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Old 01-01-2016, 20:55   #1
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Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Last year I bought a used carbon spin pole off a TP52 racing boat. It's very large diameter (about 6") and very robust, but it's a bit long for my boat and in general it's just REALLY massively long and therefore hard to handle and store, despite its remarkably light weight. My "J" is about 6 meters, and my large headsail has a foot of about 7.5 meters. The pole is about 8 meters long.

I'm using it as a whisker pole, so technically 7.5 meters would be the right length, but I think for ease of handling I might like it to to be a meter less than that. Losing 1.5 meters would be a big improvement -- then I could store it on the foredeck without its hanging over the bows like now.

Can I just saw it off, and then re-rivet the end in place? Or how is it done? Will a normal power saw cut carbon tube?

Grateful for any advice.
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:03   #2
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Cutting carbon fiber is a lot like cutting asbestos. If you inhale the small fibers it will lead to lung cancer down the road. Use a full mask.
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:05   #3
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

I have never cut a carbon spin pole. But I have cut several carbon shaft paddles. First carbon fibers are nasty, be sure to use appropriate PPE. Second I wrapped the carbon shafts with paper painters tape to prevent shredding of the en of the material. Third scribe the cut line onto the tape. You don't want an "Oh My" moment when the cut goes cockeyed. Finally, I had a very high tooth count blade.

Like I said this worked on ZRE paddles in theory should be the same for the larger poles.
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Old 01-01-2016, 22:15   #4
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

You mentioned it is a tapered pole so you need to cut an equal amount off of each end. It isn't one cut you need its two. The upside of this is it reduces the likelihood that the diameter change will be substantial enough to require different pole ends.

A reciprocating saw with the finest tooth blade you can find will work wonders getting through the cut. Tape the cut with a couple of layers of painters tape, dust masks are required, and after you finish the cut sand and then epoxy the ends. This makes sure there are no loose fibers laying around that could fray.

Since you are cutting so much off I would treat the scrap as free practice chances, and make a few 1" cuts. This will give you a chance to get some practice in before making the final cuts. Just remember to replace the blade before making the final cut.
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Old 02-01-2016, 06:50   #5
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Just saw stumble's post and realized that the pole is tapered.

Have you measure the OD of the existing ends versus the OD of the new ends after you make th cuts? It would be prudent to do so to SWAG the pole's ID.

To be clear, the fitting is snug in the existing end. When you cut a tapered pole the ID will increase -assuming constant wall thickness. With the larger ID you will need to fill th annular space be the fitting's shoulder (desgined for the smaller ID) and the larger ID up the taper of the pole.

WHEW! Hope this makes sense. If you already have this in your plan, forgive the wasted electrons.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:05   #6
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Just saw stumble's post and realized that the pole is tapered.

Have you measure the OD of the existing ends versus the OD of the new ends after you make th cuts? It would be prudent to do so to SWAG the pole's ID.

To be clear, the fitting is snug in the existing end. When you cut a tapered pole the ID will increase -assuming constant wall thickness. With the larger ID you will need to fill th annular space be the fitting's shoulder (desgined for the smaller ID) and the larger ID up the taper of the pole.

WHEW! Hope this makes sense. If you already have this in your plan, forgive the wasted electrons.
Hi -- thanks for that, but the pole is not tapered -- as far as I know. I will be sure to check that before cutting it.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:19   #7
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

I prefer using toothless tools (Diamond Abrasive or Tungsten Carbide-grit Blade/Wheel/Rod) for cutting composites.
Toothed blades wear quickly when subjected to the abrasive fibers and heat generated when cutting most laminates. They also cause extreme edge damage, particularly when using coarse-tooth (wood) blades.
Fine-tooth (metal) blades introduce less edge damage than coarse, but they also wear quickly and can get clogged with resin.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:39   #8
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

I have cut carbon windsurfer masts to be used as poles on boats. As carbon corrodes against alloys and rivets (SS/alloy or monel), you want to isolate the carbon prior to inserting the endpiece (which is often alloy, less often gfn). Use heaps of duralac etc if you rivet.

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Old 02-01-2016, 08:13   #9
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Sometimes the ends of laminated tubes are thicker than the center, for strength and reinforcement where the end fittings attach, to save overall weight. It may not be obvious, measuring before cutting might be a good idea in case you have to shim or otherwise alter the tube or end fittings...
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:27   #10
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

I do not recommend a power saw.
A manual hack saw will work fine.

The power saw may bind and Crack the pole.

Better safe than sorry.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:52   #11
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Last year I bought a used carbon spin pole off a TP52 racing boat. It's very large diameter (about 6") and very robust, but it's a bit long for my boat and in general it's just REALLY massively long and therefore hard to handle and store, despite its remarkably light weight. My "J" is about 6 meters, and my large headsail has a foot of about 7.5 meters. The pole is about 8 meters long.

I'm using it as a whisker pole, so technically 7.5 meters would be the right length, but I think for ease of handling I might like it to to be a meter less than that. Losing 1.5 meters would be a big improvement -- then I could store it on the foredeck without its hanging over the bows like now.

Can I just saw it off, and then re-rivet the end in place? Or how is it done? Will a normal power saw cut carbon tube?

Grateful for any advice.
If you know the manufacturers name, would it not be a good idea to contact them first to inquire about wall thicknesses for re-installing the end fittings?
If I were cutting it, I would use my Makita 12" compound sliding mitre saw, equipped with a FREUD 12 In. Non-Ferrous Plastic Blade - 96 Teeth
In addition, I would have my vacuum attached to the blade guard and fully operational throughout the operation, as well as full face mask.
When cutting the item, be sure to clamp it securely in place. I recommend using a steady slow feed to prevent chipping or jamming.
I have cut all kinds of laminates using this technique. In one instance, I constructed a temporary plastic "tent" or shield attached to the blade guard, to contain dust particles. That system worked well for me too.
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Old 02-01-2016, 14:06   #12
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

I used duct tape wrap before I cut carbon as it makes a cleaner cut that blue tape.
I would not use rivets as they are less noble than the carbon and will corrode very soon, better to use 5200 or drill over size wholes in the carbon tube fill with epoxy to create an insulator and re drill again, then you can tap the carbon tube and the fitting and you then can use machine screws. its worth the effort
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Old 02-01-2016, 14:49   #13
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Re: Cutting Down Carbon Poles?

If the end that is sawed off is left rough it will wick moisture and delam..
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