01 - COMPOSITE PART DESIGN

01 - COMPOSITE PART DESIGN

6 min read

The first, and most critical, step in making something out of carbon fiber, be it a car hood, hard hat, or wallet, is to design it such that it can be made with one of the various carbon fiber manufacturing methods.
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02 - PLUG & MOLD DESIGN

02 - PLUG & MOLD DESIGN

6 min read

After finishing the design of your carbon fiber part via CAD or by modifying an existing part, you need to create either a plug or a mold.  The choice between these two options is critical and will be dependent on your manufacturing method as well as your end goal.
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03 - FOAM PLUG MACHINING

03 - FOAM PLUG MACHINING

4 min read

A plug looks like the final part we want to make, and it’s used to give the mold it’s shape. Sometimes we can use an existing part as a plug – this is called making a “splash plug”, which we talk more about in our article Splash Plug Fabrication
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04 - SPLASH PLUG FABRICATION

04 - SPLASH PLUG FABRICATION

2 min read

If you're looking to replicate an existing part, creating a splash mold is a fast, easy, and inexpensive alternative to machining a plug from foam. Splash molding also ensures that the part will interface correctly with any surrounding components. The post below outlines the basic splash molding process. 
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05 - PLUG FINISHING

05 - PLUG FINISHING

4 min read

In our Plug Machining blog, we learned the basics of using a CNC machine to fabricate a plug out of high-density foam. Before the plug can be used to make a mold, a few finishing steps must be undertaken to properly prepare the plug surface.
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06 - GELCOATING

06 - GELCOATING

2 min read

A gelcoat and fiberglass-based mold is an excellent option for smaller production runs, typically up to 100 parts. While not as durable as aluminum or steel, they are adequate for many types of parts and can be created with much simpler tools and cheaper materials.
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07 - MOLD LAMINATION

07 - MOLD LAMINATION

3 min read

Applying fiberglass and resin backing to tooling gelcoat, or 'mold lamination', is the final step in creating a fiberglass mold. In this post we will cover best practices for applying the fiberglass and stiffening the mold. 
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08 - MOLD FINISHING

08 - MOLD FINISHING

3 min read

Once you have finished laminating your fiberglass mold, there are a few steps to complete before you can make parts. In this post we’ll walk you through how to remove the plug from the mold and how to properly prepare it for laying up your first part.
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09a - INFUSION LAY-UP

09a - INFUSION LAY-UP

5 min read

In this post you will learn about the infusion process, one of the most common ways to fabricate carbon fiber parts. We typically use the infusion process for parts that are 20 square feet or less, that have intricate detail and the end parts needs to be light weight and high strength.
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09b - WET LAY-UP

09b - WET LAY-UP

3 min read

In this post we’ll talk about the process and applications of a wet lay-up. Wet lay-ups are typically used to repair existing carbon fiber parts or inexpensively make final parts.
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09c - CARBON FIBER OVERLAY / WRAP

09c - CARBON FIBER OVERLAY / WRAP

5 min read

If you don't want to spend the time or money making molds off of an existing part, wrapping the part in carbon fiber is always an option. In this blog we will walk through the steps required to wrap a pair of canards in carbon fiber.
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10 - HAND TRIMMING

10 - HAND TRIMMING

2 min read

A basic introduction to hand trimming carbon fiber parts with rotary tools.
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11 - SURFACE AND EDGE PREPARATION

11 - SURFACE AND EDGE PREPARATION

2 min read

In this post we cover best-practices for preparing your carbon fiber part for a gloss or matte clear coat. Correctly preparing your part is critical for achieving a high-quality finished part.
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12 - CLEAR COATING

12 - CLEAR COATING

3 min read

Achieving a concourse-level clear coat finish is a difficult and demanding process, particularly with carbon fiber parts. This post outlines the process for spraying a final stage clear coat, but the basic spraying procedure is widely applicable.
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13 - BUFFING & POLISHING

13 - BUFFING & POLISHING

2 min read

Polishing is the process of sanding your part smooth and then bringing it to a glossy, mirror-like finish. In this post we'll walk through how to prepare, wet sand and polish a clear coated carbon fiber part.
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Continued Learning

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