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CRC Tech: tech - Smooth Chassis Preparation
Technical Support - Setups

Advanced Carbon Fiber Chassis Preparation

Figure 1. Notice the square, sharp edges 
of the stock chassis. We are using a 
carpet knife V3 chassis for an example. 

The chassis in your kit is very strong and ready for use right out of the box. However there is an easy way to significantly extend the life of your chassis, it will also actually feel nicer to the touch. The reason this tip can extend the life of your chassis is that rounded corners are much more resistant to chipping, breaking and cracking than a square edge like the one on your stock chassis. In addition, the last step of this process involves sealing the edges of the carbon fiber with Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue which further helps to prevent the separation (de-lamination) of the many layers that make up your woven fibre chassis.

Click each image to enlarge

You will need the following:

1) A new chassis or your old un-modified 
    one completely disassembled.
2) A vice.
3) Medium Grit Emory Paper.
4) CA hobby glue fast or slow drying.
5) A well ventilated work area.
6) 600 Grit wet sandpaper
7) Warm soapy water.
8) Damp cloth to clean up any excess CA.
9) A face mask may also be a good idea
so that carbon dust doesn't get in your
eyes, nose and mouth. Carbon is fairly inert 
but can cause some irritation to the skin and 
potentially the throat, lungs and eyes.
Just always be careful. 

Figure 2. Another  'before' shot of the knife chassis
Notice the "grain" running the length
of the chassis. Sand against the grain to remove 
material and with the grain to finish with a smooth

Figure 3. Sand across the grain just until the 
edge is nicely rounded. 
1) If you have a vice use it.
2) Use soft Jaws in your vice (ie card board) to protect the chassis.
3) Use Medium grit Emery Paper cut into a 1 inch strip (8 " long).
4) Place one side of the chassis into the vice so that one side of the chassis is pointing
upward on a slight angle as shown in figure 3.
5) Hold each end of the strip of emery paper and sand back and forth across the grain. Continue just until the edges are completely rounded. Try and remove only the amount of material required to achieve a nice round edge.
6) Do both sides and the front in this manner. Move the chassis around in the vice as you move to different parts and sides of the chassis.
7) Remove the chassis from the vice and now sand with the grain as shown in figure four. Sanding with the grain gives a smooth finish.
8) Place the chassis back in the vice front end first so the rear of the chassis is
extending upward As shown in figure 5.
9) Now sand again by pulling back and forth across the chassis, but this time do it very lightly... just enough to slightly round the edges, this area of the chassis has the least amount of material and should be treated gently. This end of the chassis is also less likely to take direct impact, so a completely rounded edge is not as important as the front and sides of the chassis.
10) Also sand inside all the holes back and forth lightly. Since there are a couple of
different holes in a couple of different orientations, move the chassis around in the vice so each surface you are sanding is more or less parallel to the ground. This just makes the job easier. These inner holes are also not as easily damaged as the rest of the chassis so again, they do not need to be perfectly rounded like the sides and front do.

Figure 4. Sand with the grain up and down
the length of the chassis to give a smooth

Figure 5. Be careful sanding the edge of 
the chassis. You don't need to remove
 a lot of material here

11) Now go around the whole chassis with a piece of used emery paper (so
it is softer). Follow the grain all the way around the outside on the front and sides.

Lightly sand the holes on the inside of the chassis as well.

12) Wash the chassis off with warm soapy water and a clean cloth

Sealing the chassis edge

Use thin CA as it is less viscous and will work best for the method we use to get the glue all the way around the edge of the chassis.

1) Holding the chassis up near eye level, drop a healthy bead of CA on the top corner of the chassis. Keep the chassis perpendicular to the ground at all times. Let the bead of glue run slowly down the length of the chassis. Roll the chassis so that gravity can do its best to pull the glue along. Add more glue just above the bead when needed (i.e. the glue is used up as it coats the edge of the chassis). Continue along until the entire chassis edge is coated. Figure 6 shows the bead of glue after it has ran down one side of the chassis. At this point we rotated the chassis so it would run down the front side. Try to rotate the chassis in a nice smooth gradual manner and try and keep the bead moving. If the bead runs off onto the front or back of the chassis just wipe it off with a damp cloth as soon as it runs off. Try and keep the chassis perpendicular to the ground and avoid any 'run off'.


Figure 6. The CA should run around the edge 
of the chassis. Don't hurry, but work with a bit
of a sense of urgency. If it runs off onto the
 front or back of the chassis just wipe it off 
with a damp rag

Figure 7. Hang the chassis to dry

2) After the glue as been applied all the way around, hang it to dry as shown in figure seven.

3) After it is dry, Wetsand with soapy water (dish soap) and 600 grit sand paper lengthwise with the grain and polish to an ultrasmooth finish.

4) Inspect to see if you have sanded through anywhere... if so, apply a second coat of glue
and re-wetsand.

That's it! A bit of work but well worth it.

Figure 8. A comparison of an unfinished piece 
on the left and a finished one on the right.


Figure 9. Another  comparison of an unfinished 
piece on the left and a finished one on the right.


Posted on Wednesday, January 19 @ 02:49:56 CST by haddow
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