My Carbon (Fiber) Footprint

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Kiwi Dave, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    Inspired by Erling, aka ebrabaek, here on the local thread...

    advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=650175

    ... I just had to give it a go. Years ago I mucked around fiberglass and epoxy while repairing my surfboards and sailboats do I figured this Carbon and Kevlar stuff couldn't be much different. How wrong I was, but the learning curve has been sharp and fast and I am rather pleased with the results so far.

    Please bare with me as this is the very first time I have posted a photo in any of the my threads. Yes, I am a nubby so be easy on me.

    First project on the drawing board was something small and easy. I recently replaced the stock pipe on the Xchallenge with a Leo Vince number and it came with two Carbon Fiber guards for the header pipe and exhaust. However it did not include to third guard at the forward most position on the header pipe so...good reason for a workshop project.

    I started by reading up on working with CF and Kevlar on various internet sites and even found some great tips on a couple of YouTube videos. I rung a local supply center and within a week I had my Man Cave kited out for basic CF projects.

    I started by removing the steel guard from the header pipe and giving a hot sudsy bath.
    Then I went to work giving it five coats of release wax, buffing each coat before the next went on.
    I would learn later on that six or seven coats would not be considered overkill.

    Next, the PVA release agent would get sponged on. I let this dry completely and then added a second coat of it.

    The Epoxy and Hardening agent were worked together in a small cup and painted on to the now prepared mold.
    I let this stand for a couple of hours and allow to turn tacky before applying the first layer of Carbon Fiber.

    This where things got a bit thicky. You see, this part is not flat and certainly not without a few tight curves. When I laid the first layer of CF on the tacky epoxy it wanted to wander a bit. The outer edges wanted to stick out from the mold. Trouble !!

    I had to think fast to salvage the situation.

    I had used some wax paper from the kitchen and covered an old wooden cutting board as my work surface. I took a couple of strips of this wax paper and rolled the carbon fiber soaked mold in it. A bit messy at first but once it had dried, it was only a matter of sanding back the proud bit that were raised above the surface of the mold. Not perfect or pretty but his was just the first layer so not a big deal.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I sanded back the rough bits with 80 grit and repeated the process three more times for a total of four layers of CF. After sanding back the final layer with 250 grit I used a 600 grit and wet sanded to take out all the deep sanding marks and finally ended up with this semi-polished look. NICE !!


    [​IMG]

    I still needed to clean up the back of the mold and this is where my new Dremel tool came in handy. I could have gone to town with the 80 grit paper and produced similar results but I have tools for a reason, to play with them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One need to take a bit of care using coarse sand paper with Carbon Fiber. It cuts through it quickly and and light hand is need to prevent taking too much off. In the photo above the thickness of the four layers in seen best at the far right of the mold. Where I got a bit to heavy handed with the sand paper is very evident around the rest of the piece.

    Live and learn. I hope.

    So I proceed with removing the carbon fiber part from the mold. Oh no. It stuck on there good and not budging a bit.
    I clean up around the edges a bit more and try again with a thin butter knife to pry the mold away. Not going well.
    I decide to stop before breaking something and come to the conclusion...
    ...I now have a Carbon Fiber reinforced Steel header guard.

    It must be a one of a kind.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The parts that came in the box with the Leo Vince Pipe were likely made via the vacuum method as they have a perfectly smooth finish and are nearly wafer thin. My attempt is a bit more burly and will take a few harder knocks.

    For a first attempt at reproducing a Carbon Fiber copy of the guard I was pleased. It would have been great if the part would have released from the mold but I have a funny feeling that since heat was not used in the curing of this part that a "post cure" will occur the next time I use the bike. The high heat from the header pipe might be what the epoxy needs to pop the part off the steel mold.

    Next project... the front fairing for the F800 GS.

