Airframe Composite Curing and Post Curing Oven


I designed and built this after purchasing the highly recommended Shadow Aero / Shadow Composites video sets on composite construction for rocketry. I have not seen Dave Triano's plans and I tend to design and build myself (unless stumped) but from his previous work I'd recommend purchasing his curing oven plan set if you have any reservations about your abilities or material selections.

You may also want to view my  Airframe Tube Reinforcing  page for the jig and techniques used to produce tubes for this oven. Also  my Propellant and Composite Post Cure Oven page for a related oven.

The dimensions are nominally 12" x 12" x 6' which allows a four foot tube on a five foot rod and an extra foot for the heat source. It surprisingly rigid as foam and tape construction and very lightweight. If I'd used my usual 3/4" plywood construction techniques it'd be 50 lbs. As is I think it'll handle my intended tube production rate. A friend has leftover 1/4" junk wood pallete slats from a bandsaw crate that I may frame it with for a tad extra durability without much weight.

The pictures

Well, I need to get a page out, so for now it's on to the pictures :)

Rocket Airframe Tube curing and post cure oven

As built. 12" x 12" x 6' Built from a single sheet of 3/4" R-Matte Plus 3 insulation board. The variety you want has the factory foil facing on one side.

composites tubes in the oven

Tubes in the oven. Picture from my Reinforcing airframes page.

End support detail of inside of curing oven

I built a small shelf on one end to support the ends. it's a doubled up section to give some extra support for tube rod fit. I also doubled up the foil tape in the area at shelf level so that the tube wouldn't puncture the foil lining during normal use.

heat source end detail of post cure oven

Heat source end support. Note the improvised wood block. I had a free standing bridge across the side, but the heat loosens the adhesive and when I inserted the tube the wieght popped the support out. I will either use a sparse inverted V support or put a rod of EMT or phenolic across.

Polder Kitchen Oven Thermometer and Temperature Alarm

The kitchen Polder oven thermometer can handle the temperatures, and is useful for setting temperature alarms and also timing durations at various temperatures. You can see it's still set for a 250F heat shrink tape set run.

Hinge installation detail

How do you attach hinges to crumbly foam board? with lots of surface area and PL-Premium polyurethane construction adhesive. Use no other.
metal foil tape

Regular duct take will be a gooey mess. This Foil Sealant tape is great stuff. I wish I knew about it 20 years ago! It's heavy metal foil with an adhesive. No cheese involved. And relatively inexpensive at about $6-$7 per roll. From better home centers or your friendly HVAC supply shop (Tell them you're building a Epoxy Composite Post Cure Oven and they'll be suitably impressed - even if you don't have an account with them!)

R-Matte Plus 3 insulation board

This is my insulation board of choice. More stable than the pink foam, particularly for the higher temperatures involved. And the right version of this comes with a foil lining on one side. The foil lining is key and you don't want the hassle of foil lining yourself. You might have to call around to find this, but it is worth it. I used 3/4" and wouldn't mind finding it thicker (up to 2" I think is available, though harder to find.).

1500 W Space Heater

1500 Watt Space Heater

Router Speed Controller

Router Speed Controller.