DIY - CF Panniers and other CF parts

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by Suncruiser, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been thinking about getting hard cases now for a while but couldn't quite warm up to alu ones, they seem to loose shape easy when crashing. The pelikan ones I quite liked but I'd still prefer a top loader in a size around 35 litres. plus they weigh quite a bit. Then I came across this thread
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=650175
    Thank you so much Erling for making such a detailed educational thread.
    It got me inspired to make my own from CF and Kevlar. I ordered the materials and decided I also want a CF belly pan and a CF splash guard since the KTM one keeps breaking.
    My only experience with fiber and resin lies a few years back now and was the building of a wind surfer.
    So let's dive in:

    I start with the splash guard to get a feel for the process and materials.
    I clean the OM part, wax it 2 times, apply PVA release agent with a kitchen sponge, let it dry.
    Then I mix the epoxy and resin, apply a coat onto the OM part, wait til it gets sticky and then work in 2 layers of CF, 2 of Kevlar and finally 2 CF again. fresh epoxy between each layer.
    I let it cure over night, and first thing next morning I break it out of the mould.
    Feels like christmas, and the part looks ok.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I cut out the right shape with a hack saw, sand the edges and put it aside for the final coat of epoxy so the dirt won't stick so easy. the thing feels very solid and weighs 180 grams vs 220 grams of the OM part.
    Nice. still I think I need to use less epoxy next time, ideal ratio is 1/3 epoxy and 2/3 cloth weight.

    [​IMG]

    Time for a coffe.

    I've been glueing and shaping polystyrene into a pannier form for a day now, had them on the bike and decided 250 mm/ 10 inches is just too wide so I shaped them back to 200 mm/ 8 inches width.
    Looks much better and I am a visual guy, it needs to work well and look ok. They lost about 6 liters each but make the overall width of the bike about the same as the handle bars. they still should turn out around 35 liters each. They are 480 mm long, 400 mm high and now 200 mm deep. Minus the rounding of the edges.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I cut some old linen to wrap around the plug and add some cuts in the corners.

    [​IMG]

    This works great as a template for the Kevlar and CF. I cut 2 layers of Kevlar and found it easier to cut it between a top and bottom tape, a clear one I had but electrical one works good too and even handy towels work better than nothing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I marked each layer's center of length and also the center of the plug so I can align them later.
    The plug gets a coat of PVA release agent. When its dry I mix 120 grams of epoxy and apply it to the plug with a foam roller. I wait til its sticky, time for a cup of tea.
    The Kevlar layer goes flat on the table, wet plug on top and then I work the sides up and wrap them around.
    The side of the pannier that mounts to the bike gets completely overlayed with each layers beginning and end so the final pannier will have 5 layers all around and 10 layers at the back. Basically the overlay of each layer
    is the whole back side of the pannier. Hope that makes sense. And yes it was tea.

    Then I repeat the same steps with 3 more layers of CF. The Kevlar is a bit stiff to work with in the corners. I flag the 2nd layer of Kevlar and decide to add it from the inside later if needed. Maybe 4 layers is enough. We shall see.There's a few bubbles showing up on the flat rear side, maybe too many layers there? I roll over it a lot and in the end decide to wrap the whole thing in cling wrap for curing.

    [​IMG]

    So much for today.

    Ciao, Helly
    #1
  2. Helios

    Helios Been here awhile

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    Now that looks like fun!! keep up the good work !!

    -H
    #2
  3. CRW

    CRW I dont want a pickle

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    looking good! wishing you the best of luck with this project!
    #3
  4. dontlr

    dontlr Banned

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    Subscribed..
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  5. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    First the good news: the final epoxy coat on the splash guard turned out nice.

    [​IMG]


    Now the other news: Unwrapping the plug reveals quite a few wrinkles, back and front.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    They are about 3 mm high and feel/sound solid, so after the disappointment ebbs off I decide to keep them. they won't win a show price but will do the job I hope. I trim off the edges with jig saw ...


    [​IMG]

    ... and notice a spot that's been not fully saturated with resin.

    [​IMG]


    To judge how strong the part is I need to wait til the plug is out. For now I sand off some sticky out bits and give it a final coat of epoxy.

    Back to coffe, Helly
    #5
  6. gettr

    gettr What not to do..

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    Very cool! I'm keeping an eye on this thread.


    You'd make a fortune if you'd make a CF windscreen 2" lower .... just sayin.... I'd be happy to test the second prototype...:lol3
    #6
  7. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    Depending on how high/deep the wrinkles are, and how well you can sand them down, you might really clean up the appearance with another layer of CF...sort of the 'decorative' layer.
    #7
  8. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    Thanks bxr140, I think about it, need to decide soon though while the 'final' coat is still wet.
    #8
  9. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    You can let the part cure, sand down or fill in the imperfections, then lay up a final layer.:deal

    Especially if you use a really light fabric, it should look quite good.
    #9
  10. Qwik

    Qwik Adrenaline Addict

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    Really looking forward to seeing ow this comes out
    #10
  11. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    Ok, second plug, same procedure only slightly different to try to avoid the wrinkles.
    First I cover the plug in epoxy and give it time to really get sticky, I think I started a bit too soon with laying on the Kevlar in the first plug. While the epoxy does its getting sticky thing in front of a heater I cut out a new template and pay particularly attention to make the cut ins long enough, I rather have the cuts starting just before a corner than slightly after a corner. I think that made the corners stand off the plug a little on the first one. Then cut out one layer Kevlar, I notice that my scissors are coming to and end, it takes a while to cut off the Kevlar but I get there. Then 3 layers of CF, the scissors cut through it like through butter.
    Kevlar goes on the table, sticky plug on top, wrap wrap and roll roll and now that looks already a bit better. Every fiber sticks firm against the plug.

