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Thread: Carbon fiber for strength

  1. #1 Carbon fiber for strength 
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    Hello. I apologize if this post is not something that would normally be handled on this board.

    I have looked all over the internet for information about reinforcing wood with carbon fiber. It seems that any information I find discussing the properties of carbon fiber are a bit over my head to understand. I was hoping maybe you guys could give me a little insight on my project I am considering.

    I am looking to build a basic ramp to move heavy objects onto a pick-up truck. By heavy objects I mean refrigerators and things of that nature. Mostly household items. I have thought of quite a few VERY basic designs between wood and even structural steel uni-strut.

    I have assumed wood would be the cheapest and easiest way to create the ramp. I find that I don't trust the wood enough strength-wise though. I was not able to find information explaining the breaking point of different thicknesses of pine. So, I went out and bought a few lengths of double-back unistrut. (1 5/8" x 3 1/4") I realize that steel is overkill, but i guess it is better than building a ramp out of wood that I am not completely sure is sufficient and having it collapse on me. The only issues with the steel is the weight and difficulty to work with. (not sure how I would reinforce the wooden ramp surface with steel. Lots of gorilla glue maybe?)

    Anyway, I have recently read about this carbon fiber material and am quite impressed with it from what I have seen. (Due to my basement walls cracking and having to be reinforced with carbon fiber.) I got the idea to just reinforce a few boards with carbon fiber strips, much like the suggestion was for my basement walls.

    Here is the issue I am facing though. There are TONS of different weaves, thicknesses, and styles of carbon fiber. I don't know much about it..quite obviously. Information that I can find on the different characteristics of carbon fiber at various thicknesses and weaves is very complex reading and without a science or engineering background, I am having a difficult time understanding it.

    If anybody has any insight at all, please feel free to fire away. I guess I am looking for suggestions of what type of carbon fiber I should be looking at, thickness, etc. Or even just the information. Or maybe I am wrong for even considering carbon fiber. I don't know. I am not set on using carbon fiber, but from what little I know about it, it seems like it would be the easiest way to do this project and be sure of the wood's strength. (I am picturing taking a 7/8" sheet of plywood, slapping a few strips of carbon fiber with the epoxy on it and putting a couple hinges in the middle for folding) Any ideas welcome. Thank you for your time. Sorry for the ignorance on this topic, but I just don't have the background to be able to understand some of the information I was trying to find, or maybe I am looking in the wrong places.

    Thanks again.


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    Carbon fibre is strong but not in any way useful to a ramp. It deflects. Consider that a typical welcome mat is strong enough to hang a truck from, but what would happen if we used it as a ramp? Same deal with carbon fibre.

    You want the ramp to be rigid. Basically, you'll have to build it with some stiffening members (like the 2x10 joists under a floor) that could be more discreet if very rigid material like steel or aluminum. I guess you want it to be as thin as possible but that is really contradicting strength. Look at bridges. Or better yet look at existing ramps.

    An epoxy/fibre surface would be good for traction and longevity though.

    I assume you want a span just shy of the truck bed length, for portability. Width suitable for dollies, like 26" or so? And as thin as possible? I could give you a lumber plan. Can you cut and drill steel?


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3 Re: Carbon fiber for strength 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mick9981
    The only issues with the steel is the weight and difficulty to work with. (not sure how I would reinforce the wooden ramp surface with steel. Lots of gorilla glue maybe?)
    If you decide to use the steel, since you already have it, the glue is probably not the way to go. I's say bolt struts onto the underside of your ramp, one on each side, attaching them every foot or two with a bolt through the plywood.
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  5. #4  
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    Thank you for the explanation. What you said about the carbon fiber makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong

    I assume you want a span just shy of the truck bed length, for portability. Width suitable for dollies, like 26" or so? And as thin as possible? I could give you a lumber plan. Can you cut and drill steel?
    The span is not too important. I was actually thinking of making it 10 feet or so, so that the slope of the ramp will be a bit less, and just letting part of the ramp sit on the top of the tailgate for transportation. (I have an 8 foot bed that is about 36" high)

    Yes, the width should be wide enough for furniture dollies. 26" would be about right. I was thinking about putting hinges in the middle so that the ramp could be folded in half either length-wise or width-wise.

    Yes cutting and drilling steel is doable within reason. I have a basic porta-band saw and a drill. So basic cuts would be ok.

    A lumber plan would be great. If you wouldn't mind. Thank you very much for your help. I do appreciate it a lot.

    Mike
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
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    Common lumber and metal, 8' x 25", cheap & easy:

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    - Use a full 4'x8' sheet of 1/2" ply or better (heavier :? ), ripped to 25" and 22" (1" waste).
    - Paint/seal everything prior to assembly.
    - 8' 2x2 (1-1/2" x 1-1/2") along edges, they'll straighten as attached.
    - Stiffen with something like 3/16" thick x3" wide steel, try local scrapyard.
    - Screw it all together. Use lag screws for the metal, with a good thick zinc coating.

    The key here is keeping that metal from twisting. There are more sophisticated solutions but I think mine survives weathering and abuse well, and won't take long to make.

    At the ends you can taper the metal so there's less bump getting on and off.

    @Harold. Good? No good?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Common lumber and metal, 8' x 25", cheap & easy:

    profile


    - Use a full 4'x8' sheet of 1/2" ply or better (heavier :? ), ripped to 25" and 22" (1" waste).
    - Paint/seal everything prior to assembly.
    - 8' 2x2 (1-1/2" x 1-1/2") along edges, they'll straighten as attached.
    - Stiffen with something like 3/16" thick x3" wide steel, try local scrapyard.
    - Screw it all together. Use lag screws for the metal, with a good thick zinc coating.

    The key here is keeping that metal from twisting. There are more sophisticated solutions but I think mine survives weathering and abuse well, and won't take long to make.

    At the end of the ramp at the bottom, you can taper the metal so there's less bump getting on and off, as well.

    @Harold. Good? No good?
    We use something like this. But you have to build a frame to support them. We usually use "U" channels. And sometimes angle, inside the "U" channel, to support the bottom of the treads. We make stairs and platforms with them. As well as floating dock ramps, in Marina's. They are very light.

    We usually weld them. However you can bolt them together. But your supports have to take all the weight. You might also want to make a little flap at the bottom of the ramp to make it easy to roll things up.



    Some of the treads come, as small as two feet wide. The one pictured comes larger I believe around 32 inches. You could make two separate ramps or just use one two foot plank. It might be enough just to get up a refrigerator. The lighter the better is the rule in moving.

    You can get these from Mcnichols. They are a high end outfit. No bones about it. But they do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. A lot of their stuff comes from local shops and subcontractors that will not deal with small business or homeowners. They subcontract for Mcnichols. I have dealt with Mcnichols many times over the years they are a good company. And have a lot of wild products.

    http://www.mcnichols.com/eCommerce/s...playType=thumb

    We also make decks and treads out of aluminum diamond plate as well. By bending the diamond plate we create the effect of a much thicker piece of metal.





    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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  8. #7  
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    Here are some ramps that my father has been using for a couple years now. He likes them. They say they are rated for 750 pounds. They are often used as wheel chair ramps. But you can easily carry a refrigerator up these ramps.

    They fold neatly and are pretty light to carry around.










    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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