I’d recommend a simple vacuum pump off of Amazon. I’d recommend ~6 CFm and 1/2 HP. We have used Mastercool Pumps in the past, but I am sure there are other good ones on the market.

We utilize a fully ventilated and enclosed booth for our hand-cuttingand sanding operations, and another separate booth for our painting. Our shopis outfitted with dust collectors in every department and substantial air filters in our paint and trim booths.  


Anytime we cut carbon fiber parts, we recommend the following PPE:

·     Full Tyvek Suit

·     3M Reusable Respirator with replaceable cartridges

·     Nitrile gloves

·     Safety Glasses/Goggles


For handling of chemicals including resins and paints, we recommend nitrile gloves. A respirator is recommended for any painting operations, but the resins we use are safe without a respirator. Safety glasses are an extra precaution as liquids can splash up into your face or eyes.


We purchase materials from many different vendors, but for an individual looking for small amounts I would recommend Fiberglass SupplyComposite Envisions or Soller Composites. They are located in different parts of the US, so you can save on shipping picking the one closest to you. 

For higher quantity purchasing I would suggest Composites One

There are many different types of carbon fiber which can be used in all kinds of applications.  

Our most common lay-up for cosmetic parts is a layer of 6K 2x2 twill carbon fiber with 3K 1x1 plain or twill carbon fiber as backing layers.  The backing layers can be applied in different orientations for strength and stiffness.

Infusion Layup

There are a handful of different flow mediums. Some are meant to be built into the laminate, like G-Flow, and others are meant to be put on top and removed after the infusion. The most common "on-top" flow medias are “green flow” and “blue flow”.  Green flow is oriented linearly and the blue flow is random. 

There are two products that integrate flow media and release film: CompoFlex and InfuPly. They both have different costs, flow speed and conformability properties. These options are great for production when speed matters.


For applying gelcoat for a mold, the optimal layer should be 30 mils thick. To know how much to use, we multiply the length of the plug by the width of the plug. We then multiply this area by our desired thickness, 30 mils or .03. This answer is in cubic inches, so the final step is to convert this value into milliliters by multiplying by 16.3871.

In other terms, the formula looks like this: [(L x W)x .03]16.3871

MEKP curing time is designed to work in a specific way. At 75°F with 1.5% MEKP, curing should take 15 minutes. With every 10°F increase, curing time is halved. WIth every 10°F decrease, curing time is doubled. You can adjust the amount of catalyst used to alter the cure time, keeping in mind to NEVER USE MORE THAN 3% MEKP.


There isn’t a specific abrasive pad that won’t take down carbon, but there are methods for minimizing the ware on the carbon as you take down filler material.

1. Tape off the carbon that you don’t want to get sanded.

2. Use the highest grit possible to achieve the surface finish desired.

3. Use good filling techniques to minimize the amount of additional sanding required.

Buffing & Polishing

We use a combination of knitted wool pads and foam pads of varying firmness. We mostly use a 3" air powered rotary tool or a 6" electric buffing tool. For wool pads, we use a 3” pad for details and small part faces and a 6” pad for large flat surfaces. We prefer the offerings from Griot's Garage, specifically the white Fast Correcting Foam Pad, orange Correcting Foam Pad and black Finishing Foam Pad

In general, we don’t buff and polish raw carbon parts. Instead, we achieve a high gloss finish as well as provide UV Protection by coating our parts with automotive grade clear coats. For polishing our paint finishes, we use the 3M Perfect It Machine Polish System. This includes the EX AC Rubbing Compound, EX Machine Polishand EX Ultrafine Machine Polish.

Continued Learning