CompositesWorld: Carbon Fiber 2015

Landmark composites convention kicks off in Knoxville, Tennessee

oak ridge

The composites industry is constantly looking towards the future, providing the means and materials for the next groundbreaking technological advancement. Every manufacturer is racing to discover the next big thing, that next stepping-stone on the way to better technology, more effective production processes, and a higher understanding of our own capabilities. Tomorrow, hundreds of industry professionals and passionate hobbyists will convene in Knoxville, Tennessee for one of the largest meetings of the minds in the industry: CompositesWorld’s Carbon Fiber 2015. Throughout keynote presentations and tours of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, attendees will focus on the expanding role of carbon fiber at the forefront of the composites industry, conferencing with technical experts from all over the world to envision the future of this particular composite.

solar car

The Coastal Enterprises team is well aware of the possibilities inherent in carbon fiber, and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we stay on the cutting edge of carbon fiber shaping processes. Precision Board can be machined or hand carved easily and cleanly, making it an obvious choice for producing layup molds of any shape. In addition, Precision Board is chemically inert and does not outgas when heated, allowing prepreg to be used without issue. Typical urethane tooling boards release byproducts that prevent the composite laminate adhesive from curing, but Precision Board can be heated without any adverse reaction.

Routed HDU













Precision Board can accommodate any size mold design thanks to our custom bonded blocks. Multiple sheets of HDU (each up to 24 inches thick) can be permanently bonded together with our specially-formulated EP-76 epoxy to create completely custom shapes and sizes. The best part is, we perform this service in-house! This allows you to lower your material costs and conserve precious machine time by ordering a block of HDU in the specific shape you require. Rather than wasting time and money cutting away material you didn’t need in the first place, you can begin shaping your part as soon as it arrives. Precision Board lets you work smarter with carbon fiber, not harder.

Precision Board has always been a top choice for carbon fiber applications, and we look forward to enabling even more creative uses in the future. Check out some of the incredibly impressive projects made using Precision Board in conjunction with carbon fiber. But why stop there? Request a free sample today and see for yourself why Precision Board is the ultimate substrate for carbon fiber shaping!

Need For Speed: 2014 Human Powered Vehicle Competitions

Calling the 2014 Human Powered Vehicle Competition “One of the best in terms of teamwork,” Missouri S & T HPV team member Jon Sanders details the Missouri S & T experience at both major competitions on the East and West coasts this year, where colleges and universities all over the nation competed to build the fastest Human Powered Vehicle.

Our article earlier this year outlined the major technological improvements Missouri S & T has implemented help them win – specifically, building a three-wheelend chassis instead of a bicycle chassis and using a new type of carbon fiber for the body. “In addition to being a great teamwork experience, after two previous years working with Coastal Enterprises donated Precision Board, this year’s tooling experience was by far the best we’ve ever had,” states Sanders.


On April 11, 2014, the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge East competition (held at the University of Central Florida) began. “We showed up at HPVC East knowing we would need to complete the vehicle on-site, which is obviously the worst-case scenario because it meant less time for testing than we were accustomed to,” recalls Sanders. “Nevertheless, we did complete our vehicle and some testing prior to competition. However, once  the competition started, we realized that the drivetrain was about twice as hard as it should have been to operate. This was due to imperfect alignment, meaning we had to push the tires instead of roll them.”


Alignment problems aside, Missouri S & T faced an even bigger dilemma at the end of the Endurance race when rider Jon Sanders collided with another HPV from the University of Central Florida, sending him into a wayside haystack. The full consequences of that crash became evident three laps later when the steering column, pushrod and balljoint snapped while team leader Nikia Chapman was competing. Unable to repair the vehicle, Missouri S & T team members pushed/jogged the vehicle to a finish.

SONY DSCAt the conclusion of HPVC East, Missouri S & T still ended up placing 5th overall out of 35 schools, a remarkable finish after such serious mechanical complications.

Not long after, in San Jose, CA, HPVC West commenced on April 25th, with Missouri S & T in attendance this time with a much more extensively tested HPV. “We had time in between competitions to sort out our alignment issue, and also complete some additional testing,” explains Sanders. “We came into HPVC West much better prepared than at East, and it showed. Our car was performed beautifully until the end of the endurance event, when the steering column pulled out while I was driving. The only thing I could to was pound it into place with my fist every 100-200 feet to make sure it didn’t completely fail.”


“At HPVC West, we really came together as a group and were able to finish in third place overall,” states Jonathan. “Overall, I think the vehicle we brought this year was the best we’ve ever created.”

