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VIDEO TUTORIAL

USED IN THIS PROJECT

Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, the following tools and materials, supplied by Easy Composites, were used in this project.

The quantity shown below is the approximate amount used in the project rounded up to the nearest available kit size or quantity.

ANCILLARIES
Newplast Plasticine 500g White Thumbnail
PLASTNewplast Plasticine 500g White£1.62 /each

Plastic Demoulding Wedge Medium Thumbnail
PA-W-MPlastic Demoulding Wedge Medium£1.89 /each

Miracle Gloss Mould Release Wax 100g Thumbnail
MRW-8-100Miracle Gloss Mould Release Wax 100g£6.50 /tin

Soft Filleting and Filling Wax 325g Thumbnail
FILLWAX-330Soft Filleting and Filling Wax 325g£6.17 /block

Composites Laminating Brush 1" (25mm) Individual Thumbnail
BR-LAM-1Composites Laminating Brush 1" (25mm) Individual£0.60 /each

Calibrated Mixing Cup 2240ml Thumbnail
CALMIXCUP2240Calibrated Mixing Cup 2240ml£0.79 /each

Total £0.00
MOULD MAKING MATERIALS
TC80 Tool Cast Epoxy Casting Resin 5.3kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-TC80-5TC80 Tool Cast Epoxy Casting Resin 5.3kg Kit£58.75 /kit

Total £0.00

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Casting a Two-Part Compression Mould for Forged Carbon


WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this video tutorial we demonstrate how to create two-part matched tools or compression moulds that can be used to produce forged carbon fibre components using a compression moulding process.

  • What processes a 'matched tool' compression mould is suitable for
  • Considerations for the mould production
  • Positioning and extending the pattern using plasticine
  • Casting the inside and outside mould using TC80 Tool Cast aluminium-filled epoxy casting resin

DISCUSSION (9)

Please share any questions or comments you may have about this video tutorial.


netmaster78
Do you guys have a resin which could be used to bolt onto a rather hot surface like a cylinder head? I would like to build an adapter for an intake system and looking for a suitable resin to cast it.
Easy CompositesMatt
We have a new version of this resin coming out soon, called TC160, it's essentially the same product but with a service temperature of 160'C. If you need a higher service temperature than about 180'C then there aren't many conventional casting resins that would be suitable. It also depends whether you need thermal conductivity in the cast product or not, and also whether weight (or density, to be more specific) is important. If weight isn't critical then something like TC160 might be suitable, if weight is important then the aluminium filler in these 'tool cast' systems would probably rule them out in the basis of density (i.e. the part would be heavier than it needs to be, if it doesn't need the thermal conductivity).

Wormyyyxd
Awesome video as per usual. What is the difference between regular carbon fibre and forged carbon fibre?
Easy CompositesMatt

Thanks mainly to Lamborghini, over the last few years, the phrase 'forged' carbon has come to mean composite components made using short strand, randomly oriented carbon fibre, moulded under pressure. It differs from components laminated using more traditional formats of carbon fibre (i.e. woven carbon fibre cloth) in that the shorter strands of carbon can move around in the laminate, allowing them to fill more complex mould shapes under pressure in a way that woven or long-strand unidirectional fibre won't do. The compromise though is ultimate strength - components made with long strand unidirectional or woven reinforcement will be stronger and can exploit optimised fibre orientation (i.e. fibres aligned in the direction where strength is most needed) to produce components with better mechanical properties. In short, forged carbon compromises on strength but provides a material that can 'flow' better in compression moulding, meaning it can be used in a way that woven or UD materials cannot.


capnthepeafarmer
Great work, Paul! I really appreciate the detailed steps shown here. Question though, why is it called "forged"? I'm a mechanical engineer and semantics and nomenclature are important to me, so "forged" doesn't really fit this process. Why isn't it called compression molding like you said?
Easy CompositesMatt

Good question. We're engineers too and they matter to us as well so we did have several conversations about this internally before making the video! I'll try to provide a detailed reply of where we got to on our thinking:

First of all, this isn't our name for the process, it's a fairly well-established way to describe compression moulded short strand carbon fibre - mainly because Lamborghini have been calling it 'forged carbon' and using it extensively for a few years now. Calling it anything else would require active effort (and mean a lot of people interested in 'forged carbon' don't find our information).

