Making a mold for Vespa GTS 300 to do Carbon fiber bodies
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Addicted
2010 Vespa 300 Super
Joined: 04 Oct 2015
Posts: 688
Location: NYC
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:25 pm quote
Today I met with a couple of people from Hudson valley who were in NYC. They build carbon fiber hoods and other body panels for some Ford and Toyota vehicles as after market suppliers of sorts.
Got me thinking about whether anyone has made a mold of the Vespa frame and then made a carbon fiber monocoque frame of the Vespa GTS?
If not would such a project be something worth making happen for the community. I am guessing the cost of trial and error and making the mold happen would be in the range of $500-$1000 for all the supplies needed.
Thereafter the carbon fiber body would cost $1000 or so I am guessing, but would be worth it I am thinking.
I am not a Mechanical engineer but I think using a existing frame one could make a mold. Is something like this feasible and if not, besides time and costs what else are the things I am missing out on.
If one googles making molds for auto body panels there are tons of how to videos etc, but I am sure they dont tell the degree of difficulty and or hidden issues. Anyone have thoughts and suggestions on how to go about making something like this happen or maybe it is all a big Fuhgazi..
Hooked
2010 gts 300 super. 09 MP3 500 lite
Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 442
Location: tampa
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:13 pm quote
cant help with direction. but would be a potential buyer. its more complex project than a hood. more pieces and structural integrity far more important. 2500 sounds like a more reasonable figure
Molto Verboso
GTS 300 Super ABS/ASR
Joined: 07 Jun 2014
Posts: 1015
Location: Washington DC
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:45 pm quote
It may be a good idea to consult with a structural engineer with your project
Sponsor
Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Austin on IH35
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:02 pm quote
easily missing two zeros on your estimates.

structural is way different than a body panel. We've paid $2k just for some simple CF fender molds before. Pre-preg with a huge autoclave would be the best way, and it'll be made from multiple pieces. CF jetski hulls are $8K and up, closest thing probably to a Vespa chassis to compare.

you'll spend $1000+ just getting all the custom machined metal inserts needed to lay in the resin. Steering neck, engine mounts, and then think about everything that is bolted to the Vespa chassis -- key switch, fuel tank, floor board, glovebox, footpegs, bodywork, horn, etc --- all that needs to have a custom threaded insert set into the CF or a new workaround designed.

Be so freaking cool though....
Addicted
2009 GTS 250ie
Joined: 24 Mar 2018
Posts: 545
Location: south Texas
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:10 pm quote
Budz wrote:
It may be a good idea to consult with a structural engineer with your project
That right there. ^^

Carbon fiber is tough, but not always a cost-effective replacement for something like a steel frame. Now, the body parts? Yes, very cooi, but probably more expensive than than bending the metal.

And then there is the question of appropriating intellectual property. That may be done in some parts of the world where there is no respect for copyright and trademark, but here in lawsuit happy western civilization... well, you know. When you're done with the structural engineer, you might want to consult with an attorney well versed in copyright and trademark infringement.

No, I don't go out of my way to be a spoilsport. I served on a committee for copyright infringement for a professional organization a couple decades ago... I still remember lawyers who were excited about that being "a profit center."

And, as I recall, "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong" wasn't a good defense.
Hooked
2013 GTS300ie
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 463
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 pm quote
:roll:Considering the fact that Piaggio used aircraft technology to conceptualize the original Vespa engineering, I seriously doubt that you would be making any weight savings compared to the original in any case...

Hooked
BV 350
Joined: 22 Nov 2016
Posts: 430
Location: Nebraska
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:20 pm quote
Actually
Captain Jim wrote:
Carbon fiber is tough, but not always a cost-effective replacement for something like a steel frame. .
Actually, carbon fiber tends to be very brittle. It is very strong, but if you exceed its strength, it tends to shatter. Just watch the carbon fiber pieces fly off F1 cars in an accident.

At the very least, you would need an FEA scan of the current frame, then a program so the carbon fibers are laid in the appropriate directions and the appropriate layers to provide equivalent strength. Probably want to throw in some Kevlar or other 'tough' fiber to provide some 'give' in an accident, as opposed to instant failure.

As mentioned, need some metal inserts at attach points for engine, suspension, etc.

So very, very far from just building molds. I don't know what a steel Vespa chassis weighs, but I doubt saving half of that weight (probably the best you could do) would significantly improve acceleration, and affect top speed not at all.

