Carbon Fiber Parts

It’s been bugging me that some of the parts in the Sling interior are a sticker that looks like Carbon Fiber. The sticker eventually rubs off, especially on the throttle console. I believe 3M also makes a better Carbon Fiber covering, but still it’s a covering. I’ve been doing some research and am going to attempt to first make a mold of the throttle and glove box covers. From these moulds I should be able to either make a carbon fiber replica or have someone do it for me. The instrument panel is somewhat straight forward since it’s just a flat piece and then needs to be CNC’d

From what I’ve found about making the mould is that you use a┬árelease agent (PVA and Parting Wax) on the part (called the plug) and coat it with a gel coat resin (and MKEP hardener) that you brush (or spray) onto the part. This forms a negative or positive mould depending on how you mould the part. You then cover the gel coat with layers of chopped strand mat to build up some rigidity of the mould. Fiber Glast has a good tutorial of the process and there are a few videos on YouTube. You can also use an epoxy putty or Bondo to form the rigid part of the mould if you like. It really depends on how big the part is, the shape and how durable a mould you need. It’s got me intrigued enough to want to see if I can at least make a mould of the two parts.

I ordered the following from Amazon

  • Creativity Street Modeling Dough, Blue, 3.3-lb. Tub (AC4070)
  • Fibre Glast FibRelease
  • Fibre Glast Orange Tooling Gel Coat – Quart w/ hardener

The creative dough is a filler so that the gel coat doesn’t seep through holes and cracks in the plug. I’ve seen people using the┬áPelikan Nakiplast modeling clay, but it’s around $30, so I figured I’d give this other one a try. The FibRelease is a new way of coating the plug instead of using both the PVA and parting wax.

On another note I found this cool 3D CNC machine for around $1600 called XCarve from Inventables. Theres a 500, 750, and 1000mm wide version and also more parts where you can expand it even larger. It uses free software called Easel to create and sending it to the CNC machine. I suppose if I were going to make more parts for the plane then this might come in handy but right now the only thing I’d use for is cutting the panel which I can probably do cheaper then $1600, but still very cool and Christmas isn’t too far away so maybe, just maybe I might get one.

I should be the materials in a week so I’ll post my success or failure on the blog. If the moulds come out good and I can find someone to do the Carbon Fiber then I’d be happy to offer the use to the builders who might want to do the same. I can’t say it’s going to b really cheap, but probably fairly reasonable.