Friday, November 21, 2008

More Carbon Plates

Pictures! Yea!!!!
Sorry for the quality, its a very old digital camera and the color is off because these were taken without a flash.

Anyhow, these are some more carbon fiber plates under vacuum. Last time, some heavy Kevlar was applied where the axle nuts rest. Two problems with this: 1) It doesn't cut; 2) It doesn't cut. A $35 ceramic tile blade died in the jig saw trying to cut Kevlar. Note, it didn't have any problem getting through the CF - slow steady cuts worked great. Moreover, the edges of the Kevlar end up fraying where the saw tore through them - very unsightly. Meanwhile, some of the CF elders suggested that I experiment without and protective layer over the CF - so that's what I'm doing here.

The last plates were cut up into smaller pieces and showed now voids or soft spots - clearly the epoxy soaked through just fine. After some careful weighing of my raw CF stocks, and some further calculations, it appears that I added nearly 70% epoxy by weight to the final product. That's fine, but not as light as it can be. It may be that for this sort of heavy layup, and infusion technique might be best. Something to explore down the line.

Back to the pix (you can click on them to enlarge), you can see the rough outline of the larger plate being vacuumed. In the one picture, you can also see a 2x4 clamped down on top of the other plate - squeezing it to the work table.

This time my layups looked much dryer than last - but after weighing everything, the main plate has 175 grams of CF and had 175 grams of epoxy added. Once its cured, we'll weigh the plate and find out how much epoxy remained in it. I'm hoping that this will be lighter (by volume) than the last.

The hidden (by the board) plate is just a lever about 1" x 7mm (finished thickness) x 12". It'll be used for some deflection testing.

The main plate will be used for some sample dropouts and the remainder will be used for a variety of tests, including impact & tensile strength.

For this set of plates, a release film was used on the bottom side instead of a peel-ply fabric. This should lead to a layer of smooth epoxy - although nothing like a jell coat. So it's just an experiment. Just as the clamps on the narrow plate are an experiment.

You can see the dark spots where the epoxy is oozing through. Apart from the edges, there's not too much. I gave the edges an extra drink just because I apply epoxy from the center and they looked a bit dryer. Maybe next time we'll do with out the extra.

Just FYI, there is a bleeder felt under the whole setup
(inside the bag of course), and one over the top. The long edges of the big plate got an extra layer of bleeder on top - you can see the ridges running across the top of the bag where these end. You'll also note that the bleeder is much wider than the plates - so there should always be an unobstructed path for the air to reach the outlets for the vacuum pump.

That's about it for this time. See ya around.

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