Foray into styling clay
If you've seen the pictures of the bike further down with the rear subframe and seat panels fitted, you'll have noticed the absence of the fill-in panel where the seat frame meets the tank and main frame. This seemed like a good excuse to try our hands at using automotive styling clay to shape this area, then make a mould and finally a carbon fibre fill in panel. I did quite a bit of research into how this might work before diving in head first. There are plenty of instructive videos on Youtube. Also, we were lucky enough to find a source of surplus Chavant clay, which is what the professionals use. So, after a bit of work, here is what the styled clay filler panel looks like.
Now came the trick of pulling a final mould directly off the clay. There was an excellent article on the Chavant website, which says that you can use a sprayable vinyl film on top of the clay and then lay the mould directly on that. Sprayable vinyl is availale in an aerosol can. Here is what it looked prior to making the mould.
We decided to use a tooling gel coat as the initial layer for the mould, then using several layers of fibreglass with epoxy resin. And here is what the mould looked like.
The vinyl film did a great job making mould release straightforward and still allows the clay to be reused. Making the carbon fibre panel from the mould was also very straightforward. Here a few pictures with the panel install including a before and after comparison. Now just the other side to do!
I must say, this clay styling project has gone much better than I expected. And, I really enjoyed working with the clay. I'd encourage anyone to give it a go. It works very well for odd shaped areas like this. Mind you, I am not sure I am ready to do a full set of bodywork quite yet!