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First “OEM” vent and MMI pieces finished…

and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m sorry these aren’t the best photos, but I wanted to post these up today because of how great they turned out.  I’ll get the mini studio setup later this weekend and take some better photos and post them on Monday.

MMI piece re-assembled.  I will not be including the button if you ordered a set of these, you’ll have to pop in your own.  I just stuck it in so you could see what it looked like installed.

I’m pretty happy with the gap and how flush the piece is.  There is still a very slight overhang as the carbon piece is just ever so slightly thicker.  I’m going to see about ordering even thinner mounting tape and will continue to see if I can improve this aspect of the piece, but I don’t think anyone will be unhappy with how it currently is.

It is nice to see the detail in the ridge of the piece along the bottom and right hand side.  It was nonexistent on the hand laid pieces, but is perfect on these ones that have been vacuum bagged.

I took some more photos of the vent piece under the same lighting for comparison.

Love how deep the gloss is.

I was concerned before I started these pieces on whether or not I could get the chrome ring flush or not, but as you can see after the fact, it turned out perfect.

Making simple molds for the B8 vent and MMI pieces…

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on various improvements to help with the production of the B8 “OEM” carbon fiber vent and MMI pieces.  I spent the last day or so making simple foam molds that help support the pieces under vacuum.  Previous brackets would cave in under full vacuum.  Running the pump at half vacuum meant sometimes the edges of carbon fiber wouldn’t be totally conformed around the part because the seal wasn’t as tight as it could be.  After having to redo a few pieces, I decided it was time to make some molds.

To make our foam mold, I’m going to use a pour foam.  It is very similar to the expanding insulating/sealing foam sold in cans at the hardware store.  It comes in two parts, and you mix them 1:1 to start making your foam.

For demonstration purposes, I’ll do a small test run first with 1oz of each of the materials.

After 60 seconds of mixing, the foam turns from dark brown to a light brown and starts to thicken up.

15 seconds later and the expansion starts

Within 2 minuets the foam has engulfed the cup.

The foam also emits a massive amount of heat.

5 minutes later and the foam is sold.

As you can see I’ve had a bit of fun testing out various mixing techniques and amounts to try to get a solid foam that I was happy with.

Time to get serious with our MMI mold.  I lay plastic wrap in the oven tray so that the foam doesn’t stick to it.

The B8 S5 MMI piece gets the same treatment.

A 1:1 mixture, this time 12 total ounces.

You really have to whip it quickly, as it starts to start foaming within a minute or two.

Once its ready, pour the mixture over the part.

Same rapid expansion as before, just on a bigger scale.

I want to compact the foam a little bit to ensure that it fills in all the gaps around the part, so I place some plastic wrap on top of the foam and pat it down a bit.

This one gets up to 160F.

A couple of minutes later, the foam is hard and ready to be popped out.

Now comes the fun part of shaping the mold, this time with a B8 S4 piece that was made earlier in the day and is a little more firm.

After picking off the foam around the top of the part, I slowly sand away at the bottom edge, making enough room for the fabric to wrap all the way around,

Next I start to cut away at the speedometer area, picking out large chunks.

Then going back for more detailed work and cleaning it up a bit.

Finally started to look respectable.

Same treatment for the inside.  I have to remove this inside area because the fabric needs to wrap all the way around the edges of the long skinny parts.

All done.  It’s not pretty, but it works perfectly.

After placing the mold, along with the piece wrapped in fiber in the bag, the edges are carefully sealed.

After the pump is turned on, all of the air is removed and the fabric is perfectly contoured to all the complexities of the part.

Almost done with the “OEM” vent and MMI pieces…

After the first round of clearcoat. It will get two more and then all the little imperfections will be wetsanded and polished out.

Won’t be long now…

“OEM” B8 Vent and MMI trim production – part 2…

We’ve made a bunch of progress on these pieces in the last week or so.

First and foremost, we got the bag system running multiple parts now.  We’ve also made an upgrade to the molds that I’ll detail in a separate post because it is a neat little process.

We’ve also had to deal with stubborn vacuum pumps.  We have a few of them, and none of them like to run at anything less than full vacuum.  Unfortunately, these B8 vent and MMI pieces are made of flimsy plastic and anything over 5psi starts to make the parts contort inward on themselves.  So, we have to run the pumps at about half vacuum (via a pressure valve at the mouth of the vacuum bag).  The pumps get angry about this and spit out oil and smoke.  Previously this meant dealing with a smokey shop when the pump was running, but I fashioned this ghetto exhaust out of PVC tubing to allow the smoke to vent under our bay door.  If you look closely at the bottom of the tubing you can see where a bunch of light yellow oil has collected.

On to the good stuff.  You can see here the fist few pieces out of the bags that have full epoxy on them.  These pieces are a day or so away from being cured enough to be put into our oven.  Once in the oven they’ll be baked for 36 hours or so to improve the strength and complete the cure.  After that, the excess fiber will be trimmed off, they’ll be sanded smooth, and sprayed with several layers of clearcoat.

More pics of these pieces in a few days after they get cleaned up.

few more interior shots from the adam’s rotors S8

We have a few more interior shots from the Adam’s Rotors feature on StanceWorks.  A full, detailed write up can be found here:

http://www.stanceworks.com/2011/02/rotors8/

This set was a custom made 9oz plain weave.  I’ve only done a few sets in this particular fabric, so it’s pretty rare.  The Adam’s Rotors logo embedded in the epoxy on the ashtray cover was a nice custom touch as well.

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