Carbon fiber blues: vacuum resin infusion failures

your vacuum is beyond the gauge!! … isn’t there a lesser amount of vacuum that is ideal? I thought it would suck too much resin or something. can you show a pic of your catch pot please and what’s next? how about a much bigger contoured piece. go big! I want to see how it goes.

what’s the lowest temperature water you can boil in your vacuum?

that shape you are making is so simple I have polycarbonate that’s very thin I plan to make the same if not a bit shorter. I like the shape. there’s a youtube video to bend the stuff sure I can figure it, but you’ve gone this extreme construction way with a simple shape. wonder how strong it would be vs easy polycarb. with this shape you can make it as strong and stiff as possible it seems. what is the point…stiff or strong? because the polycarbonate wont break but it will bend and crush everything under. assuming the worst. just Velcro I like more.

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I haven’t done the boiler test, but it’s a fun idea! My vacuum gauge is miscalibrated, but it was $5. That giant pipe is the catch pot! It’s a 2 foot abs 4 inch pipe with an end cap and threaded plug. I tapped three holes in the cap for vacuum pump, gauge and resin lines. $60 to make it

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Also, I fixed a pair of work shoes the other day!


Yay!!! Project partially completed. This composite piece is essentially a carriage/mounting bracket to hold my ridiculously huge batteries to my deck, replacing the Velcro straps and eliminating the vibration they permit. This particular piece is 3 layers of 24K 815gsm fabric woven in a 2x2 twill. It is a rather heavyweight fabric and is a pain to work with. Pound for pound, the most rigid thing I can imagine!! I’m super pleased with it. NOTE: I am going for simplicity here. The process of constructing a proper gelcoat/fiberglass mold like @MasterCho 's CF enclosure is not necessary for my desired product, so I’m skipping all that.

All I have to do is trim, drill and mount the piece.

Now for some project analysis and preliminary conclusions:

  1. Resin infusion is an expensive endeavor. There is a significant learning curve, and the materials are expensive.

  2. The results are unfathomably strong, if done right. There is no comparison between my results from hand layup vs infusion. Either visually or structurally.

  3. The whole project is a huge pain in the dick! Meticulous setup, materials handling, etc. Not for the faint of heart.

  4. Everything that can go wrong, WILL go wrong.

  5. Viscosity sucks!! Heat can mitigate that to an extent, but it decreas the pot life tremendously. I didn’t achieve a successful infusion with full fabric saturation until I employed a heat blanket. I use the blanket to warm the resin and hardener to around 110f, and I heat the mold and layup to 150f before I even think about mixing the epoxy. Heat can also compromise the bagging film’s resistance to puncturing from the infusion mesh. Super frustrating when that happens.

  6. Mold-release WAX is way better than pva for visual effects but requires several applications and polishing. Also you cant really tape to it, which is frustrating.

  7. I wasted a lot of materials getting to this point. Expect to do the same, it happens. Haste makes waste!! More to follow soon… Thanks for reading!

Next project will be a cf deck with a wood core following @MasterCho 's footsteps.


looks nice! Hard work pays off.

Were you using 3 layers of 24K 815gsm fabric?? That’s why it took a long time to be fully saturated. That’s equivalent to 12 layers of the regular CF 200gsm. I am sure it’s very sturdy.

Yep! Lots of fiber. Infusion epoxy would have made the whole project SO much easier. I’m going with PRO-SET INF-114 for all future projects. Mixed viscosity is supposed to be less than 300cps at 72f vs 600-800 for the west system 105.

Update time!!

So, I am underway in the new chapter of my cf experiment. I’m attempting to make a cf deck with a wood core. I got these oak strips, gluing them together with a little dab of hot glue, spacing them with finishing nails:

Plexiglass panel, hot glued to plywood backing with plastic tubing for an even concave shape.

Waxed and polished


Bagged up

Now it’s time for leak testing. I’m not going to mix any epoxy until I know that bag seal is PERFECT.

the layup consists of, from bottom to top: 1 layer 12k 2x2 spread tow 192gsm 3 layers of ±45 biaxial 12k 150gsm 1 layer 12k 2x2 spread tow 192gsm 1 layer 373gsm 6inch unidirectional tape Wood core 1 layer 373gsm 6inch unidirectional tape 3 layers of ±45 biaxial 12k 150gsm 1 layer 12k 2x2 spread tow 192gsm

Hoping for a successful result, as it’s about $170 in materials without the epoxy!!


