Heater for Carbon fibre tube manufacturing – part I

This must be the longest title so far! šŸ™‚ Anyway, while I can’t figure out how to shorten it, the idea is to acquire and test a manufacturing technology to source carbon fiber tubes for our project internally.

3kcftube

I’ve discussed it with Richard(s) and Serge a lot and plan is like this, we’ll build a heater tube which we can wrap up with a carbon fiber tape + resin, heat it up and wait for it to cure. When done we’ll move the sleeve and repeat the procedure for another part.

Device needs to heat up our Carbon fiber wrap up to 170C and keep it there for almost 2hrs! Carbon fiber curing diagram follows – sourced from here.

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So we need to build that heater first! Richard sent me couple videos links inspiration:

And also this one:

Richard also did all calculations and evaluations needed. As the idea works with our welder inverter sourcing the power, main parameters needed to be checked.

Then Richard did Excel to find out our wire length and diameter:

20A option
35A option

Out of those you can see that we are aiming to use 1mm 80m long wire on a Kapton Tape-wrapped tube to provide the cable insulation and also assist the heat spreading.

Shopping:

1/ Insulated copper wire 18awg 80m

Checking on the wire specifications it sort of mentioned that its parameters are guaranteed up to +155C (insulation layer), what made me little worried as we plan to operate around 170C and possibly even more.

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The wire itself shouldn’t be a problem, but that is where the Kapton tape comes in!

2/ Kapton tape (https://www.ebay.com/vod/FetchOrderDetails?itemid=222520763363&transid=2524283657012&qu=1&ul_noapp=true)

Kapton will well insulate wire from the aluminium tube and it can sustain temperatures up to 350. That should be well enough to have us covered.

3/ 2m long aluminium tube (huge thanks to Vilem for finding it and donating it to our project) 5 cm in diameter

Actually whole list with the tubes offering comes here:

The wire arrived practically the next day, it looks actually much smaller than what you would imagine under “80m long copper wire”.

Kapton tape arrived shortly after, but I realised that it is 2cm wide too late. So instantly ordered two more 5cm wide. Those arrived week later.

All seems to be ready! Let’s call in whole team … in a next post.

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