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Junior Charter Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had to share this.

I'm in the Aerospace Composites business. I'm a straight-up Snake-bit roadster junkie...289 w/ wires, thank you! I've sold one business and I'm in the middle of a new start-up. Composites, again, Cha-Ching...

So...

Today I was on the phone with an associate in the business when he brings up a project he just bid on...

Him:"Have you ever heard of 'Factory-Five'?"( :rolleyes: )

Me:"Uh, DUH! You know that I'm a Cobra-Junkie...uh, but, don't call the MKII a Cobra...I'll tell ya that story when I'm up there..."

Him:"Oh, so you know what they do? Cool, well, we just bid on a complete tool system with them and I hope we get it. These guys are serious about what they want and they're, appaerantly, gearing up to improve their tooling & manufacturing capabilities."

Here's what I was doing while listening :D

My friend is one of THE top tooling guys in the Aero-Composites biz. This ain't no boat-shop or hot-tub factory. Oh no! Air-frames, Satelites...etc. Lockheed-Martin...Boeing...you get the picture...

The point?

FFR is looking to make VERY HI $ Molds in-order to assure consistent quality and improved thru-put.

NO-ONE...and I mean NO-ONE...not even Carroll or those guys up in Utah (Who I happen to think a lot of...Kirkham, that is, the other guy is THE SELL-OUT...in my book...my opinion...of-course!) have this kinda $ invested in technology. NO-ONE! (Yes, I know the ref to Ol' Shell is kinda pointless...but you get the point!)

We're talking CMMing an original FFR and back-engineering from there. Just like the Kirkhams!

Digitize...Profile Adjustment...oh, yeah...

That's what our conversation was about! The reverse tech and tooling materials...pretty much my specialty.

Hi-Temp. per-preg. tooling. Better than Invar! Also, you heard it here first...
I get the feeling that future bodies will be made of pre-preg AND a CARBON body wouldn't be far behind (Which will be just as easy to make as f/g when using pre-preg's...)...in that case...

I haven't talked to anyone at 5...but, I know my friend and I know how taken back he was when I was VERY AWARE of what and WHO he was talking about. He was impressed by the history of the Smiths, their legal fortitude, Teams Jenny and Jillian, this forum...and the following in general.

If this goes down...the Mark III and/or any-other affected program will be
"The Next Level" in materials and technology.

I'm stoked!

Manny
 

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Wow... talk about the inside scoop.... FFR used to have an option for a carbon fiber body...I think they sold them all... There are quite a few of them floating around out there.. Roger Stine has one and so does Farra Snook at SOFAST. I'm sure there are lots of others...

More importantly, put me down for one of your buddies factory prototypes... just in case he needs to make some samples for FFR and test them...my car might even be ready for its body then :D

Congrats on the scoop....I'm sure Dave Smith will be reading this before too long (Dave if you do I still need my front shocks)so I hope you didn't let any secrets out of the bag! :eek:

Ken Bush
FFR 4530
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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Dave Smith has been talking about pre-preg being the next evolution since last fall. When he spoke @ the NJ Replicar Club in January he again spoke about pre-preg. So yes, FFR will be going pre-preg. It will make life a whole lot easier for the body shop. I think that it is great news.

Olli
 

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Ed,
We've used pre-preg carbon when building iceboat runner bodies. It's essentially carbon fiber that is impregnated with a resin, that gets cured by heat . We would vacum bag the carbon to the bodies and heat in an oven. the carbon resin was cured by the heat, not a hardener. That's about the extent of my knowledge, I hope it helps, Louie
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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It can be either Fiberglass or Carbon Fiber.

In the end it's easier/cleaner/cheaper/lighter. But really only if it's done on a large scale.

It doesn't have to be baked, that is just the preferred method for production. Pre-preg will cure at room temperature.

-steve in nj-
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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FWIW As I understand Pre-peg it is the process where the resin is introduced to the weave under controlled conditions. Ideal strengh and and minimal weight occur when exact proportions are maintained. The pre-peg is shipped cold and will not cure until it reaches a specific temperature. This may be room temp. or even require "cooking".

Bill
 

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Large projects like hulls and masts use refrigerated carbon prepreg. They cure in an autoclave.

My understanding is FFR made 25 carbon bodies. I know the location of 5. They pulled the plug on them just after shipping a replacement body to an unhappy customer in Newport Beach. The replacement body came to me with some other orders and I delivered it to the unhappy customer in Newport. FFR has a long history of trying satisfy customers.

