DIY Homemade Carbon Fiber Snorkel

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Ok, for a long time I have wanted a snorkel on my cruiser. I have to admit though, I'm one cheap SOB and I just can't bring myself to pay $355.00 for a piece of plastic that bolts to my fender. Everytime I have that much saved up, I find something else that I want to upgrade on my 60 and it gets put on the back burner.

So being the cheap DIY guy that I am, I decided to build one for myself.

I did a bunch of searching and all I could find on here was pix of stainless tube ones or PVC pipe models and that just wouldn't do for this project.

I wanted a snorkel that looked like it was a factory model but cost me pennies to build. I did some searching online and found this article about lost foam molding for fiberglass and carbon fiber. Method#2- lost foam molding This guy build an intake for his buddies car and he uses this technique where you build a male out of styrofoam and then mold the fiberglass around it and then you melt the foam out with acetone when you are finished and you have your intake, or snorkel in my case.

This is the method I used and this is what it looks like all finished.

sideview-1.jpg
 
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Now I will go through the process of how I did it. I will preface by saying that I did buy the snorkel head off ebay from an overseas company and it is of remarkable quality for the price of $24 that I paid (well, plus $19 for shipping). I also should mention that I have built a few other projects over the years with fiberglass and carbon fiber but I am by no means an expert at this.

Anyone with some basics tools and some motivation could pull this off just like I did. And you don't have to use carbon fiber like I did, fiberglass would work just as good but would be slightly heavier but easier to get the materials locally. Carbon fiber you usually have to order online. I just happened to have the cabon fiber laying around in the garage left over from a project a year ago, so I decided to use it for this.

Ok, so lets get down to it.

The first step is to build the foam model that you will be molding your fiberglass or carbon over the top of.

I Bought some hard 1.5" insulation foam from home depot in a 4'x4' sheet and it was more than enough to do this project. I wanted the snorkel to be 3" thick but they didn't have any that thick, so I bought some 1.5" and glued them together to get my 3" thickness. I then put a large protractor on my fender to get my angle for the fender to the A post angle on the winshield frame. I then cut out one section for the base and one section for the upper piece. This two piece construction actually worked out better because it allowed me to fit the base piece to the fender to get the radius right without having to deal with the upright section yet.

After I got the base piece fit to the fender radius, I cut a notch on it for the upright piece and then glued them together once I got the angles right. This took some trial and error work, but I finally got it lined up so it doglegged a little over the fender as you can see in this photo.

foam2.jpg


I wanted it to have the most airflow for my turbo so I made the transition from the upright to the base a long radius so that there would be plenty of airflow through that area. This actually turned out to have a pleasing look to it with I got it all done as you can see here in the side view.

foam3.jpg


And here is another view.

foam1.jpg


The very top section where the snorkel transitions from squareish to a round, where the snorkel head mounts, is another separate piece that I glued one. I cut the top of the foam to the right angle and then used a piece of round steel pipe like a cookie cutter and cut out a few cookies and then glued them together to make the round section at the top.

I hope that makes sense.

Don
 
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OFFDUTY,

Total with the snorkel head was about $65.00

But I had the carbon fiber already. If you built it with fiberglass, it would probably cost about $75-$80 with the head included.

It is mainly time on this project. It took about a week only because I built it in sections as I had spare time.

Thanks,

Don
 

Heckraiser

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very snazzy. Got a close-up of the finished product?

The only problem I can see with building this out of fiberglass is that it would be pretty easy to crack on tree limbs, etc. I imagine the carbon fiber holds up a lot better, but whenever I think fiberglass, I think cracked and beaten honda body kits from the 90's. :eek:
 
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After I got the foam looking just how I wanted it, I molded the backplate that goes against the fender first. I did it with two layers of carbon and I put tape down to keep it from sticking to the foam. Don't use masking tape like I did, use clear packing tape. Epoxy won't stick to the smooth side of the packing tape and will make a nice finish to the epoxy when it hardens.

backingplate.jpg


While this was hardening, I also took three layers of carbon and wrapped them around a plastic spray bottle that I found that was just the right diameter to make a flange pipe for the backing plate. I missed getting a few pics of this part of the process. Sorry, but what I did was once the backplate was dry, I cut it back to the size of the foam and then layed out my holes for the flange piece and the mounting holes. I then drilled the holes with an 1/8th inch drill and then used the backplate as a drill guide on the fender to locate all the holes before I got too far ahead and before I epoxied the flange on.

holes.jpg


Ok, so I screwed up right here. The rear hole that you see is too far back and I couldn't get my arm back there to tighten a bolt because the fender is too slim in that area. So that is one thing I wished I checked before I drilled the hole. Whoops!:bang:

Oh well, a little silicone will keep it from rusting!

