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I'm gathering the necessary equipment to start my next little hobby project building my own fairings. I got about 5 yards of carbon-fiber/Kevlar and another 5 yards of fiberglass, 10ft of 3' carbon fiber "tape", a gallon of epoxy, a quart of pva release, a vacuum pump, degassing chamber, and all the plastic and tape to do vacuum bagging.

I'm hoping to minimize the amount of trial and error due to the expense of the carbon fiber. I've done a lot of reading and a little bit of YouTube watching as well. I want to open up this question to see if anyone might have some worthwhile knowledge to impart. It's appreciated.

My big open questions at the moment are, how many layers should I build up and will I need a filler material (honeycomb or poor mans alternative: cardboard). Currently I'm planning to do a layer of the more expensive black and red carbonfiber/Kevlar hybrid on top, with a couple layers of slightly cheaper carbonfiber on the backside, and a layer or two of fiberglass sandwiched in between.

Also, it's not really clear to me what should be done when you have to build the part in multiple pieces? Due toll the curves and mounting points on the back I think I'll have tonsils the front and back as separate parts, and in some cases to account for angles may have to build a piece in 3 or 4 parts. My question is, how do you then bind those parts together to assemble the final result? This seems like a stupid question that will undoubtedly end with a smack on the forehead.

I'm planning to start with either the upper side fairings (the bottom two "wing" looking pieces in the picture) or the airbox cover (top right), followed by the rear underbody (top left in picture), lower sides (not shown but in second picture, they are the large pieces on the right bottom), upper rear (second row on left in picture), and end with the front pieces (second row on right and 3rd row on left) which I imagine will be the most challenging.

To me it's all fun, whether I screw up or or. I enjoy the process. It'll be a lot more fun if it turns out well.

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  • Is this to replace parts already there or will they be completely new pieces? Are they structural pieces, or just cosmetic? This article may be of help to you. This one also. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 10 '15 at 12:19
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    @Paulster2 - Purely cosmetic & performance. The original parts are ABS plastic. I added pictures. – davidcondrey Jul 10 '15 at 17:18
  • I've wanted to undertake the same project but haven't started anything. I'd like to see some answers on this. Interesting. :) – DucatiKiller Dec 22 '15 at 18:00
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Some of those parts are hard to do for a beginner. Making CF look good takes a lot of practice. Still, I'll try to steer you in the right direction.

I would use honeycomb as the filler material. Cardboard gets messy quick.

How many layers should I build up and will I need a filler material?

Cosmetic parts:

  • 1 X layer carbon fiber
  • 1 X layer fiberglass No filler required. Fiberglass is used to reduce cost of part. You can do two layers of carbon fiber, too.

Functional parts

Disclaimer: I would not do this to any parts that are important to the structural integrity of the vehicle. Keep in mind that carbon fiber shatters. Parts of it might injure you in case of an accident.

1 X layer carbon fiber 1 X layer honeycomb 1 X layer fiberglass

Anything thicker and fit will be an issue.

How do you then bind those parts together to assemble the final result?

Use Epoxy. Less is more here.

Include small fasteners in the parts themselves to then use to keep things together.

Tips:

Start toying with fiberglass way before you touch the carbon fiber. This will teach you how to use the tools and how to deal with the molds.

Carbon fiber requires patience and planning.

Set aside twice as much time as you'd think it would take to do a part.

Do one part at a time. Start with the easier ones.

Getting carbon fiber to look right is super hard.

Shop before you build. I bet its cheaper to buy the parts already made. ;)

  • I've been hoping someone would hit this one! Out of upvotes but will hit this when they come back. +1 for "Less is more" – DucatiKiller Jan 1 '16 at 22:14
  • Cool! I've worked with composites for a while in off-road, non-race performance applications (hopped up jalopies with no regards to laws or safety..) Feel free to ping me with questions. I'll try to steer you in the right direction. – race fever Jan 2 '16 at 0:29
  • I might throw a couple of questions up for you then. Thanks! – DucatiKiller Jan 2 '16 at 2:55

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