Making a Carbon Fiber

Today, I went to Tech Shop@San Francisco for the whole day. My first class was making a carbon fiber. In this class, we learned the basics of the carbon fiber, how to combine raw carbon fiber cloth, a 2-part strengthener, and high-strength epoxy to make a carbon fiber plate. (There will be less images in the post, mainly because my hands had gloves covered epoxy.

What is epoxy?

Epoxy is an adhesive made from synthetic polymers and can be used for coatings of carbon fiber/fiberglass. Epoxy can be irritant to the eyes and skin. It can also ruin your clothes pretty bad. Fun (more or less scary) fact: If epoxy gets on your skin, do not use acetone to wash it out. If you use acetone to wash epoxy out, the acetone will let the epoxy travel to the blood-brain barrier and, you don’t want epoxy in your brain.

This class was very hands-on because we had to cut, mix, squegee-everything on our own. There were many materials that we used: carbon fiber, honeycomb material, plastic (reflective on one side and blurry on the other). After cutting the exact amount of pieces, we made our “glue mixture” of epoxy and resin. With all the materials sorted together, we made a “sandwich” starting with our first Carbon Fiber Layer.

Honeycomb material

I am still not really sure what a Carbon Fiber can be used for other than cars and machines. When you swish the Fiber Layer back and forth you get an “ooh,aah” image because each layer criss-crosses and the reflective side of plastic makes the Fiber have this look.




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