Making carbon/kevlar deck eyes

After some decent copying work, from Axel, and Hugh Horton, some tests on glassfibre I started a little fun project today. Making carbon/kevlar deck eyes. It’s quite easy, once you know how:

  1. You buy yourself a nice mandrel, in this case a 5 euro cupcake tray. It was great fun going around the shops in town looking for a nice shape to make deck eyes of. I was actually looking for forms to make blocks of ice, but those forms have all gone fancy these days. Then you treat yourself to one of those nice carbon kevlar pieces of cloth. It will work with plain carbon or glass or kevlar too. On the photo everything is in place ready for wetting out.

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2. Cut the cloth, and wet it out with epoxy. I made some forms earlier, so I stuffed them in, with some plastic foil in between. Experimenting a bit, I clamped a few of them, some weight in another, another just left. There didn’t seem to be much difference on ways of clamping. I drilled two guide holes in the form on the bottom right to keep consistent on where I put the eyes in.

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3. Next step is cutting the cups to size (do it when the epoxy is still green), drill a hole through the middle of the cup, stick the dyneema line through the hole, fray the ends of a line of dyneema.

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4. Glue the whole thing together, a good dollop of epoxy is enough. I used silica and filleting blend as filler for the epoxy (two versions). I found that making the cups very shallow gives the best results, otherwise the eye gets to heavy (12 grammes instead of 5-7 grammes). I made them about 4 millimeter deep. Enough to tuck all the ends of the dyneema strand in.

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5. There you go, you’ve made yourself something beautiful!

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6. Testing. I glued to eye to an old bit of wood, then put a stick through it, and stood on it (my weight is 72 kilo). The eye I tested was a first version made with glassfibre on the outside, with not enough epoxy on the inside. I loop came out when I started to jump on the stick, but I couldn’t get the dyneema strand to come loose. Good enough for me. I’m counting on 80 kilo of break strength, but the guys from West got to a minimum of 240 kilos. Good enough for me.Here’s a shot of the eye in use to connect to my hiking strap . It feels scary to hang on to a 5 gramme deck eye, but it is holding so far, and I’ll report it if it breaks. But sure to test yourself, as each design and way of fabricating will be slightly different.

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