Carbon Fiber With 3D Printing

Carbon Fiber With 3D Printing

[Thomas Sanladerer] wanted to make 3D prints using carbon fiber and was surprised that it was fairly inexpensive and worked well, although he mentions that the process is a bit intense. You can learn what he found out in the video below.

He used an advanced PLA that can endure more temperature than normal PLA. That’s important because the process uses heat and the carbon fiber resin will produce heat as it cures. The first step was to print a mold and, other than the material, that was pretty straightforward.

Wet sanding was quick because he simply wanted to remove any gross imperfections. The next step is to put a UV resin on the mold to prevent the carbon fiber resin from bonding to the plastic. The three layers of UV resin will stay on the mold.

The carbon fiber sheets are in different styles, as [Thomas] explains. Two mold-release compounds line the mold and you do need to wear a respirator and have adequate ventilation when working with all these resins and carbon fibers.

With the mold ready, you put down the actual carbon fiber resin and the sheets of material. Once you have all the layers of fiber and resin, you place a sheet of special paper on the back and wrap the whole thing in a cloth. The final step is to put the whole affair in a vacuum bag and then gently heat it.

The result was good, although the first attempt had some imperfections. The second test had problems releasing from the mold. But the third time was the charm. It looks like a lot of work and, of course, the 3D printer is really only making the mold — this same process would be true of any carbon fiber process where you had a mold or something to wrap.

Carbon fiber isn’t always made with a mold, of course. It can even take electroplating.

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