Fun With Carbon Fiber

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by therivermonster, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    I have gotten a lot of work done on the X650 chain guard. It has been quite a part to layup, but I'm surprised how well it turned out. The mold has worked flawlessly as well.

    So far I have pulled the part from the mold, rough trimmed the part, did the fine sanding up to the trim lines, casted the front bolt mount, sanded the parting line smooth, and applied an epoxy re-coat. Tonight I'll do the fine sanding on the epoxy finish coating, and apply clear UV coat. The last step will be to wet sand and polish the clear. It should end up pretty fancy; maybe too fancy for a BMW. More like one of those fancy parts that you would find on a KLR probably. :D

    Here's the catch. The guard is a Christmas gift for inmate adventureerik, so I won't be posting any pics of the part until after the 22nd which is when he will receive it. No worries though. After that date, I'll post lots of pics of the finished part on the bench, as well as on the bike.

    Stay tuned.
  2. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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  3. sama3033

    sama3033 Been here awhile

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    Xrap

    I found this thread on a different forum by Tygaboy (he's on Youtube as well) - when I do my tanks next year I'm going to follow his lead. It's a well done piece and detailed as all get-go, just the way I like it.

    http://bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=145975
  4. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    BARF

    :lol3
  5. xradipo

    xradipo Adventurer

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    Hi Sama,
    thank you.
    The thread you post is interesting, but doesn't solve my doubt.

    Thanks.
    X.
  6. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    I mentioned in an earlier post that I would withhold pics of the finished chain guard until it was presented as a Christmas gift, but I just can't restrain myself.

    Here is a sneak peak of the chain guard. I'll post the finishing steps of the build after Christmas.
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YRhTLv9qMxA" allowfullscreen="" width="853" frameborder="0" height="480"></iframe>
  7. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Very nice! YOu have come a long way!

    Jim :brow
  8. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    It looks great! Are you going to branch out into music video production next? :D
  9. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Jim! This part has been a challenge, but I have learned so much. I think that it turned out pretty good.

    Thanks you! Hopefully it looks good on the bike.

    I think that I'll stick with the CF videos for now. :D
  10. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    I gave Erik the chain guard at our little Christmas party yesterday and I think that he really likes it. It looks great on the bike as well.
    [​IMG]

    Now for the finishing process as promised.

    After pulling the part from the mold, I trimmed the the part, and then gave it a good sanding with 80 grit paper to smooth it out a bit. You'll notice the gaping hole in the part where the screw is supposed to hold it to the swing arm. We'll deal with this in the next steps.
    [​IMG]

    With the molding process that I used for this part, it wasn't possible to mold the front and back structure of the bolt hole at the same time, which is where the next steps come in.

    I placed the trimmed part back onto the mold. The focus is on the mold structure where the bolt goes. We have to build up the back part of this structure.
    [​IMG]

    First, we use this little water bottle cap as a mandrel to create a little cylinder of aluminum foil.
    [​IMG]

    Next, we secure our aluminum cylinder over the carbon bolt hole. The aluminum structure acts as a form that allows us to build up the back side structure.
    [​IMG]

    I chopped up some left over carbon and mixed it with epoxy in order to create an epoxy based solid that is still reinforced with carbon fibers. The epoxy on its own would crack and break much more eaisly.
    [​IMG]

    Next I filled the aluminum form with the epoxy carbon mixture and allowed it to cure. After the mixture cured, I ground the back side structure down to match the structure on the original part. Then I simply drilled the hole in the middle to allow the mounting bolt to pass through.
    [​IMG]

    You'll notice the built up bolt structure in the following pic.

    Now finishing begins. I sanded the part with 220 grit paper to get it fairly smooth.
    [​IMG]

    A thin layer of epoxy was then applied in order to fill any small pinholes. This was left to cure under the heat lamps.
    [​IMG]

    The part was then sanded again with 220 and sprayed with clear coat. The clear coat was then sanded with 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit wet paper. The resulting surface is very smooth, but still looks flat.
    [​IMG]

    Next I used buffing compound followed by polish to bring out the sheen of the clear coat. Carbon fiber looks very cool when it is shiney.

