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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alright alright alright, here we go again. Carbon Fiber license plate frame? Is it tacky? I dunno, maybe! Is this stupid? Yes. Does my girlfriend think I’m insane? Also, yes. The previous owner had a license plate frame with a little Union Jack logo at the bottom and I’ve just sort of kept it. But as with my mission of removing as much black plastic/metal on the exterior as I can I decided to reproduce it. This was also a good item to practice using some new materials and techniques since it’s a fairly simple part.

Here's the original part, I’ve already removed the Union Jack emblem.
Rectangle Bumper Automotive exterior Gas Metal



Next was to block in the overhangs and cover the live edge/fill in the holes with plasticine clay.
Rectangle Gas Automotive exterior Font Metal



This is one of the new products I wanted to try, it’s Smooth-On’s EpoxAcoat product. I like that it is brush-on and not pour on. That saves a lot of time in the fact that you don’t have to build up barriers for the pour. Their release agent was also nice that you can brush it on as well, no spraying PVA, and it released pretty well. Surface detail was nicely retained.

Link to their product: EpoxAcoat™, Surface Coat Epoxies

Only downside is that it’s a fairly brittle plastic when it hardens. I didn’t do enough coats on the first try. Here it is (flipped over).
Brown Snow Rectangle Mirror Wood



Time for the other side. Again, covered live edges with plasticine clay.
Rectangle Picture frame Gas Automotive exterior Bumper



Gelcoat applied. Added more layers this time.
Liquid Automotive lighting Fluid Ingredient Rectangle



Resulting halves.
Brown Rectangle Wood Font Bumper



Forgot to take a picture, but I then applied alternating layers of the West Marine 105 Epoxy/207 Hardener system and sheets of carbon fiber. I did 4 layers of CF, and started and ended with coats of epoxy. Then I clamped it all together and let sit till the next day.
Product Font Technology Auto part Engineering



Out of the mold, which I broke! I also squished too hard with the clamps and distorted the weave. You can really see the pattern blow up in the top center and the left side.
Automotive exterior Gas Grille Auto part Rectangle



Trimmed close with a Dremel, then hand sanded to the edges.
Motor vehicle Hood Orange Wood Glove



My solution was to the weave distortion was to add a fresh layer over the front. I tried to make sure to have some plasticine clay over where the indent was to keep the form, but that didn’t work too well. It’s still recessed, but not as crisply. I had thought of a way to fix it, but I also thought that it wasn’t all that bad and just moved forward.
Rectangle Grey Wood Gas Font
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Cut out again, this time just with some decent sheers since it was a single layer. Hand sanded to the edges again. Then dry sanded to 600 grit.
Tool Bumper Automotive exterior Gas Musical instrument accessory



Epoxy coat.
Rectangle Gas Automotive exterior Font Auto part



Sanded to 600 grit to level it out.
Rectangle Automotive exterior Wood Gas Font



Epoxy coat again.
Rectangle Bumper Automotive exterior Gas Font



Dry sand to 600 grit again.
Rectangle Gas Automotive exterior Font Screw



This is where I wanted to try something new again. The CF epoxy only has a little bit of UV protection, since this is on the outside of the car I wanted some actual UV protection. I don’t have s spray booth so I looked at other options.

People said you can use some Polyurethane Spar Varnish. People commonly complained about brushstrokes, so one solution to that is apparently cut it 50% with mineral spirits and apply with a rag. You just have to do 6-8 coats instead of 3 to 4 when not cut.

So I tried that, some things to note. It has a MUCH deeper yellow/brown/honey tint to it than the CF epoxy. I wasn’t sure if that would show up. In a small part like this I don’t think it does, on a larger part that could definitely be an issue. It also smells really noxious and should be used with good ventilation. Here it is with the Polyurethane varnish. The surface came out OK, not great. Had to wet sand (probably took it all off!) and buff.
Rectangle Gas Automotive exterior Font Auto part



Emblem applied (just 3M double sided tape).
Rectangle Bumper Wood Automotive exterior Gas