Secondly, on the etymology of the word 'forged', both in an established engineering context, and in its suitability and applicability in a composites context (regardless of whether Lamborghini and others were using it) we don't think it's far from the mark. Whilst 'forged' means something specific in a context of forming metal, the word forged also means "formed by pressing or hammering with or without heat" (Merriam Webster dictionary) or "to make or produce something, especially with some difficulty" (Cambridge dictionary). Given that the process - in this context - refers to compression moulding under pressure, this description does seems pretty apt.

Whilst you could certainly call a 'forged' carbon fibre part 'compression moulded carbon', you could actually call most carbon fibre parts 'compression moulded' because many processes - vacuum bagging, prepreg, SMC etc, are all forms of compression moulding. Forged carbon is a way of differentiating compression moulding short strand carbon from traditional woven or long strand reinforcement. The short strands being key to the process in allowing the reinforcement to 'flow' more easily to conform to the mould contours under pressure in a rigid tool, something that doesn't happen with woven or long strand reinforcement (leading to voiding).


TheZapper
For smaller parts you could make the molds very easily with a 3D printer. Design the part you want to cast then subtract it from a solid block to get the mold. A resin printer might be better for small objects as you can print the mold solid better than with a FDM printer and a better surface finish
Easy CompositesMatt

Yes, indeed. In the accompanying video (which we'll be releasing next week hopefully) we use 3D printed moulds, alongside this solid cast one, to produce the forged carbon parts. Resin printing is potentially good for producing solid 3D prints but does often compromise the dimensional accuracy, certainly in our experience anyway, but yes, they do yield a better surface finish.


Scott Watrous
I imagine this process is particularly good for detailed parts and also bypasses all of the effort of vacuum bagging?
Easy CompositesWarren

Although it bypasses vacuum bagging itself, there is still a reasonable amount of force applied in the compression stage which replicates some of the forces involved in vacuum bagging. That helps with fibre consolidation and removing excess resin.


Tom
Is the RW4 a good PVA alternative? Would the texture it leaves sand out ok as I would be using S120 in mould anyway.
Easy CompositesMatt

Hi Tom, yes, you can definitely use RW4 is situations where you might also consider PVA release agent; they're similar in that they are both extremely reliable but do slightly compromise the surface finish. In most situations, a spray wax like RW4 will be even more reliable than PVA because it's applied by spray, it doesn't run the risk of fish-eying and missing areas.


Paulina De Luca
Do these parts have to be cured in high temperatures?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Paulina, no, this is all ambient temperature cure. When we do the forged carbon process in the next video, that's also all done at ambient temperature so no oven or additional equipment required.

Miller Chassis
Is there a version of the TC80 product that can handle preprep cure temperatures?
Easy CompositesMatt
Good question. Not as an 'off-the-shelf' product but we suspect a good high temperature equivalent could be made by combining our EL160 high temperature epoxy with powdered aluminium and (possibly) some aluminium trihydroxide (filler) to produce a high temperature casting material with the right thermal properties. We did anticipate this question and plan to do some tests to evaluate this combination of materials. We're pretty sure it would work fine. We'd probably recommend using our EG160 high-temp gelcoat to improve the polishability of these moulds, if they're for prepreg production.

Thomas Becker
Realistically, what's the upper limit of complexity and size part this method can be used for? It seems like an up-gunned version of squish-casting polyurethane resin in rubber molds to produce thin-wall parts (model car bodies, tail lights, etc.).
Easy CompositesMatt
It's hard to define an upper limit on either size or complexity. In terms of size, practical considerations would come in here - these tools are solid, so they're heavy, and the have to be clamped (or pressed) together evenly, and you need to handle the alignment during compression and demoulding and so the upper size limit might be constrained by what size all these things would be practical up to. In terms of the complexity; well, you would probably want to limit to components that can be moulded (and demoulded!) using a two-part tool. In all our testing and development, we've really been thinking about this process for relatively small, but potentially quite complex, 3D moulded shapes. Our examples are a linkage, a clutch cover and a brake lever, these would be very suitable components for this process.