    [​IMG]

    I cover the table with cling wrap to keep the fresh CF clean.

    [​IMG]

    Then I roll more epoxy onto the plug and another layer, this time CF.
    Two more layers and its done. This one looks already much better than the first one and after checking it
    a few hours later it stays like this. Nice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Tomorrow I'll be getting the core out. So much for today,

    Ciao, Helly
    #11
  12. Dotbond

    Dotbond Africa, Africa

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    So what epoxy, material did you buy and where did you get it?
    Prices?
    #12
  13. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    I found Ross from nzfibreglass.co.nz in Auckland very helpful. He answered all my newby questions patiently.
    09-570-8999 . I went with the west system 105 epoxy and standard hardener, I think its called 205. Cures at room temperature. I compensate with an extra layer for the lower strenght vs the Heat-cure-system. The CF is a twill weave ca. 150 gr/m2, seams to be pretty standard, the Kevlar I already had from a different project, same weave and weight. Got that off TradeMe. Wax and PVA release agent also from nzfibreglass.co.nz. Polystyrene and styrene glue from Mitre10. That's it I think. Ross will tell you the prices and I think he's very fair. All up it's not a cheap option but I plan to make a few parts for the bike so it will work out cheaper in the long run. Like the 4.8 liters of resin and hardener will last me through a few projects.
    Hope that helps a little but please keep in mind that I'm not experienced in resin and fiber work. Just curious and willing to learn and try new things.

    Ciao, Helly
    #13
  14. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    wow, neat work. I wish i could make rear auxiliary tanks out of CF.....
    #14
  15. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Yay....... Another one to the dark side.......:clap:clap. Looks like you have a great start. As you found out.....one need to be very careful when introducing stress to the matrix. Specially when it is dynamic..( like the constant pressure by a media...like celophan....plastic etc...vacuum bagging....etc) It tends to squeeze and move the layers and you see the results. That does not meen that it is not a good idea.... Just mean one need the planets to align...:D. After years of trying just about everything.... I always come back with the belief that spending some time...getting the layup technique perfected......resin to fiber ratio perfected...... You get farther with less post fixes. But either will work. I don`t think you will be able to hide the folds by sanding, and extra layers. They are simply too high. But if you are willing to look outside the box..... You could layup the corrugated material on the out side.......rather in big plates.....then cover that with a few new layers....... Or simply just call them character...:D... Personally I would not mind them on my boxes...... And in fact the small voids the have created are adding to the overall stiffness of your box. As you see the second came out better.....and I will admit....my second one looks better than my first one as well. I do think you need the corrugated material though......... Not that they wont hold up under normal load..... But when the bike naps...... I think you will run into an issue. A few notes.... Remember... you " cant" sand kevlar......or at least you will have a heck of a time doing it..... So it`s very important to lay CF down wet on the K......to hold it down....along the seams......which brings me to the point that if you do decide to sand the folds down to sooth them..... once you go through the CF and hit the kevlar........ you just opened Pandora`s box. It is awesome to see that you have decided to give this a go.....and with what I have seen so far....... you have completed the uphill.....and are now heading for smoother waters.....thus no doubt in my mind you will succeed. Awesome job......:clap:freaky:freaky

    :thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #15
  16. omnivore

    omnivore SuperSportTourer

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    gorgeous!!
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  17. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    ... thank you for your reply, kind words and advise. I was wondering before if I could flag the corrugated reinforcing procedure but after reading your reply I am sure it'll make the boxes a lot stronger so I'll add that from the inside like you did. Do you have any tips for cutting Kevlar?

    I'm not too tempted to ride at the moment, looking out the window I see this:

    [​IMG]

    Leaves more time for working on the panniers. I keep thinking about a CF quick release mount system.

    Time for a cup of tea, ciao, Helly
    #17
  18. dirtypumpkin

    dirtypumpkin "Monster Truck Bike" Supporter

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    Cool project.:freaky

    Nice view.
    #18
  19. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Stunning scenery.......Makes me think of the swirl in the double shot I just pulled....... Yummy..... I could sit on your porch, and sip`em all day long.....:D....
    For sure stiffer with the honeycomb material..... That`s what gives it it`s torsional stiffness....
    I use these for Kevlar.....

    http://www2.fiskars.com/Products/Hardware/Hardware-Scissors/9-Titanium-Nitride-Shop-Shears

    They hold up great to many cuts...... But special Kevlar shears work better....but are pricy....and need sharpening..... Nobody in my town can sharpen shears......:lol3
    :thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #19
  20. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    After realizing that the next step is sanding the outside of the CF boxes and I don't have a dust mask I made a shopping list and went to town. I got the mask, some protective edges and foam seal for the lids, scissors and a few other bits and pieces. Ready to go tomorrow.

    Good night, ciao, Helly
    #20