Author Topic: DIY: Make a Carbon Fiber Part  (Read 1442 times)

March 10, 2015, 01:28 PM #0

kdavidmazur Offline

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So I figured most of us know what carbon fiber is. We love cf hoods, deck lids, valve covers, wings.........the list can go on and on. But how is it made? Recently I made a carbon fiber skid plate for our PBR 15 car (link to journal here http://toptierimports.com/index.php?topic=10092.0) and documented it to show you guys one method that is used to make carbon fiber goodies.

Pictures and documentation to come soon!!
Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 02:15 PM by Ænimal

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    DIY: Make a Carbon Fiber Part
    « on: March 10, 2015, 01:28 PM »

    March 10, 2015, 01:42 PM #1

    kdavidmazur Offline

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    The carbon fiber we use is called "prepreg." This means that the carbon fiber cloth is "pre-impregnated" with the proper amount of resin, ensuring the optimal volume fraction.

    The first thing to address once you've designed your part, is making a mould for it. For prepreg parts the mould has to be sturdy enough to be put under strong vacuum and not deform. For smaller parts (like my skid plate) with simple contours sheet metal is a good option.

    After bending it, I sanded it down to eliminate any surface blemishes and filled in any deep gouges with bondo to ensure the surface was as smooth and flat as possible to make removing the part from the tool easier.




      March 10, 2015, 01:49 PM #2

      DonR Offline

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      this is going to be interesting
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        March 10, 2015, 02:13 PM #3

        kdavidmazur Offline

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        If the surface of the mould is smooth enough (no visible scratching), a release agent (such as freecote) can be applied on the mould in multiple layers, typically 6-10 is enough. The mould I made had many visible scratches so I covered it in parting film. Carbon can be cured in direct contact with parting film as the film is designed to not bond to the cured resin.


          March 10, 2015, 02:36 PM #4

          kdavidmazur Offline

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          Next I cut out all the needed pieces of carbon fiber, core adhesive and core. I decided to go with a 4-core-4 configuration with 1/8" core. This means that the core is 1/8" thick with 4 plies of carbon fiber on either side of it.

          The core is the brown honeycomb sheet. It's used to stiffen carbon fiber parts. Typically symmetrical layup configurations are used (same number of plies on both sides of the core). Asymmetrical layup configurations can be used if it is required for the designed application, this is because it causes the part to be "pre-loaded" with residual stress after its cured.


          Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 02:39 PM by kdavidmazur

            March 10, 2015, 04:24 PM #5

            Igor Online

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            Where did you pick up your prepreg from? I've been looking into ordering some but can't find any good places locally. If you can PM me with the info that would be great!
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              March 10, 2015, 04:51 PM #6

              Miguel Offline

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                March 11, 2015, 11:28 AM #7

                kdavidmazur Offline

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                So here's the first two plies. I decided to go with an alternating 0/45 configuration for extra assurance since it will experience loads in all directions. I cut the first ply larger than the others and with relief cuts so I could wrap it around the edges after the final ply.


                  March 12, 2015, 05:27 PM #8

                  kdavidmazur Offline

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                  Here are the 1st 4 plies and the core adhesive. The adhesive is used to bond the carbon to the core. And I apologize, I didn't take a picture of the core before I put on the last plies.



                  And this is the final part before cure. Notice the first ply pulled around from the bottom. As far as part quality goes, this one is very low because the edge around the part is not smooth. I'll be making a few more and just wanted to make a test piece to make sure the part would fit on the car.


                  Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 05:31 PM by kdavidmazur

                    March 14, 2015, 02:57 PM #9

                    kdavidmazur Offline

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                    Once the part is layed up, cover it with parting film so that nothing sticks to the part while it is being cured (mainly the breather).



                    Then wrap the mould in breather (pretty much just felt) to provide a path for the vacuum and prevent sharp edges from piercing the bag. Also tape the bottom half of the mushroom onto the breather.


                    Make a bag for the part using proper bagging material and tacky tape to seal the edges.



                    Last step before cure is to place the part under vacuum to compress the plies of carbon and core together. Once under vacuum if there are any leaks in the bag you have to fix them before you cure the part.


                      March 15, 2015, 12:13 PM #10

                      kdavidmazur Offline

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                      And voila, after cure and ready to be installed.








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                        How To: Make a Carbon Fiber Part
                        « Reply #10 on: March 15, 2015, 12:13 PM »