casting carbon fiber

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Pam59

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Apr 28, 2013
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Illinois
I am tryng to cast some carbon fiber blanks for the virage kit. Using 0.5 inch carbon/fiberglass biaxial sleeves from Soller Composites. My problem is getting the carbon fiber tight enough at the ends so it doesn't come through when I turn down to the bushings. Any suggestions?
 
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jttheclockman

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I am tryng to cast some carbon fiber blanks for the virage kit. Using 0.5 inch carbon/fiberglass biaxial sleeves from Soller Composites. My problem is getting the carbon fiber tight enough at the ends so it doesn't come through when I turn down to the bushings. Any suggestions?
Welcome to the site Pam. Glad you found us and hope you stick around and join in.

I will show you what I use to do my casting of various blanks and I also do carbon fiber this way. I made a little stand so that I can prep multiple blanks for casting. I use Silmar41 as my casting resin and have had great success with it. I use this same resin to adhere the material to the tubes. Then I use the small tie-wraps or zip ties to secure to some rods I cut. I got the rod from Home Depot. All this is is a length of that fiberglass lanscaping markers. Some times they come with reflectors on them but you can also buy them without. I cut them up into the lengths I need to fit on my rack. I use some car wax to wax them so that the resin does not stick too well. Usually a slight twist and they snap right off when I get to trim them.

The zip ties also came from Home Depot in the electric department. I then put these on the rack as you see them and then add a few coats of resin just to avoid any bubbles latter on when I cast them. I keep rotating them for a few minutes so as to avoid any drips forming.

The next day I cut the tie wraps and take the blank off the rods. Now I use a sharp pair of tin snips and cut fairly close to the tube ends. You can see a tub resting on top of the rack that is ready for casting, all trimmed back.

I then set up my casting area and cast a whole bunch at one time.

Here is a couple copper braiding blanks cast and trimmed. Also here is a photo of the rack I made and use. Hope something in here helps and if not others will be along and jump in too. Good luck. Casting is fun.







 

Imaginethat

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Mar 31, 2015
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Maricopa, AZ
John, thank you for explaining the process of casting these blanks. I was curious as to how you kept the ends so tight. It was like a "duh" moment. Very simple but all those trees got in the way.

Your blanks are beautiful.
 

jttheclockman

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John when you do the resin do you catalyze it and paint it on?? Or just drip it on and keep turning?? The Rack is awesome.

Hello Edward

I just paint it on. I use those throw away acid brushes that you can buy by the 100's All I am looking to do is get a coat or two on so that all those little crevices are filled so that when I cast I do not get air bubbles in there. Ruins the blanks quickly:mad: You have to turn them or else the resin will pool on the bottom. Depending how much catalyst you add determines how fast it sets up. Usually 10 or so minutes and it is done dripping. It is self leveling so no worries there. I usually pick the brushes up at the winter woodworking show but HF has them as well as a big bag of the tie wraps. I only try to keep the resin on the tube. No need spreading it all the way down the excess braiding.

I must note that after 2 or 3 uses of the rods they need to be cleaned off and rewaxed. Very simple process. I thought i had shown this stuff before but if not any questions ask away. How I cast my blanks is no secret any more. Many people do the same things.
 

Indiana_Parrothead

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A much easier solution is this. Suspend a stick over a trashcan or something to catch the CA that drops down. Bend some coat hanger wire in an "S" shape so it will hang on the stick. Thread you painted tubes into the carbon fiber, with the top of the tube being closed, I use wax. I do 3-4 tubes at a time, try and keep the tubes the same size, if doing Jr's do the top tubes in one and the bottom in the other. Leave about an inch between the tubes and 2-3 inches on each end. Get some of the medium sized binder clips that are used to hold papers together and put one on each end. Then squeeze one of the "arms" on the bottom binder clip together to remove it. Thread it through the pop top on a soda (or beer) can that is filled with water. Squeeze the "arm" back together and replace it in the binder clip. Then just hang the whole thing on the stick and starting at the top let thin CA run down to the bottom, the can will catch most of the run off. Make sure to work your way around. Let it dry for a day and trim them apart. I use RC modeler scissors to do this they are shape and cheap.

Use a punch to push out the wax and you are ready to cast.
 

jttheclockman

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Hello Mike

Not sure yours is an easier way just another way of doing the same thing. Some people use CA to adhere the braiding to the tube but i find using the exact same resin does a few things. It binds the braiding to the tube and when I coat them it locks to that same resin and again I am trying to eliminate those nasty bubbles that can emerge from all those crevices.

But it is always good to have more than one option and there are always more than one way to do what we do.

Just a note for those working with carbon fiber braiding. Be aware of the health risks with the fibers and take precautions. Work safe.
 

KCW

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John, do you feel like using the PR to adhere the carbon fiber reduces the separation of the carbon fiber to PR after casting? I have done a few and used thin CA, but after casting I get the dreaded separation, which looks like air bubbles on the surface of the carbon.
 

jttheclockman

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John, do you feel like using the PR to adhere the carbon fiber reduces the separation of the carbon fiber to PR after casting? I have done a few and used thin CA, but after casting I get the dreaded separation, which looks like air bubbles on the surface of the carbon.

