molds, casting, laminating in bass building?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. I have been doing research on mold making and casting for making pickup covers out of black tinted urethane. I found some good info on this, and also found lots of info for making stuff using graphite/fiberglass as a laminating material together with epoxy. This is achieved by multilayering the core material (wood of course) and then vacuum clamping to make the graphite/epoxy mix pickup the same shape as the neck. This is used extensively in other industries, particularly custom car and bike accessories. Also, if some guy can make a surf board out of some core material and put a shell of carbon fiber and epoxy on it, how come we don't see this more often in basses?

    I know Parker does something like this, and I am unsure how moses graphite does their necks, but it looks like small graphite sheets that are put on a mold with epoxy. Of course, if you can get graphite dust in large enough quantities economically, you could make a mold of your favorite neck and make it out of graphite/epoxy. Has anybody thought of experimenting with this? what are some experiences or thoughts that come to mind?

    I was thinking for a long time about making some 1/8" or some graphite/epoxy sheets using carbon fiber cloth to make control cavity covers and truss rod covers.
  2. Don't know if it's in the archive yet but the MIMF had a great tutorial by a member on making your own laminated carbon fiber sheets. Turns out it's a pretty easy process if you're careful (and what bass builder isn't?)

    Our own Rodent should chime in here soon. From what he's told me, he's headed in this direction in a large way and will be doing some cool stuff soon.

    I'm pretty sure there's nothing too special about Moses' process. From what I can tell from examining their crap product, it's cast with a resin that looks like it's full of carbon filler for color. Don't know much about what's inside but I don't think theres much "layup" technique in the manner that Status does theirs.
  3. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Wish. :eyebrow:
  4. Oh yeah...I had put him out of my mind - Thanx a bunch for reminding me. :spit: ;)
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Here's the Moses neck patent, which fully describes the process. Basically, a whole bunch of carbon fabric is layed up in two half molds, the halves are closed together, and injected with carbon-particle-filled epoxy.

    I'm pretty sure Heiko makes BassLab basses by making a plastic body-neck core form, overlaminating it with fabric like Wilser is suggesting, and then chemically melting out the core to leave a hollow carbon monocoque shell.

    IIRC Zon uses sone combination of wood, carbon fiber, and Tyvek or aramid, so I wouldn't be surprised if he is doing just what Wilser is suggesting.
  6. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    So am I. Except that it's not truly a 'carbon fabric' shell, it's a mixture of different fibres, at least various lengths and directions. Or an extremely sloppy job :D Not, it's very carefully built.

    Source: the inside of my STD.
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  8. wow, this is all great stuff, specially after reading the patent for moses, that is very nice. I wonder why haven't we seen any DYIers doing any experiments with creating a graphite cloth shell on a wooden neck.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I don't know how many people there are who have the skills to do the epoxy/fiber lamination. I do know there are one or two, though.

    Using an outside wrap creates a potential problem- what about cutting fret slots? Unless you wrap the neck minus the fretboard, and then apply a conventional FB.

    You could, if you wanted to, make a 3-piece neck core with a center strip of a lightweight but mildly strong woood to hold the truss rod, such as poplar, and side or outer strips of foam or balsa. Then fiber/epoxy wrap the whole thing. Very lightweight and strong!
  10. I was reading the ken parker stuff, if I'm not mistaken, he uses basswood as a neck wood. Multiple (parallel to the fingerboard) laminations with some carbon fiber 'sheets' integrated. Then he does the carbon fiber cloth 'shell'. This is very interesting, because we all know how light, stiff and stable they are. This is good stuff. Too bad I barely have the time to do the traditional method, let alone experiment.
  11. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    You could also use the U shaped CF trussrod channel that Moses sell.
  12. You've stumbled upon some very good composite builders with Parker and Zon. I HIGHLY suggest that you check out Status Graphite as well. :)

  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Just re-caught this earlier post.

    Moses does use a great deal of carbon fiber fabric, in addition to the epoxy/carbon particle fill (as described above and in the patent). My question is this, Ham--you had a Moses neck (or it was two, wasn't it?) where it/they arrived with the 24-fret fretboard extension cracked or snapped off, right? Assuming that's correct, did you see no carbon fiber fabric at the break? It sounds as if Moses is making the mistake, when adding that extension area to their basic neck, of not bringing the fabric into that part of the mold, and just letting it fill with the injected material. Which is not a good idea, since it is needed there probably more than anywhere else.