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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm joining the party a little late....

I had some boosted plans for this bike, but life has changed suddenly and my wife has now hit me with a deadline of...oh about 8 1/2 months or so. :thumbsup: At that point I may not have much time to spend in the shop. So this Ape is staying naturally aspirated.

2002 Aprilia RSV Mille

I've already done some "work" before the buildoff. It all includes taking shit apart and essentially making the bike worthless until I can finish this and get it back on the road.




Plans include:
Chopped subframe
custom carbon tail
custom bodywork and paint
custom exhaust
Dirty bars

Fairly straightforward, right? Maybe I can actually finish then.
 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've been working crazy amounts of overtime at work, so not much actual build progress. But I've been making money and spending it just as quickly. The boxes have been rolling in...

 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So I've decided to tackle the exhaust and mounts first. That way when I sculpt the tail I'll have all the lines of the exhaust laid out.

first I mocked up the exhaust to figure out exactly where I want it.





Then I made an aluminum mock up mount. I'm going to make the heel guards act as the exhaust mounts.





The aluminum pieces are kinda fugly at this stage. But they are just going to be used to to get the correct profile and help make a mold for the carbon pieces.

That's all for now.
 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Big Update:

Like most of us, work and family have kept me busy. I have been able to work on the bike a little at a time, but I haven't had much time on the computer.

This next stage is a step-by-step of making a carbon part using Vacuum Infusion (VARTM).
For my profession, I make prototype composite parts for the aerospace industry. For this project I tried to mix "industry practices" with "garage practices". In a couple of instances I made things harder for myself and kinda got the worst of both worlds. I would do a couple of steps differently next time but more about that later....

From the aluminum plate mounts, I bondo d them to a plate and primed it. I made sure to have a draft on the sidewalls so there wasn't an undercut that would prevent demolding.



This is the step I'd change next time. At work we don't use PVA and wax as a release, we use a chemical release that is essentially liquid Teflon, called Frekote. The problem was the Frekote wasn't compatible with Rattle can primer. So I decided to wipe the buck with resin to seal it off. That just created more work. I had to sand the resin smooth and I never was able to get the surface quality I had originally. Lesson learned: when making a mold from buck or existing part, just use wax and PVA.



After moving forward and releasing the buck, it's time to mask things up and apply the epoxy gel coat. I decided to use all epoxies on my project, again because that's what I'm used to at work. Polyester is cheaper, but epoxy is higher quality and strength. The thing is you have to go all or nothing when choosing a resin system. Meaning you shouldn't make a polyester mold and then try to make a epoxy carbon part. If you are planning an infusion or even a wet layup with a vacuum bag, you'll want to make sure you make yourself a flange on your mold.



I applied two thick coats of gel coat waiting for them to get tacky in between. Next time I'll put on thinner coats as I had a few very small air bubbles.





After the gel coat gets tacky enough where it is still sticky but doesn't come of on you finger when you touch it then it's ready to layup on.

This part is messy so I didn't take many pictures. I started with 3 layers of thin glass (2oz), 3 layers of medium (6oz), 3 layers of 8oz, and I put some heavy duty boat glass around the flanges for shits and giggle because it was lying around. Wet out each layer with resin. Don't feel like you need to try to use one piece of cloth to cover your whole part especially if you have some complex shape or sharp corners. You can cut slits or quilt in smaller pieces. But you absolutely don't want airbubbles or voids in your mold.

 

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perfectly imperfect
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Next I bagged the layup. I pulled of the tape I put down prior the layup so there was a clean area for the bagging tape. Put release film over the part. Perforate the release with a knife or something sharp, this will allow excess resin to get pulled out. I like to crinkle the release a loosely drape it over the part, so it can conform to the part. Don't try to stretch it over the part because you'll get bridging in the corners.



Next comes the breather and the bottom of the vacuum valve. Then put on the bagging film. You'll want to make pleats if your part has any sort of dimension. Don't expect the bag to conform in the corners.



Suck it down



Let it cure. Then demold. Clean up the edges and wetsand the surface if you desire. Remember the surface of your final part will be EXACTLY the same as your mold.



