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Old 11-04-2014, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Carbon Fiber/Fiberglass

Does anyone do custom carbon fiber automotive body parts/panels? Would also consider fiberglass. When I search found engine hood/bonnet but really would like door panels. I already realize this is expensive and labor intensive but there are considerable weight shaving over steel doors.

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Old 11-05-2014, 08:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have done fiberglass and carbon fiber fabrication in the past. The skill is time consuming but not overly difficult. There are numerous web sources that are helpful if you are interested in doing the work yourself.

Most weight savings are more economically done by jettisoning the obvious unneeded items such as spare tires and sound deadening material.

Replacement comes next for items such as batteries and window glass as well as comfort items such as air conditioning and power windows and door locks.

Once you have completed such steps, then the structure and drive train are next. But, at that point, you might as well go for a radical redesign as the time/cost benefits can be extrapolated into the passenger packaging and aerodynamic improvements.

With all that being said, the advantages of carbon fiber over steel/aluminum construction are only beneficial in the most extreme of cases. However, the cool factor is priceless.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can't find composite doors? I thought those are pretty common. The concern with those is that they don't have crash beams in them, although I would think that you can put them in somehow. Considering how the door is right next to you, maybe it's better to use a metal door so that it doesn't shatter or crack in a collision. Aluminum doors are probably out of the question though.

I would replace the hood, trunk, roof, and fenders with carbon or fiberglass before doing the doors. And I would replace the battery and wheels before replacing any body panels. Body panels would be nice to do on an old beater car with a lot of dents that you can pick up super cheap, since getting the dents out and repainting costs as much as a new panel, and an aftermarket composite panel is not much more than an OEM steel panel.
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why not hemp plastic

in 1941 Henry Ford made a car body from hemp plastic and it was about 10 times stronger then steel ,yet lighter,,there's a vid on YT of him pounding a sledge hammer on it without damaging or denting it,,
Which makes me wonder why arent any car manufacturers pursuing this very natural green product,which would be also good for farmers..
Maybe some of you young entrepreneurs could look if it's feasible to do today

I'm unable to post links ,so to see it search for ;hemp car on YT
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That is just the type of crazy story I expect to find on-line.

Hey guys! Look what I found!

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean_Car:
Quote:
The Soybean car, more recently referred to as the Hemp body car, was a car build with agricultural plastic. Although the formula used to create the plasticized panels has been lost, it is conjectured that the first iteration of the body was made partially from soybeans and Hemp. The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body. It was made by Henry Ford's auto company in Dearborn, Michigan, through the work of scientist/botanist George Washington Carver and was introduced to public view on August 13, 1941.
How do you change "build" to "built?"

Quote:
Because of World War II all US automobile production was curtailed considerably, and the plastic car experiment basically came to a halt. By the end of the war the plastic car idea went into oblivion. According to Lowell Overly, the prototype car was destroyed by Bob Gregorie.
Quote:
Ford wished to make his new plastic material a replacement for the metals used in normal cars. A side benefit would have been easing of the shortage of metal during World War II.
I guess that it did not ease the shortage enough.

Quote:
The frame of this automobile was made of tubular steel, to which were attached some fourteen plastic panels, said to be "only a quarter of an inch (6 mm) thick." The windows were made of acrylic sheets. All of this led to a reduction in weight from 2500 pounds for a typical car to 1900 pounds, a reduction in weight of about 25 per cent.
Quote:
Lowell Overly, the person who had the most influence in creating the car, says it was "...soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation."
Quote:
A report circulating on the Internet shows a film from 1941 about the plastic car in the opening credits as being the plastic soybean car, but at the end part it shows images of Henry Ford striking a hammer or axe onto a trunk lid. It is not the Soybean Car he is hitting, but Ford's personal car with a plastic panel of the same material on the trunk, and the hammer had a rubber boot placed on the sharp end of the ax.
Quote:
"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the (hemp) fields?"—Henry Ford
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Carbon Fiber is only worth the money if its replacement of a structural member. Door panels are not structural. It does not come to contact with any forces other than the wind sliding and buffeting against it. If you replace the side protectors with CF bars, that would different. The steel cylinders are hollow yet there is enough mass to be saved with CF compared with thin skin doors.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Some race/drag/performance vehicle go with fiberglass/carbon fiber/lexan(window) combination for door panels.
Toyota has invested in a carbon fiber loom and plant they did a some concept vehicles.
Toyota like Ford are going to lightweight body panels and going with more aluminum mfg capacity. I believe almost all of the Tesla vehicle is aluminum majority aluminum content.

In seeking lighter body panels I found on the web.
Seibon
Car ID
Taylor (fiberglass) (Texas)
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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steel skin

There may be some safety considerations that would favor the steel skin.The cars crash behavior may be predicated upon how that skin will crumple during an impact,absorbing kinetic energy of the collision in a way not possible with composite.Don't know.
Find a wrecked door at a body shop,cut the skin away and weigh it.See what kind of weight savings you're looking at.
144-man-hours/square-ft,@ $40/hour might be an estimate for creating the plugs/molds/trim fixtures/layups/vacuum-bagging/autoclaving,etc.to create the skins.Plus materials.
Just the skins.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Get the Seibon hood if you really want to spend money, but honestly there are so many more reasonable and effective modifications to do that I wonder why you'd even bother for anything short of a professionally driven race car.

If you still insist, just call a place like this to get a rough idea on cost. http://www.rcfabrication.net/automotiveparts.aspx
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Home fabrication versus shop.

There are far cheaper ways of fabricating a carbon fiber part than the procedure of mold making, layup, vacuum bagging and infusion. That is a standard method of producing near perfect parts with measured performance targets of resin to fiber ratios and little to no inclusion flaws.

Simple hand layup over a foam buck that will become part of the structure is far less time consuming and less costly if not as tight in part tolerance.

As far as crash resistance, you might find information on allied use of composites. Judicious application of Kevlar fibers as well as aluminum sheets can result in tremendous strength and energy absorbing abilities.

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