Monday, November 17, 2008

Attended on a composite fabrication course last weekend

I spent the weekend in Nummela. Jarmo Hakala was teaching composite fabrication there. We learned for example vacuum bagging and infusion molding techniques.

The infusion molding is surprisingly easy and doable. And it is not that expensive after all, all the materials needed (almost all) can be obtained from Etola. The only more expensive special thing wasted each time in the process is the sealing tape. That is available from the composite resellers only to my understanding (for example from Kevra in Finland). Of course the vacuum pump is needed and it needs to be very strong (not a lo-vac pump, but quite high vacuum to be powerful enough to make the resin to move in the molded part being wet out).

The infusion molding is especially handy when there are multiple layers on the part, and laying up them by hand would take lots of time. The infusion process is a lot more convenient, everything is placed when the part is dry etc. No sticky stuff involved. And everything happens by itself inside the bag. Biggest time goes to the preparation, e.g. making the bag completely sealed. It can not have any leaks, if it has, the part will fail.

I will try this out with the RC model(s) I am going to fabricate next. We have two vacuum pumps and one venturi tube (that creates vacuum from ordinary compressor) to try this out. Lets see how it works out at home. At the course it felt easy at least. With this process, providing that the bag is completely sealed and the resin is injected from proper places in, the quality of the end product can be very high, virtually almost eliminating sanding process.

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