Fun With Carbon Fiber

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

  1. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    I'm really enjoying watching you're diy projects. Fantastic job.

    David
  2. zoomzu

    zoomzu Been here awhile

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    Was happy to help:clap:freakythat's me this Friday :lol3
  3. Fishenough

    Fishenough Team Lurker

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    Yes, currently into my 5 th month bike-less and can't wait to start some kinda build. Ya know, reading, learning, and yearning...

    Cheers!
  4. redprimo

    redprimo Been here awhile

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    The open time depends more on the temp and how much catalyst you rage gold is about the same as the other brands. where you will notice the difference is that it has a finer texture so it spreads smoother and it sands eaiser. ALso your sand paper will last longer.

    Most of the time you will get a better surface with a putty knife than with a bondo spreader. also if you take a plastic bondo spreader and "sharpen" it on some sand paper, which will require you to take it up to 600 wet dry, you will also get a better surface.
  5. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Thanks, I'll have to stop by there sometime and will give that a try.
  6. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    You might see those deep scratches as a print in your mould. It depends on how the wax, and release agent filled in said deep scratches. If they do appear, they are easier to get rid of in the mould, as they are now inverted.:evil:clap
  7. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Project #6: Carbon Fiber Hanguard Deflectors - Part 2

    Click here to go to part 1 of this project.

    Now it's time for gelcoat. To make the bome brew gelcoat, I use the following products:

    - US Composites 635 thin resin with medium hardner
    - US Composites red pigment
    - West Systems 404 High Density epoxy filler

    Of course you'll also need two mixing cups, a stirr stick, and a brush or roller (I chose to use a brush for this mold).

    Here is a pic of the materials needed to make the gelcoat.
    [​IMG]

    This is the first time that I have used the West Systems 404 filler. It is much denser than the Cabosil that I have used to thicken the gelcoat in the past. It also requires much more of the filler to thicken the epoxy to the desired consistancy, but from what I read, it adds a lot of strength to the gelcoat layers.

    Here is a shot of the 404 vs the Cabosil. Notice how much denser the 404 filler looks compared to the fluffy Cabosil.

    404
    [​IMG]

    Cabosil
    [​IMG]

    Anyhow, you mix up your A B epoxy parts, then mix in filler to taste (the idea is you don't want the gelcoat to slough off the vertical surfaces), and then mix in the whatever pigment you choose. A little pigment goes a LONG way, so add it slowly. I chose to use red because it shows future gelcoat applications in order to gauge consistant application thickness.

    Here is the tooling gelcoat mixed up and ready for application.
    [​IMG]

    Then I simply brushed the mixture onto the plugs and flanges and let the whole thing sit under the heat lamps for a couple hours at a time. I applied two coats of gelcoat with about 1.5 to 2 hours between coats.
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    Let the gelcoat sit under the heat lamps until it feels sticky to the touch, but it won't stick to your finger. At this point it is time to apply the fiberglass.

    You want to have all your fiberglass cut before you start. To make this mold, I decided to use 8oz 2x2 twill glass. I think that I cut around two yards of glass total to make the mold. I cut strips, small squares, and a few large pieces. The different sizes of clot allow you to lay up the mold in such a way where you are applying cloth in the direction and location s of the most stress.

    Here are the pieces cut.
    [​IMG]

    I also used some scrap glass, as well as some glass tow (yarns) to fill in the corners of the mold.
    [​IMG]

    When all your reinforcement has been cut and is ready at hand, it's time to mix a clean batch of epoxy and start your layup. Go slowly enough to give yourself time to think about where best to place each pice of fabric, and make sure that you use the bristle end of your bursh in a stabbing/tapping action on the wetted glass to remove air bubbles.

    Clean epoxy ready to be applied to the tacky gelcoat.
    [​IMG]

    This mold took me about two hours to lay up, but I feel the spent time pays off in the end.

    All the glass has been layed. Now we'll wait for 36 hours for the mold to cure under the heat lamps.
    [​IMG]

    36 hours later I pulled the mold. It popped right off. I was really excited to see that all the clay stuck to the mold. This will make for easy clean up.
    [​IMG]

    To clean the majority of the clay off the mold, I simply scraped it off with a plastic body filler spreader. Most of the clay was still clean, so it went right back into the clay bag ready for the next mold.
    [​IMG]

    With most of the clay removed, it was time to trim the mold.
    [​IMG]

    The time had come for me to try out the Fein Multi Master in action trimming the flange of some nice thick fiber glass. I'll have to say that I couldn't be more happy with the performance of this thing, and recommend it to anybody who is doing this type of thing.

