Previously I posted the first two out of three videos showing how I manufacture large carbon fiber aeroshells. Here's the final video, which reveals the carbon fiber layup and vacuum infusion process. These videos run at 40X normal speed and show well over 100 hours of work in just a few minutes.
A few final comments on the aeroshells:
- Most of the materials for the plug, mold, and part are from the terrific team at Fibreglast. Their service is fast, the quality of materials is high, and their selection is large, with almost every tool and material necessary for the entire production process.
- The final layup I used for the composite material consists of "2.5" layers. The outer layer (A surface) is this patterned honeycomb fabric chosen for its awesome looks. The inner layer (B surface) is this standard 3K 2x2 twill weave. The "half layer" consists of a few strips of this 3K twill tape.
- The resin is this special 2-part epoxy resin. I chose it due its viscosity and pot life (good for vacuum infusion), clear color (not the yellowish tint of many epoxies), and UV inhibition (the HAPP will get blasted by high-altitude sunlight).
- I don't know if you think these videos make the process look easy or not. What they don't show are all the mistakes and do-overs I needed until I landed on the final process and material selection. I made several shells that were too heavy, too thin, or incompletely infused with resin. Carbon fiber material is not cheap, and these mistakes were costly in terms of money and time. Prior to the HAPP project I had zero experience working with carbon fiber so I had to take some lessons from the School of Hard Knocks.
- Just keep in mind that I had to repeat what you see in the videos for the lower aeroshell as well!
OK, here are all three videos in order from last to first. Enjoy!
Step 3: The Part (new video posted today)
Step 2: The Mold (posted previously)
Step 1: The Plug (posted previously)