fabricating fuel tanks
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fabricating fuel tanks

This is a discussion on fabricating fuel tanks within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; I am contemplating fabricating a new fuel tank for my bike from scratch. I intend to use fiberglass (maybe w/ an outer layer of carbon ...

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  1. #1
    bcrawford's Avatar
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    fabricating fuel tanks

    I am contemplating fabricating a new fuel tank for my bike from scratch. I intend to use fiberglass (maybe w/ an outer layer of carbon fiber) since I do not have the equipment or knowlege for working with sheet metal.

    Does anyone have any advice or links to proceedures for doing this? I am already familiar with the absolute basics of fiberglass work; I am looking for some more advanced stuff, or things dealing specificly with gas tanks/bikes.

    I am presently in the process of fabricating a tank extension for a friends bike. I am doing that by sticking styrofoam all over it, carving out the new shape for the tank from that, and laminating some glass on top of that. The first coat of glass went on today without incident, but it looks like there will be a lot of filling and sanding work to be done afterwards.


    tanks alot,
    bc


  2. #2
    Senior Member monkey's Avatar
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    practice

    don't waste your time using carbon unless you feel like throwing money away. if you are intending on doing this without creating a mold than you are better off using plain old glass.

    1.you need to make a shape ( plug)
    2. once this shape is complete... sanded, buffed, waxed etc etc it is time to apply mold release
    3. use the plug as your mold ( then you will have to fair the outside of the finished part or parts

    or

    you could build a mold ( tool to make several parts that will require little or no finishing on the outer surface.

    do not bother using carbon since it is expensive and to fully take advantage of its properties you should be vaccumm bagging it or using prepregs... then you need to invest in a vaccumm pump or an autoclave.

    sorry to sound like a composites nerd.... i kinda am one

    good luck dude
    matt t

    yes frank if you are reading this.... i am really working on the three things you built those fancy filler necks for cause i cannot show up at the track with one before i make you 3 of your own




  3. #3
    Moderator jbranson's Avatar
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    BC,
    Monkey is extremely qualified to give advice on this subject. He does this sort of thing for a living.
    JohnnyB


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  5. #4
    bcrawford's Avatar
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    This is a strange sort of co-incidence, but the shop that I am using to do this work in is the same one that I use to build big autoclaves in. I have one at my disposal right now that is a 24"x36"x42" steam sterilizer, though I can run in on air if heat or vapor phase H2O2 is bad. How the hell do autoclaves help apply composites?

    the carbon fiber is only for looks, its pretty.. it only matters that the tank is stong enough to hold back gas at 2 Gs (or whatever a 350 2stroke can do).. everything else (like safety) is secondary.

    bc




    Edited by - bcrawford on Oct 22 2006 10:54:11 PM

  6. #5
    Senior Member monkey's Avatar
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    no worries

    the autoclave is a tool that will apply heat and pressure to compress and cure prepregged epoxy/carbonfiber and or whatever type of prepregged glass you get. prepregged is a term for a woven or stitched cloth pre impregnated with an epoxy resin. it will come on a roll and appear like a sticker. you caut it and apply it to a mold in an engineered fashion untill you have achieved proper coverage and thickness. i would then cover it with a high temp film designed for this process and stick it into the autoclave. the autoclave will compres and cure the layers forming a solid part.

    release and play after that. i pretty much use wet preg... a process that involves saturating a dry colth with an epoxy resin then vaccumm bag this to become a solid part.

    i could go on and on but this is the caferacer.net board not goo guy.net. i could go further and tell ya intricate details and secrets.. but then i would have to kill you

    i usuallly build a few tanks a season for myself and or trade... totally not worth the time to do... it is a very tedious process and anyone who tells ya otherwise is a liar. i have seen peoples tanks split at the track... not so much fun. good luck, practice and do not waste your money on crappy polyester ones.

    matt





  7. #6
    bcrawford's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, when I get some cash together for the materials, Ill try that trick with the sterilizer.

    quote: do not waste your money on crappy polyester ones.
    so, it polyester itself bad?, or is it just that the commercially available tanks which happen to be make w/ polyester happen to suck?

    quote: ..but then i would have to kill you
    since its monday, that is actually a tempting offer.



  8. #7
    Senior Member monkey's Avatar
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    polyester is inferior compared to epoxy. polyester is heavier, and much weaker. also.... polyester is not compatable with gasoline.... it eventually eats the resin away... clogs up carbs etc... poly tanks are usually sealed with a gelcoat or an epoxy sealer..... why not just use epoxy???

    matt

    ps i am happy to help with any questions you have


  9. #8
    Moderator joe c's Avatar
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    matt, i hope my tank doesnt do any of those things!!! we use autoclaves in woodowrking to bend wood. when you steam them, they need to be under some pressure to get the moisture in quickly. slow steaming makes the stuff split like a bannana. ive seem guys use pressure cookers too. i didnt know they ued them for laying glass and stuff. you guys must have a huge one.

    jc






  10. #9
    Senior Member monkey's Avatar
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    actually we don't have one... when using prepregs...we just post cure the part in our massive oven under vaccumm... same thing.


    your tank will be fine. it is epoxy... no problemo

    matt


  11. #10
    Moderator joe c's Avatar
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    i was kidding.

    hey, why are you talking about em so much. you keep reffering to prepreg...

    i dont know why, i got woman on the brain tonight.

    jc






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