Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
How-To:  Make rigid carbon fiber tubes
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Epoxyworks is a free magazine published biannually, and archived online, by Michigan’s Gougeon Brothers, Inc., who use it to promote their West System brand of epoxy resins, which I have not used and have no stake in, but it’s chock full of tutorials, tips, and techniques for working with composite materials that could probably be “de-branded” and used with whomever’s products you prefer. Shown here are photos from one article that caught my eye (PDF), by J.R. Watson, showing how to form straight and curved rigid composite tubes in carbon fiber, kevlar, fiberglass, or other braided material by laying the composite up over a mold made from split foam pipe insulation. It also covers techniques for joining the finished rigid tubing sections. [Thanks, Alan Dove!]

From the pages of MAKE:

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John Wanberg showed us how to make a carbon fiber composite iPod case back in MAKE 9.

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6 thoughts on “How-To: Make rigid carbon fiber tubes

  1. Gougeon Brothers epoxies, actually, are pretty hard to beat. They’re used in all sorts of composites, like commercial boats and aircraft. Their pump system makes measuring easy and their one resin can be used with a number of catalysts for different effects and cure times.

    They make a bunch of additives, like cabosil and microlight filler, but I don’t know if they’re particularly better than other brands (though I’ve heard that their microballoons are finer than many that are used for other purposes).

    I don’t have any stake in them, either, but I’ve used their stuff quite a bit for building model sailplanes and found it to be very high quality.

  2. 1) How expensive is this compared to copper?
    2) Are the tubes air-tight?
    3) How about heat resistance and conduction?

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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