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Once the material is prepped to go onto the mandrel it is taken to the rolling station. The operator puts the material and mandrel together and a machine delivers a preset amount of pressure to properly roll the graphite prepreg onto the steel mandrel. The machine used at G.Loomis is designed to do this with the tightest of tolerances and was actually originally designed by Gary Loomis himself.


The graphite is then stripped off and the mandrel is cleaned


After the graphite is rolled onto the mandrel the rod begins to take shape. In order to ensure that the rod maintains the proper form during the baking process the mandrel goes to the cellophane wrapping station where a special tape is used to ensure that the graphite is wrapped tightly, all the air is pressed out, and the material will not change shape in the oven.


The graphite is now a raw blank and the cellophane tape which has hardened during the bake cycle must be removed by hand


Next an operator moves the mandrel to the oven station where it is hung in a special cart that rolls directly into the oven. Each material has a unique baking requirement but the heat cycle’s job is to cure the epoxy resin in each rod so it is able to hold its shape as a blank. The cellophane material will tighten under heat and sandwich the graphite against the rigid mandrel ensuring the graphite maintains the right shape and thickness as it becomes a blank.


The blanks are still rough and need to be sanded


The heat cycle takes about an hour and once the mandrel cools down the blanks are removed. These raw blanks still have the baked on cellophane tape on the exterior of the rod, so at this point specially trained technicians need to strike the surface carefully with a blade and peel away the hardened film at the pulling station. When we looked at the blanks once the tape was removed we noticed the surface was rough and now had the actual shape of the tape on blank, this is a far cry from the smooth blanks we are used to seeing on G.Loomis rods.


After sanding the blanks are painted. Some G.Loomis rods are not painted, examples include the matte looking GLX and NRX rods which are just sanded. Here Bruce shows us the paint room where rods are dipped and hung and can go throw different heating areas in between coats. This paint room is currently undergoing a major clean room upgrade


Because the surface of the blank is still very coarse it now needs to go to the sanding station where technicians run each blank through the sander and remove any and all ridge marks that were formed under the cellophane tape.


A paint technician checks the paintwork, each of the blank pieces on the lower right represent a golden sample of each of G.Loomis's different finishes


Each rod is then moved to the painting station where rods are dipped and dried using a hanging paint process. Some rods require multiple coats and because they are hung they can pass through a heater to dry each coat without additional handling. A paint technician  makes sure that each rod matches the exact finish of the series they represent. At this point the blank is done and is ready for detailing and component assembly.


The blanks are then prepped for components

Next Section: Time to put on the components










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