Nov 9, 2016

The main goal for this session of the course is to learn the necessary steps to make composites. We are asked to:

  • Read the materials safety datasheet and technical datasheets for the resins.
  • Design and fabricate a 3D mold and produce a fiber composite part in it.

1. Design

For this session, I decided to design something not very complex. I chose a fruit bowl as I don't have one at home and it will be useful.

I designed the mold in Rhino. I wanted the bowl to be kind of geometric. So I downloaded a geodesic sphere pluguin for Rhino and I used the boolean difference to remove the top and bottom parts from it.

I wanted the bowl to be higher than the material itself, so I had to stick two pieces of foam together in order to make it higher. I used Gorilla Glue.

When the foam was properly stuck, I screwed it to the wood.

Once the mold was finished, I proceeded to cut the pieces of burlap.

I then prepared all the materials necessary to add the resin:

  • Glue
  • Burlap
  • Resin and Hardener
  • Transparent film or aluminium film
  • Bleeder Breather
  • Transparent red film with holes

Once I had the materials ready, I put the mold inside the bag and attached the air pump to it. This step was a bit of a nightmare as a lot of the bags had holes on them and the air would never get sucked. So I spent some time trying to figure out what was happening. I then realized and changed the bag.

When I came back after more than 3 hours, the resin was finally dry. I removed the model from the bag and realized than the mold was completely stuck to the model. So I had to break the mold completely to take it out.

Tom showed me how to use the small hand saw to cut the piece in order to have a nice contour and remove the top messy bits.

And this is the final result:

Things I did right:

  • The mold was nice and well milled.
  • I used a small saw to try and fix the contour of my bowl. It looked nicer.

Things I did wrong:

  • Too much glue
  • Pieces of burlap with wrong sizes and not placed properly.