Composites Classroom

Latest news from the Labs:
  1. Rock West Composites is proud to support STEM programs around the country and this student team in particular. A team of senior mechanical engineering students at the Cleveland State University College of Engineering competed in the 2020 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. They won 1st Place Overall Champion in the competition against 14 other universities from across the country! Their design objectives included minimized frame weight, minimized frictional loss in the steering system, charging versatility, operational safety, and intuitive controls. You can read more about the various innovations and optimizations outlined on their project design poster. The following video offers a great overview of the project: Carbon fiber played a large roll in the weight reduction for the frame, which was a top priority in the frame design. The team designed a custom carbon fiber frame. Off-the-shelf tubes provided flexibility in the mounting of components and other design considerations. We Read more...

The Carbon Fiber Trike That Doubles As A Rickshaw

Does our love of innovation show? If not, rest assured that we are thrilled with every opportunity we have to help customers develop innovative new products using composite materials and rapid prototyping. There is a new product we just learned of, a product that excites us even though we had no hand in designing it. The product is a trike that doubles as a rickshaw. With a frame made entirely of carbon fiber, the trike brings a reasonable weight to the table in a design that makes it foldable for easier transport. We can envision this trike becoming a popular option for rickshaw operators

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The Carbon Fiber Phone: A Case for Rapid Prototyping

Carbon fiber has thus far not been a material that smartphone manufacturers looked to for creating new models. Why? Because it has one major flaw: it interferes with radio signals. Still, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a carbon fiber phone. Now that a manufacturer has actually done so, we should start seeing more carbon fiber phones emerge. The new phone in question is one made by a company known as Carbon Mobile. Though we had nothing to do with designing and manufacturing of the phone, we suspect that its designers put a lot of effort into prototyping. They might

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Choosing the Right Composite Material for the Job

Rock West Composites is known primarily for our carbon fiber products ranging from prepregs to fabrics and various types of tubing. Yet there is more to our business than just carbon fiber. We also deal in fiberglass, Kevlar, and other materials. We even offer prototyping services. All of that to say this: we deal in a variety of products because there is not a single composite perfect for every job. We have chosen the inventory we carry based on a desire to help each customer choose the right composite material for every project. Carbon fiber is a fine choice for a lot of applications.

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Working with Carbon Fiber

Deciding to take on a carbon fiber project at home?  One of the best things about carbon fiber is that you do not have to be an expert to work with it. The material is very forgiving for home applications. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with small and easy carbon fiber projects: (You can also check out What you need for your Carbon Fiber Projects) 1. Carbon Fiber Fabric Unless you are running a braiding machine or 3D printer, your DIY projects are going to start with Carbon Fiber Fabric. This is a fabric woven from microscopic carbon fiber threads that have been spun

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We Now Know Why SpaceX Abandoned Carbon Fiber

It was only a couple of years ago that SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveiled an all-carbon-fiber rocket body for his interstellar spaceship to Mars. Then, seemingly without warning, Musk pulled the plug on the project. He scrapped the carbon-fiber rocket body, closed the Port of LA fabricating facility, and walked away from a lease on land he intended for a full-scale production facility. Those who follow Musk and his SpaceX exploits were shocked. They had heard for years that carbon fiber was the key to making Mars colonization possible. Learning that he was scrapping carbon fiber in favor of

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