How It Started
BEING A STUDENT:
My name is Matthieu Libeert, a passionate carbonfiber crafter born in 1990!
While studying Industrial Product Design I got triggered by what you can craft with fiberglass and polyester.
I had a basic course at school explaining me the basics of polyester-resin and fiberglass (Chopped strands) to create
good prototypes for the design courses I had. It's a process with a lot of sanding and applying more bondo In multiple layers. The results you can
achieve is amazing to present to a teacher or customer and convince them to buy your product.
Being triggered at that point and knowing the basics I've decided that for the next assignment I had to explore more techniques.
We had a chair to design and most of my fellow students were looking for the more traditional methods and materials, using wood and steel.
I've started looking on the internet and found out how boats, carparts, planes, spacecraft was made! The internet teached me what Resin Infusion (VARTM)
vacuumbagging and RTM (Resin Transfer moulding) was. After knowing about these techniques I had to do some more research about the gear and tools needed.
That's the first time I've read about vacuumpumps, catchpots, tackytape, breather cloth, peelply, vacuumbags and more.
At that point I've took a big risk and decided to go all-in for that assignement. I was going to make a chair in Flaxfiber and polyester resin. I've made a mould and found
some release agent and went to a shop in Bruges to buy all the gear. I remember being so scared asking for all the materials I've read about on the internet, without fully knowing
how to use them exactly.
The day after, I took the big jump! With some help of a good friend we've started laminating the flaxfiber on the mould! I knew from the start that this was going to be a hell of a job to
explain and document to the teachers (I was still at school, documenting the process was one of the most important parts of each assignement). I decided to shoot a timelapse video of the process. A timelaps is when you set up your camera to take a picture every X-seconds and then edit them all together again to get a "fastforward" effect. I took the cheap camera of my dad we had laying around and started everything. For the examination of the chair I had to be able to show the video to the teachers so I decided to upload the video on my YouTube-Channel that was linked to my "spam e-mail" adress, called "matthieutje65" (If you don't know ducht it's like "little matthieu 65"). I had that e-mail adress since I was little. I just planned to upload that one video and leave it like that. If I would have known 5 years later I would hit 25 000 subscribers and 3 000 000 views on my channel I would have picked another name 😉
The assignement was great, got a moderate score (I guess it was to new for them 😉 ) and learned a new skill in prototyping and crafting products. The days after the upload, which I tought would just stay unknown, I got a few likes and people commenting. I even got a few subscribers!!! At that point I decided to film and edit all my future videos as well and upload them for my few subscribers and friends, the channel slowly grew and got more views and subs.
At that point I was looking for more information online and found the video's of EasyComposites showing a resin infusion with perfect finish with carbonfiber in a mould! I got triggered, I begged my parents to buy me a vacuumpump and some carbonfiber for my birthday. Yep that right I'm kind of a weirdo; most teenagers would like a playstation, I just wanted a vacuumpump, some resin and vacuumsupply! I've watched that video about 15 times... at least. I was watching how everything was done and did my first resin infusion in a car-shape mould we had at school! I Filmed it all and uploaded it on YouTube!
During the following years I've put all my spare time at school, while most of my friends went out, In working with composites. I always was the last guy at school the "night guard" had to kick out because I was still applying resin on parts while all the teachers and students were home already. I'm still very grateful for the support I got from school allowing me to use the machines and space over there.
After graduating as an Industrial Product Designer I started a master in Industrial engineering. I quickly found out it was a bit to much "in the books" and not hands-on enough like I was used to in my studies of Industrial Product Design. Not being interested in that stuff, I stopped going to the courses and spend the entire day in the "chemical lab" at school experimenting with new fibers, resins, creating parts, moulds, and making a lot of videos!
I remember my parents being furious when I told them I've failed all my exams! But I told them "I HAVE A PLAN ON A LONG TERM!" :p
The YouTube Channel started to grow and I got more and more business proposals. I got noticed by a few companies asking me to make parts for them.
At that point I decided get my VAT-number and start my business. In Belgium you have to have a VAT-number to officially sell products. I got my first orders and was still able to make the parts at school.
After I was finalist in a competition called "Urban Crafts" I got in touch with some guys telling me they were working on a project called MUSTER. "MUSTER" is a community of crafters sharing a building. After a few beers and a lot of chatting I decided to be involved in that project! Two days later I picked my workshop and I was in love with that place! My workshop was in a building we could stay in for 2 years owned by a project developer called, Leopold Dekeyser with his company "Think Urban". He made sure the other creative starters in the building and I had a place to start our business on a budget.
2 years passed by, got my business sorted out and Leopold fixed us a new place! We are moving to Heule (5 km from Kortrijk, Belgium) for some new adventures with MUSTER; getting bigger and better with more creative starters that will join us!
I LOVE MY JOB! and all of that thanks to the support I got from all of you on social media so far!
All of this is thanks to every single one of you subscribing, liking, commenting, sharing my videos from the start.
Every single new like/subscribe/comment will probably trigger new adventures to come!
Thanks for the love and support I got from everyone that was involved in my adventures from the start or the ones to come!