Platform: Jaguar F-Type
This project was brought to our custom composites manufacturing shop in Seattle, WA by an individual who wanted a striking centerpiece for his Jaguar F-type.
A center dash is the focal point of the cockpit, so it's no surprise that they frequently inspire custom projects. Our customer wanted to make a bold statement, so we suggested a wrap with red kevlar and carbon twill.
Wrapping parts in carbon fiber, or doing an 'overlay', is a notoriously challenging process. Ideally, the surface of wrapped part should look as if it were pulled from a mold - a flat, even, and glossy surface. A molded carbon fiber part uses the pressure of the vacuum bag to compact the fibers against the surface of the mold. To achieve that surface on a wrapped part, you can use a vacuum bag to mimic the mold surface/weave compaction, or you can simply paint the resin on the carbon and flood it with clear coat in the next step.
For this project we decided to take the additional time to vacuum bag the lay-up. To use a vacuum bag, you'll need to build and impermeable base and fill out the shape of the part with clay - read more about how to do this in our post on splash molding. For an in depth look at the full wrapping process, check out our post on how to do a carbon fiber overlay.
Materials: High Build Clear Coat Primer, Clear Coat, 3M Buffing and Polishing Compounds, Boss Perfecting Foam Pads
Although it takes more time and effort, vacuum bagging over a wrap compacts the weave texture, which makes the finishing process easier. Simply painting resin on the carbon will result in a highly textured surface that must be flooded with a thick layer of clear coat to even it out. In either case, care must be taken not to sand through the clear coat and resin into the carbon. This is called 'burn through'. If you have a burn through the entire wrap process must be started over. We highly recommend reading our our posts on how to spray clear coat, buffing and polishing best practices, and the troubleshooting guide on burn through before taking on a wrap project.
Fitment is always tricky with overlayed parts, particularly if you wrap carbon around an edge that meets another component or trim piece. This is because the carbon, resin, and clear coat can add up to 1/8" thickness, and can vary across the part. We addressed this issue by asking our customer to bring his F-Type to the shop so that we could carefully sand the edges of the finished part to the correct shape.