So you'd be talking some very fancy molds/jigs, careful layering of fabric, vacuum bagging in an autoclave to achieve reliable quality.

By the time you did the analysis, design, prototyped, tested to destruction, redesigned, set up the molds and autoclaves, might not have much change left out of $200,000 dollars. Probably want to use titanium inserts to minimize weight, and titanium hardware for attachments. Just in raw materials, maybe $2000-$5000 per frame. And you have to recoup labor, energy, and development costs, too.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
'07 LX150 (Sold), '17 GTS300, '16 BV350, '15 EN650, '09 FXDF
Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 5281
Location: Home of the Alamo
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:43 pm quote
I didn't bother to read every word each post in this thread, but if I'm not mistaken, carbon fiber products aren't made with traditional "molds." They are laid down in sheets over a form and then trimmed and sanded, much like fiberglass.

Not sure if this is what you were referring to or if it makes any difference in your evil plans.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 5933
Location: New Zealand
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:36 pm quote
Jet Peddler wrote:
I didn't bother to read every word each post in this thread, but if I'm not mistaken, carbon fiber products aren't made with traditional "molds." They are laid down in sheets over a form and then trimmed and sanded, much like fiberglass.
Usually one side of the mould is a vacuum to suck out the excess resin. On bicycles they use internal bladders to push out the resin.

The last pic in this boat building story shows the vacuuming.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117276189/assembly-of-wellingtons-electric-ferry-to-start-by-the-end-of-2019

CF is a real art to do well.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
'07 LX150 (Sold), '17 GTS300, '16 BV350, '15 EN650, '09 FXDF
Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 5281
Location: Home of the Alamo
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:46 pm quote
znomit wrote:
Jet Peddler wrote:
I didn't bother to read every word each post in this thread, but if I'm not mistaken, carbon fiber products aren't made with traditional "molds." They are laid down in sheets over a form and then trimmed and sanded, much like fiberglass.
Usually one side of the mould is a vacuum to suck out the excess resin. On bicycles they use internal bladders to push out the resin.

The last pic in this boat building story shows the vacuuming.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117276189/assembly-of-wellingtons-electric-ferry-to-start-by-the-end-of-2019

CF is a real art to do well.
I watched a show on TV a couple of years ago that detailed how CF items were made. Pretty fascinating. Highly skilled labor involved as well.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 5933
Location: New Zealand
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:41 pm quote
Jet Peddler wrote:
I watched a show on TV a couple of years ago that detailed how CF items were made. Pretty fascinating. Highly skilled labor involved as well.
For small non structural stuff DIY is OK. Finish might not be as pretty as you would like though.

OP, if you have an itch to scratch then a fender might do just that.
Ossessionato
2016 Vespa GTS300ie abs/asr/ess Settantesimo '70'
Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 2218
Location: Starfleet Command, South Eastern UK HQ
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:48 am quote
I am a mechanical engineer, although haven't worked extensively with carbon fibre. It would be pretty unlikely here in the UK, that we could buy and use something like that. Unless it was purely a diy project, which over here, would still have to pass stringent DOT testing which costs money. If something like that was on sale over here it would likely infringe european homologation testing laws unless it was homologated of course (costs are huge). At the very least it will infringe eu laws on modifications to vehicle construction rules. And carbon fibre is not a very friendly material to use for a monoque scooter construction I suspect, for some of the reasons mentioned above.

Lets suppose all the above worked out ok. The cost of buying a frame would run out at a likely $10,000+ per frame or a lot more. Anything carbon fibre is hugely costly because of all the work involved and it still wouldn't be as good as a steel frame. Lighter maybe, but not by much. It would require so much steel reinforcement that any weight savings would be not worth it. Just my opinion having worked in a small way with carbon fibre over the years.
eeee-bip
Benelli TNT 125/Kymco AK550 I don't care. You can quote me.
Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 17197
Location: South East Great England of Britishland
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:49 am quote
Question
But why would you ?

It's not going to make it go any faster.

