You get what you pay for—be it furniture, clothing, or carbon fiber rings. In some cases, you may purchase a low-priced IKEA bookshelf because you don't need it to last forever. Or maybe you snagged a cheap pair of socks only to find that they wore out far sooner than expected. In many cases, you may be content to buy new socks every couple months, or throw away that chintzy bookshelf next time you move. But if it's possible to have both quality and affordability, most of us usually opt for both.
So what makes a quality carbon fiber ring? Here are a few things to look for when looking for a quality ring:
- Raw Materials - You must always ask, are the raw materials of the highest quality? Are the prepregs being used fresh and within expiry date? Are the resins mixed to precise ratios? Is their FOD (Foreign Object Debris) held to strict zero tolerance practices?
- Processing Controls - First off, the cure cycle used should be executed exactly as prescribed by the raw material supplier. In almost all cases, this means the oven control have the ability to ramp, dwell and taper off at very specific intervals and rates. Secondly, all resins, hardeners & mix in powders must follow very strict blending and degassing procedures (using a vacuum chamber) as well as following repeatable standards.
- The Right Equipment - Human hands are great for a lot of our secondary processing, but machines can be and should be utilized to provide extra force during compaction in rolling of prepregs, and during winding of carbon fiber filaments to drive out unwanted voids (such as air). in all composite material processes. Any time air is caught between the layers of carbon fiber, gaps appear just like Swiss cheese. This is where bad turns ugly. In strength critical components, these gaps mean a part is immediately rejected. And while rings may not present the same risks as inferior carbon fiber on a space shuttle, these gaps or “voids” do present other issues. Besides looking terrible, porosity may also pose safety issues with respect to snagging on fabrics and the like. This is one of the more pitfalls faced by smaller or novice ringmakers trying their hand at some of the complex processes used to make our most popular ring styles. At Element Ring Co. we source our raw materials from the most respected carbon fiber manufacturers in the world.
- Consumables - Compaction tapes must be utilized properly, applying adequate pressure to ensure void free laminates. Responsible manufacturers also take care that consumable materials are properly recycled whenever possible.
- Shaping and Finishing - Putting the finishing touches on a ring is equal parts art and science. In order to expose carbon fiber’s inner beauty without diminishing its strength, careful attention to detail is required. Precision work may require a magnifying glass to ensure porous free and matchless rings are produced.
Element Ring Co. is dedicated to delivering the best quality carbon fiber rings because we want it to last as much as we want it to look good.