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VIDEO TUTORIAL

USED IN THIS PROJECT

Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, the following tools and materials, supplied by Easy Composites, were used in this project.

The quantity shown below is the approximate amount used in the project rounded up to the nearest available kit size or quantity.

TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
Composites Laminating Brush 1/2" (12mm) Individual Thumbnail
BR-LAM-05Composites Laminating Brush 1/2" (12mm) Individual£0.46 /each

Safety Glasses Thumbnail
PP-SGLSafety Glasses£3.50 /each

10kg High Capacity Digital Scales Thumbnail
SCALE10KG10kg High Capacity Digital Scales£11.63 /each

Total £0.00
MATERIALS & CONSUMABLES
Nitrile Gloves Thumbnail
NG[P]Nitrile Gloves* /each

NW1 Super Cutting Compound Black 500g Thumbnail
PCNW1-BL-05NW1 Super Cutting Compound Black 500g£10.45 /pack

Mirka Wet and Dry Combination Pack 50 Sheets Thumbnail
WPFCOMB-50Mirka Wet and Dry Combination Pack 50 Sheets£23.75 /pack

Long Mixing Sticks Pack of 25 Thumbnail
MIXL25Long Mixing Sticks Pack of 25£1.80 /pack

Medium Mixing Cup / Catch-Pot Liner Thumbnail
CPLINERSMedium Mixing Cup / Catch-Pot Liner£0.20 /each

FusionFix GP Spray Adhesive Thumbnail
FF-GPFusionFix GP Spray Adhesive£9.95 /each

XCR Epoxy Coating Resin 1Kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-XCR-1XCR Epoxy Coating Resin 1Kg Kit£25.50 /kit

210g 2x2 Twill 3k Carbon Fibre Cloth (1000mm) Thumbnail
CF-22-210-100210g 2x2 Twill 3k Carbon Fibre Cloth (1000mm)£21.00 /linear metre

XCR Black Epoxy Basecoat 1kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-XBC-1XCR Black Epoxy Basecoat 1kg Kit£27.00 /kit

XCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Starter Kit Large Thumbnail
SK-CFS-LGXCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Starter Kit Large£90.00 /kit

Total £0.00

VIDEO TUTORIAL

How to Cover Existing Parts in Carbon Fibre - Carbon Fibre Skinning

Step-by step how to do carbon fibre skinning video tutorial to accompany our XCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Starter Kit. In the tutorial we use the kit to 'skin' a layer of genuine carbon fibre onto a broken wooden rifle stock. Skinning the stock with carbon fibre not only gives the stock a stunning new carbon fibre finish, it also adds significant strength to the part.

Download the companion XCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Kit Instructions PDF which accompany this video tutorial.

Before you start any skinning project, be sure to watch this video tutorial, read the instruction guide and plan the timing for your skinning project - timing is the key!


TUTORIAL BREAKDOWN

Key the surface of the part

1. Key the surface of the part

If the part is greasy or particularly dirty, wash it in soapy water and dry it thoroughly before proceeding. Key the surface of the part as thoroughly as possible using 120 grit abrasive paper. Pay particular attention when skinning plastic parts (such as ABS interior trim parts) to make sure the entire surface is thoroughly scratched with the abrasive paper.

After keying the surface of the part, remove all traces of dust using a microfibre cloth or tack-rack.

Blank-off or fill any holes

2. Blank-off or fill any holes

In many cases, your part won’t have any areas which need blanking off prior to skinning but if it does, you should do this now using modelling clay (Plasticine). We don’t suggest using composites filleting wax for this purpose because the wax may act as a release agent on surrounding areas, affecting the bond between the basecoat and the part.

Mix and apply basecoat

3. Mix and apply basecoat

Mix a quantity of basecoat suitable for the size of the part that you are going to skin. To help you to work out the correct amount of basecoat, you’ll need about 330g of basecoat (and hardener combined) to cover 1sqm of surface - this means that if you are using the whole of the 0.3sqm of carbon fabric included in the small skinning kit you would want to mix up around 100g of basecoat; if you used half this much fabric then you would only need 50g of mixed basecoat.

If in doubt; mix too little - you can always mix up more basecoat. The same applies to the clear resin used in later stages. Use the table at the start of this guide for some handy mix ratio quantities. Before you pour the basecoat, be sure to shake the bottle thoroughly to disperse any pigment which may have settled in the bottle.

Apply the basecoat over the entire surface of the part to be skinning. Aim to apply the layer as smoothly and evenly as possible. You should find that the heavy black pigment used in the basecoat is enough to black-out the colour of the underlying part but in extreme circumstances you may find that after basecoating the colour of the part can still be seen. In this situation, you should wait around 2hrs (at 20°C) for the first layer of basecoat to begin to cure before applying a second application of basecoat, before continuing.

Wait for basecoat to reach ideal tack

4. Wait for basecoat to reach ideal tack

The timing of this next step is very critical. You need to wait for the basecoat to begin to cure (so that it has started to thicken and is no longer ‘wet’) but not allow it to cure too far so that it loses its ‘tack’. At 20°C this point is somewhere between 2-3hrs, but you need to keep checking. Use a gloved finger to ‘dab’ the basecoat - it should feel tacky and should be depress-able but a light touch with your finger should not bring any resin away. Holding your finger on the resin for a little while (not advisable in any critical areas) will still probably bring some resin away at this stage.