Don
 
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Heckraiser,

Your'e right about the fiberglass. If possible, I would do this out of Carbon fiber for just that reason. The carbon is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum and is pretty indistructable.

The carbon will run the cost up some, but you can usually find remanants on ebay for close to fiberglass prices. That is where I get my carbon from.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Don
 

Off Duty

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OFFDUTY,

Total with the snorkel head was about $65.00

But I had the carbon fiber already. If you built it with fiberglass, it would probably cost about $75-$80 with the head included.

It is mainly time on this project. It took about a week only because I built it in sections as I had spare time.

Thanks,

Don

Thank you and once again, excellent work!:cheers:
 
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So, next I drilled out the mounting holes to 5/16" and installed 1/4-20 steel nutserts on the back of the plate and then drilled out a 3 1/4" hole for the flange and then layered another piece of carbon on the back to lock everything together.

Here is a photo of the backplate with the flange mounted and the nutserts in place under the third layer.

backingplate3.jpg


backingplate2.jpg


I then had to cut some depressions in the foam for the nutsert lumps so the backplate would sit flush on the foam again, and then I set about laying up my carbon for the main body of the snorkel over the foam. Make sure you put some packing tape over the glue joints of the foam as the epoxy will run down into any depressions and reduce the airflow of your snorkel's interior finish. Later you will be able to get the tape out after you melt the foam away with acetone.

carbon1.jpg


carbon2.jpg


When laying out the cloth, I use a little superglue to hold the cloth down so that I can do overlaps on radiuses and such without the carbon moving or wandering when I am laying up the rest of the cloth in other areas. This takes a while to get it all fitting around the compound curves and such, but it all works out in the end. Make sure you use gloves unless you like that wonderful fiber itch for the next 2 days! I did two layers of carbon on this layup and later I will do one more after this hardens, I'll show you why later.

Now you are ready for your epoxy. Make sure you mix your epoxy accurately and then smooth it on evenly to make a decent saturation through the cloth so that you will have optimum strength of your carbon.

I wrapped packing tape, with the sticky side out, in areas that didn't want to lie flat once the epoxy was saturated. This keeps the tape from sticking to the epoxy.

tapewrapped.jpg
 
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Ok, so I screwed up right here. The rear hole that you see is too far back and I couldn't get my arm back there to tighten a bolt because the fender is too slim in that area. So that is one thing I wished I checked before I drilled the hole. Whoops!:bang:

Oh well, a little silicone will keep it from rusting!

Don[/QUOTE]
Don't use silicone, it will promote rust. Just use a little primer.
 
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Once it was hardened, I knocked off the rough edges of epoxy and smoothed it out. I then made an 1/8" aluminum plate to be a support for the bracket at the top of the snorkel and then did another layer of carbon just like I did before.

2layers.jpg



And here it is with the 3rd layer of carbon all ready to trim back to fit flush to the surface of the backplate.

3rdlayer.jpg


I sanded all the rough edges off and smoothed it all out and then gave it a light skim coat of Bondo to fill in all the little depressions of the carbon mat and any imperfections from my lack of skills as a mold guy. Sorry, but I forgot to take pictures of this bondo process but I'm sure most of you can imagine how that went. I then sanded the whole snorkel out to 240 grit with my palm sander.

At this point I decided it was time to melt out the foam core so I got out my jug of acetone and poured in about a cup of it down the top. I did this twice just to make sure I got it all out. It really melts this stuff like magic! Here it is after I melted it out.
afterfoammeltout.jpg



The snorkel head has a textured finish on it and I wanted the rest of the snorkel to match, so I sprayed it with this stuff that I got at Home Depot.

paint.jpg


It made an almost perfect match if you wait for it to dry and then lightly sand off the high points with some 320 grit and then paint over it all with some satin black rustoleum paint.

I then drilled and tapped the upper part of the snorkel where I put the aluminum plate under the last layer. And then I bent another piece of aluminum to match up to it and then match the angle to the winshield frame.

bracket2.jpg


bracket1.jpg


I used stainless 1/4-20 hardware for the mounting plate.

Don
 
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I forgot to mention somewhere back in the middle of this, I drilled out my small pilot holes on the fender to 1/4" and then drilled the front one out with a 3 1/4" holesaw. Amazingly, all the holes lined up!

I then reached into the fender and installed the mounting screws to hold it to the fender.

So then I got some 3" flexducting and clamped it onto the the snorkel and then my aircleaner and tightened them down and voila!
quarterview.jpg


quarter.jpg


backview.jpg


sideview-1.jpg




I now have a snorkel that looks pretty close to a production one and it didn't cost me much at all other than my time.


Enjoy!

Don
 
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Doug,

Thanks, now I just need to build my roof rack and to blacken my wheels and we can be diesel cruiser twins!


Don
 

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