is no chemical reaction between paint and epoxy.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:14 AM   #202
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Very cool, and looks like some good learning going on here.

Jim
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesusgatos View Post
Thanks for narrating. Enjoy sharing in learning experiences just as much as reading information posted by experts.
Hey, jesusgatos! You are very welcome, and thank you! I have actually read a few of your threads are they are good stuff. You use some pretty innovative techniques. Actually, I have a link to one of your build threads on the Resources page of this thread.

Please share any experiences, tips or tricks that you might have in this thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbbker View Post
Hi

This is getting very interesting

I'm diggin' it too. I love making stuff from scratch!

Just a tip on using rattle can paint for a surface layer, a technique that I have learnt from building Glass fabric and epoxy RC aircraft wings. After you have waxed the mould, spray the the mould with a colour (that will be your finished products colour ) Spray several layers but wait for each to dry before applying the next layer (All volatiles must evaporate), then start the laminate process. Once cured you have a beautiful finished product that is smooth and painted. Note do test samples first to make sure that there is no chemical reaction between paint and epoxy.

I have read about applying in mold finishes and I think that I'll have to try it sometime. I would imagine that adding stripes, or any other design would be tough to do with paint. I guess that you could use other types of graphics like vinyl or something.

Keep the tips coming!
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Very cool, and looks like some good learning going on here.

Jim
Hey, Jim! The shop work has been great, and the thread has really added a dimension to the whole experience. I am trying to keep it filled with great content and pictures, and will continue to do so.

Thanks for hanging out, everyone!!
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:51 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbbker View Post
Hi

This is getting very interesting

Just a tip on using rattle can paint for a surface layer, a technique that I have learnt from building Glass fabric and epoxy RC aircraft wings. After you have waxed the mould, spray the the mould with a colour (that will be your finished products colour ) Spray several layers but wait for each to dry before applying the next layer (All volatiles must evaporate), then start the laminate process. Once cured you have a beautiful finished product that is smooth and painted. Note do test samples first to make sure that there is no chemical reaction between paint and epoxy.
I second that opinion....
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #205
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I'm also not cranking any parts out. All this work and experimentation is simply so that I can learn about how all this different stuff works. In other words, it's not important for me to lay up a part in 15 minutes. It's important for me to learn how to make a quality part.


If you are seriously interested in making high quality parts, then might it not be a good idea to learn how to contact mould to a reasonable standard before messing around with vacuum?
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:48 PM   #206
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Don't forget modern air hardening tubes such as Reynold's...

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=791913

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=765609

-T
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:30 AM   #207
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Hey Tseta! I have looked into the links that you provided in your post, and there is some great welding and metal stuff in there, but I'm lost as to how it applies to composites. Could you elaborate?

Thanks man!!
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:20 AM   #208
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My two cents

TRM

Great thread. I'm really happy I found it and thanks for getting it up. Like you I'm just dipping my toe into CF but before I got going I had to get my man-cave in operation so I went onto Ebay and found a beautiful used 80 gallon compressor for $310, wired 230 volt and plummed it in myself (yes, you can. If I can so can you believe me) - it's another learning curve but it was so worth it. In my opinion a good BIG compressor is essential; there's no such thing as too much air. Air tools are cheap and used ones are everywhere but buy good ones. Avoid Harbor Freight!
Anyway for these kinds of projects a compressor will save you so much time and money in the long run and you'll rapidly find it becomes indispensable. I use mine for EVERYTHING. For media blasting I still need more air so I may buy an additional tank soon. I want to do some vacuum forming down the line and the compressor will be put to use there too.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #209
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TRM

Great thread. I'm really happy I found it and thanks for getting it up. Like you I'm just dipping my toe into CF but before I got going I had to get my man-cave in operation so I went onto Ebay and found a beautiful used 80 gallon compressor for $310, wired 230 volt and plummed it in myself (yes, you can. If I can so can you believe me) - it's another learning curve but it was so worth it. In my opinion a good BIG compressor is essential; there's no such thing as too much air. Air tools are cheap and used ones are everywhere but buy good ones. Avoid Harbor Freight!
Anyway for these kinds of projects a compressor will save you so much time and money in the long run and you'll rapidly find it becomes indispensable. I use mine for EVERYTHING. For media blasting I still need more air so I may buy an additional tank soon. I want to do some vacuum forming down the line and the compressor will be put to use there too.
You speak the truth, sama. It would be nice to have an air compressor for many reasons. In this shop I really don't have room for one, but in the nearish future, i think that this will change.

A note about HarborFreight; they do cary some crap stuff, and they have some great deals on other things. I have found one huge use for HF since I have been doing this composite stuff. They have great deals on 2" chip paint brushes and nitrile gloves along with a number of other items that are disposable items once they touch resin. You throw a lot of stuff away when you work with composites.

Enjoy that man cave!
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:19 PM   #210
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Suck it up!!!

I had the day off, so I continued with the vacuum press project. The vacuum pump and a few other parts arrived yesterday, so I'm ready to rock and roll.

The paint had set, so I tapped the 1/4NPT threads into the main vacuum chambers.


After the tapping was complete, I threaded the tanks onto the main manifold that I had mocked up for the tank fitting. They fit well.


Then I unscrewed everything and applied Teflon tape in preperation for the final assembly of the manifold.


Next I assembled the pump manifold and attached the free air chamber. The small yellow chamber allows the vacuum pump to restart and spin up while there is vacuum pressure in the system.


I figured that I better get started on the caddy, so I began test fitting the components.


Then I cut out the pieces, hit them with the router, and glued and screwed them together.




It looks OK enough that I feel comfortable that it'll work.

The tanks needed to be fitted. I taped them into place while I fit, cut, marked, fit, and cut some more until I had worked out the clamping system to hold them onto the caddy.


After fitting the vacuum switch, electrical box, and did a bit of wiring it was finished. Now it was time for a leak test.

I closed the main valve and fired it up. It pulled 25" in about 30 seconds and held it. No leaks in the main system. Yay!!!

Here she is, ladies and gentlemen...






I wired the system with two switches. The switch on the left turns the system on with the vacuum switch enabled. Once the system pressure reaches 24", the vacuum switch shuts the pump down. If the pressure rises above 21", the vacuum switch restarts the pump until 24" is reached again.

I added the right switch into the system to allow me to run the system continuously. When I turn that switch to "On" it bypasses the vacuum switch and runs the pump until the switch is turned off.


So the system works, what's the next step, right? We'll lets lay up a few layers of CF in the shroud mold and see what happens.

I layed up 3 layers of CF fabric, then layed down the peel ply, perferated plastic, breather, and finally the vacuum bag. The vacuum bag was the trickest part to apply, but I think that I learned enough to make the next go-round much better.

Here is the mold ready for the vacuum line.


I opened the main vacuum valve slowly while I messaged the vacuum bag into place in the mold.

Here you can see the breather/bleeder fabric absorbing the excess resin from the composite.


Here is the new vacuum press system pulling a nice solid vacuum on the mold. I'll have to say that I'm very happy and satisfied with the days work. The vacuum press works well, and I have a great idea how the vacuum process works. Now we'll just have to see what the part looks like.


I'll post the demolding process for our first vacuum part. More to come soon...
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