We’ve followed and reported on Jon and Missouri S & T for three years (since they started using Precision Board), compiling an impressive showcase of the progress the team has made over the years. Check it out and see how the team (and vehicle) has progressed!


Cornell Formula SAE Team Adds Aero Kit to 2014 Race Car

Anytime a project involves adding a motorcycle race engine to a four-wheel chassis, its bound to be pretty awesome. Cornell’s 2014 FSAE car, ARG14, weighs in at only 420 lbs. and boasts a turbocharged 2007 Honda CBR-600RR engine and complete carbon fiber monocoque frame. ARG14 got a chance to bare its teeth this past month when hundreds of teams from all over the world got together with their formula-style race cars for Formula SAE Michigan, held at the Michigan International Speedway, to find out which school brought the fastest car and who would walk away with bragging rights till next year. It’s a tough competition, with some teams utilizing professional drivers and Formula 1 wind tunnels during the car’s construction – these teams are serious about winning. Cornell 2014 FSAE Team Leader Jesse Green describes the changes they made prior to the 2014 race: “This year we made several major changes to help us achieve our goal of winning the competition. The first was the addition of an aerodynamic system, to increase the drivability of the car and and maintain competitiveness, as many other FSAE teams have also been adopting aerodynamics.” Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 3.38.26 PM In order to implement this major change, the first thing students did was perform a vehicle stability analysis with a two wheel model. With this, students were able to determine the minimum aerodynamic forces needed to stabilize the car, and a baseline for the desired aerodynamic balance. Additional testing helped students establish target lift and drag values, enabling them to accurately calculate desired aerodynamic performance and come up with a model to provide the most beneficial amount of downforce. According to Jesse Green, “We used the Precision Board Plus donated by Coastal Enterprises to make master molds for the carbon fiber parts that make up the aero kit. We had experience with Precision Board from when we made the molds for our carbon fiber monocoque frame in 2011, and it worked perfectly to produce our aero kit with minimal time or effort.” By generating 300lb. of downforce at 60mph, the team could attend Formula SAE Michigan confident that their car would perform well at the race.

IMG_1339Precision Board Plus PBHT-40 for the carbon fiber monocoque frame being CNC machined by Sierra Technical Services.

Cornell’s ARG14 ended up placing 44th out of 107 different teams, and are walking away with valuable insight from the new techniques implemented this year that they plan to master for next. According to next year’s Team Leader, Nina Buchakjian, “Cornell Racing has a strong heritage of building extremely powerful racing vehicles with incredible acceleration times. We definitely plan on continuing this for our next prototype, the ARG15. One major change will be in our chassis design, which is still being finalized. The redesign will focus on making the engine more accessible and serviceable. And of course, we aim to win!” See more about the Cornell FSAE team at IMG_2656 IMG_2660 MIS2014_07

Rockets and Eggs – 1000 Feet in the air

We received a call from Luke DeLisio, an Aeronautical Engineering student at Purdue University, inquiring about the possibility of a Precision Board Plus donation for a very interesting project they were undertaking.

Their mission: To design, assemble and successfully launch a rocket – with an egg inside. Mission success rides on the rocket achieving an altitude of exactly 1,000 ft. AGL, dropping to the ground in minimal time, and deploying a parachute with an intact egg. The project has been codenamed Sputnik Seven.

PBHT-60 was used as a mold for the rocket fuselage.

They started out with a design using RockSIM Software, selecting motor configurations to account for speed and height goals.


They then selected which materials they were going to use. The rocket was built entirely from scratch, consisting of a carbon fiber tube, carbon fiber nose cone, and carbon/honeycomb fins. It was assembled using a 2-part epoxy due to its strength and ease of application.

Here are several students applying a liquid mold release to Precision Board Plus PBHT-60 for the rocket fuselage mold.


Preparing the fuel bladder:


The fuselage was constructed by sandwiching 2 layers of prepreg fiberglass between a PBHT-60 mold and an inflatable bladder filled with air. All components were then placed in an autoclave for curing.

Launch time….will the egg survive?!??

The return to earth:

The egg was successfully recovered intact. Mission Success!

Thank you to Luke and all the students who participated in this project for sharing it with us!

UAV Project – Update

As students at Colorado State University continue with this amazing project, they have been posting many pictures and videos of the UAV progress.

See all the updates, including a video of the very first test flight here: and also here: 

Machining Precision Board Plus PBLT-30:


Top half of carbon fiber mold curing:

LARVA Dimensions: