We just got done with our first set of B8.5 “OEM” carbon fiber trim. We say “OEM” in quotes because its done with an 8HS fabric to match the OEM Carbon Atlas trim.
I’ve documented the entire process of how we manufacture these, from start to finish. Hopefully after checking out this blog post, you can get an appreciation of how much work goes into these.
It started a few months ago when we got a huge shipment of cores in direct from Germany. Along with many sets of trim, we got in 4 sets of B8.5 vent and MMI cores (and a few B8 vent and MMI cores too).
Here you can see the B8 vent and MMI (on top) compared with the refresh B8.5 vent and MMI core.
First step is to disassemble the actual vent and the MMI housing. This leaves us with just the part that will get wrapped in carbon fiber.
Next we tape off the tabs on all the vent. And then we wrap the full piece in super high tech protective film (Glad Cling Wrap).
Then we line the mold with the protective film.
We get our pour foam, measure it out my volume, and mix it up. You can check out more fun with foam pour here the last time we did molds for the original B8 vent and MMI pieces.
Now we put the part in the mold, and start pouring the foam on top.
A couple of more layers of foam are added until the part is completely covered.
After a few hours, the foam is hard and can be removed from the mold.
When you flip the part over, you can see the part just barely poking through.
A few days later, the foam is hard enough to start carving and sanding.
First step now is to take a small chisel and start to cut away foam from the part.
Slowly but surely, the part becomes more and more visible as we chip away at the foam with the chisel.
After a while, the full part is showing and we can start to use sandpaper to smooth out the mold.
Once the mold is completed, we prep the original part by scuffing it up. This gives the bonding epoxy we’re going to apply to it something to hold onto. Once the bonding epoxy is on, we can lay the fabric down.
The original part is placed back in the mold after the bonding epoxy is applied. The fabric gets laid down and a few strategic holes are sliced into it to help it wrap around some complex contours.
The whole setup goes into a vacuum bag, and a vacuum pump is switched on. The vacuum pump sucks all the air out of the bag, which compresses the fabric tight against the mold.
A few close up shots of the mold inside the vacuum bag while the pump is running.
A few hours with the pump running, and the mold is ready to come out of the bag. You can see how the fabric is perfectly formed against the original part.
The fabric has made it around the edges because of our strategic slits in the fabric earlier.
After the parts come off the mold, its time to start adding epoxy. Multiple layers are added to give the part depth.
One more done in a custom red carbon kevlar.
When the epoxy is cured, the excess carbon is ready to be trimmed.
Then we detail trim, and sand the part smooth. It will be a bit hazy until after it has been clearcoated.
After all the parts have all been trimmed and sanded, its time for clearcoat. We use a high end automotive clearcoat for our parts, so they have a nice deep gloss.
After a wetsand and polish, and the carbon part is ready. A quick test fit shows that everything looks good.
Now that we know everything fits correctly, we flip the part over and glue the carbon fiber to the vent and the MMI housing. That’s it. We’re done.
A bunch more photos of the finished parts are below. We haven’t finalized pricing yet, but if you’re interested in having a set made, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.