Dicecreator's Blog
Handmade dice, for the gamer and collector.

Carbon fiber & aluminium Die. (2nd Part)

Let’s shake over yesterday’s failure with a well finished die.

We left it with the die having to be sanded.

3.- Plug the holes, fill the chicken.

Once sanded, and with a thorough clean, we proceed to plug all the holes we made on the D3. If we make a mistake on this procedure, not only we will have lost a ton of work, but we will have a really messy workshop.

Using adhesive tape, wrap the metal case, making sure that you apply it seamlesly. Then, we fill the hole with carbon fiber sock (two layers) and push it to the outside with a pen or something similar.

Here becomes tricky. We plug the end with a layer of the same adhesive tape, and make an X cut on the center.

After that, we apply a balloon tube over the end and wrap the stretched part with thin tape. It is important to say that you can’t leave any holes.

Now, using a previously drilled hole on the back of the bar, we plug the unfinished die into a brushless RC motor and secure it with a drop of cyanoacrylate. Make sure the die is centered or you may end with an off center die wich will not work.

Next, we pour a mix of resin and hardener through the balloon tube using a shringe. Close the balloon with a fine thread, and carefully, start spinning the die. Expect heavy vibrations at some point, but if you did it right, they should only last a little, while you get over that resonance rpm zone.

Don’t hesitate to rev up the motor, the faster the better. In my case, I go up to 9000-ish rpm for a while, to help the resin fill all cavities. Because there is still some vibrations, the small bubbles we introduced when mixing the resin, flow up to the center due to their low overall mass.

Depending on the resin you used, and the temperature of the workshop, you may have to wait a few hours. On winter, I have to wait some time, and usually help with a heat gun, while on summer, i just leave it spinning for a while and it’s done.

When the resin cures, we take the die and remove all the tape and rubber, and if all went to plan, we should have an empty space inside the die, and a really tough lining of carbon fiber composite.

At the lathe, we turn the final lenght of the die, removing all the aluminium, but leaving the carbon untouched. If we tried to cut the carbon fiber too, it wouldn’t work.

The material characteristics are like a soft plastic that melts under the pressure of the cutting tool, but when enough material has been removed, eventually the spinning die will get loose of it’s root but hang from a fine thread, smashing into the tool, ruining your work (been there, done that ^^ ).

We leave the carbon exposed, and simply cut it with our rotary hand-held tool. Then, after a rough power sanding of the carbon ends, you just need to sand carefully with progressive finer sandpaper. I usually get into the 1000, 1200 grit.

The final touch involves spraying a clear coat over the die, and then leave it to dry on a spinning tool, for a really even protective layer.

(die shown without protective clear coat. Buyer (if any) will have free choice of color for the numbers (all 3 the same color).

And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this guided trip through a pair of days of work.

Comments are welcome ^^

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One Response to “Carbon fiber & aluminium Die. (2nd Part)”

  1. very cool to see how this all comes together!!!

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