Form, lay up, and cure your own high-performance composites.
It seems as though nearly everything "high performance" these days boasts some amount of carbon fiber in its construction. Originally used in aerospace, carbon fiber has moved into the mainstream and can be found in luxury automobiles, mountain bikes, and sports equipment.
Some laptops and cellphones even use printed decals to simulate this lightweight material's cutting-edge look. The good news is that you don't need a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to work with carbon fiber composites. In fact, you can do it at home. This article discusses some of the basics of carbon fiber construction and explains how to create a carbon fiber iPod case. All you need are some basic woodworking tools and skills, and the right materials. And because the same process also applies to fiberglass and Kevlar composites, these skills give you multiple ways of boosting your future projects to a new level!
This primer first appeared on the pages of Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 09, which is sold out and no longer available.