    I used the Ti saw blade which is made for composites to make the cut. It worked very well.
    [​IMG]

    The Multi Master is a recip tool, so the saw blade doesn't rotate all the way around. This makes the tool very easy to controll, but I think that thing I like most about it is that it doesn't kick dust all over the place. For the most part, all the dust from the cut simply falls onto the work bench. Of course I wore a respirator, but there is no need for glasses or the large face mask that I usually wear. I'm in love I tell you. :raabia

    This is all the dust from the cut, just sitting there ready to be cleaned up. As I type this, I notice that my arms aren't itchy. :D
    [​IMG]

    To mark the area I want to trim off, I use masking tape as a guide. It works very well.
    [​IMG]

    After I trimmed all the flanges, I sanded the rough edges with 80, then 220 grit sand paper. This makes the edge nice and smooth.

    Here's the trimmed mold.
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    To finish the mold clean up, I just washed it in the sink with dishwashing soap and warm water.

    Here is the cleaned mold, but not quite ready for action.
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    [​IMG]

    The deep scratches that you could see in the plugs are evident in the mold. I have never wet sanded any of my molds, but I think that i'll give it a try on this one. After a little bit of wet sanding, it's time to lay up some parts!

    Whadoyaknow! I was able to find the time to wetsand and polish the mold today.

    I started off with 800 to sand out some of the scratches (now little ridges because this is a mold, thus a direct opposite of the plugs). This makes the scratches a little easier to sand out. I like to keep a little tuperware of water with a little dish soap in the shop for wet sanding. It does the trick nicely.

    Here I'm getting my sanding on, once again. If you do this kind of work, you'll quickly find out that there's no end to the sanding.
    [​IMG]

    From 800 grit, I went to 1000, 1500, and 2000 followed by rubbing compound and polish. This is the result... not as shiney as I hoped.
    [​IMG]

    Like I mentioned above, I have never sanded any of my molds before, so I don't know for sure, but I think that the reason that I'm not getting as much shine out of the tooling gelcoat is due to the 404 filler. Just like paint with fleck in it, you can't polish it to a bright luster shine, I think. I think that the little bits of 404 filler in the epoxy just don't shine up much, but the mold is now very smooth and I think that it should do the trick.

    Things get better. Once I started to apply the mold release wax the shine started to come back a bit. This is after 4 applications of wax, and it's not as shiney as shiney clear coat, but it's pretty shiney and very smooth.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also sanded the flanges with 220 grit. The clay left some high spots and burrs that were a little sharp and catchy. These little points could cause a hole in a vacuum bag, and leaks are no fun, so I decided to take action now. I may try to lay up some glass in the mold tomorrow to get an idea of how it's going to work.


    I decided to make the first lam with the new mold today. These parts aren't planned to go to Zoomzu, but rather I wanted to play with a couple ideas.

    The mold had already been waxed, so all I had to do was apply the PVA as the last step in the mold release application process. Here the mold has had PVA applied.
    [​IMG]

    I wanted to create some sort of graphical design for Mike Z's hand guards, but I wasn't clear how to get there until I read a thread a day or so back where a guy was applying some light glass fabric to the back of his carbon fabric to keep it stable. I decided what the hell, I may as well give it a shot.

    What I did was cut some 2oz glass, sprayed a light mist of Super 77 adhesive on it, then layed the carbon, and carbon/kevlar highbrid fabrics onto the glass fabric like so.
    [​IMG]

    This is tricky, but if you take it slow you can get the fiber glass to lay nice and smooth on the other fabrics. That Super 77 is some awesome stuff.

    Next I drew a little Z on some card stock, and cut it out. This would be my template. With the template, I traced the Z onto the glass fabric that was glued on the back of my carbon and highbrid fabric.
    [​IMG]

    I use the Fiskers Titanium scissors that you can buy at HD. They work well if you only use one for Kevlar and another for glass and carbon. This is how I keep track of the two.
    [​IMG]

    With my Kevlar scissors, I cut the Z design out of the carbon/kevlar highbrid fabric. It worked well. The fabric didn't appear to want to fray, and the weave was super solid. I had a big smile on my face. :D
    [​IMG]

    The blue and black Z is flashy, but I wanted to add a little more punch to the graphic.