    Dave
    #1
  2. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    G`afternoon Dave..... Good to see that you got the first one off the line.....:clap... I would like to share my observations.....
    When you use the " Tack" method...... It takes a little trial and error to find just the right amount of tackiness where it will hold the composite down.....and still saturate the cloth...... If it is not tacky enough....it will pull away ...as you so experienced. Next go..... try waiting a little more... With that in mind..... After you lay down the cloth tacky.... you need to give it another layer of resin...... When...... It depends.... you lay it down too early.... the cloth will now pull away.... to late.... you don`t get a good bond. One final note on that progression.... The composite matrix will not be as strong as if you lay them all down wet...... But unless you are making a structural member..... you will be fine. The only reason it will not split from the mold.... Is either you missed some metal part coating with the release agent.....or the resin has pooled and plugged orifices like the bolt holes.....etc. It really should come off easy...... Here is the biggest thing though...... Have a seat and pour yourself a shot of espresso........ Your sitting down...... You might already have started the big X.....and seen this...... But if your epoxy did not need post heat cure..... Then I`m about 100% certain that it will melt when you run it...... You see.... NON post cure epoxys are good for up to about 200-250 deg F. (80-120 C.) On a forward part of the header.... Id expect to see about 300 deg F radiant....and 400 F....on the bolt mounts. This .....off course vary a bit from manufacture to manufacture. But the reason they bake after the layup is to recieve more strength ( bond) and heat tolerance during that final polymerization. If you have not already ridden it..... What it while you do..... Funny smell..........A browning of the CF are indicators of heat stress...... and while you normally will see the composite switch from a stiff matrix.....to acting like plastic.... you might not see that......since you have the original metal in there. It is great to see that you got it started though.....and don`t let these miner things derail you..... I still make mistakes myself....... you just laugh.... and have another shot of espresso. Minor detail...... When you post a link in a thread...... rather than copy and paste...... click on the little globe icon with a chain link 3 spots on the left of the picture icon...... and insert it that way...... Then it is active. Right now your link insert is not.... You can edit it to fix that...... Cant wait to see more.... Let me know how it held up.......

    :thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #2
  3. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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  4. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    CF guys,

    couple questions.

    Are there some similiarities to working CF and fiberglass?

    I mean, I used to work in bodyshops in the 70's...... we fixed rust with fiberglass matt and paint stir sticks sometimes on shiddy old roach mobiles (long before wire feed welders).. I was "good" at making something from "nothing". But I knew the limitations of 'glass, the good and bad, and the fact that most any "oops" could be fixed with the air grinder, more mat, more resin or MORE BONDO and paint.

    So, my inquiry here is, it sounds like with CF, the "wrap" method may be a good first project? Instead of jumping into mold building, perhaps "wrap" a front bike fender or guard as a way of getting one's feet wet with all this?

    Help me with the basics, are we talking matt material (CF), some resin and some hardner, like in the fiberglass world?

    I am trying to grasp at any similiarities, so as to not be scared to play with this mysterious oooze.

    Does the CF goo "melt" certain plastics upon contact? or is it pretty friendly that way?

    I was thinking of a fender or plastic panel "wrap" job as a first project as I stated.

    Also, I see people like the OP above, making heat shields and stuff, does the CF process have some built-in magic where=as it can take heat without breakin down?

    Last Q here,

    I was thinking of making a rear cargo rack plate-- any issue combing CF compounds and ALUMINUM>?

    I thought maybe placing some aluminum parts into the layout that would be drilled and tapped, and then to save weight, some of the rest of the panel would be all CF, I dunno.

    thanks,sorry to go long here.

    I later found this on you tube, basic, but interesting for those of us with NO CLUE yet..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rTWaV1imzs
    #4
  5. Suncruiser

    Suncruiser and Adventurer

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    ... on your first CF piece Dave. It looks pretty good and I like the finish.
    Like Erling said I think it'll be a bit stronger and thinner if you'd lay all layers in one process wet on wet, starting with the first one when tackiness is just right.

    Ciao, Helly
    #5
  6. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    I too have thought the worst might happen when I take the bike out of hibernation and turn over the engine. Once those header pipes get good and hot it could be good, bad or quite ugly. Worst case scenario... I learn something from it and start over.
    I do take stock in the being quite careful of just how tacky I allow the epoxy to get before laying on the next layer of CF. I made this mistake already on another piece I'm working with currently and had to do a bit of a back paddle to salvage the project. I only realized the mistake when going to sand back the glossy surface before applying the next batch of epoxy and the previous layer just popped off. How daft.

