Required tools - brush, nitrile gloves and mask.
Hand lay-up is a classic technology for carbon manufacturing of simple shapes, where you can use a physical detail as a positive mould for manufacturing of a carbon fiber copy. You don't need vacuum pump or any vacuum consumables for this technology, but you need a bit of hand treatment afterwards.
Before you start make sure that the temperature in your workshop is above 20°C, because the resin needs room temperature in order to be cured.
Step 1: PREPARE
You need to prepare your detail for the release agent. Clean the surface of your detail with degreaser or acetone - it depends if the detail is made from plastic, metal or other material. When it is clean you are ready to apply release agent - in most cases you should use standard PVA release agent. It is for single use, so when it is dry it will stick to the carbon detail. It is water solublе, so when the part is ready you can wash it with water. If you want to make carbon sheets the best option is to use simple glass - it is glossy and straight. If you want to use a physical detail to make a carbon copy - make sure it does not have negative angles, otherwise you cannot extract the cured carbon detail afterwards.
Step 2: MIX
When you are sure that the surface is dry and release agent is applied you can begin preparing the epoxy resin. We suggest to mix small portions of the epoxy resin in order to be sure that you have enough time to apply it before it cures. Standard epoxy resins for hand lamination (see our MULTIPOX PR227) has ca.40-50 minutes pot life (open time) before curing, so you have to act quick and laminate the carbon fiber fabric before the hardener starts reacting with the epoxy resin. Mixing ratio EPOXY RESIN to HARDENER in our case would be 100 : 40. This means that 100g of resin needs 40g of hardener to be mixed (40%). Stir thoroughly. You are ready to apply.
Step 3: APPLY
Apply 1 thin layer of resin with the brush onto the detail/surface. Make sure that there are no air bubbles. Then place 1 layer of carbon fiber fabric (see our 240g twill weave carbon fabric) and lay on top additional epoxy resin. Cover the entire surface carefully and with light pressure.
Step 4: CURE
For best results you may cure the detail a little bit, but not too much. Heat it with a heat gun from at least 30-40cm. This will help the air bubbles to dissapear and will increase the resin heat resistance. If your detail is from plastic keep it away from high temperature, because it can distort the whole project. 10-15 minutes should be enough to warm up the detail and help the initial curing cycle.
Step 5: SANDING
When the carbon detail is ready (typical after 24 hours) you can extract it and relese it from the model/surface. You will notice too much pin holes, which cannot be avoided without vacuum bagging. In order to cover the pinholes you have to sand the detail with at least 400-600 grit sand paper, then apply second layer of resin. After second curing cycle the pinholes should be less. Sand it again, but this time with at least 1000-2000 grit sand paper. Clean the detail and your surface should be pinhole free.
Step 5: FINISH
Trim the carbon detail with power tool trimmer. Clean everything and prepare for the finish layer of clearcoat. We recommend to apply two component clearcoat (lacquer), spray it professionally with spray gun in a booth. High quality clearcoats are UV resistant, which will prevent the carbon detail to become yellowish after years. Polish the cured clearcoat with polishing paste with a polishing pad.
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