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Carbon Fiber Skinning Project

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by FLDarren, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    #1 FLDarren, Jun 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    I plan on doing some carbon fiber mods on my Model S very soon. With all the time I had waiting on my car, what else better to do than to figure out which mods to do first. I found a great tutorial on the corvette forums of all places on how to "skin" the carbon fiber onto OEM parts. This involves the real carbon fiber fabric layered with epoxy. This is the same as rdrcmatt andartsci had done on the trim of their cars. I bought a small sample sheet of each fabric and did a test project. I used a hard CD case for each fabric. If I screwed up horribly, then I could just trash it. Turns out, with patience I was able to complete the two test pieces. To my surprise they turned out very well. I made a few mistakes along the way but nothing that couldn't be either learned from or immediately fixed. I now have the confidence that I can do this project.

    I plan on doing the three plastic cover pieces under the frunk first. They are easily removable and easily snap back in place. I have two fabric options. I have regular carbon fiber fabric and I also have carbon fiber/ kevlar hybrid fabric. The hybrid fabric has red strands of kevlar along with carbon fiber. It really looks amazing. There is also yellow, blue and orange hybrid fabrics. I have the MC Red so the red kevlar is the way to go. I think the blue kevlar would go great with the blue metallic. I bought a small sample sheet of each fabric and did a test project. I used a hard CD case for each fabric. If I screwed up horribly, then I could just trash it. Turns out, with patience I was able to complete the two test pieces. They turned out very well. I made a few mistakes along the way but nothing that couldn't be either learned from or immediately fixed.

    I laid the skinned CD cases on the frunk pieces to get a sense of which fabric look better. If and when I decide to do the lower trim, I will most certainly do carbon fiber. I think it would be too much red to have red trim on a red car. Under the hood is a little different. I haven't decided quite yet which fabric I'll use. I'll happily hear any comments from others. Do you think it is too much red under the hood?

    Btw, on the red CD case, disregard the lighter part of the case. I got lazy and didn't finish polishing the entire case. The darker red is the finished product. The carbon fiber CD case is complete.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Best wishes with this. IMHO it makes a world of difference. I prefer the black carbon fiber but that's my taste.
     
  3. Caloncho

    Caloncho LongerTelomeres?

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    love the look of the carbon fiber sans-red
     
  4. xhawk101

    xhawk101 Active Member

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    Yes the black maybe so there isn't an overdose of red.
     
  5. flodrab

    flodrab Member

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    is the material flexible enough to handle compound curves? ... I had my mirror bodies done with a vinyl wrap, but if and when that starts to peel or fade I'm thinking the stuff you're experimenting would be more durable

    (BTW, the pics you posted are 4096 X 2731 pixels, and are so big that only a portion of one pic is visible on my screen at a time ... you might try using more compressed images ... this one, for example, is 640 X 360)

    mirror.JPG
     
  6. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    In the 3rd pic on the bottom is the leftover of the sample fabric. Its very flexible. The fabrics went around the cd case smoothly. The only bad part is this process makes it permanent. The carbon fiber lays on top of the OEM part and is layered with multiple layers of the epoxy resin. It would definitely look awesome, but the mirror cover would have to be removed for multiple days because of the curing time. The epoxy resin I used is UV resistant and supposed to stay clear after prolonged sun exposure. I'll take pics later of the fabric flexibility and the epoxy I used.

    I did compress to 1/10 the original file size. I'll compress more next time.
     
  7. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    disagree. I wish people would always use the highest resolution possible. you should just use a better browser that compresses photos to fit in screen with the click-to-enlarge at original resolution. better to do that then punish everyone with really high def monitors.
     
  8. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    You're forgetting (or dismissing...) the impact on those reading on portable devices where bandwidth is a concern.
     
  9. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    Here is my rear valence panel that was done 18 months ago using the same process. After the epoxy was cured/sanded the part was clearcoated. I have seen no evidence of discoloration.

    CFValence_zps7ce22860.jpg
     
  10. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    #10 tdiggity, Jun 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
    FYI - There aren't any reliable epoxy resins that are UV stable. They can have UV inhibitors but will fade and yellow over time with prolonged exposure. The places you're putting these pieces will probably be ok though because they won't have direct sunlight very often. Polyester Resin has UV resistance, but is not optimal for CF (strength wise) and will crack if flexed.

    I agree with what Dennis said - you'll want to take your epoxy resin covered part to an automotive paint shop and get a urethane clear coat put on. It's 100x better than krylon clear coat (it's acrylic). A paint shop should charge you about $100 to do all those pieces. And, if you decide to do it yourself and use urethane-paint-in-a-can 2K Spraymax Clear Coat, please make sure you use proper full face organic respirators and long sleeved clothing because urethane paints have isocyanates which stay in your lungs and are universally known to be very dangerous.

    If you want some tips on how to do this stuff, hit me up via PM! I've got some nosecones I'm working on and other misc. pieces, too.
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    This looks like a fun project. Eager to see how it came out. For those trying, there's a sideways scrollbar at the bottom of the post that allows you to see the whole pic, but I, too, wish this forum resized pics and allowed you to click to enlarge. Chrome also resizes by default.
     
  12. Zextraterrestrial

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    question about the two plastic side frunk panels.
    Is the CF still be flexible when it is epoxied to the plastic pieces? I know the sides do flex a bit when you remove/install them.
    and the clips might mess up the CF too?
     
  13. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    They will be pretty stiff. Some flexibility but not much. From my experience, the hard part about this will be making a proper platform to hold the trim in a neutral state when adding the epoxy. If the part is flexed and the epoxy cures, it'll set that way.

    Maybe the best way to do these flexible pieces may be to just do the exposed tops and not worry about the sides.
     
  14. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    Thats for this info. Even though the parts I'll skin will be under darkness most of the time, it makes me feel a little better about discoloration. What clear coat did you use?
     
  15. tnagpal

    tnagpal Member

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    Interesting stuff - I am talking to a composites shop right now about having a CF nose cone mold made and what the pricing would be like on that rather than adding weight with a wrap. Out of all the dumb upgrades Tesla offers (interior lighting, a center console, etc.) - I am surprised they don't take the chance to upcharge you on painted and CF nose cones.
     
  16. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    The CF was professionally done. According to my fabricator, they sent the part to a body shop who applied automotive clearcoat, the same as is used over paint.
     
  17. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    #17 artsci, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
    My nosecone has been covered with real carbon fiber (and the side strakes and front and rear diffusers as well) and they all have a urethane gloss clear coat. I'm waiting to receive the frunk panels and then I'll be done. Here's the nose cone and and here's a link to a number of photos of the full effect. Post #1 in the thread.

    _DSC4803.JPG
     
  18. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    Update: I will start the mods next weekend after Cars and Coffee. Been too busy installing my lighted T. I have all the supplies and am ready to go. I didn't want to show up to Cars and Coffee with sanded and half-done frunk panels. I sure don't want to have to explain to everyone why mine looks different than the others. :biggrin:
     
  19. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    #19 FLDarren, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    I turned my car in to Aaron days after C&C for Opticoat. After getting my car back last week I have begun applying carbon fiber to the plastic frunk pieces. It looks great so far. I almost have the first piece completed. I'm very happy with the results so far.

    Once the first piece is finished I will be posting my step by step process.
     
  20. xhawk101

    xhawk101 Active Member

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    Pics looking awesome!
     

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