How to make carbon fiber sheets? - RC Groups
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Mar 22, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Nacho_Daddy's Avatar

How to make carbon fiber sheets?

I have a bunch of scrap carbon fiber that I'd like to use to make some winglets for my Unicorn flying wing.

Can someone point me to a tutorial or method for making simple flat laminated sheets ~12" x 12" of carbon fiber that I could cut to shape for my winglets?

Also, any recommendations for getting my hands on a small quantity of epoxy resin that would appropriate for making these sheets?

I'd like the sheets to have a finish quality right out of the "mold" so that I can avoid having to sand and paint them.

I was thinking that maybe I could place the laminations between a couple panes of glass - but I was worried about air bubbles...

Thanks for your suggestions,
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Mar 22, 2005, 05:25 PM
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talonxracer's Avatar
Get some WEST systems epoxy. And two pieces of glass(12"x12" window glass) wax up the bottom sheet of glass, and the top piece. Mix up some epoxy and wet out the CF cloth that has been cut to the size you want. Layer the wetted out CF cloth (making sure it is not sloppy wet)in as many layers as you want, make sure the cloth isnt sloppy by useing a old credit card to remove the excess epoxy then blot with some paper towells untill the high sheen is gone. You can also use fiberglas cloth in between the layers of CF. Now put the top piece of glass down on top and weight it down. The weight should make any excess epoxy and air bubbles to squeeze out. Best to wipe the excess epoxy up with a cloth and some rubbing alcohol. Let the epoxy cure and then seperate the glass from the CF sheet with a thin knife. The sheet should be as smooth as glass!

Mar 22, 2005, 11:24 PM
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SkyPyro's Avatar
Why do you want to go with carbon fiber? There are better, lighter solutions (like coroplast) out there. None of them have the "cool factor", though . Doug basically described the system that I use to make flat plate. I weigh my "mold" down with old car batteries (~50 lbs.) and bricks (~5-20 lbs.). Just be sure to put something soft down to keep the glass from cracking!

Mar 22, 2005, 11:38 PM
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Nacho_Daddy's Avatar
Originally Posted by SkyPyro
Why do you want to go with carbon fiber? There are better, lighter solutions (like coroplast) out there. None of them have the "cool factor", though .
You nailed it. It's all about the cool factor . And a general curiosity about composites. I've had this CF laying around for a few years and I'm itching (hopefully not really) to make something...

Thanks for the tips.

Do I need to use any wax/mold release for the glass?

Mar 22, 2005, 11:45 PM
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SkyPyro's Avatar
Yes, call a local auto parts store to see if they carry mold release wax. I think that Meguiars makes some.

Mar 23, 2005, 12:43 AM
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Mike James's Avatar


I've been making my own fiberglass sheet, for various uses like building flanges on landing gear bay doors, etc.. The method I use results in something like what BVM calls "Poly Ply".

I wax and PVA a piece of clean glass. Then I apply whatever type of cloth and resin I want, add nylon release film and beather felt, and seal the whole thing around the edges with caulk, and a sheet of vacuum bagging film, and put it under vacuum like any other laminate.

This gives you a piece of very nice sheet that has a glossy side (the one facing the glass) and an "adhesion side" from the release film, that makes a nice gluing surface.

No reason the same thing couldn't be done with Kevlar, carbon, or whatever. You can customize the thickness to whatever suits your needs. Just make a few test pieces to find out what you like.

You could also easily prime or paint the PVA'd glass, before vacuum bagging it, then you'd have a nice glossy painted sheet.
Mar 23, 2005, 12:55 AM
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SkyPyro's Avatar
Mike- I'm a little confused about your setup. Inside the bag, does it go:

nylon release film (is this like peel-ply?)

from top to bottom? I don't understand where the caulk goes


Mar 23, 2005, 01:03 AM
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Mike James's Avatar


No need for mylar.

Wax and PVA the glass. Then in order... (paint optional) cloth and resin, nylon release film, (peel-ply) breather-bleeder felt.

The caulk ("Plumber's rope"-type) goes around the outside edge of the glass, then use a piece of bagging film (with whatever vacuum fitting you use in a corner of it) that extends just past the caulk.

Roll it down to seal it, and place under vacuum.
Mar 23, 2005, 10:33 AM
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FairlyFaded's Avatar
Phill Barnes just uses two mylars with the glass in the middle and then sticks it in the vac bag, it seems simple and seems to work
Mar 23, 2005, 10:44 AM
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MSport's Avatar
What Mike is talking about is Vacuum bagging and what everyone else is talking about is basically a simple compression mold. If you don't have all of the vacuum bagging material (ie mylar, release film, breather material and a vacuum source) I would recommend just doing as others have said and do a compression mold. I have used both and for a simple flat piece the compression mold is the simplest and least expensive to do and get very close to the same results. Glass works great but I also use plexiglas. PVA the glass or plexiglas on the sides that will be incontact with the epoxy. I buy most of my supplies (PVA, Rollers, Epoxy) at Boater's World or any boat supply store should have it. Just wetlay it up and when done place the other piece of glass on top and place some heavy weight on it. I would also recommend wrapping the sandwich with some masking tape in both directions in one ot two spots to keep the sheets of glass from sliding under the weight.

Last weekend I just made a 12"x12" flat panel that I'm going to cut and make a brake mount for my racing go-kart. Made of 12 layers of 5.5oz (8) and 11oz carbon (4) and 2 layers of 5oz kevlar. I used the compression method. To get as much weight as I could I place the sandwich between two 3"x timber beams and then placed it under the front crank wheel of my boat trailer. The reason for the 3"x timber members was to keep the sandwich flat and to distribute the weight evenly across the sandwich. Plus I just had them laying around.
Mar 24, 2005, 12:30 AM
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FairlyFaded's Avatar
you should pile some trucks on while you at it
Mar 24, 2005, 12:55 PM
Slope Stud
If anyone on this thread is intersted in just buying some 2and 3mm you could go to this thread.

Dec 18, 2007, 04:02 PM
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i know this is a really old thread however im looking for some guidance from you guys in the know. basically im thinking of making some sheet that is 1.5 or 2mm in thickness and maybe other thicknesses as well depending on what i want to do with it. anyway im wanting to know what would be a good guide as to how many layers of cloth to use for what thickness im making? hope that makes sense. i also see references to 3K and 12K cloth. whats the difference? thank you for your help.
Oct 08, 2008, 10:30 AM
Registered User
How can i make cf hood?
Oct 08, 2008, 05:56 PM
Striving to Rip the Bring
raptor22's Avatar
well first start with making big and expensive mold for cf hood....

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