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CycleCat
01-11-2006, 12:57 PM
I'm looking for a place to buy raw carbon fiber cloth locally for a project I'm working on. I found sources on the internet but was hoping to buy locally without the shipping cost and wait. Anyone know where to buy it in Austin or nearby? I've called a few fiberglass suppliers but they sell only fiberglass.

VFRRider
01-11-2006, 03:12 PM
CC,

Only source I have, ask them. let me know, too.

http://www.shopmaninc.com/

Larry

DucGirl
01-11-2006, 03:19 PM
I can vouch for shopmaninc

great pricing, and from what I remember, quick shipping

used some cf in a car audio install a while back...products were great

CycleCat
01-11-2006, 03:22 PM
That's where I was gonna order if I don't find it locally.... which is looking unlikely.

ddavis
01-11-2006, 06:28 PM
How much do you need? I have some in my freezer. It's 250 cure, so depending on what you're doing, you may need to layer it.

CycleCat
01-12-2006, 10:56 AM
I was hoping to not have to cook it. I'm going to cover some plastic parts that have developed cracks and just wanted to use some two-part epoxy like used in RC airplane building.

CycleCat
02-22-2006, 02:51 PM
Ta da! I got my parts done!

http://cyclecat.smugmug.com/photos/57291280-M.jpg


The side covers and throttle body covers on my wife's Guzzi Jackal had developed stress cracks and even had a few tabs break off. So I made her new ones with a gorgeously deep luster and the fine fish-scale appearance of a 2x2 twill carbon fiber.

I must say I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out for a first effort. :rider: I've got a couple parts to make for my Ducati so I'm going to continue to refine my process during that time until I get better at this. Then I might start making some parts for sale for other similar bikes.

http://cyclecat.smugmug.com/photos/57291283-M.jpg

http://cyclecat.smugmug.com/photos/57291285-M.jpg


A rider's-eye-view:

http://cyclecat.smugmug.com/photos/57291286-M.jpg

LINK: (http://cyclecat.smugmug.com/gallery/1223448) to all the pictures.

Tourmeister
02-22-2006, 03:05 PM
Awesome! Now tell us how you did it! What did it cost? Where did you finally get the carbon fiber matieral? How did you form them? C'mon man! We need details! :-P

Big Bandit
02-22-2006, 03:07 PM
Good Job Cycle Cat!

I have built composite kayaks and canoes and know how hard it is to get a finish like you achieved. Awesome!

dutchinterceptor
02-22-2006, 03:12 PM
OK Chris, We need to talk!! That looks great!!
I'd alread found shopmaninc but was afraid to take the next step. So if you don't mind giving out your secrets....can you give me a basic rundown on how you attached the cf and sealed it? I want to do this to the frame rails on my bike.

CycleCat
02-22-2006, 03:36 PM
Thanks, guys!

I could tell you how I did it, but then I'd have to kill you. :lol2:

It's basically the same is working with fiberglass mat (which I 've done before), except you use CF instead. The three main ingredients are the CF cloth, epoxy resin, and preparation. I also used about a dozen paint brushes and small mixing containers, all my free evenings for most of a month, 2 packs of latex gloves and tons of patience.

When I ordered the CF, I also ordered a can of aerosol mold release agent that I used to spray the orginal part. Then I just laid out the carbon fiber over that and applied the epoxy resin with a paint brush. Each brush is only good for one use because they cure rock hard, which is why I went through so many. After the initial layer and CF cured, with a fair amount of struggling and swearing I could peel the CF layer off the original part. Then it was just a matter of trimming the excess, sanding, and applying numerous additional resin layers (sanding in between) until you get the final finish you want.