    I had stabilized some carbon fabric as well, so I traced the Z onto it, and cut about 1/4 of an inch outside of the Z all the way around. Then I glued the smaller Z ontop of the larger Z. AWESOME!!! :evil
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now for some mold work.

    I had brushed the first coat of epoxy into the mold before I started cutting the Zs out, so now it was time to lay in 1 layer of 8oz glass. The reason for the glass is there will be apparent in a moment. Next I placed both Zs in their respective molds like so.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Following the Zs, I layed the layers of carbon. The final layup looks messy, but keep in mind that this is only a proof of concept and not the final parts, unless they turn out totally awesome. They may turn out totally awesome...

    Here the laminant is resting under the heat lamps.
    [​IMG]

    OK, so back to that first layer of glass. The glass is the first layer because I'll probably have to sand these parts a bit to make them look good. When sanding, I don't want to sand into the kevlar/carbon highbrid fabric, hence the glass. Sanding into the glass is no problem at all.


    Because these were just a test pieces, I popped them early. No harm though. The resin cures quite quickly under the heat lamps.

    Here is the right deflector fresh out of the mold.
    [​IMG]

    I trimmed it up with the Fein MultiMaster which was a dream of a trimming experience even with this green epoxy. The Multi Master trims contours much better than I thought it would. Can you see that flashy Z?
    [​IMG]

    I held the deflector up to my bark buster and it looks like the fit is going to be very nice.
    [​IMG]

    The part was dusty and I still needed to wash the PVA off, so down to the sink we went. Here it is after washing. The Z blends in more than I would have thought, but I'm betting sun light would really bring it out. The tight weave CF also adds a very intersting demension to the CF refraction illusion.
    [​IMG]

    Add a little bit of camera flash or sunlight and it really pops.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So the part is strong. The Z idea is pretty cool I think, and opens the door to a lot of possibilities, but there are a lot of micro bubbles and other imperfections. This all really boils down to laminating technique which is a skill that I am still trying to master. I really want these parts to turn out perfect, so I decided that the time had come to begin to experiment with infusion.

    Click here to see how I got started with resin infusion.

    After spending a fair bit of time learning how to infuse composite parts, I finally decided to give it a try in the deflector mold.

    Here is a quick video of the first test infusion.
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_Kb83v_8Y84" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    After the parts cured for 24 hours under the heat lamps, I pulled the vacuum bag off to expose a very brittle, crips package.
    [​IMG]

    After tugging, pulling, and yanking the peelply and infusion mesh out of the mold, I was finally able to pop the parts out. They turned out perfect. No bubbles or imperfections. This is what resin infusion is all about, folks.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive to hold the dry fabrics in place in the mold, so the mold needing a bit of tending before I did any work on the parts. I gently scrubbed the mold with a scrubby pad and soap and water. No big deal.
    [​IMG]

    After the mold cleaning chores were out of the way, I got to trimming the parts. Here they are fresh out of the mold with the flanges trimmed off. You'll notice a flat finish on the carbon. This is more of that Super 77 spray adhesive. Unfortunantly the spray is necessary to hold the dry fabric in place while the infusion package is put together, so it's kind of a necessary evil. There are spray adhesives that are made just for this pourpose, but I have yet to be able to get ahold of any.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I cleaned the 3M spray adhesive off with acetone and a lot of elbow grease. Then I scuffed the surface of the deflectors in preperation for clear coat. I placed the parts under the heat lamps to warm them up a bit.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shortly after spraying, Mike (Zoomzu) showed up to lend a hand in making his deflectors. Here he is gearing up for some action.
    [​IMG]

    Mike's KLR has a blue kevlar/carbon highbrid fabric covering his fering, so we wanted to include some of that fabric into his deflectors. We decided on a tear drop shape.
    [​IMG]

    With the first (sandable) layer of fiberglass down, I placed the highbrid accent fabric into the mold.
    [​IMG]

    Next we added the rest of the fabric and infusion material, bagged the whole thing, and pulled the vacuum. Mike made the vacuum bag this time, and the vacuum was perfect. Nice work, Mike!
    [​IMG]

    We mixed up some more of the 2712 infusion resin, degassed it, and infused. I decided not to use infusion mesh on the parts this time so see how the resin would infuse with just peelply over the parts. It seemed to infuse fine, but it took 55 minutes. That's 44 minutes longer than it took with infusion mesh. :eek1

    Here's a little video of the infusion.
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LWuzNcaWJdU" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    We're getting close to the end of this project, so hang out, relax, grab a beer or a nice hot coffee, and I'll post back soon.

