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Old 09-25-2008, 11:54 AM   #1
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Default Tools to cut carbon fiber chassis or radio deck

I have search Rctech and can't find a good place to post it, so I am trying to post here and see anyone has any experience for the right tools to do carbon fiber chassis or upper deck/radio deck for nitro car....

I have a budget of $1000 USD and less. Cannot afford CNC machine (new or used) and have seen mini-mills from $400 to $800....wondering Mini-mills (or called MICRO-MILLS) are the right tools to use to cut carbon fiber chassis?

I understand it still required a lot of hand works (marking and drilling without computer cad assist)...but that is the budget we can afford.

I too understand most of these micro mill does not travel more then 11" long (TC chassis can be easily 12" or longer)...but with our budget, I think I can do that 2 pass by cutting the chassis 2 times. We are doing this for ourself, not for production or sales...

Please share some opinion....thanks



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Old 09-25-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Most machines that do cut carbon fiber are high speed and you have to use carbide bits. You must have a very good sealed place to put your machine as the carbon dust can be dangerous. You can try and set something up that will cut the carbon fiber just under some water to eliminate the dust. A good place to ask for answers will be rcgroups, they have a section just for the machinests.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:29 PM   #3
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I've built a few things from carbon fiber. It's not that hard to work with. As with anything else, it's measure twice, cut once. Preferable, measure 10 times, and cut once, slowly.

Here's a list of what I use.

Dremel w/extension cable
Dremel cut off wheel
Dremel sanding drums
a small file
sandpaper
cordless drill w/ high speed setting
VERY sharp drill bit
various measuring tools (metal rules, Vernier calipers, etc)
an awl for scoring the surface where you're going to cut

And most importantly, a good quality gas mask/personal air filter/dust mask...whatever you want to call it. Just don't breath that crap in.

Work in a well ventillated area, preferably with a strong cross flow of air. Those little bits of carbon fiber dust get right into your skin. If you thought fiberglass insulation was annoying, you aint seen nothin' yet!

Jim
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Solara View Post
I have search Rctech and can't find a good place to post it, so I am trying to post here and see anyone has any experience for the right tools to do carbon fiber chassis or upper deck/radio deck for nitro car....

I have a budget of $1000 USD and less. Cannot afford CNC machine (new or used) and have seen mini-mills from $400 to $800....wondering Mini-mills (or called MICRO-MILLS) are the right tools to use to cut carbon fiber chassis?

I understand it still required a lot of hand works (marking and drilling without computer cad assist)...but that is the budget we can afford.

I too understand most of these micro mill does not travel more then 11" long (TC chassis can be easily 12" or longer)...but with our budget, I think I can do that 2 pass by cutting the chassis 2 times. We are doing this for ourself, not for production or sales...

Please share some opinion....thanks




Howard-

Most of the "hobby" grade mills and drill presses will not be able to do with any repeatability what you will need, let alone be able to index a chassis for 2 cuts along an axis and hold a somewhat close tolerance. i am not saying that it can't be done, it will just be difficult and time consuming.

There are to many variables with leadscrew backlash, play in the gibs, as well as spindle run out and as stated cost of carbide end mills. Then you need indicators and all the related goodies that go with the maching trades.( my boxes are under the drivers stand collecting dust). Better to find a LHS who subs out work to a machining house , most times it is a flat hourly rate if you supply the material.
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:22 PM   #5
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Find a local machine shop with a CNC milling machine and the ability to do what you want.

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Old 09-25-2008, 03:52 PM   #6
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I've seen people have problems getting enough table travel out of those little mills as well. I'd go with find a local machine shop to help you out..
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:03 PM   #7
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Find a local machine shop with a CNC milling machine and the ability to do what you want.

Dave
yeah that.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:07 PM   #8
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Penguin RC does custom work...not sure what file format they need the CAD drawing in though.
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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...or, you could just bust out your Dremel and have at it...really, you don't need all that stuff. Why overcomplicate and spend more than you need to?
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Old 09-25-2008, 08:16 PM   #10
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GUYS....thank you very much. I think you guys already answered my question...

I will save my $1000 and draw up my CAD file and forward that to the machine shop and let them deal with the carbon fiber dust...really, thanks, you guys make it very easy for me to make my decision.

P.S....Eric, I have a feeling you know the right place that do the custom work RIGHT...?
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Old 09-25-2008, 08:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solara View Post
GUYS....thank you very much. I think you guys already answered my question...

I will save my $1000 and draw up my CAD file and forward that to the machine shop and let them deal with the carbon fiber dust...really, thanks, you guys make it very easy for me to make my decision.

P.S....Eric, I have a feeling you know the right place that do the custom work RIGHT...?
Hey Solara you can always contact Jason at BMI
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:04 PM   #12
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I used to have access to a waterjet No worries about carbon dust

We used it to cut out a ton of stuff for our 1:1 race car including carbon fiber dash panels. It would cut through 1in. thick aluminum like butter.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:59 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Solara View Post
GUYS....thank you very much. I think you guys already answered my question...

I will save my $1000 and draw up my CAD file and forward that to the machine shop and let them deal with the carbon fiber dust...really, thanks, you guys make it very easy for me to make my decision.

P.S....Eric, I have a feeling you know the right place that do the custom work RIGHT...?
Yea, he has experience with CF, modified a bunch of motor end bells and steering parts for one of the guys here, generally has a quick turn around time w/ 2 multi axis CNC's. Added bonus, he Races Outlaw Sprint Cars
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:02 AM   #14
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Yea, he has experience with CF, modified a bunch of motor end bells and steering parts for one of the guys here, generally has a quick turn around time w/ 2 multi axis CNC's. Added bonus, he Races Outlaw Sprint Cars
I will have pay a visit at your store soon then....afterall, nitro season is over, lipo and brushless is BACKKKKKKKKKKKKk....thanks Eric.
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