Intro: Carbon Fiber Masquerade Mask
This instructible will show you how to make an intruiging masquerade mask out of carbon fiber!
This mask can be used for masquerade balls, mardi gras, bank robbing (only joking).
Once you have the materials it should take about 4 hours, spread out over 4 nights.
Step 1: Safety First!
This instructible using the following things that are dangerous to humans with short and long exposure.
Epoxy Vapours: the epoxy resin gives of vapours which are toxic. Wear a respirator with a gas canister at all times you are working with epoxy.
Epoxy Sensitivity: epoxy resin can cause sensitisation in people with time. Avoid contact with skin and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions.
Epoxy splashes: avoid the wet epoxy touching your body - especially be careful around your eyes (considering this is a mask). Wear safety glasses and gloves. People may have an allergy to latex gloves too! In which case you can use the non-latex gloves or thin allergy free gloves.
Carbon Dust: when you grind away the finished carbon fiber shape there will be carbon dust. Wash it down and away, and wear a particulate or dust filtering respirator / cartridge when you are doing this step.
Carbon Slivers: Avoid getting small bits of carbon 'tow' or splinters caught in your fingers. Again gloves are good here.
Paint fumes: when spraying work in a well-ventilated area and wear glasses/gloves and old clothes, not your tuxedo.
Scared Away? I hope not! you will be ready for the ball shortly....
Step 2: Tools and Materials
For this project, you will need the following tools and materials. I have tried to provide a reference in Australia and USA where possible.
Dremel or motorised grinding tool - Bunnings / Home Depot / $ shop. For cutting out the eyes and the hole for the ribbon
Stanley Knife or Box Cutter with spare blades - Bunnings / Home Depot / $2 shop
Safety Gear - goggles, latex gloves and respirator with gas and particle canisters - Bunnings / Home Depot
Brush - $2 shop - for painting the epoxy
Scissors - ideally these would be for cutting carbon/kevlar. Any sharp scissors are ok (not for kevlar, only carbon). Otherwise you can experiment with the stanley knife if you want to save money.
Epoxy Resin (two part) - you can buy these from the same places as the carbon tape, or marine chandleries like bunnings. Another place to get it for 'free' is a local boatyard or if you know someone building a boat. Remember to get the epoxy resin, not PU resin with hardner.
Surgical Gloves - pack of 50 - Bunnings or paint shop - $5
Carbon Fiber tape 1" or 2" x 1 meter - $5 - http://www.carbonfiber.com.au/ or http://www.cstsales.com/products.html. It is cheaper to get the tape than a meter/yard of cloth and it is easier to work with in this application. It is better to buy one with a selvage edge so the carbon will only deteriorate in one dimension.
Blue Painter's tape - bunnings or 3M or home depot - $6
Newspaper - to avoid a mess.
Clear release film * 1m $5 - this is to prevent the epoxy sticking to the film. I had some film already which I think was polyurethane. You can buy this from the carbon vendors above.
Clear Varnish - $2 in a rattlecan.
Felt - $2 this is used to line the inside of the mask so it doesn't scratch, eg. from Spotlight.
Craft Glue - $2 from Spotlight or $2 shop you can borrow this from a 'crafty' person.. or give it to them when you are finished!
Ribbon - 1m * 1" - $2 from Spotlight - I chose black satin, but you could use string etc. depending on the look you are going for.
take-away containers - recycled and washed! for holding the epoxy resin.
So for less than $30 or so you should be able to make a pretty cool looking mask!
Step 3: Prepare Your Melon :)
Collate all of the tools and materials in the same place, like a surgeon.
The epoxy will set quickly when activated, so you will not get a lot of time to drive to the shop if you have forgotten something. Planning is the key. You can even practice without the epoxy to start, eg. use a piece of cloth or newspaper.
This may save you money as well.
Once you are feeling confident, lay down some newspaper and blow up a latex glove to the size of your head. Tie a knot in it so you can use it as a mold for your carbon fiber mask. Blowing up a glove into a balloon is a good trick to ensure people aren't bored if you visit a hospital too.
With the painter's tape, secure the balloon with tape and newspaper so it doesn't roll around.
Step 4: Cut and Tape
2. Tape the release film to the blown up balloon-glove
3. Tape a frame to the film using the blue painter's tape
4. Roll up some newpaper and tape and place it where you want your 'nose'
5. Cut a length of carbon tape - use the blue tape to hold the carbon edge from fraying.
6. Cut a second (and third if you like) strip ready for later
7. Tape the first strip to the balloon-glove.
Simple as that! Most people, including myself only remember fewer than seven steps so that's it for this section.
Step 5: Mix and Match
Now for the epoxy..
Measure out the correct parts according to the manufacturer's instruction, usually 2:1 or 4:1 by volume.
You can do things like use two syringes, or little party cups.
With the cups, let's say you have a 4:1 mix - mark 1 cup for part A, and then mark it at the same level on 4 cups for part B.
Don't use too much! Especially in one go! I once mixed too much to see what it would do :(
It got so hot it melted the container and almost caught alight.
For this project, you should only need 30mL or so of one part (a shot glass or so).
Mix into the take-away container and stir well. Paint across the tape that has been taped to the balloon.
Make sure that the carbon fiber doesn't look dull, this means it hasn't been wet out sufficiently. More is better in this case (not for a superlight bicycle though!)
Once the epoxy is 'tack' dry, remove the blue tape (otherwise it will stick and you can't remove it!). Paint the second tape on one side, then gently press the second tape over the first (wet side down) and paint again. Then the third tape. The key is to make the carbon wet with epoxy and form a bond between the first and second layer of carbon. This way you are building up an epoxy / carbon fiber 'composite matrix' which is the principle behind the strength and light weight of carbon fiber.
Step 6: Cut and Shut
Using a piece of paper, cut a template for your eyes. Use a texta to mark out the location of your eyes. I made them too close together! Bigger is probably better in this case.
'Pop' the balloon once the carbon/epoxy is dry and you now have a piece of carbon composite in the approximate shape of your head. Once dry the mask should be springy, strong and light.
Using the Dremel and Stanley knife, clean up the shape so that it looks good (eg round off the edges with the Stanley knife and remove any free 'tow' or splinters etc).
Step 7: Finishing
Using the Dremel, cut some holes for the ribbon or string. Use a respirator, good ventilation and sponge / water during this stage to ensure no carbon dust enters your lungs / skin.
Tape the template from the previous step to the carbon mask blank. Use the Dremel to cut out the eye holes and smooth it up.
1. Remove the paper template
2. Use the Dremel to 'tidy up' and jagged or sharp edges
3. Remove carbon dust with a sponge and then dry the mask
4. Once dry and dust-free, spray four or five times with varnish
5. Cut the felt to fit the inside of the mask and glue it to the mask to keep it soft and comfortable
6. Cut and knot the ribbon to fit.
Step 8: Party!