    Back at it! No rest for the weary here I tell ya. :D

    I pulled the mold out of the bag this morning. It's an interesting experience pulling the vacuum bag off a mold. In one hand, you are really excited at the prospect of seeing a perfect part come out of the mold. On the other hand, you know that you have a lot of tugging, and yanking of peelply, mesh, and other stuff that doesn't want to come off the mold and the parts. Not to mention, while you have your hands in there trying to grip these things, the little shards, and blades of cured resin are cutting and poking you. It is an interesting experience. :evil

    At any rate, I made it through. Again. And I'll have to say that I'm excited, and motivated by what I see. The parts are fantastic.
    [​IMG]

    The above picture is the last one that I'm going to show of Mike's deflectors until I deliver them, but hang tight. I'll post lots of pics of the finishing process, and them mounted.

    In the mean time we can mess around with the test deflectors that I made earlier.

    Here they are finished and ready for mounting.
    [​IMG]

    Nice solid fiber. No bubbles or blemishes.
    [​IMG]

    I mounted them to be bark busters like so. Those smudges on the inside of the deflector are polish residue.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wasted no time mounting them up. The following pictures show off the new deflectors.
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    The new deflectors all mounted up. Look how shiney and pretty they are. I'm sure that they won't stay that way for long though.
    [​IMG]

    I'll have to say that I am very happy with the finished product. Of course this is not the end of this build. First we need to deliver a perfect product to fellow inmate Zoomzu. Once that's done, this project will be finished. No worries though. The next project is going to knock your sox off. :evil

    Click here to go to part 3 of this project.
  8. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the update. I'm excited to try the Gold out. I have metal putty knives, so I'll give those a try.

    That's funny that you say that. The scratches were evident in the mold and have since been wet sanded and polished out. The epoxy sanded very well, but it didn't turn out as shiney as I had expected. The project post has more details about this.

    Hey, MTrider! Thanks for hanging out! I love these kinds of threads, so I am very happy that I have been able to provide one of my own.
  9. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    Damn nice work rivermonster! :freaky

    I may have to try US Composites epoxy/hardener as it's a lot cheaper than the West Systems 105 + hardener I'm used to using. Old habits die hard I guess.

    What's up with US composites website? No pictures of any products and when I clicked on the link for the Kleen Klay I got a blank page. The FEIN websites "find a dealer" link comes up as a blank page too. :dunno

    Keep up the good work!
  10. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Thanks, b!

    I have heard that the West Systems epoxy is good stuff, but I've never used it myself. I like the 635 epoxy from US Composites quite a bit. It's fairly affordable as far as epoxy goes, it's easy to work with, you can purchase the pumps from USC which makes dispensing very easy, and it's strong with a good TG. Try some out.

    I just visited the US Composites website and the kleen klay link worked for me. Their site is somewhat quirky and not layed out anything like I would like it to be, but they have good prices, a fair selection of products, and good service, so what are you gonna do.

    I just tried to get onto the Fein website and it was working really quirky, so maybe something techy is wrong with the site right now.

    Anyhow, I'll keep plugging away. What kind of projects have you been working on?

    BTW, if any of you out there reading this thread are working on any composites projects yourself, please feel free to post some pics and details of what you are doing. I would love to read about it, and I'm sure that others could learn a lot as well.
  11. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    No way, I'm outsourcing everything to you! haha.
  12. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    None! :lol3 I used to repair all my Fiberglass/Kevlar Kayaks back in the day but it's been a few years...many years since I've worked on one of them. Plastic boats will do that to a fella.
    Lately I've been thinking about getting into boat repairs, mainly plastic welding and fiberglass/Kevlar patching. I've known how to make plugs and molds but never had a reason to make one...yet. :evil I don't have a heated space to work on projects like these at the present time though.
    I was speaking to an old friend who repaired boats for a living and he mentioned that he repaired(patching) aluminum boats along with plastic and FG. That got me thinking about aluminum welding. Screw patches, we don't need no steenkin patches!
    I've been a member since 2009 but very rarely come to the Garage. I happened to drop into the garage one day and saw Kirksters welding thread then I noticed your post here...and here I am! I'll be in the garage much more now.
  13. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Your next tool is going to be a stationary buffing wheel. Try some dry fine buffeing compound. Rubbing compound is too corse. You will be able to make it as shiny as your fresh gel coat. :D:D
  14. meteorite