    The part is finished.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course we use carbon fiber to make parts for a reason, right? We want a stronger part while saving weight all at the same time.

    The original part weighs in at 135 grams.
    [​IMG]

    The new carbon fiber part weighs in at 99 grams for a total weight savings of 36 grams, or 27% of the total part weight.
    [​IMG]

    This is not a lot of weight savings compared to the total weight of the motorcycle overall, but if you can imagine having many components made out of carbon, you could have a much lighter machine if it weighed 27% less. :D

    You gotta love that carbon!

    Next up is a set of hand guard ferrings to protect inmate Zoomzu's sensitive hands from the wind. This project will be a ground up project all from scratch. We'll be building the plugs, molds, and laying up the parts. If the composites gods are shining on us, we may even use resin infusion to make the final parts.

    Stay tuned!
  11. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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  12. stretchmoney

    stretchmoney Adventurer

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    Awesome work!,
    The chainguard looks 100% pro made, like a bicycle frame.
    Parts on my RSVR look worse!
  13. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thank you! I wouldn't say that "I'm open for business" so to speak. Rather I would say that I would consider doing a one off project for someone else for an earthly price with the understanding that I am still very much learning how to do all this stuff, and it takes me a while to do it.

    As it goes with the rest of this thread, I am simply really interested in learning and experimenting. I have an idea of projects to do with my DR and other moto related parts, but someone else may have a part that they would like made that would allow me to expand and learn where I wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity.

    In short, if you have a part that you have been thinking would look good in carbon fiber, or might be more durable with fiberglass and Kevelar, than by all means let me know. I would love to hear about your project, and it might just be something that we could work together on as long as you don't mind waiting as long as it takes for the part to get done. :D

    Better yet, if you want a part made out of CF, go buy some materials, read over this thread for some tips, tricks, and maybe a few lessons, then PM me to set up a time to chat on the phone or in person if you are local so that we can discuss how best to approach your project. If I can do this stuff, so can anyone else. It's much cheaper this way, and fun. :wink:

    Thanks, stretch! It's been a lot of fun, and the best part is I can give a friend a part that looks great, is functional, and is something that I made myself by hand. As far as gifts go, I can't think of a better one that I would like to receive.
  14. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Oh I understand completely. Think you've made it pretty clear what you're able/willing to take-on, and was only saying that I think think you'll find a lot of people will see a value in the services you're offering. You might still be learning, but the results you've been posting-up recently speak for themselves. I'd pay you to make parts, and speaking of that... PM coming your way.
  15. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    Beautiful! It looks like you bought it off the rack at Carbon fiber-r-us!
  16. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Very nicely done! I am impressed that you have learned so much, and developed such skill, in such a short time!:clap

    Jim :brow
  17. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Bravo......:clap:clap
  18. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thanks, guys! I'll have to say that this part was a challange, but it turned out acceptable and I have learned so much while working on it.

    One of my goals, and this is a big one, is to have a part come out of the mold with a finished, high quality surface. Just trim and go. I'm not there yet, but I can feel it getting closer.

    Another thing I have realized is molds take up room. Mine are all small, but they still take up a fair amount of room. I would imagine that a good sized shop would really have to consider how they would handle organizing their molds.

    Stay tuned. There are many more great projects to come.
  19. beemerkid

    beemerkid Do you ADV

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    Ive been lurking on this thread since the beginning and I have to say that chain guard is absolutely beautiful. Your work looks very good, I have to agree shiny carbon fiber looks sooo good:clap.
  20. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thanks, BK! The shiney stuff is functional but it's quite a bit of bling too.

    We have been doing a lot of sledding with the kids lately up in the mountains. I've been giving a lot of thought to making a carbon toboggan or some sort of sled for the family. I'm feel like it could be a pretty decently awesome project. :D