What is Carbon Fiber and Why Use It?
Carbon fiber (also known as carbon fibre) is the super hero of the materials world – it’s one of the strongest and most lightweight materials available on the market today. Five times stronger than steel and one third its weight, carbon fiber composites are often used in aerospace and aviation, civil engineering, military, car racing and other competitive sports applications.
Standard Thicknesses For Carbon Fiber
Our carbon fiber sheets range from 0.25mm to 3.1mm plates. Custom thicknesses and dimensions are also available. We will manufacture any thickness up to .5”.
Cutting Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber sheets can be cut with standard tools, ranging from scissors and razor knives for thinner sheets, to abrasive cutting wheels and dremel tools. For cutting many carbon fiber veneer sheets, we recommend the use of carbide tools, abrasive type cutters, or diamond crusted tools. Regular steel tools will cut carbon sheets just fine, but due to the abrasive nature of all carbon sheets, standard tools will wear down fast with heavy cutting use. Panels are then easily edge-sanded, allowing you to trim close and sand to final dimensions for a smooth, clean edge.
Our adhesive of choice is a high performance, high temperature film made by 3M. Rated at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, this adhesive will easily withstand the heat demands of most applications.
High Temp Panels
Protech’s high temperature carbon fiber panels are produced using a specially formulated high temperature, high strength epoxy resin. The result is a lightweight carbon panel that can withstand heat as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit with minimal thermal expansion. Panels using this resin system can be made in any thickness from .25mm to over ¾” and in dimensions up to 4’ x 8’.
Molded carbon fiber parts are made by draping carbon fiber fabric over a mold and infusing it with epoxy resin. At Protech, we have extensive experience creating molded parts for a variety of applications. Like our sheets and panels, all products are made with 100% carbon fiber and vacuum infused with epoxy resin. Additional cutting, drilling, and finishing can be included as needed to provide you with a completed part. We'll use your mold or work with you to create one.
Machining Carbon Fiber
CNC machining is the most common method for cutting for carbon fiber parts; water-jetting is also a very good option. Die-cutting can also be cost-effective alternative for high volume orders. If you’re considering a project that requires CNC machining, be sure to find a machinist with experience cutting carbon fiber or leave the machining to us.
Carbon fiber dust is not toxic, however, it is a mild irritant to the skin, eyes, and lungs, much like fiberglass. We do recommend that fabricators wear gloves and a dust mask to minimize any itching or irritation, especially when cutting or sanding in quantity.
Working With Carbon Fiber
For a general overview of different ways to work with carbon fiber, please follow the link below.