View Full Version : carbon fiber tutorial.

04-15-2006, 07:44 PM
sometimes good tutorials show up and then get lost and forgotten about. I figured this would be worth re-submitting. Maybe someone will be inspired to do som CF work on thir next box. I have done a few since then, and I recognized all of my mistakes and have found an easier "niche". This tutorial I paid $5.00 bucks for and feel ripped off from that. So I figured I would pay for that and share with everyone else what I got. Any how... that was a long time ago. Here it is again. I have got a bomb *** piece of CF I would sell to anyone. I don't have a garage set up as I just moved. I probably won't use it any time soon as I have had it for 6 months now. it is thick and I believe 3x1 twill. Very atractive piece. not sure of it's dimensions but if anyone wants it let me know and I will find out te dimensions.

Carbon Fiber Fabrication
Carbon fiber and composite materials are being used much more in today’s marketplace
from high performance parts and accessories on racecars, boats, planes, models, etc. With
its strength-to-weight ratio there are few other materials readily available that can be used
in such a way as to provide strength as well as being very lightweight. Along with the
weight saving you will have with the pieces you make it will look good too. To make any
structural pieces it would be very hard to do without expensive equipment such as an
autoclave, large die cut molds, etc, etc. This brief “how to” will describe how to fabricate
some small flat pieces and you can go from there. After working with the materials you
will find it much easier than you might have thought.
Here is a brief list of materials that will make the fabrication of your parts
easier, most can be found around the house or local hardware store.
• Flat work surface
• Plastic sheet slightly larger than desired part
• Mold (in this case a piece of glass)
• Mold release (car wax)
• Scissors (for Kevlar fabrics scissors will dull very quickly, Kevlar
shears are recommended)
• Masking tape, ” is ok
• Squeegee, plastic or rubber
• Rubber gloves
• Cheap disposable paint brush 1” to 2”
Steps you will be taking:
• Prepare the mold
• Cut the carbon fabric
• Mix the epoxy resin & hardener
• Wet out fabric with epoxy
• Apply wet fabric to mold
• Take out or off of mold
• Finish surface if needed
Preparing the Mold
To prepare the “mold” (which in this case we will use a piece of glass) you can
use a regular car wax. You can buy a mold release but regular car wax will work just as
well and is cheaper. First you will need to clean the surface of the glass. Then apply at
least 4-5 coats of wax giving each coat time to dry and then buff out. Allow 15 minutes
between each coat of wax. Once the wax is done and you have a super smooth and shiny
surface you “mold” will be ready. If your mold is not waxed properly, it will be difficult
to remove piece from the mold. Remember, whatever your mold surface looks like, you
finished piece of carbon will look exactly the same, glossy mold = glossy carbon piece,
dull mold = dull carbon piece.

