Carbon Fiber

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by grady, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    If you are thinking about laminating a layer of carbon cloth over your existing components for the sake of appearance,you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.it will be rough.If you want it to look like the carbon trim panels in expensive toys,such as fast cars or motorcycles,you will need to mould it in a nicely finished mould.To simply stick carbon over another item will leave you with a surface with a finish like the reverse side of a pretty panel and it takes a vast amount of work and some luck to bring it to a high quality finish.It really is easier and cheaper to use the decorative overlay technique.
     
  2. grady
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    grady Novice

    Thanks guys for all the ideas and links, great food for thought. Trust me I will over think this thing. I'll probably attempt this at the end of this season after a few trials.

    So please keep your thoughts and experiences coming.

    Thank You.

    Tony G.
     
  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Thanks for raising this subject Grady - I have just finished wrestling with 'aesthetic' carbon fibre bits, and the advice on here is very accurate.

    I found that I can buy the Vinyl wrap here in Australia easily too - which is not always the case for new materials

    On my small project, I found that going into a local fabric shop, you could buy 100% polyester fabrics with attractive colours and textures, and they were quite easy to layup around curves with epoxy.

    My biggest concern with flat Vinyl, is doing really complex curves and bends with flat sheets - like over Kayak Coamings. Laying carbon fibre over that environment was tedious, and took a lot of care to get attractive results, but doing it with flat Vynil sheets would be impossible.

    I didnt have a lot of success with flat carbon tape, as it was hard to get it to go around a tight curve. But, the glass shop sold me some carbon 'braided' tape, that could be manipulated much more easily, around very tight flat coming tops.

    eg.



     
  4. grady
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    grady Novice

    Yeah rwatson no problem, subject needed to air out.

    And to your reply wet feet, I am having trouble understanding how the appearence of the fiber would be any different from moulded parts. If the carbon fiber cloth is properly wetted out and then covered in clear epoxy (multiple coats) wet sanded in between and finished with a clear. It should look the same as a moulded part NO? the finish would be as smooth and attractive I would think.
    Am I wrong in thinking that CF should be thought of as any other reinforcing fiber, and that whether or not it's in a mold or hand laid good results can be had.
     
  5. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    If you have experience of finishing glass,its basically the same process.Unlike glass,the fibres remain visible and any darts or tailoring necessary to make the carbon conform to the shape of the part will remain in sight forever.Probably quicker and easier to make a quick mould from the existing parts and make a new piece.Its your boat-your time-your money;use it as you please.
     
  6. adam_designer
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Banyuwangi, Indonesia

    adam_designer Junior Member

    Summing Up

    Hi Graddy

    Just wanna share what I've done before. I never done carbon fiber for cosmetic in boats, only structural mostly Using Uni D.

    But once I've done on my car, to make hood for my Chrevy C10, wanna make it looks "muscled"

    So here What I've done

    1. First Thing is, NEVER directly lay the carbon cloth to your panel and then wet it out. You never get good cosmetic result, except it is just for structural. The fiber is very easy to snag and mess out, and then it will be ugly andvery hard to fix.

    2. What you need to do is, lay the carbon, USE PEEL PLY. and then carefully wet it using resin. Epoxy, vinylester, or even Polyester is perfect for the job. (remember, you just wanna get cosmetic result). squeeze carefully, remove excess and air. longer geltime is more preferable depending on your working area.


    3. for shiny look, after you pull peel ply, you could just paint it with polyurethane, no need to sanding, but if you do sanding , it is okay just becareful because most available carbon fiber natural behavior is lack resistance of scratch, because it's low modulus properties.

    4. Never had a peel ply which is folded, or crumpled, because the result will be ugly, the surface will following folded or scrmpled peelply. if your peel ply crumpled, you need to iron it prior to use.

    Usually I use 275, or 300 gsm carbon fiber with twill weave, Twill is most common for cosmetic use.

    here is my results:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    hope it helps

    adam
     
  7. adam_designer
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    adam_designer Junior Member

    I am sorry for the photo size. but somehow i regret laying carbon on my chevy, I dont now time to time it looks sucks, even it was perfect. the "muscle soul" is gone somehow.
     
  8. grady
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    grady Novice

    Hey Wet Feet, please understand that I'm new to this material and would just like to research applications and experiences before ripping what little hair I have left out.

    I love the look and strive to stand out from the crowd both in applications and craftsmenship. I have never made a mold, but have heard that the fairer the mold the finer the piece....to me that just seems like three times the work....not that I'm opposed to work.

    In the end I will weigh the cost, effort and finish of all of my options and good forward with the one that makes the most sense for me.

    I value your imput, and I am very thankful for forum members like yourself and all the other that share so freely.

    Please keep your thoughts coming.

    Tony G.
     
  9. grady
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    grady Novice

    Adam, thanks for the info and the pics....Boy are they huge..Hahaha

    I'll have to post some pics of the proposed piece... It's my helm and will need a redo to accomidate some new electronic and gauges and maybe controls.

    Paint maybe the way to go if I can perfect the method and make the pattern pop.
     
  10. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Grady,

    How big a piece do you need?
    I have some scraps of Epoxy/ graphite cloth cured (autoclaved) material - Probably .030 thick.
    Very smooth, easy to see the weave.

    If it is a small amount I might be willing to send you a piece. Just glue it on, cover it with spar varnish for UV protection.

    In the past I've seen the sheets of precured laminate for sale, just like this stuff. Where I don't remember, but I was looking for graphite tubes.
     
  11. grady
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    grady Novice

    Hey Upchurchmr, I'm not really sure 1sq yd (36"x36") mabe a little longer than wider?

    Would that be the name of the material I would search for?

    Thanks for the Offer
     
  12. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I think the other posters have covered the problem well, but just to re-iterate - yes, the finish will be fine, its not hard to make the fibre look good.

    The problem is the layout underneath the finish - the fibre direction.

    Even in a perfectly flat environment - getting the fibres to have that nice uniform lay is not always straightforward - especially if they have bent any of the cloth. But when you have to go around corners, compound curves etc, it can get really awkward.

    Sure, you can lay the fibre on partially cured resin to hold it, but if you get a mis-lay even on 3 or 4 fibres, trying to move it into position evenly is a PITA.

    Try a small test bit, with different types of fibre weave, and you will soon get the picture.
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you just want the look paint is the fastest and easiest way, though you can use black 'glass too, which is a lot cheaper and easier to handle.

    If the dash panel is a flat, cylindrical or conical plane, you can use a Mylar sheet over the wetted out fabric, which will p[produce a mirror like finish, if sufficient resin is used.
     

  15. OFFSHORE GINGER
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    Location: Mich

    OFFSHORE GINGER Junior Member

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