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When we got a call from Robert, our contact at Indian Motorcycle, about potentially helping out with a project he was working on, the only answer that crossed our minds was, "Of course we would like to be involved with whatever you have going on." Little did we know that this "project" was the Elnora Landspeed bike that he would be racing at the El Mirage Speedweek this last weekend. As with every race, and with every race project, the schedule was incredibly tight. What did Robert need from us? Due to the fact that Doug (4Nines) has stretched his legs in the realm of hand-lain carbon fiber on his PPIHC race car, Robert had charged us with dropping some weight off of the front end of the Elnora bike.

When we got the parts that we had to reproduce in carbon fiber, we found that we needed to reproduce the whole headlight housing. Everything from the bezel, to the front and rear covers. We knew that we had a big job ahead of us. After work and on the weekends, we set up shop to get these parts laid up and cured.

Here, is what we did:

Prep
The Raw Materials:


Laying out all of the parts to be reproduced to wrap head's around the whole project.




Worked on a backing for where the headlight would normally sit was going to be key so that we could get a nice and smooth span over the front of the bucket. Using some painter's tape and some high tech cardboard, we were able to get a solid back for the carbon to lay on.


Everything all on one table with plenty of room to work as once the juice is mixed, it is a race against time.


Doug and I carefully measured out the materials to be used to make sure that we had enough material to cover all of the parts properly. It is no fun finding out that you cut the sheet too small halfway through the process while the juice is hot.


I hit all of the parts with several coats of wax to ensure that the parts came off the molds once everything had set up.

Laying the carbon

Then it was time to go hot, and for Doug to snap into action.


Smoothing out all of the bubbles and making sure that the material is saturated, is key in this step. We both worked feverishly to get the juice spread. I was the spreader, and Doug did the finesse work, smoothing and shaping.


Once we got the first layer of carbon laid, there was nothing more to do except let it do it's thing and set up.

Once the first layer of carbon had set up, it was time to trim the edges off and prep for the second layer of material.


Just like with washing your hair, Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Measure out the next layer, and set everything up just as before. Go hot, and lay it up.


Once you are all done with the second layer, it is time to wait again...


Hit them with final coat of clear to make the carbon really pop, and you are ready to wait again. :)


Popping them off of the molds can almost always be tricky. Just hope that you had enough wax on there and that everything goes smoothly. Then the final trim, and you are almost ready to do some test fitting.

Robert brought the Elnora bike by the shop so that we could do the final fit and finish.










The proof is in the pudding... Robert ended up taking the Elnora bike to the flat, dry, lake bed at El Mirage this last weekend and ran that thing ragged up to a final top speed of 130.227. At the end of the day we were able to save about 13 pounds by replacing that front headlight assembly with hand laid carbon fiber.


Image: Barry Hathaway​
 

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It was a honor being apart of this project! I was stressing pretty good when I first saw all the complex curves of the parts that I needed to produce, but we made it work and I think it turned out pretty well. Fortunately for us, Robert loved the final parts and sported them proudly. Congratulations again to Robert and Gary for laying down some fast times on these new Indian Motorcycles!
 

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Nice work. Like to hear about cooperative efforts.
 
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