Introduction: Carbon Poles for Ultralight Tents
The goal of this project is to make light poles for a tent. In this example for the famous cheap Chinese tent lanshan 2 Pro. This tent needs two straight, 1,25 m long poles. Usually people are using trekking poles, but for the others who don't use them or for bikepackers you can use these carbon fibre tubes. Other option is to buy them but either originals (from SixMoonDesign), which are very expensive (50 USD for one) or the Chinese copies from Aliexpress (also expensive - 41 USD for one). I was able to make them for at least half the price.
But I made one big mistake. Accidentally I ordered wrong tubes from Aliexpress, made from particles carbon fibre which is much weaker. The difference is that particles carbon fibre doesn't have the classical pattern of CF (carbon fibre). So definitely buy classic carbon fibre tubes. The other thing to decide is if a 10 mm tube isn't too weak in general. If you want a bit more robust solution I recommend using a 12 mm tube (outside diameter). The final weight will be about 20 % more and the package will be a bit less compact.
8x carbon tubes 10x8mm, Length: 0,5m
3x carbon tubes 8x6mm, Length: 0,2m
Elastic rope, diameter 2mm, length 3m
3d printer or access to the 3d printer
- metal saw
Step 1: Cutting Carbon Tubes
First, you need to cut the CF (Carbon Fibre) tubes. Optimal length of the completed pole for Lanshan 2 Pro is 125 cm and you need two of them. The poles from SixMoonDesign have 5 segments, but in my opinion it is better to have 4 segments (there is not a huge difference in the length of each tube, because of the inner parts and the volume of the package is bigger). So I cut 8 pieces (for two poles) of 10 mm CF tube of 305 mm length. For the inside CF tube (8 mm outside dia) you need to cut 6 parts of 100 mm length.
When cutting CF you should wear gloves, mask and glasses (CF particles are VERY harmful to the human body).
Step 2: Sanding of Inner CF Tubes
In this step you should sand the inner tube. It is necessary to sand only the half of the tube, which will be inside the other. Sanding will improve the strength of glue. Next thing to sand is the cut part of the outer tubes.
Step 3: Gluing CF Tubes Together
Now you should glue half of the inner tube (ground part) and put it inside the outer tube. Before gluing I made a mark in the middle of the shorter (inner) tube to easily recognise where the middle is when you put it inside the other. You don't need to use excessive amount of glue.
I used Two Component Epoxy Adhesives, which I found is good for CF.
Step 4: Assembling
For this part you need to print the attached 3D models (I included STL). Those models are first iterations and they could be improved (I was thinking about a metal screw in the tip in the ground). I started with the bottom tip where I made a simple knot and threaded through the CF tubes. Tubes should be oriented upward (so the glued inner part is facing up - and the last tube is without an inner part). On the top tip (rounded one) you should tighten the elastic cord a bit (but not too much) and make a knot.
Step 5: Fixing of Errors
As I mentioned in the first step. I accidentally bought particles carbon which is not stiff enough. So after I used those poles, one of them exploded. The outer tube was torn by the inner tube (weakest point). But overall the tube seems to have enough flexural strength. The problem is with structural strength. So I printed small rings and installed them on the bottom of all outer tubes. It seems that this solution reinforced tubes enough and it survived another night. But I highly recommended to use better CF tubes.
Step 6: Conclusion
I used those poles for 3 nights in my Lanshan tent and after the last modification I'm satisfied. I used it on calm nights so first storm will verify the stiffness of the poles.