They have significant discounts when buying larger quantities.
Can you describe your project a little ? Are you planning to build something from the ground up with a steel tube chassis and carbon fiber body, or are you talking about a monocoque chassis made from carbon fiber as well ?
I thought you had to use prepreg carbon fiber for structural load stuff (for topic poster).
I've heard that carbon fiber which is laid like fiberglass is just not strong enough to withstand structural stresses. It is good for weight savings on non-load-bearing parts.
Pre-impregnated carbon fiber has the resin built into weave and it is baked in a huge oven (autoclave) to bring it to full hardness and strength. The autoclave produces high temperatures and high pressures....and autoclaves are crazy expensive and HUGE.
If someone has info that contradicts this or knows different from personal experience, please say so...I was going to do a carbon fiber chassis but am leaning towards aluminum not because of the cost of the carbon fiber but the cost of an autoclave to do it right.
Do I misunderstand, or am I only getting half of the story?
Wet lay up.
With wet lay up you just wet out your fabric in the mold. If you are using polyester resin you have to do this, it doesn't like to vacuumed. You also cannot use any type of honeycomb core material with wet lay up because you will flood the cells with resin. It's hard to control the resin to fiber ratio with wet layup so your parts will always be the heaviest and weakest of any method. You also may have air pockets in the part that you can't eliminate. But many experimental airplanes have been built with only wet layup for the structure, you just have to know how to work around the problems.
You can add vacuum bagging on to wet layup to help reduce your resin content and reduce the number of air pockets.
Vacuum bagging and an autoclave.
Adding the autoclave increases the pressure on the part in the mold reducing further your resin content and air pockets.
Vacuum bagging and autoclave and pre-preg.
Pre-preg material guarantees a set resin amount for the most strength, and requires heat to cure it. You can also use honeycomb core material to greatly increase the strength, since there is no free resin to flood the cells.
I use a hybrid method.
I make my own "pre-preg" material by wetting the cloth out on a table, not in the mold, where I can control the amount of resin in the cloth. Then I put the impregnated cloth in the mold and vacuum bag it. This allows me to use honeycomb to make very light strong parts, and not need an oven to cure the epoxy.
But to answer your question, I would practice a lot before I attempted to make a structural part out of carbon fiber. Look around at the experimental aircraft sites, a lot of those planes home made are composites.
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