When the basecoat is at this ideal tack level you must proceed immediately with to the next step. If you find you have missed the ideal tack level and that the basecoat is not longer tacky, it is often possible to restore some of the tackiness by gently heating the basecoat with a hot-air gun, however this should only be used as a last resort.

Stick carbon fabric onto basecoat

5. Stick carbon fabric onto basecoat

Providing that the basecoat is at the ideal tack level (previous section), it should provide the perfect tackiness for the carbon fibre fabric to stick too. The best way to lay the carbon fabric onto the part will vary from shape to shape but a good general rule is to start from the most important surfaces (often the largest or most visible one) and then work out from there.

If you part has apertures (such as recessed for instrument dials) then it is usually best to lay the carbon straight over the aperture and then open it out only after the first layer of clear resin has been applied. The same applies to the edges of your part where it is usually best to lay the carbon hanging straight over the edges of your part and then cut them back only after the first clear layer of resin has been applied. It is rarely advisable to wrap the carbon round onto the back back of a part because this can often cause ballooning or voiding at the trimmed edge of a part.

For complex parts you may need to consider completing the surface in multiple sections. With skill, join lines like this can be achieved very discreetly, especially when positioned on corners where they can be almost impossible to see. If you do need to achieve neat join-lines on your part then an epoxy compatible spray adhesive such as Easy Composites’ FusionFix™ is required.

Allow to Cure. Before proceeding, allow the basecoat to cure further for at least 2hrs. It’s perfectly fine to leave the project now for as long as you like before continuing.

Mix and apply the first clear layer

6. Mix and apply the first clear layer

Before applying the 1st layer of clear XCR Coating Resin, check over your part for any stray or loose fibres of carbon fibre. If there are any, remove or snip them so that edges and joins are reasonably tidy before proceeding.

For the 1st layer of resin you will need to mix slightly more resin that you will need for subsequent layers because it will use a little extra resin to wet-out the dry carbon fibre. Typically, you’ll need about the same amount of resin for this stage as you needed to basecoat the part.

Following the 3:1 mix ratio as accurately as possible, weigh out an appropriate amount of resin and hardener and mix carefully and thoroughly. Apply an even coat over the whole surface of the part, making sure you fully wetout the dry carbon fibre. You are never aiming to achieve a thick coat of resin with any single application; instead, thickness is built up using a number of thin layers. If you find excess amounts of resin draining off your part then this might indicate that you’re trying to apply the resin too thickly however vertical surfaces will always result in a certain amount of run-off.

Before proceeding, allow the first clear coat to cure for at least 8hrs until fully hardened. It’s perfectly safe to leave the project now for as long as you like before continuing.

Di-nib and key the surface (120 grit)

7. Di-nib and key the surface (120 grit)

Once the 1st coat of resin has cured to a hard, sand-able finish, use a piece of 120 grit abrasive paper to remove any nibs (often caused by loose fibres at the edge of join-lines standing up), drips or other high spots.

Next you’ll need to key the whole surface of the part with more 120 grit paper so that the next layer of resin can bond to it. Whilst you can do some light ‘flatting’ at this stage (to remove high or low spots in the resin) be careful not to break through to the carbon fibre. If you see the sanding dust turn black then you should stop right away.

You can now go straight on to the next step, or leave the project at this stage for as long as you like.

Mix and apply three additional clear layers

8. Mix and apply three additional clear layers

The main thickness of clear resin should now be built-up by applying 3 more layers of clear XCR Coating Resin to the surface of the part, allowing each layer of resin to partially cure before applying the next layer.

The right time to add the next layer of resin is when the previous layer has started to firm-up but still has some tack to it which you can test with a gloved finger in the same way as for the basecoat. At 20°C this will mean waiting approximately 2hrs between each layer of clear resin.

You must NOT allow the previous layer of resin to cure past the ‘tack’ stage before applying the next layer of resin. If you do, the new layer of resin will not be able to bond properly to the previous layer and could delaminate. You will also find that the new layer of resin will visibly ‘fish-eye’ away from the previous layer if it is no longer at the tack stage.

If you do accidentally allow a layer of resin to cure too far so that it is no longer at the ‘tack stage’ then you should not attempt to apply the next layer of resin without first allowing the previous layer to reach an advanced stage of cure (around 8hrs) and then keying the surface all over using 120 grit abrasive paper.

Allow to cure

9. Allow to cure

Once you have applied the 3rd clear xcr coat in this session (which would be the 4th coat in total) the part should be left to fully cure which at 20°C would take at least 8hrs but it could be left as long as you like at this stage.

Flat the surface (120 - 240 grit)

10. Flat the surface (120 - 240 grit)

Once the clear layers of resin have cured to a fully hard finish there will now be enough thickness of resin to allow the surface to be properly flatted.

