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Old 04-07-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
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Carbon fibre Cabinetry

I'm just daydreaming about my rehab plans and wondered if anyone has tried carbon fibre skins on the cabinet frames or even maybe a metal cabinet frame and skin combo? I've got a feeling I saw mention of it somewhere, maybe Boatdoc?, but can't find it now.

If there has been posts along the line of carbon fibre, metal frames, or honeycomb sandwich construction could someone point me in the right direction? I'm just thinking about some alternative ideas.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:26 PM   #2
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I don't know about Carbon Fibre (sounds like a great idea), but you don't have to look far to find information about metal framing.

Sometime in the 70s Airstream starting framing cabinets with aluminum. Can't tell you when they stopped, but my 86 has mostly aluminum framed furniture. Very cool, very light and the primary reason I am re-finishing my furniture instead of putting in new. That and the fact that cabinets in my Sovereign are really well made. Everytime I start to re-finish a piece, I am just amazed at the quality.

With that said I am in the hunt for sturdy sheet goods that I can use to replace walls (around the center bath) and some of the shelves. I grew up sailing and know that they use balsa and foam cored hulls and I have been trying to research the availability of that in a 4X8 sheet. I could really get into a carbon faced foam cored panel.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:39 PM   #3
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Not to put a pin to your balloon, but carbon fiber is at an all time high in price. Boeing has virtually cornered the market on the stuff for use in is latest passenger plane offerings. Going one step beyond that, carbon fiber is very electrolitically active meaning it causes things to corrode big time including 316 stainless steel which is the stainless for saltwater applications. The key is to isolate the carbon fiber from everything else with other materials which are not electrolitically active like S-glass or E-glass. Since cabinets do not need the "extreme performance" of carbon fiber, you might consider using "S-glass" which is much cheaper and performs at about 55% of carbon fiber. Or, you could use standard "e-glass" which is waaaaaaaay strong enough for cabinets and with colored "e-glass" or colored resins you can get the "black" carbon fiber look. Sandwich the E-glass up with pvc foams and you will have super strong cabinets which will weigh about 15% of wood cabinets.

If I were doing it, I'd use wood at the corners for ease of construction and joinery and colored e-glass/pvc foam panels (not necessarily black) in place of plywood. It would be affordable, very light weight, and extremely strong! Plus it could be made to look fantastic, and it wouldn't cause things to corrode.

Or..... you could go a much simpler route and just replace all your plywood shelves with 1/2" twinwall polycarbonate panels, as I did, and have plenty of strength for shelves, the toughness of polycarbonate, ease of construction, reasonably low cost, and very low weight.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:40 PM   #4
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I've started looking at this stuff DragonPlate Composites - Carbon Fiber Square Tubes, carbon fiber gussets, Carbon Fiber Flame Retardant, Carbon Fiber Tube & Rod the carbon tube and riveted gusset option is looking cool but kind of expensive. Carbon sheet goods are more reasonable.. At least water damage is less likely.

Are the aluminum frames welded or riveted?
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:43 PM   #5
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Hey Bob it sounds like you know lots about all this stuff. Do you have any tips on where I could start looking at the E-glass, S-glass product?
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:59 PM   #7
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hi truck'

the aluminum boxed frame cabinetry a/s used in the late 70s was and IS great stuff.

light, strong, NONE of the typical issues with wood...

the plastic/nylon latches seemed flimsy, but have held up well.

most of the hinges were piano style, plus it was installed and assembled with rivets!

now the vinyl covering (held up very well) in fake walnut was too dark, but the lighter colored stuff still looks good.

i liked the tambour doors too, but hinged aluminum would be cool on the overhead lockers.

i'd love to see more interiors done this way, but with current surface colors and textures....

some folks have used aluminum as cabinet framing in rehabs with really nice light wood inserts...

this one is especially well executed...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f420...1-a-31328.html

and looks even better in person than in the photos...

see especially pix 29, 34, 38, 43, 47, 48, 54 and 56...

cheers
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:05 PM   #8
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Bob I am very jealous, I have wanted my own vac press for ages and that Joe Woodworker site is not helping my compulsion, thanks for the links.

2air as always thanks, I'm off to read that thread.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:27 PM   #9
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Having worked with carbon fiber in the past I would do just about anything including signing away my first born to never have to mess with it again. carbon fiber requires a completly different tool set (diamond) to work with and the use of titanium fasteners etc.
I plan on using blue foam and luan to make composite panels that are vacumn bagged for interior panels and such.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:29 PM   #10
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The twin-wall polycarbonate can be found here:
http://www.tapplastics.com/uploads/pdf/Coex8mm.pdf

For my project, I got some from Regal Plastics in San Antonio. Just about every large plastics supplier can get or already carries the twin-wall polycarbonate as it is popular for sunrooms and greenhouses. I originally purchased the twin-wall for the shower door I made for the Airstream which you can see on the left side of this picture: http://www.airforums.com/photos/show...00&userid=3264

I didn't like the folding shower door so I made me a real shower door.

Twin-wall is great stuff, somewhat stiff, very light weight and doesn't shatter. The only caveate is you have to be carefull how you clean it to keep from scratching it. I used the left over from the shower door project to make shelves to replace plywood shelves. I used aluminum angle to support the twin-wall pieces and double stick tape to stick the twin-wall shelves to the aluminum.
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:04 PM   #11
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Truck:
I work with carbon all the time.
I built the vacuum pump on the joe woodworker site, it works well.
Material is almost impossible to locate for a reasonable price.
Black cloth is now available and is the route I would take, looks like the real thing at a reasonable price, Strength is lower than carbon.
3/8" divinicell is what I would use, for door fronts, maybe dividers.
be prepared for a lot of mold building and extremely nasty sanding!! carbon dust is not for the DIY guy.
As boatdoc as done with his interiour I would recommend using okomue 3 and 4 MM mahogany ply for interiour panels.
Should you decide to go forth with this approach have your pocketbook open--W I D E open.
Also a product called Texalium is available in silver and black I looks wicked nice.
I've ordered from the surfboard place in Washington state, they do a fine job.
West Epoxy and Mas Epoxy are my choices.and do not forget about learning how to use the stuff.
oh consumables, acetone, lacquer thinner, vinegar, sandpaper, lots of sandpaper, scrapers, extremely costly cutting tools, respirator and gloves, heat lamps, clamps, clamps clamps, vacuum system,brushes, rollers, clean up cloths, that should get you started.
And I'm not sure you would save all that much weight. Depends what your interiour is make of. My 86 has solid wood cabinetry, way heavy, I may do something with the door facings, my 73 has a flimsey interiour.
So pick your poison, just keep the carbon dust away from your lungs.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:23 PM   #12
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interesting discussion.. what is the likelyhood of applying c.f. sheet to the exterior of a panel and epoxying it on as a veneer?
looks like you can purchase the c.f. in segments or roll. any thoughts?
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