    meteorite MoreDust

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    Hey Rivermonster. Good, no excellent thread considering your virtual play by play and the various inputs from others. This makes it very convenient for a noob to get started. I want to build a bash/skid plate out of composite pretty soon. Kevlar or Carbon??? Any recommendations.
  15. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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  16. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    I actually have a stationary buffing wheel in storage somewhere. You think this will make a difference, eh?

    Hey, meteorite! Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad that there are people out there enjoying this thread as much as I am.

    As for your project, just get into it! Ebrabaek has made a carbon/kevlar bashplate for his F800 that turned out awesome. Check out the build thread here.

    If you have any specific questions let me know, or leat ebrabaek. We would both love to help you off to a great start.
  17. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

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    Project #7: Getting Started With Resin Infusion

    I have been thinking of trying infusion for a long time, and now I have a reason to give it a shot. I just laminated the first test piece in my Hand Guard Deflector project, and there are bubbles and imperfections galore. I want the parts to be perfect, and infusion is a way to get there.

    I actually don't have all the proper materials needed to infuse a part, but I figured if I just do a small scale test, I may see some success with the stuff I had laying around.

    To start, I grabbed a piece of 1/8th inch ply off the shelf that I had used for some past paint tests. The ply had been painted and cleared, so all I did was add a couple coats of wax and called it good. Ideally you would want to use a pain of glass to lay up a flat sheet of fiberglass or carbon. I only had a board, but will procure a nice piece of glass soon to use with future testing.

    I added bagging tape to the board, and layed my front facing piece of 8oz glass onto the waxed surface. The fiberglass will act as a sandable surface so that I don't sand into the Kevlar that will be below it.
    [​IMG]

    Next I cut two strips each of carbon fiber and Kevlar/carbon highbrid fabric. I arranged these into a creative pattern on top of the first piece of fiber glass.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I followed up the strips with three layers of 8oz fiberglass, added the resin inlet tube (right), vacuum tube (left), and sealed it all up with the nylon vacuum bag. Ideally, you would want to use infusion mesh, and spiral tubbing or MTI hose for your setup. More on this in posts to come.
    [​IMG]

    I pulled 25"ish inches of vacuum on the composite stack, letting the vacuum run for a little while to remove moisture from the pile of composite materials. If you look closely, you'll notice the imprint of the pattern below the three layers of 8oz fabric. Notice that the resin inlet hose is clamped off.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, I mixed up a little batch of resin and let it degas under the heat lamps. Ideally, you would want to degas the resin in a vacuum chamber. I haven't made a vacuum champer yet, but will soon. Also, this resin isn't designed for infusion. A proper infusion resin would be thinner and have a longer open time.
    [​IMG]

    After the vacuum had been tested and I was sure that there were no air leaks, I placed the end of the resin inlet hose into the resin cup, and slowly unclamped the resin hose. The resin flowed onto the composite stack and started it's saturation process.
    [​IMG]

    To keep track of how quickly and efficiantly the resin front is progressing, simply trace the front with a sharpi marker, then come back and look at it a few minutes later. In this photo, you'll notice a couple of black lines with the resin front progressing beyond them. Most of the part infused nicely, suprisingly.
    [​IMG]

    Twards the end of the infusion, the resin front really started to slow down. This would make me very nervous if I were working on a realy part, but not so much in this case. For this test, the resin didn't completely infuse the part. No worries because I know why. More on that soon.

    In this pic, you'll see the resin trying to make it to the vacuum hose. You can do it!!
    [​IMG]

    The stack mostly infused.
    [​IMG]

    So thats where I'm at now. I hope to use infusion on the hand guard deflectors, but first I need to spiffy up my process. I'll need the follwoing:

    Infusion mesh
    Spiral tubbing or MTI hose. MTI hose is awesome BTW
    Pressure pot for resin degassing and to act as a resin catch pot
    Probably infusion resin, but I'll test the 635 thin resin some more

    I think that's it.

