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Thread: Vaccum forming lexan / polycarbonate then lining with carbon fiber

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    Vaccum forming lexan / polycarbonate then lining with carbon fiber

    Has anyone ever tried anything like this before?

    Would take an existing part then create a mould of it in polycarbonate then cover the inside of it with carbon fiber. Seems like it would be an easy way to make a smooth finish without all the sanding, gloss, etc.

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    Senior Member ArashB's Avatar
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    I would like to create a large ground hole pit oven to vacuum form panels one day... seems cheap and easy compare to other methods.
    Follow my designs on Facebook fan pages. http://www.facebook.com/AutoArts

  3. #3
    I have done this. Lexan is tough because of the bubbles that can form. You will need to create an oven that will heat very uniform and be able to have the cacuum in the oven as well because once you take it out of the oven it cools very fast and makes it tough to get a perfect part. Acrylic works much easier. You can sand a clear the parts to make them perfect.

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    ToneStar, it was throwing me off when you said to create a mold of polycarbonate (Lexan). I get it now that you want to make a mold and then a polycarbonate part which would have the inside of the part covered in CF. I have never tried it, it is an interesting idea, but I do not think you want polycarbonate. It is extremely expensive relative to other plastics and heating kills the scratchproofing, making it damage easier than other plastics. Polycarbonate may be bullet proof, but you can scratch it with a feather. It is thermoformable, but not a desirable thermoforming material. Styrene (ABS) polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), or Royalworks' acrylic are all better choices.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 88.5countach's Avatar
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    Guys I'm in the business. Forming the Polycarbonate is a trick, it chills as soon as the heat is taken away so you need a method where the heaters can stay over the mould as you form it. Even with that it is challenging to form but if you get it to work its great stuff. Our various productione equipment can't even form it, it specialized equipment in our process. Also the mould will need to be over 200F otherwise as soon as it hits the mould the material will chill everything around it thus making the forming challenging. Acrylic is better for clear and the home made route. Best to check your local plastic distributers like... Laird Plastics (In Canada, think they are in the US as well). Once you let them know what your trying to achieve they will have some solutions and can work the smaller quatities you may need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 76mx View Post
    ToneStar, it was throwing me off when you said to create a mold of polycarbonate (Lexan). I get it now that you want to make a mold and then a polycarbonate part which would have the inside of the part covered in CF. I have never tried it, it is an interesting idea, but I do not think you want polycarbonate. It is extremely expensive relative to other plastics and heating kills the scratchproofing, making it damage easier than other plastics. Polycarbonate may be bullet proof, but you can scratch it with a feather. It is thermoformable, but not a desirable thermoforming material. Styrene (ABS) polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), or Royalworks' acrylic are all better choices.
    If your looking to form a finished part that is smooth (good) on both sides using fiberglass or carbon fiber try using the RTM light system which is similar to vacuum bagging.


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    Adding to what 88.5 said, go to quadrantplastics.com and click support. There is excellent info for characteristics and selection.

  8. #8
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    Interesting. I have a few items that I need to figure out the best way to form and such. Mainly a plexi rear window and doors. What would be the best material to make a form out of?

  9. #9
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    Use foamboard, it heats easily, moulds easily, its super light, you can even use filler on it & its easily paintable with any paint.
    I use it for a lot of parts, splitters, wings, interior parts ect.
    I have done large pieces with it, so it will definitely work for making plugs & moulds.

  10. #10
    Are you trying to save money with making the carbon part?

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