LEAVE A COMMENT OR QUESTION

Note: Your name will be abbreviated and your email address will only be used to email you the answer directly

USED IN THIS PROJECT

Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, the following tools and materials, supplied by Easy Composites, were used in this project.

The quantity shown below is the approximate amount used in the project rounded up to the nearest available kit size or quantity.

ANCILLARIES
Newplast Plasticine 500g White Thumbnail
PLASTNewplast Plasticine 500g White£1.62 /each

Plastic Demoulding Wedge Medium Thumbnail
PA-W-MPlastic Demoulding Wedge Medium£1.89 /each

Miracle Gloss Mould Release Wax 100g Thumbnail
MRW-8-100Miracle Gloss Mould Release Wax 100g£6.50 /tin

Soft Filleting and Filling Wax 325g Thumbnail
FILLWAX-330Soft Filleting and Filling Wax 325g£6.17 /block

Composites Laminating Brush 1" (25mm) Individual Thumbnail
BR-LAM-1Composites Laminating Brush 1" (25mm) Individual£0.60 /each

Calibrated Mixing Cup 2240ml Thumbnail
CALMIXCUP2240Calibrated Mixing Cup 2240ml£0.79 /each

Total £0.00
MOULD MAKING MATERIALS
TC80 Tool Cast Epoxy Casting Resin 5.3kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-TC80-5TC80 Tool Cast Epoxy Casting Resin 5.3kg Kit£58.75 /kit

Total £0.00

DISCUSSION (9)

Please share any questions or comments you may have about this video tutorial.


netmaster78
Do you guys have a resin which could be used to bolt onto a rather hot surface like a cylinder head? I would like to build an adapter for an intake system and looking for a suitable resin to cast it.
Easy CompositesMatt
We have a new version of this resin coming out soon, called TC160, it's essentially the same product but with a service temperature of 160'C. If you need a higher service temperature than about 180'C then there aren't many conventional casting resins that would be suitable. It also depends whether you need thermal conductivity in the cast product or not, and also whether weight (or density, to be more specific) is important. If weight isn't critical then something like TC160 might be suitable, if weight is important then the aluminium filler in these 'tool cast' systems would probably rule them out in the basis of density (i.e. the part would be heavier than it needs to be, if it doesn't need the thermal conductivity).

Wormyyyxd
Awesome video as per usual. What is the difference between regular carbon fibre and forged carbon fibre?
Easy CompositesMatt

Thanks mainly to Lamborghini, over the last few years, the phrase 'forged' carbon has come to mean composite components made using short strand, randomly oriented carbon fibre, moulded under pressure. It differs from components laminated using more traditional formats of carbon fibre (i.e. woven carbon fibre cloth) in that the shorter strands of carbon can move around in the laminate, allowing them to fill more complex mould shapes under pressure in a way that woven or long-strand unidirectional fibre won't do. The compromise though is ultimate strength - components made with long strand unidirectional or woven reinforcement will be stronger and can exploit optimised fibre orientation (i.e. fibres aligned in the direction where strength is most needed) to produce components with better mechanical properties. In short, forged carbon compromises on strength but provides a material that can 'flow' better in compression moulding, meaning it can be used in a way that woven or UD materials cannot.


capnthepeafarmer
Great work, Paul! I really appreciate the detailed steps shown here. Question though, why is it called "forged"? I'm a mechanical engineer and semantics and nomenclature are important to me, so "forged" doesn't really fit this process. Why isn't it called compression molding like you said?
Easy CompositesMatt

Good question. We're engineers too and they matter to us as well so we did have several conversations about this internally before making the video! I'll try to provide a detailed reply of where we got to on our thinking:

First of all, this isn't our name for the process, it's a fairly well-established way to describe compression moulded short strand carbon fibre - mainly because Lamborghini have been calling it 'forged carbon' and using it extensively for a few years now. Calling it anything else would require active effort (and mean a lot of people interested in 'forged carbon' don't find our information).

