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View Full Version here: : Carbon Fibre Top Plates -DIY


glend
18-08-2017, 04:56 PM
I fab'ed a quick carbon fibre top plate for my TS80 APO, so that I can mount my ZWO 60mm guide scope on top. Any other solution was going to cost money and add weight, and I had the sheet carbon fibre left over from my 10" imaging newt build, so why not.

Photos are attached. I have enough carbon left to make a top plate for my larger APO when I get around to it.

Its easy to find carbon fibre for this sort of thing, plenty on ebay. It's not the easiest stuff to work with, and you should wear a dust mask and safety glasses when cutting it. I cut mine out with a angle grinder with a thin cutoff wheel (ceramic). When drilling, use small pilot holes to start with to avoid wander and scratches.

For the structural engineers, it doesn't bend, twist, or sag. You could stand on it supported by two bricks on the ends and it would not give at all. Much lighter than alloy bar, and provides abit of 'steam punk' look.;)

ChrisV
19-08-2017, 10:57 AM
What sheet thickness do you use?

glend
19-08-2017, 11:34 AM
2.5mm. I know it seems thin but it does not flex, twist, or sag.

blink138
29-08-2017, 04:53 PM
fascinating!
pat

Wilso
05-09-2017, 06:26 PM
You have got me thinking now Glen. :thanx:
Going to have a go at laminating the carbon fibre sheets together to make a losmondy d type plate.(only 200mm) long + light weight for my travel scope.
Seems you can machine the carbon fibre similar to metal only the router and drill bits will dull faster. You also have to use slower feed rates as it is a hard material. Thanks for the inspiration, I'll let you know how I get on the next couple of weeks.

glend
05-09-2017, 07:03 PM
Great idea Darren. Yes machining it is a problem. I have used a jig saw to cut out my shapes, for both the top plate and my cooled DSLR cold finger support bracket. A fine metal saw blade worked. You must clamp the carbon fibre solidly. If your tool goes too slow it can grab, so try on a piece of scrap before you commit. I have used my Dremel tools for some detail work. For drilling use a small pilot hole first. I suggest leaving the plastic cover sheet on the carbon fibre while you cut and machine it, this protects the fine smooth finish from scratches. If your laminating sheets together, you have to rough the surfaces your joining by sanding through the clear finish and use a good boat building epoxy to join the sheets. Don't buy any old Bunnings epoxy, they are all hydroscopic and will deteriourate over time when exposed to moisture. International (aka Epiglass) HT9000 resin and hardener are what i use. You can buy it in small kits at any BCF store and most boat equipment stores like Whitworths.
BTW, get yourself some good dust masks to avoid inhaling the carbon dust, and wear gloves, i used latex gloves when handling it as the cut fibres can stick into your skin just like fibre glass filaments. Wear safety glasses. Good luck. I would like to see your Losmandy plate design.

Wilso
05-09-2017, 07:26 PM
Thanks for the tips Glen.
We use a lot of different metal types at work.
I think it will be similar to stainless steel to work with.
Will dig abit deeper about laminating carbon fibre though.
;)

Wilso
24-09-2017, 07:01 PM
Almost finished the carbon fibre losmondy style plate.
Just have to bore the mounting holes.
I used 3mm plain weave matt finish carbon fibre sheet, epoxy bonded using methacrylate structural adhesive (vuduglu vm100 black). Make sure you adhere to the saftey precautions for both these products - nasty stuff

Made the plate in a few stages. Cut all the sheet to required size. Epoxy the top half of the plate together x3 and the dovetail x2 sections. Machine the angle to suit losmondy style plate to finished dimensions and then epoxy to the top half.
Simple!

Easy project to do, only used a 4" angle grinder with ultra thin stainless cutting blade and a fine metal sanding disc. The carbon fibre is quite easy to cut using high speed. You could also use a router or trimmer would work as well.

Highly recommend project, come in cheaper than buying new (labour not included) :D

glend
24-09-2017, 09:19 PM
That looks great Darren, congratulations. How do you think the finished weight compares?

LewisM
25-09-2017, 09:15 AM
One other word of caution - in the RC world and some automotive areas, reports are coming in about the China sourced CF plates as being NOT CF plates at all, but rather fibreglass plates with a faux-CF top layer. Strength is nowhere near real CF, so it would be wise to purchase from a REPUTABLE source, not say Alibaba or eBay.

Great idea, just make sure your CF is CF!

Wilso
25-09-2017, 09:06 PM
Yeah the edge of the product will always give it away if it's not carbon fibre.
On the edge you should have no colour differential and can see the lines of fibre used. Just with the naked eye I think it was over 15 layers in 3mm as a guesstimate (need a magnifying glass).
The weight saving was only at about +40 % but losmondy plates are skelletonized and with multiple mounting holes.

Overall an enjoyable project with about 4hrs effort .
(Probably did the same on research and you tube) :lol:

Boozlefoot
22-12-2017, 05:52 PM
I've been using steel for so long now........thinking this is definitely a change for the better. Next build, CF it is!

Wilso
22-12-2017, 07:17 PM
Just to confirm I counted 12 sheets of fibre in the 3mm carbon fibre plate.
Used my new made ingermany magnifying loupe from China :lol:
Works good enough for my requirements.
Was so impressed with my first attempt results I have decided to make another dovetail mounting plate.

Cheers