Flatting is the process of rubbing down the surface of the part to remove any ripple or ‘wobble’ from the surface. The standard of flatting is key to how professional the surface of the finished part will be so take your time on this stage and try to get the surface as flat as possible.

Start by using the 120 grit abrasive paper and dry-sanding. It is suggested to wrap the abrasive paper around a soft but flat pad (such as a piece of foam) when sanding to help achieve a flat finish. This also applies to the finer grades of abrasive paper when you progress to them.

In some circumstances, you may find that you are unable to properly flat the surface without breaking through to the carbon underneath. If this situation arises, you should stop flatting, remove any traces of sanding dust and apply one or more additional layers of resin by returning to and continuing from Step 10.

Once you are happy with the flatness of the surface using the 120 grit paper, progress to the 240 grit paper. Again it is suggested to wet-sand at this stage. Ensure that all scratches from the 120 grit paper have been removed by the 240 grit paper before proceeding to the next step.

Thoroughly clean the part

11. Thoroughly clean the part

Before applying the final coat of clear resin it is very important to remove all sanding dust from the surface of the part because any dust that remains on the surface when the final coat of resin is added can contaminate the resin and will visible in the final finish. This can be achieved using a tack-rag, microfibre cloth or by washing the part in mildly soapy water. All all cases, ensure the part is fully dried before proceeding.

Apply final clear coat of XCR

12. Apply final clear coat of XCR

It’s now time to apply the final layer of clear XCR resin. Mix and apply the resin in just the same way as previous clear XCR layers.

The final layer of resin only needs to be applied very thinly, almost like applying a varnish or lacquer to the part. The smooth surface underneath should make it possible to achieve a smooth, level gloss finish which looks good even before it is flatted and polished.

Since this is the final layer, it is more important than ever to ensure that you accurately weigh and thoroughly mix the resin. Any improperly mixed resin will result in tacky or streaky patches on the final surface of the part. The part should now be left to reach an advanced state of cure. At 20°C this will take at least 8hrs but the longer you leave it the better as this will allow the part to develop more of its final hardness.

Optional post-cure

13. Optional post-cure

If the parts you are skinning are likely to be exposed to elevated temperatures in use then it is advisable to post-cure the skinned part in order to achieve a full cure and also increase the temperature stability of the cured resin. If you don’t do this, there is a risk that when the parts are exposed to these higher temperatures the resin may soften and ‘sink’ slightly, causing the texture of the carbon fabric to ‘print through’ to the surface.

Examples of elevated temperature environments would include exterior vehicle panels and interior vehicle trim, both of which can reach temperatures over 70°C when exposed to hot summer sun. To ‘post cure’ a skinned part it should be placed in an oven at 70°C for at least 6hrs and then be allowed to cool.

Flat (400 - 1200 grit) and polish

14. Flat (400 - 1200 grit) and polish

The final step in the process is to flat and polish the final resin surface to a full gloss. Starting with the 400 grit abrasive paper, wet-sand the surface to a flat smooth finish. Once you are happy there are no high or low-spots, wipe down the surface, change the water and move on to the next grit. Proceed to the 800 and then 1200 grit abrasive papers, ensuring you wipe down and change the water between each grit. Ensure that no scratches from the previous grit are still visible before you move on to the next grit. Once you have finished flatting with the 1200 grit paper, wipe down thoroughly.

The NW1 Black Super Cutting Compound included with the Skinning Starter Kit and also available separately from Easy Composites should be used to polish the skinned part from a smooth but satin-finish 1200 grit finish up to a full gloss. The NW1 compound can be used by hand or with a polishing pad and power polisher. Where available, a power polisher is likely to be much quicker than hand polishing.


DISCUSSION (33)

Please share any questions or comments you may have about this video tutorial.


G Man
How about vacuum bagging it ?
Easy CompositesMatt
Our experience trying to combine vacuum bagging with skinning has always been pretty unsuccessful and we're not aware of anyone else making a success of this process either. The main problem is the wrinkled caused by the bag; both wrinkles in the fibre and also in the resin. Generally, by the time these issues have been put right then the advantage of vacuum bagging (i.e. better consolidation) has been negated by the extra work to bag it in the first place and to put the wrinkles right.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
Is it possible to re-use the brushes?
Easy CompositesMatt
The brushes can be reused but you would need a strong solvent to clean them, usually acetone is used. Keep your acetone in bucket with a lid on, use it to wash the brush and then retain the acetone, otherwise you'll end up spending as much on acetone as you would on brushes!

Treece Barringer
Could I carbon fibre skin a rifle barrel?
Easy CompositesMatt
Potentially you could carbon wrap a rifle barrel. There could be a few considerations depending on the type of gun it is. If it's an air rifle then there is unlikely to be a problem but if it's a firearm you might need to consider barrel temperature and heat dissipation from the barrel if you wrap it in CFRP.

TJ1056
How much weight does a carbon fibre skin add?
Easy CompositesMatt
It depends how much resin you sand off in the smoothing process, but you could be looking around 500-600g per square meter.

Remko Jerphanion
No mention of full cure. How long does that take?
Easy CompositesMatt
Full cure will depend on temperature and 'full cure' is actually quite hard to define. The resin will continue to get harden for up to 7 days in total (at 20'C) but where along that line you think of as full cure is a bit tricky.

Presh xMetal
What do you mean by 'safe edge' with the sand paper?
Easy CompositesMatt
That just means use some abrasive paper to take off any sharp edges or stray fibres that are sticking up, otherwise it's quite easy to get a nasty cut off a sharp edge.

JoeGGGJoe
So the black base coat is just epoxy resin with a black pigment?
Easy CompositesMatt
It's almost the same but it is slightly slower to allow more tack-time. It also (of course) has the heavy black pigment it and a little thixotropic agent to make it less prone to draining off. If you have black parts already then it's quite possible to use the clear resin as a basecoat.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
Is the XCR resin UV stable? - I'm using it for car interior trim.
Easy CompositesMatt
XCR has the best UV protection of any epoxy on the market. We've never seen any discolouration of XCR, even after a long time and a lot of exposure. That said, just about all materials do change appearance slightly over enough time and enough sunlight, including most of your car interior and the paint on the outside of your car!

CRAZY siblings Yang
Does the same process apply to wrapping on a metal object? Thanks
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes the process would be just the same when skinning a metal component/surface. Be sure to thoroughly degrease the part and file or abrade the surface a little bit but the epoxy will bond well to metals.

Jagadeesh pentakota
Is it not necessary to cure the resin at an elevated temperature?
Easy CompositesMatt
No, it's not necessary to cure the XCR at an elevated/high temperature. However, in situations where the skinned parts are likely to be subjected to high ambient temperatures (such as a vehicle bonnet or car interior trims) it can be very helpful to post cure the resin (at around 70'C) before the final flatting and polishing. This will give the carbon fibre skin a higher service temperature and help to stop it from softening if it does get hot when it's installed.

Khiem Luong
Will the carbon fiber make the wooden stock more weather resistant?
Easy CompositesMatt
The thick layer of epoxy resin over the carbon fibre will certainly improve weather resistance considerably as fully cured epoxy is waterproof.

Bryan R
Can you paint over the carbon fiber part if you decide later to change the look?
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes. Give the surface a good degrease and key then in most cases paints will adhere fine.

wurzelzwerg100
How to skin a more complicated part? With sharp edges and bigger raises/depressions.
Easy CompositesMatt
This was a pretty complicated shape already but for something even more tightly contoured the process would be the same but you would make even more use of cut lines. You could also switch to using our ProFinish 2/2 twill carbon fibre which already has a special binder on the back which means it can be cut with scissors to any shape without fraying.

Daniel Kritanto
how to trim the hole after the carbon fiber is cured? is it possible to use bench drill?
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes, you can drill the carbon fibre skin using a standard drill and bits. Carbon fibre is pretty simple to drill, you'll just find that it makes drill-bits blunt quite quickly. Take a look at our Trimming and Cutting Carbon Fibre tutorial for more information.

Yamaha Rapt Or
What's the best way to carbon fibre skin a part that's been 3D printed out of nylon material?
Easy CompositesMatt
Epoxy really doesn't bond well to Nylon so realistically, if you're skinning a 3D printed Nylon part then you probably need to use some sort of primer or intermediary. Cyanoacrylate (superglue) will bond well to Nylon and then also provide a better surface for the epoxy to bond to.

Joe Bloggs
Can multiple layers of carbon be built up using this process to make a part rather than just skinning?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Joe, yes, for sure. Adding multiple layers of carbon fibre and resin to the outside of something is essentially the same as the normal lamination process (i.e. laminating into a mould) but using the original part as a male former, rather than laying into a female mould. For example, you could 'skin' onto the outside of a foam shape, using multiple layers, and this would just be an alternative way to make that carbon fibre shape, the foam inside becomes pretty much redundant.

Chris Bowen
What's the main difference between XCR and other types of epoxy resin? Does it replace the need for a clear coat?
Easy CompositesMatt
XCR is quite different from most epoxies and the results you'll get are far different and far better than a conventional epoxy. XCR is very UV stable so doesn't need a clear coat, it's also much harder than even the best 2k automotive lacquer/clearcoat and its ability to expel trapped air is incredible.

Aaron Brand
Won't the resin and fiber change the grip sizing? Do you sand down to account for the added thickness? What thickness is added?
Easy CompositesMatt
Carbon Skinning can add around 0.75mm to the overall thickness of a part. This can vary depending on how thick you apply the resin and how much you sand it back.

Yoto Yoto
Can I carbon fiber wrap my steering wheel directly on to the polyurethane (rubber) core? Or the epoxy resin will ruin the rubber?
Easy CompositesMatt
Epoxy is unlikely to damage the core; PU is generally unaffected by epoxy resin so you should be fine.

Kieron Desmond
Great video. Are the clear layers cosmetic or structural? I can see that a smooth surface is important in this case for handling.
Easy CompositesMatt
The clear layers are cosmetic; the structural work is done by the carbon fibre - adding additional layers of resin does little to increase the strength but it does mean there's enough thickness there to allow flatting back to a flat finish.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
What about the hot temperatures you can have in a car... is the epoxy temperature stable or will it become sticky again in hot weather?
Easy CompositesMatt
Car interiors can get hot, especially in hot countries. They shouldn't reach temperatures that would cause problems for the XCR providing that the skinned parts have been suitably 'post cured' before they experiences those temperatures in the car. The best way to do this would be to put the skinned part into an oven, taking the temperature up from 40 to 70°C over a number of hours. This should be done before the final flatting and polishing. By doing this, you will expose the resin to these higher temperatures; it will soften and move slightly but then it will reset at the higher temperature meaning that it won't soften the next time it is exposed to these high temperatures. By flatting and polishing after it has been post cured at the higher temperature you will avoid the risk of the skinned part losing its surface finish when the resin first softens at the higher temperature.

Broken Gaming
How much thickness does skinning usually add to a part? Will i have issues with tight tolerance pieces fitting together after skinning?
Easy CompositesMatt
A carbon skin typically adds around 1mm or less to a part but this does still mean that in some situations, particularly where parts are a very snug fit, that you do need to give this some consideration.

Arshad P
Thanks for the video , I am curious to know whether, can we fix Brocken carbon Yonex badminton rackets as well !!! If so please guide me
Easy CompositesMatt
It could be possible to fix a broken carbon fibre racquet however it could affect the balance of the racquet. I don't have a detailed guide I could provide but the process would probably be best done using wraps of prepreg carbon fibre around the break which you would need scarfing into the surrounding material.

Mr Chittychad
Can you skin with sections instead of one sheet? I'm looking to make my own racing Sim F1 wheel and I don't know how to skin a handle with one sheet.
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes you can cut the fabric into pieces to help you lay the fabric around the complicated shapes and contours. You could also consider using our ProFinish carbon fibre cloth; it has a special binder on which holds the cloth together when you cut it, allowing you to achieve neat tidy cut-lines, joins and seams.

philip rogers
Would it be possible to skin a foam core? I am imagining a foam core cut to shape on a conk and then skinned. Would the final product have any strength?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Phil, yes, you could skin a foam core and yes, it could be done to have a good amount of strength. In fact, we've even had a customer build a bike frame using this exact method. There are some compromises on performance vs a moulded laminate but it's definitely a viable process.

The Art of GNAR
Awesome. But no clear coat at the end? I always sand last coat of epoxy to 400 grit spray on two part clear epoxy coat sand to 2000 and polish. Just my approach.
Easy CompositesMatt
That's totally an option. Either way is fine. If you are comfortable spraying and have the gear then clear coating can save you some time compared to polishing the epoxy up to full gloss so is a good option.

agdtec
When trying to increase strength in a structural piece, How do you determine how much strength is in a single layer of CF and possibly if additional layers might be needed?
Easy CompositesMatt
Generally it comes from experience with the materials. If you are engineering and CAD minded you could run CAD FEA simulations to get some more measurable and repeatable figures.

avro549B
The cumulative elapsed time for that project was several days, wasn't it? 8 hours here, 6 there; I lost track after a while. (No criticism intended, just trying to keep oriented.)
Easy CompositesMatt
I think the most efficient way to do skinning would be over 3 days. If you have a look at the product listing for the Skinning Kit on our website, you'll find some downloadable instructions. In the instructions there's an interesting diagram which shows the process split up into 'sessions'. I think this will give you a good overview of the timings.

Yamaha Rapt Or
I use spray adhesive to stick the carbon to my part, and then use the Easy Composites EL2 Laminating Resin, the carbon lifts from the part when I apply the epoxy.... any idea what I'm doing wrong?
Easy CompositesMatt
Generally we don't use spray adhesive to hold the carbon down, that's what the basecoat is for. If we use spray adhesive in carbon skinning it's usually just to stiffen the fabric enough to cut a neat edge on it. If you try to use spray adhesive to stick the carbon down then when you wet out the fabric with the epoxy it will just loosen the spray adhesive and this is why your carbon is lifting.

Yoto Yoto
Why is it necessary to leave it to cure after the first coat of epoxy? And will it be wrong to do the four coats of epoxy at once with 2 hours interval between them and then to sand it down before the last coat?
Easy CompositesMatt
Great question. Actually, both ways are OK and you can choose. In the full instructions for the XCR Skinning Kit we do describe how you can do either. Usually, it's best to sand after the first coat if you have high spots or stray fibres or other little nuisances which would be better to get rid of at the start of the process, this way - once they're gone - the new resin can be a smooth continuous layer over the top of them. If you have such stray fibres and you continue to build up resin over them, then when you flat them down at the end of the process you're likely to sand into the fibres and expose them, which is not ideal.

Lennart Krieg
What the maximum operating temperature of the skinned part can be without deterioration of the carbon fibre skinning? I was thinking of skinning my motorcycle exhaust muffler, however, some parts can still get a bit hot.
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Lennart, the XCR resin we use in the skinning kit has a max service temperature of around 70°C so you'd need to check what temperature your muffler gets. If it's 70 or more then I'd suggest not skinning it with this system. An infrared thermometer would be the best way to check; get the bike running, with no air movement over it, on a hot day!

Wily Yong
I've seen many cars with skinned parts and the top coat tend to crease over time. Is that a material or workmanship issue? Also can this skinning process be applied on carbon fiber chopped strands to make 'forged carbon fiber' parts?
Easy CompositesMatt
Those resins will not have been post cured before being exposed to a very hot environment and hence the resin has softened and rippled.

Arrow Racing Products
Would it be possible to use multiple layers of carbon fibre with this wrapping method for example with a foam core mold that would remain in place once the part is finished? I would be making parts that need excellent structural strength.
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes you can wrap multiple layers of fabric around a foam core. This can be a good method for prototyping or one off projects. You can leave the foam in situ or dissolve it out with a solvent afterwards.

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USED IN THIS PROJECT

Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, the following tools and materials, supplied by Easy Composites, were used in this project.

The quantity shown below is the approximate amount used in the project rounded up to the nearest available kit size or quantity.

TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
Composites Laminating Brush 1/2" (12mm) Individual Thumbnail
BR-LAM-05Composites Laminating Brush 1/2" (12mm) Individual£0.46 /each

Safety Glasses Thumbnail
PP-SGLSafety Glasses£3.50 /each

10kg High Capacity Digital Scales Thumbnail
SCALE10KG10kg High Capacity Digital Scales£11.63 /each

Total £0.00
MATERIALS & CONSUMABLES
Nitrile Gloves Thumbnail
NG[P]Nitrile Gloves* /each

NW1 Super Cutting Compound Black 500g Thumbnail
PCNW1-BL-05NW1 Super Cutting Compound Black 500g£10.45 /pack

Mirka Wet and Dry Combination Pack 50 Sheets Thumbnail
WPFCOMB-50Mirka Wet and Dry Combination Pack 50 Sheets£23.75 /pack

Long Mixing Sticks Pack of 25 Thumbnail
MIXL25Long Mixing Sticks Pack of 25£1.80 /pack

Medium Mixing Cup / Catch-Pot Liner Thumbnail
CPLINERSMedium Mixing Cup / Catch-Pot Liner£0.20 /each

FusionFix GP Spray Adhesive Thumbnail
FF-GPFusionFix GP Spray Adhesive£9.95 /each

XCR Epoxy Coating Resin 1Kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-XCR-1XCR Epoxy Coating Resin 1Kg Kit£25.50 /kit

210g 2x2 Twill 3k Carbon Fibre Cloth (1000mm) Thumbnail
CF-22-210-100210g 2x2 Twill 3k Carbon Fibre Cloth (1000mm)£21.00 /linear metre

XCR Black Epoxy Basecoat 1kg Kit Thumbnail
EP-XBC-1XCR Black Epoxy Basecoat 1kg Kit£27.00 /kit

XCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Starter Kit Large Thumbnail
SK-CFS-LGXCR Carbon Fibre Skinning Starter Kit Large£90.00 /kit

Total £0.00

DISCUSSION (33)

Please share any questions or comments you may have about this video tutorial.


G Man
How about vacuum bagging it ?
Easy CompositesMatt
Our experience trying to combine vacuum bagging with skinning has always been pretty unsuccessful and we're not aware of anyone else making a success of this process either. The main problem is the wrinkled caused by the bag; both wrinkles in the fibre and also in the resin. Generally, by the time these issues have been put right then the advantage of vacuum bagging (i.e. better consolidation) has been negated by the extra work to bag it in the first place and to put the wrinkles right.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
Is it possible to re-use the brushes?
Easy CompositesMatt
The brushes can be reused but you would need a strong solvent to clean them, usually acetone is used. Keep your acetone in bucket with a lid on, use it to wash the brush and then retain the acetone, otherwise you'll end up spending as much on acetone as you would on brushes!

Treece Barringer
Could I carbon fibre skin a rifle barrel?
Easy CompositesMatt
Potentially you could carbon wrap a rifle barrel. There could be a few considerations depending on the type of gun it is. If it's an air rifle then there is unlikely to be a problem but if it's a firearm you might need to consider barrel temperature and heat dissipation from the barrel if you wrap it in CFRP.

TJ1056
How much weight does a carbon fibre skin add?
Easy CompositesMatt
It depends how much resin you sand off in the smoothing process, but you could be looking around 500-600g per square meter.

Remko Jerphanion
No mention of full cure. How long does that take?
Easy CompositesMatt
Full cure will depend on temperature and 'full cure' is actually quite hard to define. The resin will continue to get harden for up to 7 days in total (at 20'C) but where along that line you think of as full cure is a bit tricky.

Presh xMetal
What do you mean by 'safe edge' with the sand paper?
Easy CompositesMatt
That just means use some abrasive paper to take off any sharp edges or stray fibres that are sticking up, otherwise it's quite easy to get a nasty cut off a sharp edge.

JoeGGGJoe
So the black base coat is just epoxy resin with a black pigment?
Easy CompositesMatt
It's almost the same but it is slightly slower to allow more tack-time. It also (of course) has the heavy black pigment it and a little thixotropic agent to make it less prone to draining off. If you have black parts already then it's quite possible to use the clear resin as a basecoat.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
Is the XCR resin UV stable? - I'm using it for car interior trim.
Easy CompositesMatt
XCR has the best UV protection of any epoxy on the market. We've never seen any discolouration of XCR, even after a long time and a lot of exposure. That said, just about all materials do change appearance slightly over enough time and enough sunlight, including most of your car interior and the paint on the outside of your car!