    Vacuum upgrade

    When infusing composite material, you need a vacuum pump that pulls a deep vacuum. I have been reading about vacuum pumps for a long time now and I noticed a trend. Lots of folks chose cheap two stage oil rotary vain pumps from HF and the like. These pumps work OK because they do pull a lot of vacuum, but they also smoke a lot of oil in the process. These type of vacuum pumps are primarily designed to be used to pull moisture from AC lines due to the very low pressures that they are able to achieve. Thankfully, there are some good ones on the market as well. The RobinAir 15600 pump seems to be a very popular choice of infusers out there with some shops running ten or more. I have been looking for one for a while, but everything was $260 or more, so I held out. Just yesterday I found a new one on CraigsList for $200. The price seemed right to me.

    With the new pump in hand, I needed to figure out how I was going to splice it into my existing vacuum system. I need to make some refinements, but I have come up with a temporary solution.

    Here is the new pump next to the existing vacuum system.
    [​IMG]

    I ran a hose from the new vacuum port into a barbed T fitting attached to the existing vacuum feed hose. Now both pumps can pull vacuum from the pressure tanks which pull vacuum from the vacuum bags.
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see how I T'd in the new vacuum feed line. The hose on the leg of the T leads to the new pump.
    [​IMG]

    With the pumps set up this way, I can pull down to 25" mercury with the piston pump...
    [​IMG]

    Then switch to the oil vane pump to pull all the way down to 29.5".
    [​IMG]

    These two vacuum pressures will come in very handy for a number of different operations when degasing resin and infusing.

    Materials

    I made a run up to Fiberglass Supply just north of me in Burlington, WA. They carry a fair selection of infusion materials, so I stocked up.

    Here a few pics of a couple of their stock shelves.
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    Following are some of the materials that I picked up...

    Spiral tubbing. This tubbing is used under the vacuum bag to act as a pipeline for vacuum pressure or resin inflow.
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    PE tubbing. This solid tubbing is used to pull vacuum from the bag out, or to inject resin from the outside into the vacuum bag. The stuff is rigid, and cheap because you throw a lot of it away when it's exposed to resin.
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    T barbs and vacuum/resin ports. T barbs are used to T off vacuum lines. The vacuum/resin ports are used to connect vacuum or resin lines with spiral vacuum or resin lines in the bag. You simply place the feed port tunnel over the spiral tube, lay the vacuum bag over this setup, and when ready, simply make a little cut over the hole on top of the feed port, slip your vacuum or resin line in, and seal with vacuum tape.
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    Demolding wedges. I have been meaning to pick up some demolding wedges for a long time, and finally I remembered when I saw them up at the shop. They are used to gently wedge/pry parts from molds withoug causing damage.
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    Enka-Flow. Enka-Flow is made to be used as a resin fast track at the primary resin delivery point. The product also allows you to place your resin feed line directly on the part without the feed hardware imprinting the cloth beneath it. More on this later...
    [​IMG]

    Flat glass mold surface. I scavanged a little piece of glass from my grands house to use as a flat mold surface when performing coupon tests as they are called. Coupons are stacks of composites that are layed up flat. Usually they are created simply for testing pourposes, when you want to learn how a stack of composite materials will flow resin and infuse. The glass will come in very handy, but I'll probably need to upgrade to a larger piece in a little while. Note, this piece of glass already has vacuum tacky tape applied just inside of the blue masking tape. I am preparing for the first test infusion. :D
    [​IMG]

    I'll probably get into setting up a "real" infusion test this weekend, so stay tuned...

    When you are infusing, you want to protect your vacuum pumps from sucking in resin. I don't have the funds to buy a propper resin trap, so I made one out of a mason jar. I will use this as a resin trap, as well as a vacuum chamber to degas resin in.
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    To begin the setup for my test infusion, I applied the vacuum tape as a continous strip around the perimiter of the glass mold. Applying the tape this way gives less of a chance that a leak will occur.
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    Next, I cut all fabric from a 7"x10" template that I made from card stock. I made the template so that all test are done with pieces of fabric of the same size. After the fabric is cut out, it is layed onto the glass FG, CF, CF, FG and taped in place with masking tape.
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    When the fabric was in place, I layed down the peel ply fabric, green infusion mesh, resin inlet line (bottom of pic) and vacuum line (top of pic). The vacuum bag goes on after all these items are applied to the mold.
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    After making sure that the vacuum bag setup was holding perfect vacuum, I mixed up the resin, degassed it in the little vacuum chamber, and then injected it into the mold.

