Sources for Small Batch Composite Materials

If you have watched the videos in the three previous posts and are ready to tackle your first composites project, the question of where to get your materials will inevitably come up. I’ll use this blog post to point you to where I get, or used to get, a lot of my composite materials. Starting off you will most likely be buying smaller amounts of materials, so the price per yard will be higher. I have not quite found a way to circumvent this. Its just how it is when your getting up and running. Also, there are composite distributors, or wholesalers out there, but they usually have very large minimum order requirements relatively speaking. The one we use is CompositesOne. But we still get a lot of our materials from other suppliers as we may not use it that often, or only need a small amount of something. So I will try and aim this post more towards the beginner and list companies that can do small quantity runs. I’ll also have links to all these things in our Partners/Suppliers Page and will update that as time goes on. Yes, I realize there are a ton of suppliers out there. These are the companies I’ve used and am happy with, but please leave a comment, or shoot us an email if you want me to add a place.

US Composites– I use US Composites for just about all our molding supplies. Their tooling gel coat, and tooling resin seems to be a very good value. They only put a 3 month shelf life on them so you wanna make sure you use it somewhat quickly. Other, more expensive resins will have a longer shelf life, but come with a higher price tag. I also use their 635 Thin Epoxy with a lot of our parts and have their thick epoxy on hand for bonding certain things. Again, its a very high performing epoxy at its price point. I’ll get fiberglass from them, PVA, clay, brushes, gel coat gun cups and the gel coat gun. I’ve found their bagging film to be pretty good as well. It’s 55″ wide V fold, so opens up to 110″ wide which makes it awesome on large stuff like hoods. I used to get their peel ply and bleeder, but use them enough to buy full rolls from a B2B wholesaler.

Fibre Glast- Fibreglast.com has just about anything you could ever need. I’ll say right off the bat that their prices are on the higher side, but they seem to carry high quality materials, and have videos on a lot of their products and materials that are somewhat useful, especially for beginners. I used to use their blue peel ply as it releases really easy, but now get that from my wholesaler. Their nylon bagging film is probably my favorite out of all the bagging materials I’ve used and still get that from them. The Strechlon 200 bagging film is nice for vacuum bagging really complex parts with tight corners. Just don’t ever try to use it with infusions. Again, they are a good source for almost anything you would need when working with composites.

Soller Composites- Sollercomposites.com is where I get just about all my carbon fiber. They have all different weights and weaves for just about any project you are taking on. Their prices seem to be very fair, and they will cater to very small yard orders as well.

Easy Composites– These guys are in the UK so I have not used them. They made the videos in the previous posts so gotta put them on here. I have looked over their site and am very impressed with it. They have other videos I would like to use as well. If you are in the UK or Europe, I would definitely look into these guys.

Smooth On– This is a company I only recently started to get some stuff from. I picked up some of their casting epoxy and casting resins. They have all sorts of silicone’s and epoxies meant for molding or bagging. I’ve found its much easier to “pour” on a very small intricate mold, rather than use more traditional techniques for larger part molds.

Amazon- This one shouldn’t need any introduction. I got my JB Jb Industries Platinum 7 Cfm Vacuum Pump through them as well as some other miscellaneous things like cutting wheels. I also bought all my books through Amazon relating to composites. They are all listed in our Store.

McMaster– McMaster is more of a hardware supplier, but I’ll get my vacuum lines from them. I use 3 different types. A semi rigid line for all the vacuum lines, a soft flexible line for any resin inlet lines, and a braided line for vacuum bagging that wont collapse under heat and vacuum. I’ll pick up barbed hose connectors while I grab any vacuum lines along with spiral tube. They also have a selection of hose clamp pliers that I have maybe a dozen or so of on hand.

 

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