CRAZY siblings Yang
Does the same process apply to wrapping on a metal object? Thanks
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes the process would be just the same when skinning a metal component/surface. Be sure to thoroughly degrease the part and file or abrade the surface a little bit but the epoxy will bond well to metals.

Jagadeesh pentakota
Is it not necessary to cure the resin at an elevated temperature?
Easy CompositesMatt
No, it's not necessary to cure the XCR at an elevated/high temperature. However, in situations where the skinned parts are likely to be subjected to high ambient temperatures (such as a vehicle bonnet or car interior trims) it can be very helpful to post cure the resin (at around 70'C) before the final flatting and polishing. This will give the carbon fibre skin a higher service temperature and help to stop it from softening if it does get hot when it's installed.

Khiem Luong
Will the carbon fiber make the wooden stock more weather resistant?
Easy CompositesMatt
The thick layer of epoxy resin over the carbon fibre will certainly improve weather resistance considerably as fully cured epoxy is waterproof.

Bryan R
Can you paint over the carbon fiber part if you decide later to change the look?
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes. Give the surface a good degrease and key then in most cases paints will adhere fine.

wurzelzwerg100
How to skin a more complicated part? With sharp edges and bigger raises/depressions.
Easy CompositesMatt
This was a pretty complicated shape already but for something even more tightly contoured the process would be the same but you would make even more use of cut lines. You could also switch to using our ProFinish 2/2 twill carbon fibre which already has a special binder on the back which means it can be cut with scissors to any shape without fraying.

Daniel Kritanto
how to trim the hole after the carbon fiber is cured? is it possible to use bench drill?
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes, you can drill the carbon fibre skin using a standard drill and bits. Carbon fibre is pretty simple to drill, you'll just find that it makes drill-bits blunt quite quickly. Take a look at our Trimming and Cutting Carbon Fibre tutorial for more information.

Yamaha Rapt Or
What's the best way to carbon fibre skin a part that's been 3D printed out of nylon material?
Easy CompositesMatt
Epoxy really doesn't bond well to Nylon so realistically, if you're skinning a 3D printed Nylon part then you probably need to use some sort of primer or intermediary. Cyanoacrylate (superglue) will bond well to Nylon and then also provide a better surface for the epoxy to bond to.

Joe Bloggs
Can multiple layers of carbon be built up using this process to make a part rather than just skinning?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Joe, yes, for sure. Adding multiple layers of carbon fibre and resin to the outside of something is essentially the same as the normal lamination process (i.e. laminating into a mould) but using the original part as a male former, rather than laying into a female mould. For example, you could 'skin' onto the outside of a foam shape, using multiple layers, and this would just be an alternative way to make that carbon fibre shape, the foam inside becomes pretty much redundant.

Chris Bowen
What's the main difference between XCR and other types of epoxy resin? Does it replace the need for a clear coat?
Easy CompositesMatt
XCR is quite different from most epoxies and the results you'll get are far different and far better than a conventional epoxy. XCR is very UV stable so doesn't need a clear coat, it's also much harder than even the best 2k automotive lacquer/clearcoat and its ability to expel trapped air is incredible.

Aaron Brand
Won't the resin and fiber change the grip sizing? Do you sand down to account for the added thickness? What thickness is added?
Easy CompositesMatt
Carbon Skinning can add around 0.75mm to the overall thickness of a part. This can vary depending on how thick you apply the resin and how much you sand it back.

Yoto Yoto
Can I carbon fiber wrap my steering wheel directly on to the polyurethane (rubber) core? Or the epoxy resin will ruin the rubber?
Easy CompositesMatt
Epoxy is unlikely to damage the core; PU is generally unaffected by epoxy resin so you should be fine.

Kieron Desmond
Great video. Are the clear layers cosmetic or structural? I can see that a smooth surface is important in this case for handling.
Easy CompositesMatt
The clear layers are cosmetic; the structural work is done by the carbon fibre - adding additional layers of resin does little to increase the strength but it does mean there's enough thickness there to allow flatting back to a flat finish.

Streets of Berlin FILMS
What about the hot temperatures you can have in a car... is the epoxy temperature stable or will it become sticky again in hot weather?
Easy CompositesMatt
Car interiors can get hot, especially in hot countries. They shouldn't reach temperatures that would cause problems for the XCR providing that the skinned parts have been suitably 'post cured' before they experiences those temperatures in the car. The best way to do this would be to put the skinned part into an oven, taking the temperature up from 40 to 70°C over a number of hours. This should be done before the final flatting and polishing. By doing this, you will expose the resin to these higher temperatures; it will soften and move slightly but then it will reset at the higher temperature meaning that it won't soften the next time it is exposed to these high temperatures. By flatting and polishing after it has been post cured at the higher temperature you will avoid the risk of the skinned part losing its surface finish when the resin first softens at the higher temperature.

