We enjoy the Composites week because it requires a very hands on and experimental approach.
Composites are materials resulting from 2 elements with different features. The Fab Academy students were asked to choose one compound with lots of strength and another with good flexibility features.
By mixing or laying them together you should acquire a composite material with the best characteristics from both. Epoxy resin and textiles are the perfect example: when layers of fabrics are impregnated with epoxy resin and vacuumed, the resulting material becomes an almost unbreakable surface.
How do you determine if the process was successful? Well, you beat the object on tables, floor, against walls, and see what happens. It should withstand your torture and not break.
The week started with our guru Ferdi designing a hot wire cutter for us, so that we could chop pieces of styrofoam for later machining our 3d design on the CNC. Some of us in need of better milling resolution worked with high-res foam.
The milled object is the mold onto which lots of other material substrates are laid. What sometimes happens is that the textile is unable to follow perfectly the shape, therefore students need to design darts to absorb the eccess of material in certain parts of the casting process. Jani is testing this process in the attempt of creating a baseball hat.
When the 3d object is milled, you get onto the funniest part of the task: spreading epoxy resin on the fabrics and covering everything in cling film and a breather layer to allow the excess material to be released during the vacuuming process.
Here some examples of great projects. Theò made a composite paper-inspired plane.
Pam made a case for her glasses.
Milena produces a copy of craters in Mars!
Gabriela experimented with epoxy and lycra.
For more information about the project visit our students website.