Carbon fiber is made up of many thin fibers which are bonded together and woven to be a cloth or fabric. This in turn can be easily molded and then applied to different uses. The material acquires fantastic physical properties that make it probably the most popular thing to be applied in different areas of automobile as well as in the manufacturing of bicycles. In recent years, CF technology has been applied to main frames of bicycles, stems, and other components. The bikes are not only durable compared to others made of steel or alloy, but they also have been proven to give more comfort to cyclists without compromising the over-all performance. Due to its light weight, cyclists can better drive the bikes whether on the mountains, rough roads or main streets.
To save a few bucks, you can make your own bicycle part out of carbon fiber. This way, you not only get to save some money but you will also get to achieve the design, texture and over all structure of the bicycle parts. When doing so, all you need are carbon fiber cloth, laminating resin, hard carnauba wax, mold release agent, dry and wet sand papers, spray tin from automotive clear lacquer, and plastic mixing pots. For safety precautions, never forget to wear your protective gears like latex gloves, eye protection, and mask. Make sure that your work area is also well-ventilated since you will be dealing with chemicals.
Making a pattern is the first step. You can simply do this by carving the foams by a coping saw to your desired shape. Finish it off by smoothing the edges from any dents or seams. You can now add a thin coat of glue all over the part that will serve as your sealer. After which, carbon fiber can now be applied. When the molding is already completed, you can either release the cloth from the pattern, or if it is already stuck to the foam, carefully cut the foam by dissolving it gently with a solvent. Apply hard carnauba wax thereafter. Let it dry before applying the mold release agent. Repeat this system for another 3-5 coats. In between coats, be sure to let it dry.
Depending on the thickness you want to achieve, apply a significant amount of resin. When you finally reach the desired thickness, rub it with wet sand paper. Trim the mold edges either by a scalpel, a bladed razor saw, a dremel tool or even a wire cutter or a ti snip. Just make sure that your tool is very sharp for this task. You are now ready to release the molding from the pattern. Once this is done, just to make sure that the overlap has equally good coat, apply one or two coats of resin again or until you get the finish look you desire. Rub it with wet sand paper in between coats. Spray acrylic lacquer for finishing touch. Let it dry again before applying another coat of hard carnauba wax. Buff your way to shine or use a metal polish before carefully fitting the mold to your bike.
You can now stand back and look at your carbon fiber bicycle part in awe admiration!
Source by Wes Collins