Secondly, on the etymology of the word 'forged', both in an established engineering context, and in its suitability and applicability in a composites context (regardless of whether Lamborghini and others were using it) we don't think it's far from the mark. Whilst 'forged' means something specific in a context of forming metal, the word forged also means "formed by pressing or hammering with or without heat" (Merriam Webster dictionary) or "to make or produce something, especially with some difficulty" (Cambridge dictionary). Given that the process - in this context - refers to compression moulding under pressure, this description does seems pretty apt.

Whilst you could certainly call a 'forged' carbon fibre part 'compression moulded carbon', you could actually call most carbon fibre parts 'compression moulded' because many processes - vacuum bagging, prepreg, SMC etc, are all forms of compression moulding. Forged carbon is a way of differentiating compression moulding short strand carbon from traditional woven or long strand reinforcement. The short strands being key to the process in allowing the reinforcement to 'flow' more easily to conform to the mould contours under pressure in a rigid tool, something that doesn't happen with woven or long strand reinforcement (leading to voiding).


TheZapper
For smaller parts you could make the molds very easily with a 3D printer. Design the part you want to cast then subtract it from a solid block to get the mold. A resin printer might be better for small objects as you can print the mold solid better than with a FDM printer and a better surface finish
Easy CompositesMatt

Yes, indeed. In the accompanying video (which we'll be releasing next week hopefully) we use 3D printed moulds, alongside this solid cast one, to produce the forged carbon parts. Resin printing is potentially good for producing solid 3D prints but does often compromise the dimensional accuracy, certainly in our experience anyway, but yes, they do yield a better surface finish.


Scott Watrous
I imagine this process is particularly good for detailed parts and also bypasses all of the effort of vacuum bagging?
Easy CompositesWarren

Although it bypasses vacuum bagging itself, there is still a reasonable amount of force applied in the compression stage which replicates some of the forces involved in vacuum bagging. That helps with fibre consolidation and removing excess resin.


Tom
Is the RW4 a good PVA alternative? Would the texture it leaves sand out ok as I would be using S120 in mould anyway.
Easy CompositesMatt

Hi Tom, yes, you can definitely use RW4 is situations where you might also consider PVA release agent; they're similar in that they are both extremely reliable but do slightly compromise the surface finish. In most situations, a spray wax like RW4 will be even more reliable than PVA because it's applied by spray, it doesn't run the risk of fish-eying and missing areas.


Paulina De Luca
Do these parts have to be cured in high temperatures?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Paulina, no, this is all ambient temperature cure. When we do the forged carbon process in the next video, that's also all done at ambient temperature so no oven or additional equipment required.

Miller Chassis
Is there a version of the TC80 product that can handle preprep cure temperatures?
Easy CompositesMatt
Good question. Not as an 'off-the-shelf' product but we suspect a good high temperature equivalent could be made by combining our EL160 high temperature epoxy with powdered aluminium and (possibly) some aluminium trihydroxide (filler) to produce a high temperature casting material with the right thermal properties. We did anticipate this question and plan to do some tests to evaluate this combination of materials. We're pretty sure it would work fine. We'd probably recommend using our EG160 high-temp gelcoat to improve the polishability of these moulds, if they're for prepreg production.

Thomas Becker
Realistically, what's the upper limit of complexity and size part this method can be used for? It seems like an up-gunned version of squish-casting polyurethane resin in rubber molds to produce thin-wall parts (model car bodies, tail lights, etc.).
Easy CompositesMatt
It's hard to define an upper limit on either size or complexity. In terms of size, practical considerations would come in here - these tools are solid, so they're heavy, and the have to be clamped (or pressed) together evenly, and you need to handle the alignment during compression and demoulding and so the upper size limit might be constrained by what size all these things would be practical up to. In terms of the complexity; well, you would probably want to limit to components that can be moulded (and demoulded!) using a two-part tool. In all our testing and development, we've really been thinking about this process for relatively small, but potentially quite complex, 3D moulded shapes. Our examples are a linkage, a clutch cover and a brake lever, these would be very suitable components for this process.

LEAVE A COMMENT OR QUESTION

Note: Your name will be abbreviated and your email address will only be used to email you the answer directly

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