Cut the Carbon Fabric
Cut the carbon fabric slightly larger than the piece you are making giving yourself
approximately 2” all the way around. It might help to outline where you are going to cut
the fabric with some masking tape; this will keep the edges from fraying when you cut it.
Just don’t put the tape on the fabric where it will be in the area you want for the finished
part, the tape will be impossible to get off.
Mix the epoxy resin & hardener
To mix the epoxy resin and the hardener it is a 3 to 1 ratio. Three parts resin to
one part hardener. You can use a plastic container to mix the resin and hardener
thoroughly so that it is an even consistency. In this kit there is enough resin and hardener
to use for more than a yard of fabric. You can therefore mix part of the resin and hardener
in this kit and save the rest for touch ups, which will be described later. This epoxy will
give you a pot life (working time when resin is concentrated in container) of
approximately 20-25 minutes with a room temperature of 77 degrees. The working time
once the resin is spread over the fabric will be at least one (1) hour.
Wet out fabric with the Epoxy
Ideally you would want an epoxy to fabric ratio of 1 to 1 but that is very hard to
accomplish. Don’t worry if you use more epoxy than fabric. If you have a piece of plastic
to lay the carbon fabric on to apply the epoxy that works best. Tape the plastic down on
the edges to your work surface so that it doesn’t move around on you. With the fabric on
the plastic pour the epoxy over the fabric and with a brush (just watch it doesn’t shed) or
a small squeegee, rubber or plastic, spread the epoxy over the fabric until it is completely
saturated moving from the center out. Once this is done carefully turn over the fabric (this
is difficult on larger pieces, you might want a second person) and wet out the other side.
After saturating both sides you can gently squeegee any excess resin off of the fabric. If
you pull or stretch the fabric one way or another, just try and work it back to normal with
the squeegee (this is usually not a problem).
Apply Wet Fabric to the “Mold”
With the saturated piece of carbon fiber, carefully pick it up off of the plastic and
place it onto the “mold” where you want it. It can be laid down and picked up several
times but the more you try and move it the more chances you take of distorting the weave
pattern. Once the carbon is on the mold you can gently squeegee it again to conform the
fabric to the mold and to remove more excess resin (remember you are trying to get a
ratio as close to 1 to 1 as possible). Once the fabric is set onto the mold you can let dry.
Drying time will vary with temperature but usually after 12 hours it will be dry and
hardened enough to use. If possible let dry in a heated area around 75-80 degrees.
Take out or off of “Mold”
Once the piece is dry you can use a razor blade or flat putty knife to left up the
edges gently. Once you have lifted an edge you can work the piece off the mold. If the
piece is very hard to get of the mold you can use some thin wooden or plastic wedges to
separate the part from the mold. If this is difficult your mold was not waxed enough.
With the piece separated from the mold you can trim it with scissors if only one layer
thick (for Kevlar hybrids Kevlar shears or saw may be needed), otherwise use a saw or
dremel to cut and trim.
Finish Surface if Needed
If you have any imperfections in the surface of your piece such as pinholes, air
pockets, etc, you may want to try and clean these up. First scuff the piece with some
sandpaper, 220 grit will work. Then clean the piece off thoroughly using air or acetone
(available at most hardware stores). If using the acetone dampen cloth and wipe surface
of carbon part. After part is cleaned you can mix more epoxy resin and recoat or touch-up
the surface with a brush. After this resin has dried you will need to sand and buff to get
glossy surface.
After reading this brief “how to” and working with the materials you will be able
to start out with easy pieces and possibly work you way to making more complex shapes.
It is imperative that all customers understand and recognize that they are solely responsible for their own
skill and judgment when selecting and working with this product. Because Sport Cycle & Salvage, Inc
cannot control how this product is used, it makes no warranties, expressed or implied, including no
warranties of merchantability and fitness for purpose intended. Sport Cycle will not be liable for damages
resulting from use of this product whether incidental or consequential. For Material Safety Data Sheet
contact Sport Cycle & Salvage, Inc.
Curing of epoxy generates heat. When contained in a large mass epoxy has a short pot life and
can get hot enough to melt a plastic container or burn skin.
IRRITANT. May cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Avoid skin contact. Avoid inhalation
of vapors, and work in well-ventilated area. Do not swallow. Wear liquid proof gloves when
First Aid
SKIN CONTACT: Immediately wipe off resin and clean with waterless cleaner, then wash hands
with soap and water.
INHALATION: Move to fresh air if respiratory irritation occurs.
EYE CONTACT: Immediately flush with water for several minutes and call doctor immediately
if irritation persists.
INGESTION: Seek immediate medical attention if appreciable amounts are ingested.

04-15-2006, 07:51 PM
do you have any pics of the cf work youve done? id like to see pics of the stages, if you have them. it was a good read.

04-15-2006, 07:54 PM
Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.....

04-15-2006, 08:01 PM
well here is the very first box I tried w/ carbon fiber
no pics of the lastest ones. (MUCH MUUCH BETTER!) I used allot less curve. That box was really extreme to do cf to. Won't do that again. (Had to cut and overlap in the corner. you can see it in the pics.


04-15-2006, 08:05 PM
dam that looks nice.

04-15-2006, 08:08 PM
there are alot more pics in the thread I originally posted that under. I guess I can post that up again.