Hello Dan

I never had any separation from the tube. The silmar has good adhesive characteristics to it. Sometimes if i forget to wax the rods I have to take a knife and scrape it off. The outgassing from CA is enough for me not to put it in the equation. As I said the voids of the braiding can cause air bubbles even if you pressure. I have eliminated that with the method I use. Now this is my method and some may use other methods and that is fine. If it works for you then continue. I am not telling anyone to do it my way. Just wanted to show a method to help the OP. Anchoring the braiding with the tie wraps has made things easier for me in that it helps take out the slack in the braiding and makes it lay flat. Some braiding come folded flat and that crease can be a pain to lay flat. To me this works. Also noted Silmar has no problems sticking to the a layer of itself. No seams showing or anything like that.
 

KCW

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John, do you feel like using the PR to adhere the carbon fiber reduces the separation of the carbon fiber to PR after casting? I have done a few and used thin CA, but after casting I get the dreaded separation, which looks like air bubbles on the surface of the carbon.

Hello Dan

I never had any separation from the tube. The silmar has good adhesive characteristics to it. Sometimes if i forget to wax the rods I have to take a knife and scrape it off. The outgassing from CA is enough for me not to put it in the equation. As I said the voids of the braiding can cause air bubbles even if you pressure. I have eliminated that with the method I use. Now this is my method and some may use other methods and that is fine. If it works for you then continue. I am not telling anyone to do it my way. Just wanted to show a method to help the OP. Anchoring the braiding with the tie wraps has made things easier for me in that it helps take out the slack in the braiding and makes it lay flat. Some braiding come folded flat and that crease can be a pain to lay flat. To me this works. Also noted Silmar has no problems sticking to the a layer of itself. No seams showing or anything like that.
I think this is exactly what I need to try. With my current process, the blank comes out of the mold looking great, but if any pressure is put on the blank, while squaring, mounting on the lathe, or even assembly, I will get a separation of resin and fiber. I have to say, I have almost thrown a pen or two across the shop after this has happened, namely on a watch parts pen I made, where this happened during assembly.:mad:
 

Indiana_Parrothead

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Hello Mike

Not sure yours is an easier way just another way of doing the same thing. Some people use CA to adhere the braiding to the tube but i find using the exact same resin does a few things. It binds the braiding to the tube and when I coat them it locks to that same resin and again I am trying to eliminate those nasty bubbles that can emerge from all those crevices.

But it is always good to have more than one option and there are always more than one way to do what we do.

Just a note for those working with carbon fiber braiding. Be aware of the health risks with the fibers and take precautions. Work safe.
John I have to agree that your method is a very good solution to braided metal sleeves, I will probably use it some time, but the OP question was about carbon fiber. I have to dis agree that my method is not easier. In your method you have to build a stand, either turn or find dowels to fit inside the tube, paint them and wax them. Work in ten minute burst to get the Similar on before it kicks over and turn each dowel until then so it doesn't drip. I can't see that is easier than threading tubes into a sleeve hanging a weight on the bottom and drizzling CA on it.

I have to prefess this by saying I use West Systems epoxy for casting, but I have never had any bubbles or delamination using this method.

Mike
 

jttheclockman

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Mike

I will not argue with you. You have your method and works for you. To me mine is easier to me. I only had to make the rack once. I only had to buy and cut the rods once. They are colored fiberglass marker rods people use to mark their properties. The bag of tie wraps is about $2 As far as the resin goes I do 12 blanks in about 20 minutes and that includes turning them. Prep is the key. Have all the sleeves cut to length. i usually use 5 to 6 drops when casting but will use about 3 to 4 when doing this process. I will never CA any braiding to a tube. I do all kinds of materials. Carbon fiber of all sorts. Carbon fiber is just another braiding material. I do nylon braids the same way. Check my album. You have been here long enough I have shown plenty of my finished pens with all kinds of materials.

Now you brought up watch part blanks. That is another whole other process and has nothing to do with this.

If that method is easier for you then so be it but do not claim it is easier than mine if you never done mine and others can make their own judgement. That is all I am saying. Happy casting.:smile:
 

Cwalker935

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John thanks for sharing your tricks. Have you used PR to pre-coat labels or stamps before casting. I get inconsistent results with CA.
 

jttheclockman

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John thanks for sharing your tricks. Have you used PR to pre-coat labels or stamps before casting. I get inconsistent results with CA.

I have not made any stamp pens to date but that will change soon. I can tell you whenever I do labels, all I do is spray the label with a sealer and then cast in silmar and have had good success with it. No need to precoat in my opinion. The only time I use CA on labels is if I am placing a label on a wood blank that has been turned down already.
 

jttheclockman

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I must stress this point. There are many methods of doing what we do. Casting carbon fiber or even any braidings can be done many ways. I know of 2 other methods that are much more efficient than mine and one is from the master himself CaptG. He is the king of carbon fiber casting but i will not share this because it is not mine to share.

I am simply sharing my method and if there is something that may help others that is great. It is documented here about all the methods of casting labels and stamps also. I chose certain things and came up with my method and it works for me and yes it took some experimenting for sure. But my failure rate has been low. Do I still get that occasional mess, yes and will continue but that is how we learn.

Take care, work safe and have fun casting. :smile:
 
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