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Carbon fiber pickguard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by David Jayne, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. For a P bass? I've searched and Googled and can't find one. Actually can't find any at all except for a custom one a guy made for his strat. Not looking for a fake 'graphite look,' but the real deal. I know I could theoretically make one but it would be a PITA.
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    You can buy thin sheets of graphite material. But beware that graphite sheet is REALLY tough to cut! Making a pickguard even if you had the graphite sheet would definitely be a PITA.

    A better solution would be to find some that that vinyl decorative covering (like the guy here who covered the whole bass in an American Flag design) and find it in a faux graphte look and just cover a standard pickguard with it.
  3. I know, I've done it, and I don't want to do it again. It wrecks tools and is a mess. The only good way to work it is with a water jet and I don't have one.
    Looks like the cost is keeping it out of the market. Too bad. It's nearly indestructible and shields really well. Plus it would look cool on my bass as it's got a Status neck.
  4. Why not go with Carbon Fiber cloth sheets (like fiberglass) and epoxy? Isn't that what's used for cars?
  5. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Yes, but you need either need an autoclave or a vacuum bagging process.
  6. I suppose you're right, except that you wouldn't use a mold, instead just lay it flat on a surface it won't stick to.

    Unless I'm missing something here, pretty sure it's doable.
  7. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013
    I used to build wake boards and the like out of carbon. The only reason you would need to vacuum bag it would be to minimize weight. That pulls out all the excess resin. If you don't care about a few grams and wanted to give it a try, get an extra pick guard, buy some cloth from your local tap plastics (pick the weave you like the look of, you don't need to worry about strength), and get some epoxy. Get a plastic spreader to smooth the air bubbles out and just overlay the carbon on the pick guard. It should stick fine, but it might be polyester resin on it (to which epoxy won't stick). Easy to test, just put a little epoxy on the pg and sand it back off if it stuck.

    Hmm there are some places that sell sheets. I used to use them. Easy to cut, I used a fine tooth jig saw. I'll try to look that up. You could also just lay a couple of squares of cf on top of each other and then epoxy together.

    There is a trick to get the deep finish. Last step in the process. I'm trying to remember what I used. Basically coat the dried sheets in a top layer of epoxy, and then I smoothed a clear thin sheet of flexible plastic (very thin) also from tap plastics. Let the epoxy cure, pull up the plastic (lexan maybe? Its been too many years), and you will have a beautiful pg. I would shape it and sand it before this finishing layer of epoxy...FYI.

    Pm me if you need more details!
  8. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If it's just a one off, a couple packs of cutoff wheels and sanding drums for your Dremel will get the job done. I've made tons of brackets and even whole chassis plates for r/c race cars out of CF sheet by drawing what I wanted on sticky back paper, stick it to the sheet, rough cut it with the cutoff wheels, then finish the edge with sanding drums. For drilling and countersinking, get TiN coated drill bits and a high speed (also TiN coated) countersink. It's not simple, but it's not as hard as it sounds. The trick will be finding CF sheet thin enough to make a pick guard from. You might get by using 1.5mm but that's still pretty thick for a PG.

    As for laying one up, model airplane builders have been sheeting wings with prepeg (raw CF cloth) and resin for quite a number of years. They vacuum bag them and use ordinary shop vacs to do it. You can buy ready made bags in a variety of shapes and sizes with a coupling already attached to hook your vacuum source to. It's mostly r/c sail plane guys doing this so google r/c sail plane wing construction and it won't take you long to find the info on how they are doing it and where they are obtaining their supplies. Like cutting one from sheet it's not like falling of a greased stump, but it's not impossible or nearly as hard as it seems. I've seen several wings where carved foam cores were fitted around ribs, sheeted with CF and bagged, then the foam washed out with gasoline to produce a very light, for it's size, very strong wing.
  9. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013
    you can pretty much get any thickness you want from this guy, then cut it down to the shape you want.

    again, if you're making your own, i wouldn't worry about bagging, prepreg, or any of that. It's just used to minimize the amount of epoxy mixed with fabric to minimize weight. We're talking a couple of ounces, if that. Just make sure you get all the bubbles out.

  10. Deep Cat

    Deep Cat Supporting Member

  11. Thanks for that. Great, detailed step by step on exactly how to do it. Still not gonna do it.

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