This past weekend we played some Pickleball and it started to make me think that I can knock out a paddle or two. For 10+ years I used a CNC to cut foam core wings then finish them with kevlar and carbon using epoxy/resin to strengthen them. I looked a some of the current paddles and they range from wood to an advanced paddle with a Nomex, aluminum or poly core with a finish.
For the first two paddles I am going to use 1/8th inch plywood from home depot (two layers) with kevlar in the middle with two carbon skins on the outside. The second paddle is going to be 1/4th inch plywood with kevlar layer 1 and carbon skin. I will vacuum bag both paddles
Here is the SVG I used to cut the paddles. Per the guidelines they cannot be longer than 17" with 24" total width and length.
I have the kevlar from ACP composites and/or the local composite store. I will use epoxy/resin which turns the kevlar and carbon stiff. To be honest, I am goofing around to see what works best and looks cool. I will post some photos tonight of when I get it in the bag.
I cut the mylar (solid white) to approximately the shape of the paddle and then cut the kevlar so there will be excess of the shape of the paddle. I sprayed a light coating of the release agent (note the dust) on the mylar.
Next I measured the epoxy/resin out. I am using MGS left over from my airplane building days. It is super strong and doesn’t take much. I measured 30 grams (1 ounce) total.
I wet out the kevlar on the mylars and lightly coated the wood paddle for good adhesion.
After both sides done put them together and then put them into the vacuum bag with the breathing layer (paper towels) above and below the mylars. Next I sealed the hose going into the bag and closed the bag shut with the rod/closure. Turned on the vacuum pump and hit 20 pounds which is good.
I will let this run overnight and see what the finished product looks like in the morning.
I have taken a photo of the textreme (carbon) I have laying around. I will probably see what this looks like on a paddle too after I open the kevlar one tomorrow.
It’s big in the Boomer communities. It’s easier to play (physically) than old school racquetball or paddle ball. The courts take less room than tennis. Look at the ads for an “active adult” or “Over 55” community & you’re likely to see pickleball as one of the activities