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DIY - Carbon Fiber Door Handles

brandfisch

Member
Oct 22, 2015
10
7
Carmel, IN
Well after 2-3 nights and 6 revisions, I figured out the right formula for wrapping the door handles on my Model S. I have a Black P85 with the Carbon Fiber finish... so I wanted to try to match that finish as much as possible.

tesla-carbon-fiber-handle-rr.jpg


I tried a few different films... 3M makes the best one (my opinion). I made the template using Adobe Illustrator and cut it out of the 3M film using a Cricut cutting machine. Once I got it right, it took less than 10 mins to apply to each door handle.

A few concerns that I had going into this were keeping a professional look, durability, and easy removal if it didn't work out.
  • Look: Having spent over $100K on this car, I didn't want it to look like my DIY project. I wanted to make sure it looked like a professional job.
  • Durability: I've only had it on for a couple weeks but I have put it through 3 or so car washes and plenty of exposure to the sun. I am confident that this film will last for years without fading or peeling.
  • Removal: I was worried about the adhesive not coming off clean and having to deal with that... not a problem at all with this film... comes off clean.
And a major bonus: the door handles are substantially cooler to the touch after the car has been sitting in direct sunlight! I know that's something everyone here can relate to. My kids burn their hands on the scalding-hot door handles...

Now that I have the template and it's easy to remove/apply, I am curious to experiment with some other finishes... like a Piano Black to try and match the exterior... will keep you posted if I do.

If you're interested in learning more, let me know... happy to share.
 

Terra117

Member
Feb 3, 2015
133
17
Edina, MN
First of all, very nice job.

When I wrapped my first door handle, I though I was done... until I pulled the handle to open the door an it extended an additional 1/8" revealing a strip of chrome and it looked terrible. I pulled it off, and haven't worked up the muster to try again.

Creating a vector template and using a vinyl cutter is brilliant. it would leave a perfect edge.

I have a couple of questions.

First, how different is applying film cut to your template compared to applying a larger sheet? When I apply film, I pull, heat, stretch, and reposition (rinse, lather, repeat) and having several extra inches of film seems to help.

Second, would you have any interest in making the template available? I pretty much dropped the idea of wrapping all the chrome on the handle, but am still keen on wrapping the "exterior" surface, and leaving the chrome parts hidden when the handle is retracted chrome. I know it would take me a very long time to create the vector for just the part I'd like to wrap. It would be extremely helpful to have a head start.

Thanks for posting. It's really helpful to the community to see examples of things done really well.
 

ICUDoc

Active Member
May 19, 2015
1,678
1,050
Sydney NSW
I made the template using Adobe Illustrator and cut it out of the 3M film using a Cricut cutting machine.


  • Look: Having spent over $100K on this car, I didn't want it to look like my DIY project. I wanted to make sure it looked like a professional job.
If you're interested in learning more, let me know... happy to share.
Wow, very professional look- I love it!!!
Is a Cricut machine a CAM device of some sort? Do you care to publish your template? I don't have access to CAD/CAM but would love to be able to get the look you've produced....
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
Jun 24, 2014
3,079
636
Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
Now, THAT is the way to do it. I got the EVAnnex appliques when I bought the package that consists of the carbon for the space between the windows, top nose cone and door handles. But the door handles only sit on the front face and you can still see the chrome sides, even when closed. Looks terrible. The others parts look great.

Very nice job.
 

brandfisch

Member
Oct 22, 2015
10
7
Carmel, IN
HERE IS A LINK to download v7 of my template from DropBox. I added a page with some explanation.

Note: I didn't bother to make a skin to cover the bottom and the inside front/back of the handle... I figured that chrome is barely noticeable and not worth the trouble.

- - - Updated - - -

I have a couple of questions.

First, how different is applying film cut to your template compared to applying a larger sheet? When I apply film, I pull, heat, stretch, and reposition (rinse, lather, repeat) and having several extra inches of film seems to help.

Second, would you have any interest in making the template available? I pretty much dropped the idea of wrapping all the chrome on the handle, but am still keen on wrapping the "exterior" surface, and leaving the chrome parts hidden when the handle is retracted chrome. I know it would take me a very long time to create the vector for just the part I'd like to wrap. It would be extremely helpful to have a head start.

Thank you, Terra117.

#1 - Initially, I thought I would need a heat gun, a spray bottle and a squeegee tool. Ultimately, NONE of that was necessary... I just applied with my hands... no issue with bubbles or wrinkles.

#2 - No problem! CLICK HERE to download my template.

- - - Updated - - -

Very nice, Mr. Jones... do you know the brand/type of film used?

- - - Updated - - -

Is a Cricut machine a CAM device of some sort? Do you care to publish your template? I don't have access to CAD/CAM but would love to be able to get the look you've produced....

Thank you. No, the Cricut is just a $200 cutting machine! You can buy it HERE on Amazon. Typically used for arts/crafts. I figured that I would probably spend $300-500 if I took this job to a professional... for $300 and probably 10 hours of time, I did it myself and own the equipment... can't beat that!

I posted the link to my template above - enjoy!
 
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brandfisch

Member
Oct 22, 2015
10
7
Carmel, IN
I got the EVAnnex appliques... But the door handles only sit on the front face and you can still see the chrome sides, even when closed. Looks terrible. The others parts look great.

Very nice job.

Thank you. Yeah - I looked at those and that was exactly why I chose this path... wanted a full, seamless look.

- - - Updated - - -

Hmm - I posted a long reply to all of the questions above but it looks like it was blocked/removed - not sure where it went.

HERE IS A LINK to download my template.
 

SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,247
Houston TX
Is a Cricut machine a CAM device of some sort?
Yeah, it's a user-friendly 2D "3D printer" that prints by cutting (paper, foil, cake fondant:smile:). Every female member of my extended family has one.
There are models that only work from pre-programmed cartridges (think Nintendo game systems), and higher-priced ones that interface with a PC to print from saved-to-Web templates.
 
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SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,247
Houston TX
Well, If you want to make a few bucks, I would be willing to pay for you to cut some for me. LMK.

I'll ask my daughter-in-law, our most adept CriCutter, if she has time to make some and what she'd charge (edit, for clarity: to machine-cut, handle for you, and ship!).

She's been making very nice Firefly/Dr.Who/Stargate/GOT window stickers for free and I have been suggesting she sell a Nikola Tesla decal to owners like me...

[edit: the template clearly states not to be resold]
 
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Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
I'll ask my daughter-in-law, our most adept CriCutter, if she has time to make some and what she'd charge.

She's been making very nice Firefly/Dr.Who/Stargate/GOT window stickers for free and I have been suggesting she sell a Nikola Tesla decal to owners like me...

I'll be happy to take a set of CF door handle covers and a Firefly decal!
 

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