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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Project Carbon Fiber



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      07-31-2013, 06:46 PM   #45
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Also working on a true piano black...ad hopefully some other piano colors soon.

This is just sample of a light switch cover....it is usually what I play/practice with.

This is not finished and waiting to dry before I sand it smooth and polish it out, but I think it is going to be an awesome deep color. Just a quick picture...without any regard for lighting or anything else. Thoughts?
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      07-31-2013, 10:10 PM   #46
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What are you using to do the piano black with?

Also, can you clarify a bit on the process? You just wrap the existing pieces in carbon fiber cloth and use resin, then even it out with sanding, polish, and clear coat? And it still fits? I was under the impression that resined CF cloth was a good couple millimeters thick, meaning it would be difficult to fit these pieces back in place and you'd instead have to be making moulds of them to lay the CF in.
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      07-31-2013, 11:32 PM   #47
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What are you using to do the piano black with?

Also, can you clarify a bit on the process? You just wrap the existing pieces in carbon fiber cloth and use resin, then even it out with sanding, polish, and clear coat? And it still fits? I was under the impression that resined CF cloth was a good couple millimeters thick, meaning it would be difficult to fit these pieces back in place and you'd instead have to be making moulds of them to lay the CF in.
Until I know if this piano black is going to work like I want, I don't want to say what it is...would hate to have someone use it and it turn out bad in the end.

Actual CF fabric is very thin, but after a few coats of resin it can start to build up thicker obviously. Actual OEM BMW trim is wrapped also...it is not 100% CF. They do CF parts for many of them but on trim it is easier to wrap and resin...So it is not too thick to wrap, resin and clear then put them back in without fitment issues.
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      07-31-2013, 11:58 PM   #48
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Are you getting a front lip?
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      08-01-2013, 08:49 AM   #49
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Are you getting a front lip?
Yes, I am going to order on 8/5 from kaze-speed...what about you?
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      08-01-2013, 09:47 AM   #50
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Quote:
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Until I know if this piano black is going to work like I want, I don't want to say what it is...would hate to have someone use it and it turn out bad in the end.

Actual CF fabric is very thin, but after a few coats of resin it can start to build up thicker obviously. Actual OEM BMW trim is wrapped also...it is not 100% CF. They do CF parts for many of them but on trim it is easier to wrap and resin...So it is not too thick to wrap, resin and clear then put them back in without fitment issues.
Very interesting, thank you for the information. I was always under the impression that this would require making a mould and casting the CF inside the mould, but it appears that is not the case. That said, I really should take the time to learn how to mould things, there's quite a few things I'd like to fabricate.

How much should I expect to pay for CF fabric, resin, and other supplies? Also, how would you recommend practicing? I have no issue getting dirty and learning proper coating and sanding procedures, so I want to get plenty of practice in first.
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      08-01-2013, 10:18 AM   #51
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Very interesting, thank you for the information. I was always under the impression that this would require making a mould and casting the CF inside the mould, but it appears that is not the case. That said, I really should take the time to learn how to mould things, there's quite a few things I'd like to fabricate.

How much should I expect to pay for CF fabric, resin, and other supplies? Also, how would you recommend practicing? I have no issue getting dirty and learning proper coating and sanding procedures, so I want to get plenty of practice in first.
You are welcome. The CF materials really depends how much you buy. You can get started kits for $110-$125 with a yard of material, but they are usually cut into 12" wide strips (not great for large projects), but it will let you practice.

When I do something new, like the piano black above, I use a light switch plate cover...It is nice to practice with and won't take long to do it.

I love molded pieces, but some things aren't conducive to molding...like the trim. BMW does mold their CF mirrors and epoxies the tabs inside, but $600+ for CF molded mirrors is a little much for me...when I can wrap existing mirror covers and have them look the same for MUCH less, even if I had to buy new mirror caps.

The weight savings with molded pieces to wrapped is HUGE, but most of us aren't racing and don't need to save the weight when we are just trying to make our cars look better.
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      08-03-2013, 12:55 PM   #52
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Here are some bad cell phone pics of the rear Mtech bumper diffuser and the front splitters. I am picking the car up Monday and will be able to get more pics then.

The diffuser came out nice, even if it was a pain in the butt!
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      08-03-2013, 02:28 PM   #53
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That's a good job. For the diffuser did you use one piece of cf fabric
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      08-03-2013, 02:32 PM   #54
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That's a good job. For the diffuser did you use one piece of cf fabric
Thanks! Yes one piece of cf fabric. I have used multi pieces on a piece before. If done correctly, you can't really notice, but it is more difficult, since you really want to line up the pattern.
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      08-06-2013, 07:25 AM   #55
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Well the diffuser looks fantastic. Nice work.

I'm curious if the process of applying resin would work with either the carbon fiber style vinyl or cloth, rather than the real thing. I imagine that if the resin took to it, the end result would look a lot like the real deal - it seems that the gloss and depth that comes from the resin coating is what makes real CF so distinctive looking.

If so, it would be a fantastic option for interior trim, better than just the normal vinyl wrap.

Also, really want to do some real CF mirrors, how hard was working with the curved surface?
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      08-06-2013, 08:33 AM   #56
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I wonder if CF vinyl would stand up to the resin though. The resin hardens through a chemical reaction that generates a lot of heat. I wonder if it would damage the CF vinyl. If you're going through the work of resin, I'd just use the real cloth. It's a little trickier to work with, but for me, the resin was always the hardest part. And I hated all the sanding. I was never on this level though, mostly just small parts for stereo stuff.