Thanks to all the excess resin coating my workbench in the garage, it can now withstand a nuclear explosion! :lol2: I've also got it on two shirts, a pair of sneakers, one of my wife's new sweaters (she was holding a part while I applied a reinforcement layer), the cat, the dining room table and most of the garage floor. :doh:

What initially started out as a $50 project has grown to about $150, but that is still WAY cheaper than these parts would cost from another manufacturer *if* they were even available. And I've got enough material to make a few parts for my Duc. But I understand why the stuff is so expensive now: There is a heavy time investment to work with the materials because the fabric is so fragile and the small batches of epoxy that require long cure times force you to do only a little bit at a time.

Oh! I got the materials from US Composites, which is the compny with the "shopmaninc" link recommended at he beginning of the thread.

CycleCat
02-22-2006, 03:47 PM
OK Chris, We need to talk!! That looks great!!
I'd alread found shopmaninc but was afraid to take the next step. So if you don't mind giving out your secrets....can you give me a basic rundown on how you attached the cf and sealed it? I want to do this to the frame rails on my bike.

Depending on the size of the rails, this could be easy or could be hard. The smaller the pieces of CF you use, the harder it is to handle, easier it unravels, and the more likely your work will end up sticking to your hands instead of where you want it.

But the most straight forward way would be to paint some resin onto your rails, stick on the carbon fiber and wrap the edges around to the inside where they won't show. Then just apply a sealing layer of epoxy, let it cure, sand and apply successive layers until you are satisfied with the finish. But in reality, you could make a real mess that way, and would have a bear of a time getting it off if you did.

I would apply mold release agent to the rails, and then lay plain old fiberglass for the first layer. Then you can pull that off after it cures and take it to your work bench where you can apply a CF veneer over it. You definietly would want to practice on something a lot less important first, and then tackle a much more technical job like the frame later.

dutchinterceptor
02-22-2006, 09:02 PM
Chris, thanks a bunch for the information!!!:thumb: Years ago I built a wood bed cover for a show truck and I used fiberglass cloth & resin for reinforcing. About all I remember was that the resin was a B.... to sand. I do have some single strand fiber in a 3" wide roll I aquired from my model airplane days and it's like really fine human hair. Is guess the 2x2 weave is just as delicate?
You mentioned sanding between layers. I assume that you get the finish from sanding and buffing like you would on a regular (automotive type) paint job?

Dutch

Big Bandit
02-23-2006, 09:35 AM
Cycle Cat,

You mentioned the possibiliy of producing quantities for sale. That would normally be done by a slightly different process. Take the original part and sand it as smooth as humanly possible, use body filler, primer, whaterever it takes, but get it seriously smooth. Apply your mold release to the part and then spray on gelcoat and cover the gel coat with thick mat. A fiberglass shop would use a chopper gun to make the mold. When the mold has set up, remove the original part and you have a female mold of the original part. To make a part, coat the mold with mold relase, paint it with resin and put in your layers of cloth. Once it has set up, pop out the part and repeat. You will need to trim the edges of the part, with a saw. The reason the original part has to be so smooth is because the inside of the mold is as smooth as the outside of the original and the mold creates the surface finish on the mass produced parts. Creating the mold is a time investiment, but then you do not have to sand and do multiple coats on each mass produced part. You will recover the time in the first couple of parts. My 2 cents.

Rod

CycleCat
02-23-2006, 10:18 AM
Apply your mold release to the part and then spray on gelcoat and cover the gel coat with thick mat... When the mold has set up, remove the original part and you have a female mold of the original part.


I got some urethane mold mixture to do that, but I was overly optimistic in the stiffness of the mold it would make. My first mess up was due to this. So I went with the quick easy way to get this set done by just "skinning" it over the original part. Now that that is finished, I am going to go back to making a urethane mold and this time reinforcing it with a hard outer shell so I can get better results from the mold.

CycleCat
02-23-2006, 11:18 AM
I do have some single strand fiber in a 3" wide roll I aquired from my model airplane days and it's like really fine human hair. Is guess the 2x2 weave is just as delicate?
You mentioned sanding between layers. I assume that you get the finish from sanding and buffing like you would on a regular (automotive type) paint job?

