Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Project HELIOS - Invocation Begins 10.01.10

Recommended Posts

@SpeedCrazy - I agree it's a little excessive, but I wanted to build something from the highest grades of thermoplastics available on the planet. Thanks a lot for posting.


@Imagine - And Happy New Year to you as well mate. Thanks for the support. Fitting the PSU is going to be a test of will for sure.


@sack_patrol - Thank you sir, it just takes some time and a touch of inspiration.


@battery - Thanks a lot.


@ultimatedesk - Thank you for your comments sir. :)



Whats next? I hear you asking.


1) Resurfacing the panels - this will be done by squeezing each piece for a few seconds at ~200,000lbs in a press heated to ~400degress. The pieces will be pressed between a textured sheet of teflon, the texture will be transferred to the surface of the composite panels. The result will be a flat, even surface with a slight texture to it; just to add a bit of character.


2) Final assembly - this will be where the panels are fixed together using small press-fit steel pins. You wont be able to see these pins once assembly is complete and they will offer more than enough structural stability to hold the chassis together.


3) Aerogel (Frozen Smoke) pieces - I've decided to manufacture the remaining parts of this case from a material known as Aerogel. This material is just... remarkable... it looks just like frozen smoke, it weighs almost nothing, it's the least dense solid on the planet... and it can withstand ~4000 times its weight in compression. I'll leave you with a video discussing it's properties:


4) Install the hardware - I still haven't settled on the hardware for this build... but I think something over-the-top and epically powerful is in order. I'll start gathering the remaining pieces over the next month or so.


Thanks for the comments and support everyone.

I look forward to sharing my current progress with you soon.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been asked some questions regarding the struggles in creating the panels used to construct Helios... so here is goes.


I will elaborate with a photo walkthrough when I can find the opportunity in the next few weeks.



Material Composition:

Base Materials:

- Carbon

- Nickel

- Lithium

- Teflon

- Aramid (Kevlar)

- Polypropylene

- Glass


The resin used is the highest performance material currently available on earth:

"PEEK™ polymer is regarded as one of the highest performing materials in the world. Its product portfolio is the broadest range of polyaryletherketones on the market today and helps customers improve application performance, realize greater design freedom and achieve systems cost savings."

As a small qualifier to the performance of this material; combining PEEK with a something like Fiberglass will result in a material stronger than carbon fiber (albeit not as light).



The process of manufacturing is as such:

1 - Fibers are grouped 25,000 at a time, in this case, and wound onto rovings.


2 - The rovings, like big spools of thread, contain about 2.5KM of fiber and weigh only about 1KG (depending on the material).


3 - The rovings are fed into a machine, 64 at a time, and impregnated with plastic resin


4 - The result is called "tape" and it's 6inches wide, it's cross section would reveal 1.6million individual fibers held together with resin.


5 - The tape is then fed into a machine which melts as many as 7 spools together.


6 - The result is a continuous sheet 42" wide and composed of 11.2million individual fibers across.


7 - This 42" wide sheet is then sliced into 42"x42" squares called "unidirectional sheets".


8 - These "unidirectional sheets" are then stacked one atop another, following a strict pattern called a lay-up. For the panels used in Helios the lay-up called for 64 specific layers of materials in the form of unidirectional sheets and woven fabric.


9 - The sheets are then stacked 0degrees -> 90degrees -> 0degrees -> 90degrees -> etc. This is to alternate the direction of the fibers and ensure rigidity in both directions


10 - Every few layers the lay-up calls for a sheet of resin film to be added, this film will melt and help further adhere the layers.


11 - This stack of sheets, fabrics, and resins is now sandwiched between some sheets of teflon fabric and topped off with 1/8" aluminum panels. The aluminum keeps the panel surface straight and the teflon stops everything from sticking to the aluminum (sometimes textured teflon is used for effect).


12 - This 'sandwich', now over 6" tall, goes into a GIANT press heated upwards of 500degrees and capable of exerting several million pounds of force under tens of thousands of PSI.


12 - The Helios panels went into the press for 11mins 400,000lbs @ 420degrees, then another 6mins in a cooled press at 120,000lbs. These unimaginable forces turned the 6" tall lay-up unto an incredibly rigid panel 8mm thick.


13 - In the case of Helios, I've added another step: a second pressing using textured teflon to add a surface texture to the panels. This is because when the panels were made using smooth teflon and I want a more unique look than just plain "shiny".


In Short:

Fiber is wound, injected with plastic, grouped into tape, melted together into sheets, which are stacked together with resin film, which is pressed and cooled... this is how you get thermoplastic panels.


As you can imagine (even moreso once I get some photos up) there are about a million things which can go wrong during this process... and I think every possible problem showed it's face during this project.


I hope that illuminates things a bit.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

*I forgot to add the result:


RESULT - Each of the 6panels used to construct Helios contains 718,800,000 individual 42" long fibers - each approximately 1/50,000th the width of a human hair and each with a strength of about 48,000 kN·m·kg−1 (High carbon steel is rated about 154 kN·m·kg−1)


The panels are as close to the physical embodiment of indestructible that any man could ever hope to see.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

All I can say is :whoa: and be :woot:

Love the idea and cant wait to see it done.

Are you by any chance a chemical or material engineer?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha, thanks man. And no I'm no chemist, not by a long shot... I'm a designer (of many things) by trade, you can check out www.jesselang.ca for a little insight on me.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Aerogel to my understanding is very good at standing up to compression but I do not think it can handle any sort of pressure that would cause it to flex in any way. How do you plan on using it? If you are going to use it for sound dampening I would say great idea in its insulation form.


Great work on this project, I couldn't do something like this. I don't think I have the self discipline.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha, thanks man. And no I'm no chemist, not by a long shot... I'm a designer (of many things) by trade, you can check out www.jesselang.ca for a little insight on me.

With all the carbon fiber stuff you sound like an engineer :cool2:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did so enjoy reading the materiel you have posted.


As battery said, Bravo sir. I believe we all look forward to seeing this case in action and getting some temperature records in place. :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@gabrieltessin - Thanks for the comment. But I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see what's in store.


@Alexandre - A craftsman needs his preferred medium. =)


@boinker - Thanks again mate ;)



I've been asked quite a bit about it, so I've uploaded some images of the surface of the panels.


It's very hard to capture... but the 'woodgrain' effect you see on pieces labeled "current" is still very much visible through the "final" texture, but the camera has a hard time picking it up.








That's all for now, I'll be back soon with progress updates.

Stay classy.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...