Carbon prep

Recently I got my hands dirty preparing the carbon parts for my XRAY T4.  I'm pleased with how the shock towers turned out so I thought ...

Recently I got my hands dirty preparing the carbon parts for my XRAY T4.  I'm pleased with how the shock towers turned out so I thought I'd write up a description of the process I used.

With the camera flash they almost look metallic, better still they have no glue or anything else on them. I've achieved this finish by progressively sanding the edges with various grits of Klingspor sandpaper.

I start by taking the sharp edges off everything with a piece of fairly harsh 180 grit emery cloth.  This is probably the only really essential step in carbon prep, everything should at least be safe and your car nice to hold with no sharp bits.

Once I've taken all the sharp edges off I start smoothing the edges with 600 grit sandpaper.  I work along the edges and not across and proceed to 800 grit once the edges appear smooth and even.  I use a bright light so I can see how the edges look, what I'm look for are low areas, they can be hard to see and, for me, difficult to photograph.

Hopefully you can see near the end of the top deck there is a low spot, this is what I am trying to eliminate.  Often they will be hidden until you move to a finer grade of paper and begin to shine the edges of it.  When you find them, if you want the super smooth look, go back the rougher grits until it is gone and proceed again.

As I work up to a smoother sandpaper and a shinier finish I go through the grits in this order: 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000.  So long as you remove all the low spots and spend some time polishing the edges with the 1000-2000 grit you can get a really nice finish.

For the lower deck I do apply some glue but I found by using Zap Pink CA and polishing the edge as the shock towers I could just run a thin bead around it once and have it dry even and clear.

Super glue can be a fickle beast and to give it the best chance of drying clear I first dust the part with an air duster, degrease the edge with brake cleaner and clean it with alcohol.

I think it's a good idea to take the sharp edges off all carbon parts and seal the lower deck with super glue but polishing the parts is a laborious task and does alter their shape slightly.  So I think this method is good for show but unnecessary for pure performance.
Xray 7016284147078421130

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