The weave is completely dry and carbon fiber is quite slick so the strands don't have any friction to help keep them together. They are like interwoven straws. Only the edges are tacked with a thread seam. Once you start cutting, everything just wants to fall apart. I started laying out a pattern made from newspaper on the CF and then brushing outside around the edge of that with a thin layer of rubber cement. After the rubber cement dried, I could cut down the middle of that rubber "path" and the weave stayed together a lot better.

Then when pressing everything in place, when the resin started to get tacky, sometimes strands would stick to my gloves and pull out of the weave, just making a mess.

VFRRider
03-11-2006, 08:30 PM
Chris,

Is your resin high temperature resistant? Could it cover a stainless steel muffler for heat resistance from exhaust gas temps and to protect the engine from heat?

Larry
VFRrider

dennis
03-11-2006, 10:09 PM
Cycle Cat,

You mentioned the possibiliy of producing quantities for sale. That would normally be done by a slightly different process. Take the original part and sand it as smooth as humanly possible, use body filler, primer, whaterever it takes, but get it seriously smooth. Apply your mold release to the part and then spray on gelcoat and cover the gel coat with thick mat. A fiberglass shop would use a chopper gun to make the mold. When the mold has set up, remove the original part and you have a female mold of the original part. To make a part, coat the mold with mold relase, paint it with resin and put in your layers of cloth. Once it has set up, pop out the part and repeat. You will need to trim the edges of the part, with a saw. The reason the original part has to be so smooth is because the inside of the mold is as smooth as the outside of the original and the mold creates the surface finish on the mass produced parts. Creating the mold is a time investiment, but then you do not have to sand and do multiple coats on each mass produced part. You will recover the time in the first couple of parts. My 2 cents.

Rod

Hmmmmmmmmm.....sounds like you guys are building fiberglass bass boats....or that would be CF bass boats....

Now, maybe I could cover my OHV covers with that CF stuff...any comments? How tought is the CF after it is resined with the epoxy?

Scott, based upon some previous photos of your GS's OHV covers, this might be the solution......

CycleCat
03-12-2006, 09:44 AM
Is your resin high temperature resistant? Could it cover a stainless steel muffler for heat resistance from exhaust gas temps and to protect the engine from heat?



My resin is not heat resistant. That type stuff is available and would work in the way you need. I patched a toasted CF muffler with some high heat epoxy after a saddle bag got too close and caught on fire. It might be better to insulate the plastic part NEAR the muffler that you are trying to protect rather than covering the muffler.

Rainmaker
07-08-2006, 10:55 AM
it's been a few months since your carbon fiber thread was posted so how are your parts holding up? I have done fiberglass work before and am very tempted to try to make a front fender and hugger for my 2000 VFR to off set some of the yellow on the bike. The front fender is cracked at the bolt holes so, would I cover the fender in CF or actually make a mold and have just a CF fender. By the way the parts look great!

Faylaricia
07-10-2006, 12:19 PM
would I cover the fender in CF or actually make a mold and have just a CF fender. By the way the parts look great!

You have to make a mold and then use the mold to make the new part.

Faylaricia
07-10-2006, 12:20 PM
fyi- you can use fiberglass to make the mold.

SV650rider
07-10-2006, 12:28 PM
Great job!!!

CycleCat
07-12-2006, 11:22 PM
it's been a few months since your carbon fiber thread was posted so how are your parts holding up? I have done fiberglass work before and am very tempted to try to make a front fender and hugger for my 2000 VFR to off set some of the yellow on the bike.


They are holding up well. Some hazing from UV rays but I think if I just wax the parts they will be fine.

You can order some carbon-kevlar cloth blend that actually has yellow strands in it. It might look awesome on that yellow bike! :sun: While making a copy of your fender might look best, just covering the old fender with a fresh new layer and then getting it smooth might be easiest. Go for it!

The place I've ordered from is out of everything. But here is a picture of the yellow carbon-kevlar cloth:
http://www.uscomposites.com/Images/ck94990s.gif

Tourmeister
07-13-2006, 12:13 AM
Chris, are you relocated to NM now? Where are the pics man!?

