Looking for an entry-level composite project? One that needs a minimum amount of materials and construction space, costs less than a boat, but still lets you travel on water? If you live in snow country, why not build a pair of composite snowshoes?
These snowshoes are made from a rigid foam core between two layers of carbon-fiber cloth, edged with 1″ Kevlar tape. A carbon-fiber wrapped wood spar runs across each snowshoe under the ball of your foot. This provides a solid mounting point for a couple of stainless steel eye-bolts to attach a simple toe-and-heel strap for a binding. Fiberglass tape reinforces the top and bottom edges, and the upper surface of the snowshoes where your winter boots contact them.
Above: A combination square is used to mark the two edges along the entire length of the corner before applying reinforcing fiber tape.
Composites are a blend of resin (in this case mixed epoxy) and reinforcing fiber. Folks often ask, “How strong are they?” It is difficult to answer this question due to many variables including resin type, fiber type, fiber orientation, and resin/fiber ratio. To give a value for a laminate, we reduce the variables. Values shown in this article were done with test samples using WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin®/206 Slow Hardener® at room temperature (70°F). Reinforcing fibers are Episize™ materials. Continue reading →