I am happy for you on all your endeavors.

However, FUCK CARBON FIBER. Vent complete. I needed to put this somewhere, and here seems appropriate. I have had a time with this. @psychotiller orders inbound assuredly. LOL. Happy Easter.

Look at that pooling. FML, I am over it.


Lol, that sucks brother. I’m right there with you, it’s frustrating, expensive and itchy

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lot’s of new enclosure designs coming out of my shop this month. They are all going to be $60. Why in the fuck anybody would spend more trying to make one out of fiberglass is beyond me.

Seriously, me and a few others have already invested 1000’s of dollars and countless months if not years in making enclosures.


I already have a bad papercut, no need for the lemon juice! :joy::joy::joy: But, you are more than right, $400 lesson learned. But, I can’t say I didn’t learn a lot, and I have some pretty cool materials left over I can hopefully find something fun to do with.

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I just re-read what I wrote…What a dick!!! I get wanting to do everything ourselves. I’m that guy. what i meant was, knowing what i know now after all the paper cuts, it would have been a hell of alot cheaper buying shit from enertion and trampa. Bahahaha! Whaaaaaat? fuck that.


I know right?!? But I have been around here at least long enough to know where my loyalties lie, be that as it may.

I do appreciate all the work you forerunners do, but it is fun to at least dabble with more than a erector set. Over it though… I wamt to ride! (especially now that you are pumping out those sick ass one-piece enclosures).

Also, not the place, but I am thinking about ditching my Carvon XL preorder and waiting for you to get stock of those RKP mounts… will you be getting any more in brushed (please god)? Id love a brushed mount piece as well, if possible. I just feel like this Red Ember 107 abec set up is just begging for the style you put into them (hardcore belt driven @barajabali 6374s and all).

I just cant picture this rig with the carvons. I can’t quite put my finger on why.


No offense taken, I actually appreciate the perspective. In addition to what you just said, about the need to do it ourselves, the problem I encountered is that because nobody runs batteries as big as mine, nobody makes enclosures for them either. As I mentioned up top, this all started from a need for an ultra-strong bracket. Once I had the tools I needed to make that I figured, f*** it, I’m going to try to make a deck too

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God damn you make me shed a tear. I think it is awesome what you are doing and what time and effort you are investing. I tried and wish I had more $$$ for learning investment, but alas. @psychotiller and many others have invested the time (and $$$ to be sure), which is good for me, humbly moving on.


And I got this vicious pooling making the enclosure off my mold. It is workable with some sanding but far from what I wantes.

This is in the mold, I guess the mold release made it pool like that, turned out better than I expected though, Ill take some pics of the enclosure later.

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Have these new enclosures came out yet?

Yeah, i count four new enclosures on my site


This thread is alive again! Very excited about my new project. This time, I’ll be vacuum forming a mold out of Lexan. I call it “the cheater-method” of mold making. Tonight I will start building the vacuum table, and hope to have time to update later.

Another thing I am doing differently this time around, is utilizing a “stabilized fabric”. This is a manufacturer process that binds all the fibers together, so that the fabric will not fray. Pretty cool sounding.

Can’t wait to get going on this!!!:laughing::sunglasses:


Small update: vacuum table! (Does anyone else use pegboard for theirs??). 20181128_003603 super easy to build. Only major hurtle in this project is that my garage shares power with several other people, so electrical heat is a no go (20a circuit). Enter (carefully) PROPANE…, and propane accessories. Safety check will be performed tomorrow, and probably fail. Cardboard box with foil glued on, as a heat box! Worst idea I’ve had? Doubtful, but still probably top 100.

F*ck this is a fun project. Can’t wait to start making some really expensive trash again (as illustrated in my op). If this kind of thing is what I need to feel complete, should I still be in the food industry?..

All I’m sure of right now, is that the need for DIY blank is stronger than any other aspect of us people and I just love the idea of “Garage-band-status vacuum-forming molds for carbon fiber infusion”! What else would I do for fun?

…umm get a life?

Can you call anything else “living”?!

Do I know what I’m doing? Kinda, but more accurately, no. But i know how to try stuff!:sunglasses:

More to follow soonish