I did buy a vacuum pump for some AC work and now that it's over, I have nothing to do with it. Maybe I'll set up a vacuum table and mess around with CF parts.

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Well the diffuser looks fantastic. Nice work.

I'm curious if the process of applying resin would work with either the carbon fiber style vinyl or cloth, rather than the real thing. I imagine that if the resin took to it, the end result would look a lot like the real deal - it seems that the gloss and depth that comes from the resin coating is what makes real CF so distinctive looking.

If so, it would be a fantastic option for interior trim, better than just the normal vinyl wrap.

Also, really want to do some real CF mirrors, how hard was working with the curved surface?
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      08-06-2013, 08:45 AM   #57
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Quote:
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I wonder if CF vinyl would stand up to the resin though. The resin hardens through a chemical reaction that generates a lot of heat. I wonder if it would damage the CF vinyl. If you're going through the work of resin, I'd just use the real cloth.
Honestly, I don't think it would be much of an issue. The outdoor-rated car wrapping vinyls are some tough stuff, and the CF stuff is thicker than the normal kind. I've hit it with some seriously high heat from a heat gun and it's withstood it.

Real CF cloth would be preferable, it's just the matter of price. For just screwing around, practicing, etc., it would be nice to use a cheaper material.

I've got another swatch of CF vinyl lying around somewhere. Maybe I'll see about picking up some resin and seeing how it comes out.
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      08-06-2013, 08:47 AM   #58
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i like it!
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      08-06-2013, 10:00 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by dwells View Post
Well the diffuser looks fantastic. Nice work.

I'm curious if the process of applying resin would work with either the carbon fiber style vinyl or cloth, rather than the real thing. I imagine that if the resin took to it, the end result would look a lot like the real deal - it seems that the gloss and depth that comes from the resin coating is what makes real CF so distinctive looking.

If so, it would be a fantastic option for interior trim, better than just the normal vinyl wrap.

Also, really want to do some real CF mirrors, how hard was working with the curved surface?
Thanks, the diffuser was tough because it was so large. Just bulky and cumbersome to work with. Everything else was the same.

I don't think it is worth using CF vinyl with resin. Resin heats up pretty good as it dries and it could melt through it. It has actually melted through a solo cup when the left over resin is drying in the cup. Plus the trouble of putting resin over vinyl isn't worth it. Just pay a little extra for the real CF fabric. It is not only the resin that gives it the look we are after, but the real CF has so many strands of fabric in it, it is unreal. Each strand is actually about as thin as a human hair. Once the weave is achieved, you really get the depth and 2 tone color variations you won't get with vinyl.

If you have some resin laying around, try it, but I don't think you would be happy. Plus the cost benefit isn't that much. The majority of the CF process is just labor intensive when working by hand because there is so much sanding between layers regardless of what material is under it.

The tough part of the mirrors is getting the material to lay down without puckering because of the curve. Just have to take your time and pay attention. When I did mine, I ended up pulling a piece of Cf off and starting over because I didn't like the way it laid down. I am finishing up a second pair now and it is was easier to work with because I have done it before. For each new piece I do, I learn something that will help if I ever do another. Patience is the key to all of it though.

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I wonder if CF vinyl would stand up to the resin though. The resin hardens through a chemical reaction that generates a lot of heat. I wonder if it would damage the CF vinyl. If you're going through the work of resin, I'd just use the real cloth. It's a little trickier to work with, but for me, the resin was always the hardest part. And I hated all the sanding. I was never on this level though, mostly just small parts for stereo stuff.

....
Totally agree...the sanding is the key...the better you sand the better your end result will be. The larger the part the more to sand and harder it is to get even.

I actually enjoy the sanding because I know the end result is going to be awesome!

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Honestly, I don't think it would be much of an issue. The outdoor-rated car wrapping vinyls are some tough stuff, and the CF stuff is thicker than the normal kind. I've hit it with some seriously high heat from a heat gun and it's withstood it.

Real CF cloth would be preferable, it's just the matter of price. For just screwing around, practicing, etc., it would be nice to use a cheaper material.

I've got another swatch of CF vinyl lying around somewhere. Maybe I'll see about picking up some resin and seeing how it comes out.
The car wrap stuff is tough, but it will never give the depth you want.

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i like it!
Thanks, I appreciate it.
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      08-13-2013, 03:16 AM   #60
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Very nice....
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      08-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #61
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Very nice....

Thanks!

I am going out later today and do a quick photo shoot. Hopefully I will get some good pics so I can post. I will probably start a new thread when I do.
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      08-13-2013, 12:46 PM   #62
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I want my difuser CF -_-
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      08-14-2013, 08:15 PM   #63
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I want my difuser CF -_-
I love the Cf diffuser...and to say I did it myself gives me some satisfaction when I see it.
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      08-14-2013, 08:34 PM   #64
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all of it looks great but i really think the splitters should be painted. i may be bias though
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      08-14-2013, 11:23 PM   #65
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all of it looks great but i really think the splitters should be painted. i may be bias though
Thanks! I debated going painted splitters versus CF...chose CF because of all the CF accents on the car.
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      08-14-2013, 11:56 PM   #66
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damn you must have crazy patience. your pieces all came out super nice. i made a cf splitter for my a4 long time ago and damn that shit was a brutal process.
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