Corner shot.
Bumper Wood Hood Automotive exterior Gas



Old vs New.
Vehicle registration plate Motor vehicle Rectangle Font Automotive exterior
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So! After all of that, I figured out a way I could spray a 2K clear coat. This stuff is really nasty, so use at your own risk. I built a sealed box, then sealed it some more, then wore a mask. The 2K came out really nice, only had to do some light touchups, wet sand 1,000-3,000 grit then polishing compound.
Rectangle Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Gas Bag


“But @M.U.L.E. there’s no holes for the bolts!” I can hear you shouting. Well I thought about that. I didn’t want ugly regular bolts going through this. I looked into CF bolt cap covers, no one really makes them and that would be a huge pain to do. I also looked for actual CF bolts, even thought about how to make my own. All of that sounded like more work than I’d want to deal with. So, my solution was to use Christmas tree/fir tree clips! This keeps the look even cleaner, no holes, nothing sticking out.

It was really hard finding any that would fit properly. Ended up buying slightly oversized ones (6.2mm diameter) and then sanding them down. Size ended up being 5.3mm at the tip and about 5.9mm at the base. They fit very snuggly and you’ll have to use a pry tool to get any 1 of them out. So 4 of them holding it in should be sufficient. Of course I’ll check if it’s secure during washes and if this doesn’t end up working I’ll just drill and use bolts if needed.
Secured them with Permatex 84145.
Rectangle Bumper Automotive exterior Tool Material property


Trimmed the head of the fasteners.
Rectangle Gas Font Automotive exterior Auto part


Finished product.
Grille Automotive lighting Rectangle Bumper Automotive exterior


On the Lotus 😉. Now it matches the hatch!
Vehicle registration plate Car Vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive tire
 

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Great job! For future projects needing two part CC you can get it from Eastwood and Amazon. Unless spraying larger items I find so much easier to spend around $25 and use a rattle can.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow. I put less time into raising my kids. That is an incredible process. Thank you for the amazing detail. It looks pretty darn good.
It's winter in Wisconsin, we do crazy things to stay sane. Especially those of us that don't like snowmobiling or ice fishing which is the dumbest thing a person can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great job! For future projects needing two part CC you can get it from Eastwood and Amazon. Unless spraying larger items I find so much easier to spend around $25 and use a rattle can.
I used the SprayMax 2K. It's too bad that it has such a short shelf life. I ended up using it on the plate frame because I needed to use it on a different project and figured I shouldn't let it go to waste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@M.U.L.E. You do great work. I love it; one day I have to try to make my own cf stuff. How much total time did you spend on this project?
Thanks! I really think most people could easily do CF work, just takes patience and willingness to learn it. There's nothing complicated about it. I'm no expert but I'm always available to answer questions if people want to start doing this themselves.

Uhhhh more than I'd care to admit 😒. Granted a lot of it was from messing with new products. If I did it again I could probably cut the time in half. Maybe spent 40-60 hours?

I think from what I've learned I could skip A LOT, especially if I had a spray booth. You really could go from out of the mold, rough cut, rough sand, then 600 grit sand, then just spray with clear. Once cleared you'd either 600 grit sand again if it's a bit uneven, then clear again (repeat until satisfied) or if your original shaping and sanding is good then just wet sand 1000-3000 grit, polish and be done.
 

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Hey fellow Type 122 plate!!!

Kinda cool too that you can customize it by making your own. I simply bought one for $40-50 but if I had lots of time, I would make my own too. Really want a fishbone pattern CF one to match the bumper. Left side matches but right side is off.

Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Vehicle registration plate Hood Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey fellow Type 122 plate!!!

Kinda cool too that you can customize it by making your own. I simply bought one for $40-50 but if I had lots of time, I would make my own too. Really want a fishbone pattern CF one to match the bumper. Left side matches but right side is off.

View attachment 1332247
Love it!

Yeah, no one seems to make one in that pattern. Lots of modern supercars are using that pattern, surprised no one makes a frame. Had to do it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I tried but they came out like crap. The only thing that came out halfway decent was a CF ring I made for my wife. :ROFLMAO:
View attachment 1332257
Nice! I thought about something like that for my own eventual wedding band. But I can already hear my girlfriend's eyes rolling so hard that I'm pretty sure they're in orbit.
 
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