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carbon fiber

3728 Views 23 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  kuhlka
I am aware that carbon fiber can be bought in a fabric mode. Does anyone know how
to work it into a rigid state??
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I believe you use resin, similar to fiberglass, but am unsure - what do you have in mind??? This sounds like a project in the making.
You can buy carbon fiber cloth (I believe you'd need 2x2 weave or 'bidirectional', NOT monofiliment or unidirectional) on ebay, Aircraft Spruce, and a bunch of other places. You'll need either fiberglass resin, or better yet epoxy resin (aka two-part epoxy). The HARD part is to successfully hand-lay the material though. Making moulds using silicone, plaster, or other materials is a tricky process to get right, and finishing the CF is a LOT of work.

If you're not an artist or a skilled automotive bodywork person, I wouldn't waste the time and money. Paying $60 for a chain guard or $100 for rad cowls is a lot cheaper than multiple screw-ups.

If you're REALLY interested though, I'll try and get a how-to photo/text process posted up when my father and I rip into making parts. After I get some pulled I'm going to invest in the quality silicone for making professional moulds ($150 a gallon jug) and maybe make a full run of carbon fiber headlight fairings and misc. other bits.
The process is nearly identical to fiberglass. To achieve a visually pleasing product your best bet is a reverse mold and vacuum bagging which can be done easily with time and money. There's a ton of sites/forums on the web and some good video instruction also. Like kuhlka said, your better off buying the parts you want, the learning process is costly. Besides, CF cloth is tough too find right now, there was a worldwide shortage a few months ago, don't know if there still is. Finally, you'll have to clear coat your part because resin and UV are not like peas and carrots.
Gel coat is preferable, but a lot of that shit is unavailable to anyone but companies. If you're not a business buyer and buying like 55gal drums of release agent, the stuff is hard to find and nowhere near cost-effective. I'm planning to front the money and make parts professionally as a side business (maybe eventually do it as a full business...). If you're really interested though, I'll post up the entire process and I go through it in the garage so you'll have an easier learning curve.
Many thanks for the replies. I just love carbon fiber. I didn't have anything specific in mind
right now. Based upon your knowledge I guess I shouldn't waste my time/money.
I already bought all the CF for the fastest BLACK S3 you can get ( I think ) except the
tank which was crazy expensive. Kuhlka, if you made CF side covers and a seat cowl
I would probably have to buy them. Headwinds was having manufacturing problems with their head light buckets so I decided to powder coat them instead. I lust for BST
carbon wheels ::)
You're talking about parts for an 05+? I'd have to get the pieces in the garage to make moulds, but if I make enough money doing this stuff then I'll probably buy those parts anyway to make CF copies of the OEM add-ons. Otherwise, if I manage to make friends with a local who has an 05, I could take measurements directly off their bike to make brackets and design my own cowls and covers.
I haven't seen too much CF for the 05+, am I not looking in the right places.
Jackel, check out and

Kuhlka, how crazy is the idea of me sending you my side panels and cowl for you to make the molds in exchange for a good deal on the first kuhcarbon fiberlka products??
I have nuts glued into the side panels to hold my mesh inserts. Would that be a problem??
Thanks tracker, I had seen JackLilley but getting stuff from the UK is just to $$$$$$$$$$$$$, not all of us have sweet retirment accounts :D

Shift-Tech looks good, I am going to have to save up. Also Kuhlka I too am willing to send you stuff for templates
As long as the outside is clean and smooth, I should be able to get a decent mould. We just had a record amount of rain over here so the air is still really humid. I also need to get a bucket of that sculpture-quality silicone first before you guys start sending me parts. I would be happy to give a good discount for letting me take moulds of parts. Lemme get my process down and I'll post up when I'm ready to start making them en-masse. Thanks for the offers!
Okay Kuhlka.
If you REALLY want to dive in and get into 'glass work, you can get carbon and carbon hybrid weave cloth lots of places on the net. There are lots of boat building and repair places that can get you resin (ester or epoxy) and clear or colored gel coats all over the world. I bet there is one near you.

Unless you want to spend a good amount of time and money learning to make molds and lay up cloth, I heavily suggest contacting one of the many shops that do this kind of work, into making what you want. If they can see a demand (and profit), they just might do it.

I hope this helps.
Thanks devious
Check out Aircraft Spruce for a good carbon fiber and essentials source.
Wow!!! Interesting stuff....... I must try this method myself, as running a $50,000.00 auto clave set-up is so expensive. So how do you manage to keep the twill in place, how about the porosity and voids in tight places?

Only playing with you Kuhlka........LOL....LOL....... Good luck with your project, there are lots on people making wet lay carbon, well trying anyway. Most give up!!!!
Prepreg and an autoclave make BEAUTIFUL parts!

Tracker - Even with LOTS of experience vacuum-bagging and using an aoutoclave, wet layup can have voids and wrinkles - learned the hard way. Carbon/Kevlar, or plain Kevlar is even more difficult to work and layup.
Okay devious one,I am going to stick with the professionals.
Yeah, not saying I'm an expert or even an intermediate. I'd love to get into this as a side-deal though making all kinds of parts for bikes and cars. Once I go off to grad school though I'll be living on Ramen and water and won't have much time to mod the bike or do this kind of fun stuff except on a minimal basis as a short break from studying.
you can get the materials for your project at
-- at least the least time i was there you could. -- cool rolls of carbon fiber fabric.
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