I inspected the reject body back at home and found the complaints groundless. Realizing I had a carbon jewel sitting in my front yard I struck an agreement with Mark Smith to keep it. The doors are 12 lbs with the steel in them, the body 51 lbs and the hood 4lbs. I think it's the last one FFR made.

Roger
 

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From the FFR website concerning the GTM 200:

"The body is a new laminate "Pre-Preg" (pre-impregnated cloth matrix) epoxy/glass composite.  An optional Carbon-Kevlar body is to be released as the car goes to manufacture."

Sounds awesome.

Adrian
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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Manny,

Very interesting information! Coincidentally, I called Factory Five yesterday to try to get an update on the MK III situation. They said the engineering is done and they are working on tooling now.

One of the things I asked was if the had any plans to change the molds so as to make the back end of the car more correct, so that it doesn’t stick up in back the way it does now. I was told that there are no mold or body changes planned. If correct, this could mean that you friend was bidding on something for the GTM only at this point.

I for one would love to see them correct the rear of the Roadster body molds and go to Pre-Pregs. Anyone else who would like to see the body changed, this might be a good time to call Factory Five and make your thoughts known.

Kevin
 

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Junior Charter Member
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The Smiths are businessmen, and as such, aren't gonna get bent outta shape by this...as was obvious to me, this ain't no classified secret.

I saw the MK-III at SEMA. I am too stoked to even discuss it.

The idea of moving into a "Next Generation" of the F-5 was to good-a-thing to not share with you all. The fact that this individual and his company are so forward thinking/well thought of in the "Advanced Composites Industry" was, also, too good a thing to keep to myself. Think about it. A company that's on the cutting edge of materials and technology is going to be(Possibly...they're, F-5, still deciding and they've probably got other bids or concepts out there...) involved in our passion. For me, personally, it's kinda nice to know that the car I consider to be akin to the original concept and spirit of the original A.C. is going to keep it's soul (In the face of what the Ford car has become); yet, benefit from new materials and technology.

Guys, I've been dealing with this stuff since I was 20 ('84) and it hits home for me. The same technology I used on Trident Missiles and F-22s has come home to somethng I've loved since I was a little kid at Riverside...

About Pre-Impregnated Composite Materials:

Think of a woven fiber-glass cloth that is sticky with a coating of epoxy that isn't unlike honey,or-in some cases, a tacky wax.

You stack layers of this material on the surface of a mold (a.k.a-Laminate).

You use a thin nylon bag to seal off the material against the mold and pull vacuum on the laminate to press it into the mold and remove air that may cause voids/imperfections/bridging.

More often than not, you apply positive pressure to the exterior surface of the nylon bag (In addition to the vacuum/internal pressure/nominal atmosphere+vac.) and further 'press' the material into conformance with the mold shape/surfaces.

Again, more often than not and in order to expedite process...you apply heat in a controlled ramp and dwell and further expedite the "curing" of the epoxy.

Remove part. Apply release treatment and re-apply material for another production run.

Sound a little different than the ol' "Chop-Gun" and "Roving" story that evryone-else HAS and IS going to continue to use? Eh? The most economical AND best engineered option amongst those we have to choose from. Sounds kinda nice, doesn't it?

Exacting resin/epoxy content. Superior resin/epoxy matrices. Absolutely "Off the Scale" materials performance v. "Wet Lay-up".

No matter how someone tries to spin it...

This is really cool and it is a sign of forethought and contiuous improvement.

For me, it's kinda like the body's technology is going to catch up to the frame's technology.

I'm happy for the community and the Smiths. Isn't progress cool?

Now, when can I get my MK-III???!!! Toray 3k, 2x2, Graphite x 4-plies, please.



Manny
 

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Junior Charter Member
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
BTW, the "Perky Butt" is a F-5 thing.

The "Origianl Car" is Marilyn Monroe.

The Factry Five car is Selma Hayak.

This is just my opinion...of-course!

I'm building a Factory 5. I'm not building an original. I'm amongst the few who're going to notice. I happen to like the "Tight Butt" of the new mellinium.

I might be a little different; but, I'm pretty sure that I'd have more fun in Russ Thompson's car than I would in an original that I'd be too afraid to park at In-N-Out.

Just me-n-my opinion again.

Sorry... ;)

Manny
 

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Sr FFR builder
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Originally posted by manny:
BTW, the "Perky Butt" is a F-5 thing.

The "Origianl Car" is Marilyn Monroe.

The Factry Five car is Selma Hayak.

This is just my opinion...of-course!

Selma Hayak is a hottie. If FFR is Selma Hayak, doesn that mean I will be riding Selma. This is turning into a blue thread. I better stop here. :eek:
 
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