Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to apply Carbon Fiber decals

As a side note, I finally convinced my girlfriend to let me get a new lamp. She was getting tired of me always stealing her floor standing lamp when she wanted to read.

So, here is my newly developed method for applying Scale Motorsports Carbon Fiber decals to my Jordan 191. I'll be using the front brakeduct/upright component as an example.

First and foremost: know your weave! It's all well and good if you carbon fiber everything, but it you are shooting for accuracy whip out your reference photos. The picture below has been flipped, rotated, and edited, but the point is to show the direction of the carbon fiber weave compared to the part.

Here is the part to which decals are going to be applied. I have already applied cf to the recess as can be seen below.

Measure twice, cut once. These decals are not cheap. Be sure to pay attention to the weave as mentioned above.

Use a pair of sharp scissors to make cutting easier and reduce the risk of error.

Into room temperature water for 30 seconds.

Using a pair of tweezers to remove it from the water, I'm trying to touch the decal with my hands as little as possible.

Ok, throw away any idea you are going to stretch, fold, push on the decal. Think of it like this: you are the decal's manager. You need to give the decal idiot-proof instructions on how to lay. You are not going to do anything yourself, the decal and the setting solution are going to do all the work

Here is my Walthers Solvaset Decal Setting Solution. Don't use the brush attached to the lid in the bottle. Here I'm dipping the tip of a paintbrush into the solution. This stuff is hot. It will destroy the decal nearly on contact. Proceed with caution.

Here I am gently painting the inside of the carbon fiber decal at the edge of the mating surface. One or two brush strokes with a damp brush and that's it!

Don't touch the decal at this point. Let the setting solution soften it up. Quickly wash the brush in water.

The decal should fold itself over in the correct direction. The softening solution should make the decal pull onto itself so that the underside pulls towards the underside. This is why we are not painting the top of the decal with the setting solution. That would make it pull visible surface to visible surface. Once the decal has pulled itself around the edge, use the brush generously dampened with water to gently smooth out any rough edges, wrinkles or bubbles. This is the point where you are most likely to damage the decal. If it rips or distorts, remove the whole decal as fast as possible. It is a lost cause, don't try to save it, it'll only make removing it more difficult later.

Thankfully, it worked for me! Here is my part now in carbon fiber form.

Both sides

Total: 57 h

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