carbon fibre retail therapy

Yesterday was brilliant, and I had best part of a day’s training with Warren from Carbon Copies Ltd. It was great, and I learned a huge amount in my time. Warren gave me lots of tricks of the trade and I got plenty of hands-on experience.

Part of the tuition was around looking after my consumables, so below is my list of things to get in my most recent shopping trip to the dark side. Speaking of the dark-side, I went to Asda and bought:

  1. one tupperware box for my easy-lease mould releasing stuff
  2. Apparently the easy-lease is hydrophilic and will absorb water out of the air. This diminishes its performance. Rather than take the chance on the lid (I won’t be using it as much as a pro), I have bought a tupperware box to keep it in, and one pack of silica gel condensation absorbing things. This should guarantee a long shelf life. The stuff isn’t mad expensive but it’s not worth taking a chance of a poor release or not being able to make a part because I’m out
  3. 40 disposable plastic glasses for mixing resin in. Asda’s price means 7.1 pence each. My lovely sister is off to the wholesales
  4. A battery for the posh electronic scales my wife doesn’t use because they don’t weigh enough (score – another kitchen tool now lives in the garage according to rule 6)
  5. 100 cocktail stirrers (may work well, and possibly better than wooden ones – we shall see 🙂

I’m enjoying all this retail therapy.

galvanic corrosion = mullered alternator

alternatorSo, I am going to try and sell my old pinto outfit again, so I started going through all the things I had carefully boxed up, including the alternator. I had placed the alternator in a plastic storage box (with a clickable sealable lid) with some other bits. One of the bits was a steel door hinge.

Needless to say, the hinge and alternator have been cosying up and touching each other in inappropriate ways. The end result is galvanic corrosion. What a mess. The alternator is so buggered the pulley won’t even turn. However, it did get me thinking that I could make carbon fibre door hinges in the future … go to be lighter.


In praise of EasyComposites and CarbonCopies

So, this week I finally fulfilled my fetish for carbon fibre. I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve gone to the dark side (Thanks Warren).

There’s lots of work I need to do, and some of it could have been fabricated in my normal fashion (stainless welding plus hammer plus blood) but a composite approach is better. So, I started researching the right way to do this (resin infusion), who knew what they were doing, and who were good suppliers.

The projects I envisage doing are a load of replacement ally panels for carbon fibre, some for carbon fibre-honeycomb-aramid panels, and my (now designed in CAD) aluminium fuel tank will probably be easier to make in carbon/aramid. Then, just because no job is to big, I am thinking of replacing the body panels in naked black carbon.

After digging out my two text books on the subject (Fibreglass & Composite Materials and Competition Car Composites) I also did some youtube digging and came upon this series of videos by EasyComposites which made the process look sane to do and their bonnet-replacement looked very neat. At the same time, I bumped into Warren from Carbon Copies Ltd, who spend 2 hours talking me through techniques and recommended EasyComposites.

So, off I drove to Stoke to meet Matt, and I’m thrilled with the results. When I walked up the trade counter, he came out to reception, sat me down with a coffee, got his clip-board out and went through all my requirements. It was a very friendly visit as he got to understand my needs and the best approach to make what I wanted. As went along, we built up a pick-list of stuff over the hour or so consultation and off I trotted home with a car full of great stuff.

I went for the resin-infusion kit (including a vacuum pump), and the following consumables for laying up:

  • Carbon Fibre 2/2 Twill 195g, 1.25m wide (for the face, and drapability)
  • Aramid Cloth, 2/2 Twill again, but 300g and 1m wide (for the impacted sides, and sump)
  • Carbon FIbre, 2/2 Twill, 450g at 1m wide for the second layer.
  • High and normal temp epoxy and hardener.

So, expect lots of lovely carbon posts to follow over the summer.

Getting ready for this summers work

Today, campers, I’m off to the garage to tidy up the winter detritus. This will involve:

  1. making good coffee
  2. appropriate selection of music for the day
  3. convincing my 14 year old teenage son that this has to be done before we start on the new engine build
  4. trying to sell my old pinto race engine as an outfit again, rather than in pieces
  5. moving things that were wall mounted onto other walls
  6. a trip to the DIY store when I realise I don’t have wall plugs
  7. serious scratching of head when I have more ambition than wall space tidyness
  8. manliness when I GO TO THE TIP
  9. booze
  10. powerwashing everything down
  11. cleanliness