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Old Jun 13, 2014, 06:26 AM
Registered User
United Kingdom, England, Birmingham
Joined Oct 2012
9 Posts
Question
Cutting a battery hatch in a carbon fibre fuselage

Hi, I have a glider that I want to convert to electric launch. Radio access is via hole under the wing, but I would like to add a hatch to access the lipo to avoid the need to untape the wings between flights. Being an utter noob to carbon mangling, does anyone have any (sensible) suggestions for what sort of dremel cutter to use to make a neat opening and still hopefully be able to use the removed bit as a basis for the hatch?

Thanks
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 08:32 AM
Red Merle ALES
Curtis Suter's Avatar
United States, Mt, Helena
Joined Apr 2002
5,329 Posts
Carbon is a little tougher to cut than fiberglass. I apply masking tape and draw the outline. Then carefully take a #11 Xacto blade and make many multiple cuts. A Dremel tool could be used but I would want a very thin cutting wheel and a very steady hand.
After it is cutout then you can make a lip for it to sit on. See here how I accomplished this: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...8#post21194889

Best of luck.
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 09:20 AM
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Joined Sep 2007
698 Posts
Solid advice from Curtis.

My carbon cutting has been limited to smaller pieces but I've cut lots of glass.

If you do decide to use a Dremel, get the thinnest cut-off discs you can find. Also, take the time and apply an extra layer of tape beyond where you intend to cut. This isn't bullet proof but adds a little thin armor in case you have a minor slip. I have some experience on this (grin).

Cut well inside your desired opening. When the opening is roughed in, use some of those fine grit drums to "sneak up" to your finished line. You can dress up the edges with fine sanding sticks.

Take the time to look at the link Curtis posted. A nice approach.

One last thought...cut-off wheels are hard but brittle. Make sure you have good eye protection. I've only had one come apart on me, but it does happen. Oh...and be careful with that beautiful carbon!

Dave
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Old Jun 13, 2014, 09:40 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Birmingham
Joined Oct 2012
9 Posts
Hi Curtis and Dave,

thanks for the knife advice, the Supra thread is particularly useful! I had not thought of making a lip before seeing this.

I will give the patient knife approach a go first, seems much safer, I have some carbon sheet to practice on, and I've seen a cutting wheel let go in the past, so I am goggled and masked up before I use these.

thanks

Jon
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