    Thanks heaps for the feedback and I'll watch apply what you have shared with me here.

    Dave
    #6
  7. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    I too have checked out these "Carbon Mods" vids and although they are good I recon there is not enough information. I would love to find some of the modeling goo that fella uses to make a few molds.

    I am very new to this Carbon /Kevlar builds stuff so I am in no way to be considered any kind of authority on the subject. I would be mad to pretend I was. So... I will refer your questions to Erling, who in my opinion is an authority on this subject matter and who has helped many others with similar questions. Sorry for not being better assistance to you. If you are not familiar with his work here is his link...

    advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=650175

    Dave
    #7
  8. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Thanks Dave.

    I am sure you have the best intentions, but the link was found to be dead....

    :puke1


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    #8
  9. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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  10. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    When I first read the thread title I thought you were making a cheesy "large footprint" for the kickstand :rofl

    Looking good! :D



    I can only answer one of Dave's questions with confidence... Carbon Fiber does play well with aluminum and it is quite common to mold in hard points for fasteners, etc. :freaky
    #10
  11. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    So the frozen roads around my neck of the Alps thawed a bit this week and allowed me the opportunity to take the bike for a run. After reading Erling's comment on what could happen to the new Carbon Fiber I was watching the header pipe guard very closely for signs of over heat exposure or anything else that would appear odd. I think I got luck as there is no sign of anything weird happening to the CF part.
    Although the header pipe had every opportunity to get good and hot, the ambient air temperature outside was only around 6C. The true test of the this matrix holding up will be when riding in summers hotter temps. Otherwise, so far so good.

    In fact the weather was so nice today I took the bike for a spin up to the nearby ski field. The access road is quite wide and nearly 15k to the top. Fast passed rally speeds and some great switchbacks to get the back end loose around.

    Needless to say I got a few odd looks from the skiers and snowboarders when I pulled into the parking lot.

    Time for the next CF project.

    Dave:evil:evil:evil:evil
    NZ

    Attached Files:

    #11
  12. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    That`s really a great picture....:lol3..... It might be the combo with the aluminum staying rigid..... You see the first sign of heat stress.....is actually a softening of the material.... then comes the discoloring...... So with the aluminum in there....you might get lucky...... Nice....:thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #12
  13. murph76

    murph76 Been here awhile

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    erling - have u done an extended front fender/ nose beak like the hp2 has yet?
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  14. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    I have not.... I took a few stab`s at it.... But the new beak looked like it belonged on Daffy.....Not of the 8GS..... I think there went a lot in the design of that front.... Because regardless of whether I went with 3 or 5 inches longer.... It looked awe full..... That said.... since only a few fellow riders expressed interest..... I did not really wan`t to dive in too deep..... since I do not see myself as a candidate for one...... That might change though.....if I start to like it....:D
    Your piece still holding up fine to the heat?????:thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #14
  15. Kiwi Dave

    Kiwi Dave Beemer Boy

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    Great to hear from you Erling,
    Yes, the header guard is still holding just fine. No signs of heat discoloration or stress fractures of any kind. Your right though, it is likely the OEM metal part that is likely keeping the carbon part in such good shape.

    While I have been working away on the fairing project I have also been very busy learning from my mistakes.
    It comes only from practice that one learns how to build a better mouse trap. Now that I'm nearly finished with the fairing I see how I could have made it with less material and made it in a fraction of the time.

    It's all food for thought and will get cooked into my next project. Likely to be a bash plate.

    Thank you for all the immense help you have provided us here and all the advise goes into use.

    Dave
    NZ
    #15
  16. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Yeppers....Dave.... As you stated is exactly right.... That`s the one thing you gain as you get more projects under your belt. Routine and confidence as well..... You got another thread going with the fairing?????:thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #16