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Old 02 March 2012, 12:30   #1
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Working with Carbon Fibre (well just a bit!)

One of those 'it must be winter time' questions
I have now found out that my chartplotter has bit the dust. What is more if I stick with Lowrance the new range will not 'talk' to my existing X510C echo sounder. After sulking for a while I have decided to revamp my displays, and as I like the Lowrance display, stick with them.
I am going to do this in two stages, with the second stage involving fitting a complete new dashboard. So, then I started thinking that a carbon fibre panel, inset into the console would look good
So, having looked around (ebay!) it seems that I can get sheets of the stuff, gloss finish on one side, without having to take out a second mortgage. The problem is that they are ridiculously thin. No matter how tough this stuff is (and I KNOW it to be very, very tough) I think a 1mm thick piece will flex. Easy thinks I, just put some matting on the back of it.
So, the question is......is this possible? Or is there a better way to achieve a solid panel, approx 950 x 300, with a gloss finish carbon fibre face?
Has anyone any experience of working with this stuff? All advice appreciated.
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Old 02 March 2012, 14:38   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian M View Post
One of those 'it must be winter time' questions
I have now found out that my chartplotter has bit the dust. What is more if I stick with Lowrance the new range will not 'talk' to my existing X510C echo sounder. After sulking for a while I have decided to revamp my displays, and as I like the Lowrance display, stick with them.
I am going to do this in two stages, with the second stage involving fitting a complete new dashboard. So, then I started thinking that a carbon fibre panel, inset into the console would look good
So, having looked around (ebay!) it seems that I can get sheets of the stuff, gloss finish on one side, without having to take out a second mortgage. The problem is that they are ridiculously thin. No matter how tough this stuff is (and I KNOW it to be very, very tough) I think a 1mm thick piece will flex. Easy thinks I, just put some matting on the back of it.
So, the question is......is this possible? Or is there a better way to achieve a solid panel, approx 950 x 300, with a gloss finish carbon fibre face?
Has anyone any experience of working with this stuff? All advice appreciated.
Bond it to a sheet of marine ply?
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Old 02 March 2012, 14:43   #3
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you can just laminate onto the back of it and it will be ok, and then you can make it up to the thickness required....

but you will need to treat the surface that faces out, it will have a gloss finish but unless it has a uv stable coating on it it will go yellow in the sun....

Ian, i owe you as you donated that windscreen surround to me. if you can drop off the panel with me i can laminate it to the thickness required and vaccum it all down for you and then pass the spray gun over it next time i am clear coating some components and away you go???
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Old 02 March 2012, 17:16   #4
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Try these guys Ian?

Conrad Electronic - System Information[1]=uk_insert&cookie_v[1]=8V&cookie_d[1]=&cookie_p[1]=%2f&cookie_e[1]=Tue%2c+03-Apr-2012+22%3a15%3a52+GMT&scrwidth=1600

Not cheap, but they do it in 3mm.
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Old 02 March 2012, 18:56   #5
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Sounds like you've got a good offer of help but layering up carbon, especially if you've got a flat piece to just make thicker/stronger, is fairly straightforward. You need (obviously!) a supply of carbon cloth, 200g/m2 is fairly standard stuff, some resin and hardener (general purpose epoxy resin is what I use), and ideally some "peel ply" which is a special cloth you put on top of the work while it hardens, it soaks up excess resin and also "peels off" when it's all set to leave the carbon itself without other bits stuck to it. Find all these on the web (eg Carbonology, Welcome to our online Carbon Shop! ) or perhaps a chandlers

So you need somewhere not too cold (ideally persuade SWMBO to let you do this in the house this time of year), cut several pieces of carbon and a sheet of peel ply to the sizes you need, roughen the surface of the existing piece if needed. Mix the resin and hardener (getting the ratio right is key,read the instructions, ideally get the bottles which come with a volume measuring section on top of failing that a couple of calbrated srynges), lay a sheet of carbon on some newspaper, spread the mixed resin onto and into it so it's well wetted (but you don't need more resin than that), lay the carbon onto the piece. Repeat until it's the thickness you need, then lay the peel ply on top. Then put something flat on top of that, with a weight to hold it down, to compress the pieces together while it all hardens (last time I did it I used one of SWMBO's old glossy magazines with a crate of beer on top of that :-) )

Leave overnight

In the morning, remove weight and flat surface, take good hold of edge of peel ply and peel it off, if you've got the mix ratio right and the temperature's been reasonable, underneath will be a hardened plate of carbon fibre....

That's one way, there are others, but it's simple and works for me......
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Old 03 March 2012, 02:01   #6
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Nick, thanks very much for the offer, I will pm you
Mr Smith, thanks very much for the how to instructions, interesting but for various reasons I think I want to leave the lamination to someone else, SWMBO seems to think resin is not a pleasant smell
Matt, had a look, but as with many sites I have looked at, the thicker sheets do not seem to come in bigger sizes, suspect the prices would be
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Old 03 March 2012, 04:56   #7
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I have some surfboard UV stable resin I intend to use to skim something in carbon. Not done it yet......
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