Homemade carbon fiber rods - RC Groups
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Oct 01, 2004, 10:57 AM
Registered User
gbarc's Avatar

Homemade carbon fiber rods

I'm gonna attempt to make my own rods using tow and epoxy. I'm going to use aluminum tubing for the forms but i can't remember what type of acid was use.....was it muratic(sp?)

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Oct 01, 2004, 12:16 PM
Flap chap
snakeX2's Avatar
That sounds interesting. Are fibres layed length-ways or wraped around?
Oct 01, 2004, 01:29 PM
Registered User
gbarc's Avatar
Layed lengthwise pulled through the tube and allowed to harden. The my hope is to dissolve the aluminum and leave the rod!

Oct 01, 2004, 01:50 PM
Flap chap
snakeX2's Avatar
-i'd love results!! still, it does sound hard?!
Oct 01, 2004, 02:43 PM
Team 30 Micro EDF
Mike Taylor's Avatar
How about pulling the wetted tow through some heat-shrink tubing, putting that under tension (to keep it straight), and hitting it with heat to shrink and kick if the resin? Slicing off the HS would be a lot safer than messing with and disposing of acid.

If you choose to use the acid method, remember that concentrated acid is very dangerous stuff. Always pour (Slowly!) the acid into water to dilute it before disposal. NEVER pour water into acid!
Oct 01, 2004, 03:09 PM
beebe's Avatar
Sodium hydroxide (lye), a strong base, will dissolve the aluminum. You could try brass tubing and use ferric chloride to etch the tube off when done. The brass is available in smaller sizes as well.
Oct 01, 2004, 03:54 PM
Registered User
How thick rods are you going to make? Is this cost effective. The aluminum tube would cost money. You can buy thin cf rod up to 4' length for a few dollars. For example, $2.10 for 40" of 0.03" diameter. A rod made this way may have lots of voids as there is no pressure on the CF.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
Last edited by Kwok_Yu; Oct 01, 2004 at 04:07 PM.
Oct 01, 2004, 04:06 PM
Sticky Shepherd
Graham Stabler's Avatar
I used this method to make my Buzzard wings. For straight rod it is not worth it. For curved rods it is. I used sodium hydroxide/caustic soda / lye to etch off the aluminium, do it outside and be careful.

Alexander did this with plastic tubes to make his Pixelito and it has been done for glider wing joiners for a long time, they just leave the ali tube on.

There is pressure on the carbon because you use enough to make it a tight fit however not as good as they get when pultruding it.

Oct 01, 2004, 04:18 PM
Registered User

That's very impressive. Do you need to vacum bag the CF in the aluminum tube? Are those single strands of CF?
Oct 01, 2004, 04:35 PM
Registered User
I have used this method to make short (1 to 2 inch) lengths of carbon shafts. the main reason I used this method is to get perfectly round shafts. the pultruded carbon rods usually are not round and make a poor propeller shaft.
I used aluminum tubing and muriatic acid ( hydrochloric acid) (available at pool supply stores).
I would not use this approach for longer rods, unless I needed a complex shape ( not straight).

Oct 01, 2004, 04:44 PM
Registered User
gbarc's Avatar
Thanks for the advice! I'll post pictures of my results soon!

Oct 01, 2004, 09:08 PM
Registered User
The method I've seen is to use silicone or fuel tubing and put the tow with epoxy through that. Most of the excess is squeezed out, and after curing, slice off the tube.
Oct 01, 2004, 11:54 PM
Registered User
SchylarB's Avatar
I've had good luck making rods by just pulling out one and a half rows of weave from cloth, gluing the ends to pieces of 1/8" dowel, and then using epoxy I give a few turns and pull tight. After about 5 min i move it to the oven, still pulled tight, and bake at 200 for about 15 to 20 min. I then take a exacto blade and run it 90 degrees up und down the rod to smooth it out.
Oct 02, 2004, 05:24 PM
Sticky Shepherd
Graham Stabler's Avatar
Kwok Yu,

I use some thin but strong thread, double it over and then thread it through the tube. Pass the carbon tows through the loop and pull the thread through. There is a limit to the length of tube you can produce because the friction becomes too much and the carbon breaks however I can make usefull lengths.

They are not single fibres but made from tows which is a bunch of fibres.

I don't see how a vacuum bag could be used when the carbon is in an alumium tube.

Silicon tube works well but the results tend to have more epoxy than from an aluminium or plastic tube when finished.

See a few more techniques here:


Apr 01, 2005, 05:05 AM
Registered User
hey schylarB:
are these rods bendable? are they the same as commercilized cf?
i just might make it your way. seems very simple.

any detailed breakdown/step-by-step of what you need in order to make one?

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