esk8.news esk8 calc donate now

Lets Make Some Composite ATB Decks :)

Lets make some composite ATB decks…

This is going to be a slow long term project. I will make updates here to keep a record of my progress.

I welcome constructive criticism and suggestions from previous experience.


deck


Methods:

There seems to be two approaches that have been used in the esk8 world when it comes to fully composite decks:

Prepreg composites. this method involves composite fabrics that have resin or thermoplastic already woven or impregnated into the fabric. This method uses an oven or autoclave to cure the composite into its final shape.

This example below looks to be made with a material called twintex or something very similar as far as I can tell:

OCCSPR042a_431191

twintex info 1
twintex info 2
twintex curing

I think if one was to make a deck in this method you would want a press with the shape of your deck on either side made out of a material you could put inside an autoclave. Like metal or wood. Then sandwich the twintex in between the two pieces of the mold and bake till golden brown.


Vacuum infusion. This method uses “dry fabrics” such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, and even natural fibers such as flax, like “jute”. Resin like epoxy is then pumped through the fabric under vacuum pressure and curing is done at room temperature.

This example below shows the use of carbon and fiberglass in one layup:

vacuum infusion video


I will use vacuum resin infusion to make my decks.

Mainly because I think it will be easier with the resources I have on hand…and I don’t want to make an autoclave :slight_smile:


What do we need?

1: The mold
2: Vacuum pump & consumables
3: Composite fabrics & epoxy resin


1: The Mold
I’m going to use my CNC to make the mold. I would like to cnc a master mold like we see in the video below…

cnc mold

Epoxy tooling board like we see above will be quite expensive at the size we need, roughly 1000mm x 120mm x 330mm OR 40in x 5in x 13in …RIP tooling board.

What else could we use that would be super cheap? XPS foam? MDF? Either one would be easy to machine and very cheap. We could coat the finished shape in epoxy and bring it up to a glossy finish.

cheap mold mats

After a little googling I realized commie California has banned XPS foam. RIP XPS. So that leaves me with MDF.

MDF

If I buy 5 pieces of this, cut length wise, stack them, and glue them we can get close enough to our desired dimensions.

Here’s an example of a MDF layup cut with a CNC. I think this method will do just fine:

large-mdf-blocks-finish-cut

The method for MFD molds with CNC machining per the interwebs looks to be rough cut, coat in epoxy thin enough to soak in, the MFD swells as it cures, then do a final finishing pass with the CNC to get our shape. It is suggested to thin the resin before application so it will soak in so we will use this mixed with some acetone:

epoxy resin

acetone

I will try this stuff to bring our mold up to a “class A” finish (example below):

epoxy aerisol spray option 1

or this

epoxy aerisol spray option 2

LC-PSPMSM-MoldSurface
finish details

My CNC bed is not large enough to cut the full 1000mm in one go. So I will cutting the mold in two sections and joining them together to make the final mold.

My cnc also does not have enough clearance in its stock setup so I will use these risers I made for a previous project.


2: Vacuum pump & consumables

For our purposes this pump should suffice:

vacuum pump

We also need something to catch resin, for this I will diy, something like this but not so F*ing ugly…

We also need…

butyl tape

vacuum film

infusion connector 10mm-12mm

vinyl tubing 10mm

spiral tube 10mm

infusion media

peel ply

masking tape

This diagram shows the methodology very clearly:


3: Composite fabrics & epoxy resin

Now we come to the real meat and potatoes. This part will take a lot more trial and error I feel as my exp with composites is limited I have done simple layups with fiberglass and ply wood, worked with pre made carbon fiber plates. But in both cases I was only going for rigidity. Not attempting something that has a specified flex based on payload weight (the rider).

I will update this section over the next couple days with more info on my fabric and resin selections.

27 Likes

Nice dude. Waiting to see what you come up with.

5 Likes

Short of an autoclave, if you want to get your resin to cure at higher temp, you can use an electric blanket under or over your laminate. Quite a few people building kiteboards or snowboards use them, I don’t see how it wouldn’t apply here.

6 Likes

Yo @Itsmedant get in here

3 Likes

Thank you for sharing, looking forward to see your progress

Will you be willing to share your mold file?

How much does it raise your X axis with those plates? 2" ?

FWIW resin adds the most weight, so the less resin you have in there, the lighter the final product.

4 Likes

I thought that the excess will get sucked up by the pump into a can, won’t it?

Something like this would be legit…

1 Like

“Will you be willing to share your mold file?”

Possibly, but they won’t do anyone much good expect me as they are going to be dialed in for my CNC. If you have a CNC and know how to use it making the files is trivial.

“How much does it raise your X axis with those plates? 2” ?"

3in

1 Like

Legit, but a little bit overkill for composites! Everything would be vaporized at those temps!

1 Like

XD true. I was more thinking precise temp control. I read that the curing of some pregreg requires stepping down the temp over a period of time… I think…

1 Like

Depends on the strength of the vacuum / compression.

A deck press almost makes more sense, but would then need a positive and negative mold.

4 Likes

That’s what you want!

3 Likes

machining a positive and negative would be very possible.

maybe if I made them just from solid wood, strip of something to keep the composite from adhering to the wood, then the prepreg stuff, repeat on the bottom…

idk

need to think about that.

might be a cheaper method in the long run…

4 Likes

this is dope. I’m gonna request a quote…

1 Like

You can use the same material used in vacuum bagging to prevent deck from sticking to mould.

But, awesome stuff BTW. I would definitely want to try it out some day.

2 Likes

Plus prepreg has an ideal ratio, and if you get the weave, easier to alternate orientation.

Make like 121c and check if you can get prepreg cutoffs somewhere for next to nothing like what they’re doing with the aerospace industry.

Just remember to keep it in cold storage.

4 Likes

I have noticed that Kaly uses prepreg for his decks. When soft it can be cut using shears, especially when doing layup one layer after the other.

2 Likes

interesting. I thought it was an infusion method.

so maybe prepreg is the way to go then…

I saw this and it made me think he was doing infusion. maybe the “secret sauce” is the ideal ratio that you get with prepreg! XD

4 Likes

pre-preg and an autoclave would make it a lighter-tighter situation… but faaak were riding 30lbs lightning sticks…

My Brother-in-law makes NASA spec CF as his day job, and takes the rems and makes awesome CF white-water and superb surf kayaks in the evening in his garage…

Do what you feel is best, and over-engineer it… what could go wrong?

7 Likes