New Carbon Fiber Looms Making Complex Parts More Attainable

Nathan S
by Nathan S

Carbon fiber continues to press into the firearms market. Its combination of durability, strength, and lightweight are appealing to firearms manufacturers and shooters alike. However (and speaking as a manufacturer myself), it is a royal pain in the ass to manufacture and machine (it causes small fibers to particularize which can ruin most standard CNC machines without appropriate filters, vacuums, etc.)

NASA is stepping up to the plate with new looms capable of creating complex shapes out of carbon fiber. Complex shapes normally are very difficult to manufacture due to the way carbon fiber is layered onto a base mold. The shapes make it difficult for hand-weaving as humans cannot hold enough tension on the fiber without causing folds/wrinkles in the layers.

While it will take a few years, this kind of technology will filter down into making carbon fiber stocks, handguards, and other complex shapes such as grips. In fact, I would postulate carbon fiber will be common to see on firearms in another decade or so without a premium price tag.

For now, gawk at what NASA has created to handle complex shapes.

Nathan S
Nathan S

One of TFB's resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR's, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.

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  • BlackTalon2000 BlackTalon2000 on Aug 10, 2015

    Plastic is good enough, look at Glock and Magpul, even AR-15 uppers are plastic now, and the commies used plastic magazines for decades. Glass and carbon fiber is more trouble than they are worth.

  • Hyok Kim Hyok Kim on Aug 11, 2015

    Carbon fiber weakens with prolonged exposure to sunlight, and they fail spectacularly without much warning.