CycleCat
07-13-2006, 11:21 AM
First, several weeks of unpacking, cleaning and arranging. Then when I finally pulled out the laptop it turned out our old dialup service didn't have a local # for Velarde. Since the phone man couldn't find our house on the first try when we got the phone connected a week earlier, I was glad the DSL installer found us on the scheduled day. We were online with the laptop for about 3 days before a lightning strike fried the ethernet card. No biggie though. We had a new Dell desktop on order and it was only a matter of days before it was to arrive. Although onthe scheduled delivery day, the UPS guy couldn't find the house either! (Yes, we are remote & hidden).:giveup:

The Dell just got delivered yesterday so my previous reply was my first time online with it last night. I've been waiting for this thing to arrive so I can install our photo software and download the 100+ pictures that are still on the camera. Hopefully I'll have a report, pics & everything a little later this afternoon. Lots of good dirt roads and beautiful scenery here! :sun:

And yes.... we've got a surge protector with DSL protection on the new computer. It's thunderstorm season in NM! :eek2:

Tourmeister
07-13-2006, 12:13 PM
Awesome! Gotta be scary uprooting and moving like this. I certainly hope it turns out for the best!

Rainmaker
07-13-2006, 06:21 PM
I think the yellow lined CF cloth would look sweet on the VFR. I was told the cloth is hard to get now or very expensive when you do find it because they use it to repaire military aircraft parts. Don't know if thats the actual reason or not.

Squeaky
07-13-2006, 06:51 PM
I think the yellow would look sweet on the Viffer! Just need to paint that helmet to match too!

mhutch
07-14-2006, 09:04 AM
Check ebay. They seem to have people selling small qty of material...

Rainmaker
07-16-2006, 11:46 AM
"URGENT NOTICE!

Due to the severe global shortage of carbon fiber, and in order to continue shipping SOME carbon fabric to our customers, Carbcom will be limiting purchase quantities and temporarily eliminating bulk pricing.

We deeply apologize than Carbcom cannot be the aggressive price leader we have been up until recently, and we hope in the future you will buy larger quantities again when we are able to secure the volume of fibers we need to serve you with full shipments at great pricing!"


Go Figure! May have to wait a while.

CycleCat
07-16-2006, 05:12 PM
And from my source (US Composites):



************** Important Notice *******************
Due to the worldwide carbon fiber shortage we are out of stock of most of our carbon cloths. Please see each item's description for status or quantity limits.


We forsee a high probability of running out of all carbon cloths. Supplies are so scarce that it is very likely anyone requiring carbon fiber cloth will need to convert to fiberglass or S2 fiberglass(s-glass) to continue manufacturing.

We will keep our website updated as availability changes, unfortunately these shortages
are far beyond any control either we or any other distributor has.
Thank you for your understanding.
Click on this link for websites and articles pertaining to the shortages.

Most Commonly Asked Question:
Q. When will you be getting in more of this cloth?
A. Unfortunately we do not know. The weavers of the cloth are unable to secure the raw carbon tow used to make the cloths due to high aerospace and defense demands as well as scattered stockpiling by end users of material which makes the shortage even more severe.

Tourmeister
07-16-2006, 08:27 PM
I would venture a guess that our military has something to do with the shortage...

kurt
07-16-2006, 08:31 PM
I would venture a guess that our military has something to do with the shortage...

I thought it was the sportbike crowd. :-P

Tourmeister
07-16-2006, 08:41 PM
I wonder if it has been affecting any of the racing sports?

Rainmaker
07-16-2006, 09:01 PM
I wonder if it has been affecting any of the racing sports?

I talked to my friend from Evans Racing about my idea and he said he could help me with the fender but good luck on getting the cloth. He said he is having a hard time getting it from his suppliers and are having to use fiberglass as an alternative.

P-Ratt
07-18-2006, 09:52 PM
Well there's something you won't see on the 6 o'clock news.