    It just happens that the large mixing cups that I have sit perfectly on the lip of the mason jar, so I melted a few holes in the top of the cup in order to equalize pressure. I just pour the mixed epoxy into the cup, set the cup into the chamber, screw the lid back on and apply vacuum pressure and watch all the little bubbles come out.
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    With the resin degassed, the fabric seemed to infuse perfectly. Of course I won't know until at least tomorrow, but I have a good feeling about it. :D
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    No bubbles. Yay!! :clap
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    Here is a little video of the resin infusing with the fabric.
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/vX8nFBIhbDo" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    When I pull the sheet tomorrow, I'll post the updates.

    More fun to come soon. I think that I may have the confidence to infuse the hand guard deflectors now. :D

    I pulled the composite stack from the glass mold and the results are fantastic. I'm super excited. No voids, no bubbles. Just shiney carbon fiber. :evil
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    Now I feel that I am really getting the hang of this infusion stuff. I want to infuse Zoomzu's hand guard deflectors, but I need to figure out how I'm going to set up the mold, and I'm not really sure how that is going to work.

    What I would like to do is pull vacuum along the right and left flanges, with the resin inlet running down the middle feeding resin to the parts on both sides. Remember, the mold looks like this.
    [​IMG]

    I had requested a couple of infusion resin samples to test, and they came just in time, on the same day as a matter of fact.

    Through a lot of research I choose the Resin Tech infusion resin, and the PTM&W in fusion resin systems. To be honest, I'm kindof rooting for PTM&W because their resin is used a lot in aerospace apps, and is supposed to be a good product, not to mention they sent me a gallon of this stuff. Thanks PTM&W guys!!
    The Resin Tech is supposed to be good stuff too, with a higher Tg of around 300 degrees F, which is the temp that the resin will start to distort and become dynamic. The Tg for the PTM&W stuff is aroung 150 degrees F, which is kind of low, but we'll see how some tests pan out.
    [​IMG]

    OK, back to figuring out how to infuse our deflector mold. We need to inject resin from the middle, and pull vacuum from the edges, so why not mock up an infusion test with our new resin.

    To begin, I cut out two stacks of 7"x10" 2x2 8oz glass, and set them as far apart on the glass as I thought the fabric would be in the deflector mold.
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    Then I cut, and set the peelply in place leavin room for a resin brake to slow the resin down twards the end of the infusion.
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    I wanted to make sure that the resin really soaked into the fiberglass, so I cut the infusion mesh leaving about 2.5" open to the vacuum lines. The resin inlet will sit in the middle, so I placed a second strip of mesh there to make sure that the resin was able to travel out eaisly to the stacks of fiberglass.
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    Next I placed the inlet hose in the middle, with the vacuum hoses on the outside edges. I decided to use the 1/4" PE hose for all connections because it is so much eaiser to work with than the .5" stuff.
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    To connect the 1/4" vacuum lines coming out of the mold to the .5" hose coming out of the resin trap, I just stuffed them in there and sealed the deal with some vacuum tape. That vacuum tape comes in handy for all kinds of stuff.
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    The time had come to fire up the heat lamps and the vacuum pumps. I pulled the bag down and did a leak check. There was a BIG leak somewhere. I could even hear it, but I couldn't figure out where it was, then it dawned on me that I hadn't clamped off the resin inlet hose. :roflAfter that, the leak check tested out just fine.
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    While I ran the leak check, I started to measure out the new resin. I used 200g resin with 44g part B hardner. The resin is nice and clear.
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    But the hardner is quite amber, leaving the batch looking like this after it is mixed together. One nice thing about infusion resin is that it generally has a very long open time, so you can take your time mixing, degassing, and infusing.
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    Speaking of degassing, this is what a the batch looks like degassing in the little vacuum chamber. You can see it bubbling and boiling in there.
    This resin degassed like a dream. It didn't foam up crazy like the 635 resin did. Rather, the gas came out of it in a much more controlled way. This one aspect of the resin is very nice. I'm excited!! :D
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    Then I infused. The resin didn't travel as fast as I though it would have, but it infused beautifully. Here is the whole package just after infusion.
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    I got lucky with the ammount of resin I mixed. Here is what I had left at the end.
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    Here is a video of the infusion sped up 400%. In real time, the infusion took 14 minutes.
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tZ4ZGTF1ISE" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    Here is a shot of one of the fiberglass panels that were infused in the video above. There are a few voids in the surface, but the piece is generally in very good shape, and would do just fine as a structural part. If it were carbon, one could make quick repairs to it to make it look grade A. Notice the color of the sheet. It doesn't have the deep amber color of the PT2712 resin when it is mixed up. The resin actually looses most of that color as it cures. I don't know how this works, but it's pretty cool.
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    With the relative success of the split stack, middle feed experiment above, I decided that it was time to do a test shot on the real deal deflector mold. I needed to make a template to cut the fabric and consumable items. I messaged a piece of aluminum foil into one side of the mold, then filled it with rice to keep it down and in place. With a sharpie marker, I drew a line around where the part edges would be.
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    I cut the foil template out. With the help of a couple of weight bags, I used the template to cut all the pieces of carbon fiber fabric and peelply. I cut ten pieces in all; 5 plys for each side of the mold.
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    The mold had already been waxed (I chose to ONLY use wax with this layup, so pleas cross your fingers for me and say a little prayer tonight), so the time had come to place the fabric. When setting up the composite stack for infusion, sometimes it's necessary to use a spray adhesive to hold things in place as you build the package. I used 3M Super 77, but there are sprays that are actually made just for this. You only want to use a very light spray.

