Here is a simple frame I built for the Goal Zero Nomad-style portable solar panel. Below are instructions for both the Nomad 7 and Nomad 20 panels. Made from carbon fiber rod and clear tubing. Goal: maximize solar energy capture.
Step 1: Cut Rod
For the Nomad 7, I used 1/4" (0.25" or 6mm) carbon fiber rod - cut two rods (each) into following lengths: 7 1/2" (19.1cm) & 12 1/2 (31.7cm)"
For the Nomad 20, I used 5/16" (0.315" or 8mm) carbon fiber rod - cut two rods (each) into the following lengths: 11 3/4" (29.8cm) & 21 1/2 (54.6cm)"
I cut the carbon fiber rods with a Dremel tool and a rotary diamond blade (use eye protection, gloves and respirator mask!!!). I would recommend cutting outside because cutting the rods produces a fine dust. Then I rounded the ends of the rods with a sanding head, so the tubing would slip on easier.
Note: the rods are cut shorter than the length of the panel to allow the clear (vinyl) tubing to bend without kinking.
Step 2: Cut Clear Tubing
For the Nomad 7, I used 3/8" OD (outer diameter) x 1/4" ID (inner diameter) clear vinyl tubing - cut four pieces approximately 2 3/4" (7cm) long
For the Nomad 20, I used 7/16" OD (outer diameter) x 5/16" ID (inner diameter) clear vinyl tubing - cut four pieces approximately 4" (10.16cm) long
Note: I had good results cutting the tubing with both wire cutters and heavy duty scissors.
Step 3: Assemble
Feed the rods through the nylon support loops on the top and sides of the solar panel (you can feed it through the bottom support loop if you want, but it tends to kink the tubing and isn't really necessary). Push the tubing onto the rods approximately 1/2" (1.27cm).