Here I got into the groove and neglected my photographic duties. I prepped and released the mold. I decided to make the part 5 layers of carbon. One layer 3k, 3 of 12k, and one more 3k. The first ply that will be visible I just oriented the fibers in the direction that would look best on the final parts. All subsequent plies, I varied the orientation. This is always a good idea if the part needs strength. But you should still do it even if the part is purely cosmetic so the part doesn't "potato chip" when you demold it. You can paint on a clear top coat in to your mold first, but I didn't want to spend the money so I just brushed on the resin I would later be infusing with. All the internal layers you can use a very light dusting of spray tack to keep them in place. Over the carbon put peel ply so everything doesn't stick to your part. The peel ply also traps all the excess resin. Then put down a layer of flow media over the whole thing, making sure it come in contact with the tubing. The tubing I used is MTI hose. It's bad ass and supposedly make infusions dummy-proof. This is my first time using it and I wouldn't do it any other way. Google it and there are many how-to videos so I won't go into it too much. It's a spiral tubing with a membrane over it that you hook up the vacuum side. The membrane allows air through but not resin. It eliminates all the need for a catch can. You can also introduce the resin from just one point and it'll make it around to your whole part. Seriously cool shit. Google it.





So I pulled down the vacuum with the MTI hose. I had another tube (that is clamped off), going to pot o resin. Once you're ready, release the clamp and watch it infuse. Once the resin has made it everywhere, clamp of the resin. Let it sit and cure if it is room temp resin or throw it in the oven if it needs heat.



Not bad for my first VARTM. I'm sure I could get better with practice but this isn't my favorite method to be honest. I know it has certain applications where it is valuable. More for manufacture many multi layer parts that aren't crazy complicated. For us, maybe it would be cool for something like this or facemasks. But I wouldn't do it this way for tail sections, airboxes or anything more three dimensional or with 2 part molds. I'd stick with traditional wet layup and vacuum bagging. Or save your pennies, get a freezer and some prepreg.

I'm a little iced in at the moment here in NC. Next week I'll trim and drill the parts and mount them on the bike. Eventually I will be wetsanding and painting. I hope this was interesting to some. I would be glad to answer any question on this process or any other carbon or fiberglass process. Thanks
 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I trimmed and drilled the hangers and mocked up the exhaust. I'm pretty pleased. These hangers are untraditional for sure. Possibly there is a reason no one else mounts them like this. But I wanted to give it a try anyway. They do flex a little. But I'll just wait and see when the engine is running and I'm riding down the road, if they are jiggling around too much I'll just fab some normal aluminum ones and hang em from the subframe. I'm loving this exhaust so far.:rock:





The carbon pieces still need paint and clear and some new hardware. I need to fab a link pipe from the header to the left side pipe. The right side is perfect as is!
 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some decent progress, but I'm shitty at taking pictures while I'm in work mode


I fabbed up a mid pipe for the akro exhaust. The pics don't show but that is actually kind of a tricky S bend. I got lucky with some scrap I had lying around and a few pie cuts and it fits.


I took the bike to work and have been doing some more carbon work. I skipped a lot of pics but here we go...

This is a rear fender from the aprilia and a front from my RC. I made them lighter



Made a flange from thin gauge steel and built up a filet


Wax and PVA


Gel coat and fiber glass (not pictured)


Demold and clean it up


Bring on the Prepreg. I cut out specific shapes with the weave going in the directions I wanted. I didn't have a bunch of prepreg, so after I cured out the first layer I did a wet layup over the prepreg to add more strength.



Demold


I trimmed the edges and here we go. I'm happy with the results. I still need to clear and paint. This is just an alcohol wash but you get the idea. I'll be fabbing metal mounts to mount it to the bike.


 

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That looks amazing!

I can't believe how easy you make the custom carbon fibre work look. I'm looking forward to the rest of this build with anticipation!! Subscribed :)
 

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perfectly imperfect
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the props guys. Progress has been slow and I obviously didn't make the buildoff deadline. I do have some further progress pics that I'll put in a member projects thread. Thanks for following
 

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Stupid motherfucker
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I know I shouldn't be posting here, but man. You make the carbon fibre plenum I've been attempting look like a small, retarded childs attempt at replicating the Sistene Chapel. Some awesome info there man, thanks for sharing.
 
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