My Carbon Frame Flop





Introduction: My Carbon Frame Flop

There are great success stories on this site, It's the first place I go to get started on a project for some tips and interesting ideas. I thought why not have a failure story on here too......

A few years ago I decided to make my own Carbon bicycle frame using things around the house,

This is how it went.

Step 1: Building the Frame Jig From Old Pallets

I was very keen I collected some old pallets (hey , I can enter this into the pallet contest :) ) cut them up and nailed up a frame.

Step 2: Frame Parts

I chopped up an old aluminium frame for the important bits ( head tube,BB,stays, etc.) and positioned them on hard foam pieces, I used string to set angles and lines.

Everything seemed fine.

Step 3: Building the Foam Frame

I used foam to build the frame into the pieces I had already set in the jig.

Step 4: Strong the Joints

I started to lay up the carbon fiber cloth and paint on the resin, Then wrapped it with insulation tape I drilled holes into.

This squeezed out the excess resin, Don't forget to wrap sticky side up.

Step 5: Resin

Here you can see how the resin is pushed out by the tightly bound insulation tape.

When you remove the tape the excess resin comes with it leaving only pin points on the carbon fiber, these are easily sanded off afterwards.

Step 6: Foam Filler

I used foam filler to shape the pieces where the tubes came together,

What I didn't notice is that the head tube had moved and was now at less of an angle

Step 7: Layers of Carbon

Every night I would go remove tape and add another layer, I spent endless nights in the garage until it was done.

I put all the parts on and took it out for a test ride, because the head tube moved it changed the handling completely. If you turn the handle bars too far it will buck you over like a rodeo clown.

I removed all the parts and it now hangs in my garage as a very expensive reminder after doing only 20 m on the road.

The point is that many people are apprehensive to try things,to make things, you will fail BUT there will be far more times that your friends come over and say "Wow, that's awesome!"

To which you proudly reply " Thanks, I made it..."



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    How much, and in which direction did the head tube move? What was it that caused it to move? What could you have done to prevent it?

    this is the point! try again again again!

    Amazing what 20~30 degrees make, isn't it?

    Even fairly competent cyclists will notice like a one degree difference. just saying 30° is a massive amount.

    Want a cheaper and EASIER fix? Fit a smaller rear wheel or a larger front wheel to get the head angle closer to normal.

    You want the cheap and easy fix?

    Go to the local Charity shop or junkyard and find an old Diamond-frame for next to nothing. Strip off any decent parts for another project. Make sure that the head tube is okay and still properly angled, and that the steel tubes will fit inside the tubes of your carbon frame...slice off the head tube but leave about two inches of tube hanging off the head tube. Remove paint.

    Slice off your Carbon frame's head tube and about one inch of CF tubing in both directions of the diamond. Once the diamond is open, slide the salvaged head tube right in its place. Return to jig, check angles and alignment one final time and epoxy in place.

    Once the epoxy has dried, rough up the CF tubing about one inch in, layer more CF around the replacement head tube and into your tubes for further reinforcement. The angles should now be perfect at the cost of a few extra ounces weight-you could try a salvaged aluminum headset for this instead, but personally I have trouble finding those...

    maybe try to make custom fork with angle correction or maybe try to find one with bigger [forward/passing[?]? :P

    Would it have been easier to control the angles, etc. by building it in 2 or 3 pieces then putting them together? Regardless, you can't learn something unless you try it. Keep it up!

    Wow ! Take a firm hold of all these encouraging coments ! Here's mine:

    "It's not a failure, it's an experimental engineering prototype undergoing technological improvement and developmental upgrading."

    (Make these words into a label and hang them on the frame.)

    (And memorise them for the next time you fall off in public !-)

    I had no clue that's how carbon fiber frames are made, I think your a genius myself. Love to get a hold of some old frames now and build some recumbent bikes. Thanks for sharing, and yes my money is on your already figured out how to fix the frame.