Bill x
Sponsor
Granturismo 218
Joined: 04 Feb 2013
Posts: 5605
Location: South Carolina
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:24 pm quote
Stromrider wrote:
Lets suppose all the above worked out ok. The cost of buying a frame would run out at a likely $10,000+ per frame or a lot more.
My guess is the later. But if you do get them made for $2000 and they don't go snap at 60 mph, I'll buy a couple. PM Tuning did some carbon fiber parts for the GTS, and if it was possible to do what you are suggesting, I think they would have already done it. It would be interesting to know if they ever tried or looked into whether or not it was possible.
Now if you were to sand a Vespa frame down to bare metal and clear coat it, then replace everything that was plastic with carbon fiber, that might be an interesting looking bike.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 5933
Location: New Zealand
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:27 pm quote
BMW dropped a whopping 4.4lb by using CF for the HP4 frame.
Molto Verboso
GTV300 (wife's)
Joined: 08 Nov 2014
Posts: 1173
Location: Central New York
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:09 pm quote
znomit wrote:
BMW dropped a whopping 4.4lb by using CF for the HP4 frame.
I probably could reduce the weight of my ride by more than that just by cutting out desert a few times a week!
Hooked
BV 350
Joined: 22 Nov 2016
Posts: 430
Location: Nebraska
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:57 am quote
That's the thing
kshansen wrote:
znomit wrote:
BMW dropped a whopping 4.4lb by using CF for the HP4 frame.
I probably could reduce the weight of my ride by more than that just by cutting out desert a few times a week!
Most of us are carrying around some extra pounds. Cheaper (and more healthful) to drop those pounds first, before trying to lighten our rides. Not as fun, obviously. And in most cases, negligible improvement in performance.

One manufacturer claimed that they were working on a process for making carbon fiber car bodies using a process similar to injection molding, and they hoped to get the cost down to around $300 per body. Never heard more about it. Lots of bicycles being made with CF frames, at very high cost. A pretty good 'short course' on CF:

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/g20029412/the-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-carbon-fiber/

Obviously the stresses on a scooter frame are much higher, complicating the engineering.

It would be totally cool to have a scooter made of carbon fiber. But not a DIY project, unless you had lots of tools and were highly qualified.
Member
2006 Fly 150
Joined: 27 Jan 2018
Posts: 12
Location: So. Calif / L.A. Harbor Area
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:35 am quote
Talk to the guys at Speedkore...I sold them their autoclave

https://speedkore.com/carbon-fiber-parts/
Hooked
2010 gts 300 super. 09 MP3 500 lite
Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 442
Location: tampa
Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:23 am quote
what would do far more for performance would be a pair of carbon fiber wheels.

average weight for 17in wheel is around 24 lbs
extremely light 17in alloy wheels weigh 14.5 lbs
17in carbon wheels weigh 6.5 lbs

vespa 12 rim 6.5lbs
billet 12 rim 4.0 lbs
carbon 2.5 ???
Hooked
BV 350
Joined: 22 Nov 2016
Posts: 430
Location: Nebraska
Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:17 am quote
Probably
jerryd wrote:
what would do far more for performance would be a pair of carbon fiber wheels.

Probably only cost just a little more than the rest of the scooter altogether. And you'd have a nervous breakdown everytime you had to take one in to the high-school drop-out at the dealer to have a tire changed. So add the cost of a tire machine (half a scooter, in dollars). Maybe reduce your 0-60 time by at least one or two tenths of a second.

Chief benefit on cars is reducing unsprung weight and moment of inertia. For a car that can go 150 MPH, significant. For a vehicle that has a 1:15 power to weight ratio, perhaps not so much.

Probably need to have a companion drive around a big truck, that you could chain the scooter to (through the wheels) so they'd be there when you got back. Or maybe a van that you could lock the scooter inside of.
Hooked
2010 gts 300 super. 09 MP3 500 lite
Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 442
Location: tampa
Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:30 am quote
I am aware of the costs. carbon wheels have been out for ten years now. they haven't come down in cost. we are just shootin the shit here. its not like anyone is really gonna make a carbon frame for a vespa. much less wheels.
Sponsor
Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Austin on IH35
Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:03 am quote
something cool that would be a ton of work, but not a ton of money would be to hydrodip the chassis.

look up hydro dipping. That is how much of the faux carbon fiber is done. Special ink/paint is floated on water, in a big tank, then the part is dipped thru it.

any design would be possible....would just have to strip the chassis down to the bare tub and find a place that has a big enough tank.
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Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
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Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:00 pm quote
jerryd wrote:
what would do far more for performance would be a pair of carbon fiber wheels.

average weight for 17in wheel is around 24 lbs
extremely light 17in alloy wheels weigh 14.5 lbs
17in carbon wheels weigh 6.5 lbs

vespa 12 rim 6.5lbs
billet 12 rim 4.0 lbs
carbon 2.5 ???
front or rears wheel weights?

I know a company that has aluminum 17 rims that weigh
rear 10.14
front 6.06
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