Originally Posted by spindrift
And by reputation not easy to work with.
There are many, many challenges. The design challenge seems even more formidable to me. You want to build a ski boot with carefully controlled stiffness, meeting the ISO standard, and reliable with the vast range of abuse that current extremely resilient elastomer ski boots sometimes don't hold up to. Meaningful analysis of composite parts could fairly be compared to rocket surgery. The software tools don't come in academic versions of popular software, and license cost is on the order of a year of my rent.
|Furthermore, the higher end resins you'd likely want to use are serious stuff. Epoxies, vinyl-ester, polyester --- be prepared to make some serious investments or get access to some appropriate serious industrial workspace if you really are going to work with that stuff and want to avoid a) creating your own EPA supersite and b) taking a few years off your life. Also, I would not be surprised if you'd have to resort to vacuum bagging or some similar process to manage resin to fiber ratios... I'm sure you get the idea...
You can, quite legally and fairly safely, work with many of the appropriate aerospace epoxies in a garage. Many, many people have built Rutan's aircraft designs and lived to tell the tale. I've built some parts (such as: CFRP car sunroof replacement panels with cast epoxy mounting bosses) with very little skill. Sure you screw up some stuff (do that with cheap uncertified glass cloths, btw
) but you learn quickly and it is a pretty cool skill set. I probably have the MSRP of a new pair of boots in tools, some I had for other tasks like the vacuum pump.
I'm not saying safety isn't a big concern (you do not want to develop an epoxy allergy, I haven't yet, many people have) but I do think this is within the grasp of someone who likes to fiddle and fabricate.
I push the thought in this thread out of my mind because
-I've got too many projects already
-I like my ski boots, though I hate the weight, and I don't care much for any AT boots
-The design task to make something more than a cumbersome paperweight would be considerable work
-I haven't gotten to back of napkin yet, just thought, but I don't like 3 piece boots and I think a lightweight boot utilizing CFRP would need to be broadly similar
-Why? Ski boots work well. For me it has to be light weight. Merely losing 10 more pounds off me would be much easier, cheaper, and preferable.
A friend and I put together a downdraft worktable with a fairly effective carbon filtration system. If you vacuum bag and infuse you can easily get away without that sort of thing for some fairly large parts (car roof panels, etc.)
Maybe if I get a really bad ski jones some year when I'm stuck in Wichita or something.