Welcome to John's Blog World...

Welcome to my little sharing space--where I come to showcase some of my custom projects and to share "how-to" info with others out there. As a lifelong "maker", design enthusiast, and design professor, this blog explains some of the little projects I occasionally throw myself into, with the intent that I may help inspire others toward self-actualization and to show them how easy it really is to construct and realize their own ideas and dreams. As Brancusi said, "Create like a god, work like a slave."

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Composites Materials Fabrication Handbook #3--Another Shameless Plug

Still wondering how to build a good composite mold from an existing part, a clay model, or even a machined plug made from a 3D computer model? Maybe you want to make something without a mold at all using some off-the-shelf materials, but still want to give it the same strength as a typical composite part. Or, maybe still, you've got a hankerin' to understand how engineering analysis can be performed on a high performance part. Well, have I got a book for you! My latest book on composites, Composite Materials Fabrication Handbook #3, is now available for sale, and covers a wide variety of composite fabrication techniques that build on my previous two books. 

As with my previous books on composites, I've tried to incorporate answers to many of the questions that I frequently receive from students, readers, and composites enthusiasts. Each of these books has included progressively more complex projects, and this one fills in some of the gaps that existed in the prior two books. Here is a little "snippet" of some of this book's content:

  • Analyzing an existing part for moldability
  • Determining the most appropriate method to mold a part
  • Simplifying existing parts for better molding in composites
  • Adding positive and negative mold features based on an existing part
  • Addressing geometric constraints on parts that need to be replicated in composites
  • Preparing a part for replication using composite tooling
  • Applying epoxy surface coats in a lamination
  • Structural enhancements for effective, low-cost reinforcement of composite tooling
  • Creating location fixtures for secondarily bonded components used with composite tooling
  • How to begin using a chopper gun
  • Spraying gel coat and tooling gel coat with a cup gun
  • Proper use and care for cup guns
  • Techniques for successful wet-out and consolidation of spray-up fiberglass parts
  • Planning and developing plug structures
  • Creating finished lip features in mating composite parts
  • Developing flange forms for various types of plugs
  • Designing composite tooling from a multi-piece plug
  • Computer-based plug design techniques
  • Plug finishing techniques
  • Silicone compression molding techniques
  • Fabricating clay models
  • Developing composite tooling from clay models
  • Employing epoxy molding compound as a bulking material in composite tooling
  • Fabricating sheet metal and sheet plastic molds
  • Laminating "moldless" composites using foamcore
  • Using frameworks and draped fabric as a structure to form "moldless" composites
  • Repairing scratches, dents, gouges, holes, and severe damage in composites
  • Applying gel coat to repaired composite surfaces
  • Technical terminology and design assumptions used in composite analysis
  • Setting proper parameters, material designations, and load assignments for composite part analysis
  • Interpreting Finite Element Analysis data derived from a virtual model of a composite part
  • Simplified shop testing of composite parts

As you can see, there's a lot of meaty information in this book...which is part of the reason I haven't had a new blog post in quite a while. Books like this take a considerable amount time to develop. And in my case, it was done on top of having a full-time (50-plus hours a week) teaching job and raising a young family. My contract to write this book was only about six months long, but development of the book's content started several months prior to even signing the contract. With each of my books thus far, the actual contracted time for writing the book has been largely spent on typing, editing, and creating illustrations to explain the hands-on demonstrations shown in the photos (which were usually taken days, weeks, or months before). Looking back on the amount of work I put into this book, I'm amazed that my heart made it through. But I hope that this book will be helpful to all those composites experimenters and fabricators out there who want to build something that they may not have dreamed was possible before. All the best to ya'.


The Erstwhile Medic said...

Just out of curiosity, is there a book planned as a follow-on to Volume 3 that would include advanced techniques like post-curing using an oven or autoclaving? I know these are often out of the scope of a home composite builder but there is a definite lack of the "This is how you do it" hands-on information about it. Your books filled the void for the basics so I keep my fingers crossed that you might do the same with another volume.

If you are not going to pursue this sort of thing, could you recommend some other sources of that information?

Johnny Five said...

I don't have any immediate plans for a fourth book, but that doesn't mean it's off the table. I still have several topics that I'd like to publish that could benefit builders out there, even if they are a bit more advanced. (In all honesty, most small fabricators don't venture much further than the methods shown in books 1 and 2...but they still seem to appreciate the additional info, regardless.) I'm always up for suggestions for future books (or blog entries), so thanks!

Jimmy Yesher said...

I need to get that one book to get learn something new in Fabrication. I have well known information about the Composite Wood Material. Through that I am able to build a decking for house in Australia.

Composite Material Exporter