Broken Gaming
How much thickness does skinning usually add to a part? Will i have issues with tight tolerance pieces fitting together after skinning?
Easy CompositesMatt
A carbon skin typically adds around 1mm or less to a part but this does still mean that in some situations, particularly where parts are a very snug fit, that you do need to give this some consideration.

Arshad P
Thanks for the video , I am curious to know whether, can we fix Brocken carbon Yonex badminton rackets as well !!! If so please guide me
Easy CompositesMatt
It could be possible to fix a broken carbon fibre racquet however it could affect the balance of the racquet. I don't have a detailed guide I could provide but the process would probably be best done using wraps of prepreg carbon fibre around the break which you would need scarfing into the surrounding material.

Mr Chittychad
Can you skin with sections instead of one sheet? I'm looking to make my own racing Sim F1 wheel and I don't know how to skin a handle with one sheet.
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes you can cut the fabric into pieces to help you lay the fabric around the complicated shapes and contours. You could also consider using our ProFinish carbon fibre cloth; it has a special binder on which holds the cloth together when you cut it, allowing you to achieve neat tidy cut-lines, joins and seams.

philip rogers
Would it be possible to skin a foam core? I am imagining a foam core cut to shape on a conk and then skinned. Would the final product have any strength?
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Phil, yes, you could skin a foam core and yes, it could be done to have a good amount of strength. In fact, we've even had a customer build a bike frame using this exact method. There are some compromises on performance vs a moulded laminate but it's definitely a viable process.

The Art of GNAR
Awesome. But no clear coat at the end? I always sand last coat of epoxy to 400 grit spray on two part clear epoxy coat sand to 2000 and polish. Just my approach.
Easy CompositesMatt
That's totally an option. Either way is fine. If you are comfortable spraying and have the gear then clear coating can save you some time compared to polishing the epoxy up to full gloss so is a good option.

agdtec
When trying to increase strength in a structural piece, How do you determine how much strength is in a single layer of CF and possibly if additional layers might be needed?
Easy CompositesMatt
Generally it comes from experience with the materials. If you are engineering and CAD minded you could run CAD FEA simulations to get some more measurable and repeatable figures.

avro549B
The cumulative elapsed time for that project was several days, wasn't it? 8 hours here, 6 there; I lost track after a while. (No criticism intended, just trying to keep oriented.)
Easy CompositesMatt
I think the most efficient way to do skinning would be over 3 days. If you have a look at the product listing for the Skinning Kit on our website, you'll find some downloadable instructions. In the instructions there's an interesting diagram which shows the process split up into 'sessions'. I think this will give you a good overview of the timings.

Yamaha Rapt Or
I use spray adhesive to stick the carbon to my part, and then use the Easy Composites EL2 Laminating Resin, the carbon lifts from the part when I apply the epoxy.... any idea what I'm doing wrong?
Easy CompositesMatt
Generally we don't use spray adhesive to hold the carbon down, that's what the basecoat is for. If we use spray adhesive in carbon skinning it's usually just to stiffen the fabric enough to cut a neat edge on it. If you try to use spray adhesive to stick the carbon down then when you wet out the fabric with the epoxy it will just loosen the spray adhesive and this is why your carbon is lifting.

Yoto Yoto
Why is it necessary to leave it to cure after the first coat of epoxy? And will it be wrong to do the four coats of epoxy at once with 2 hours interval between them and then to sand it down before the last coat?
Easy CompositesMatt
Great question. Actually, both ways are OK and you can choose. In the full instructions for the XCR Skinning Kit we do describe how you can do either. Usually, it's best to sand after the first coat if you have high spots or stray fibres or other little nuisances which would be better to get rid of at the start of the process, this way - once they're gone - the new resin can be a smooth continuous layer over the top of them. If you have such stray fibres and you continue to build up resin over them, then when you flat them down at the end of the process you're likely to sand into the fibres and expose them, which is not ideal.

Lennart Krieg
What the maximum operating temperature of the skinned part can be without deterioration of the carbon fibre skinning? I was thinking of skinning my motorcycle exhaust muffler, however, some parts can still get a bit hot.
Easy CompositesMatt
Hi Lennart, the XCR resin we use in the skinning kit has a max service temperature of around 70°C so you'd need to check what temperature your muffler gets. If it's 70 or more then I'd suggest not skinning it with this system. An infrared thermometer would be the best way to check; get the bike running, with no air movement over it, on a hot day!

Wily Yong
I've seen many cars with skinned parts and the top coat tend to crease over time. Is that a material or workmanship issue? Also can this skinning process be applied on carbon fiber chopped strands to make 'forged carbon fiber' parts?
Easy CompositesMatt
Those resins will not have been post cured before being exposed to a very hot environment and hence the resin has softened and rippled.

Arrow Racing Products
Would it be possible to use multiple layers of carbon fibre with this wrapping method for example with a foam core mold that would remain in place once the part is finished? I would be making parts that need excellent structural strength.
Easy CompositesMatt
Yes you can wrap multiple layers of fabric around a foam core. This can be a good method for prototyping or one off projects. You can leave the foam in situ or dissolve it out with a solvent afterwards.

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