    Ready to rock and roll.
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    Here I have finished applying all 5 layers to both sides of the mold. This is the first time I have used a spray adhesive to hold fabric this way and I'll tell you I learned a lot. I'm pretty sure that one part out of this mold is probably going to turn out a lot better than the other. :D
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    Next I used the foil template and weight bags to trace the shape onto the peelply fabric. I cut the fabric with scissors (this fabric is really tough to cut with the rotary cutter for some reason), and place it into the mold using tape to hold it into place. You could also use a little Super 77 to hold it in place if you wanted.
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    Then I added the infusion mesh and vacuum and resin plumbing. Notice I stopped the infusion mesh about 2" before the vacuum lines. These areas will act as our resin breaks to slow that resin front down to a nice crawal. This is done to ensure that all the fabric gets fully soaked in resin, however it doesn't always work. Thats why you experiment.
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    The flanges on this mold are fairly small, with room only for the vacuum lines. Because of this, I had to make a vacuum bag, and tuck the mold package in it nice a tidy.
    [​IMG]

    I sealed the vacuum and resin inlet lines to the bag, and pulled down the vacuum. The pressure test wasn't perfect, loosing 1.5" after 15 minutes.
    [​IMG]

    Based on my previous test, I decided to mix 366g or resin for this infusion, but it ended up being too much. This is good or bad. Either I'll be able to save resin on future layups, or the composite stack didn't soak up enough resin. I hope it soaked up enough resin.

    Anyhow, here's the resin and hardner in the cup before mixing.
    [​IMG]

    I mixed it up, degassed, and infused.

    Here is a quick clip of the resin degassing, and there I am folks, the man with no plan. :D
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/VeUzDm4UsLg" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    The infused package.
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    And of course, a video of the infusion.
    <IFRAME height=480 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_Kb83v_8Y84" frameBorder=0 width=853 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>


    Setting up an infusion in a real mold is much more difficult then on a piece of glass, but I learned a lot and I'll put that knowledge to use the next time around.

    Stay tuned...
  18. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
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    2,443
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    on the road
    Way to go! Love that you're diving into all this, and am learning a lot from following this thread.
  19. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
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    8,741
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    I can't tell if you did, but get a roller to spread the resin out. If you're pulling 25+ on the vacuum, you shouldn't get "much" cavitation. You can just roll slowing also. The break even cost for infusion is a 24'+ boat hull. For these sizes, a proper bag will do.
  20. therivermonster

    therivermonster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    On the path to my first 990 ADV...
    Thanks, jesus! Like lots of things in life, if you don't just go ahead and do it, you'll never do it. If you fail, try it again a different way and learn from mistakes.

    Thanks for checkin' in!

    I brushed the resin on for this first set of deflectors. I have yet to use a roller on any of my projects, but I should give it a try. Using a roller may keep the bubbles down to a minimum I suspect.

    Beech, do you mean that you have to infuse a 24' boat hull to break even on cost vs income on the part?