My carbon project is moving along nicely. I’m learning a lot every day and feel really good about it. Most of what is required in Tube to Tube carbon construction is pretty much what I do everyday already. The two areas that are different are design and joining. Carbon is unlike metal in that you don’t just join tubes you pick from the manufactures catalogs. When you spec carbon tubes you spec the OD, ID and layup. Layup and carbon modulus will dramatically effect the strength and ride properties of a frame. When joining the tubes I will wrap a laminate of ply’s around the joint, compress and cure. Just like the tubes, the laminate design and ply pattern design play a crucial role in the characteristics of the frame ride as well as weight and durability. Fiber orientation and continuity is key in layup and introduces an entirely new element to frame design.
When learning to make steel and titanium frames I could turn to other builders and they were very generous about providing information to help me learn. In carbon it’s a bit different. There are very few builders actually building custom carbon frames and everyone has worked very hard to come up with their process, ply patterns and laminate schedules. Because carbon fiber in hand built custom frame application is pretty new, everyone does it a little differently. Nick Crumpton has been incredibly generous with his assistance but there are things I won’t ask him out of respect for the work he’s done. So that is where Jared (firstname.lastname@example.org) comes in. Jared holds a Masters in Composite Engineering and is currently working towards a Doctorate. He also has over 10 years of experience specifically in the bike industry. I’m lucky he’s in Bozeman and even more lucky he’s willing to work with me.
I’m currently working on web pages to add to my site that will discuss carbon fiber, design considerations, processes, etc. I’ll also be adding process images of work in progress, frames and bikes in action. Unlike my steel and titanium documentation you will notice a glaring absence of many of the steps of construction. I will be keeping a lot of what I develop to myself as well as any of the techniques, material and process’s that were given to me in confidence by other builders. It doesn’t feel natural to protect the information but at this early point in custom carbon Tube to Tube construction and after nearly a year of research, testing and development I hate to give away (possibly to my competitors) what I paid so much to acquire.