Is Carbon Fiber Worth It? | The Build Sheet

Is Carbon Fiber Worth It? | The Build Sheet

– [Cameraman] Cardboard fiber kit. – Cardboard fiber kit, low price of $9,999.99. (laughing) What’s goin’ on guys? Gels from Fitment Industries. We’re back with another
episode of The Build Sheet. Now, today we are gonna
be going over a topic that has been around for quite some time, it’s been in and out of the car scene, and from what we’ve seen recently, it’s kind of starting to make a comeback and like starts of like arrow
pieces and things like that. On today’s episode of The Build Sheet, we’re gonna be talking about carbon fiber. (screaming) carbon fiber (laughing) – [Cameraman] Carbon fiber! (laughing) (suspenseful music) – And before we go ahead and get into it, don’t forget to subscribe, hit the bell notification
so that you get notified when we upload next. And let’s just jump right into it. So as early as the 1800s, right around the time when our friend Thomas Edison was working on the light bulb,
(chime) carbon fiber filaments were being used for experiments. Produced by baking cotton
threads at a high temperature, the cotton would begin to carbonize and eventually become an
all carbon fiber filament. Little did we know at the time, that this process would become one of the most widely
used processes in the world of composites that we know today. It wouldn’t be until
quite a few years later in the year 1958 that a gentleman by the
name of Rodger Bacon created on of the first
high-performance carbon fibers right here in the United States. Cleveland, Ohio to be exact at the Union Carbide Parma Technical Center. Instead of using strands of cotton, Bacon found that applying
a similar heating process in the manufacture fiber known as rayon, they could achieve much better results. Now, of course, there
was still a lot to learn and after a few years of
tweaking the process of creating the carbon fibers, in the year 1960, the first high-content carbon fiber, with a carbon content of 99%, was developed by Richard Millington of HI Thomson fiberglass company. Compared to the first trials
of producing carbon fibers from rayon that contain around 20% carbon, the high carbon content
fibers showed a combination of high amount of elasticity
and tensile strength. Now, of course, to produce the carbon fiber
stuff that we know today, those strands are woven into sheets which are then cut and then sent out which are applied with epoxy resin to mold and form the parts
that we know and love. So throughout the years following, carbon fibers and
composites were used mostly in the development of
aircraft and their engines, specifically, in the
development of jet engines and their compressor blades. But the use of carbon fiber and composites were being used and
experimented within a variety of aerospace systems ranging
from civilian aircraft all the way up to, well, spaceships. not spaceships but rockets.
(applause) Same thing. Carbon fiber is a very strong
and lightweight material hence the reason why it got its start in aerospace development. However, as time went one, we started to see it sneak its way into the automotive scene. With carbon fiber being five
times as strong as steel and lighter than aluminum, it comes as no surprise as to why high-end auto manufacturers
started to use this material in the production of their cars. With the first ever production car to implement what is known as the carbon fiber monocoque cell design, was none other than the Bugatti EB110 which was produced right
way in the early 1990s. You know the car, it’s the one that the 300ZX
stole its headlights from. And it didn’t take long for
the designers of McLaren to pick up on this and
implement it one year later, in 1992 with the McLaren F1. From there on, the use of carbon fiber in the automotive industry blew up. And now today, we see
it almost everywhere. Especially in the aftermarket scene. You have companies such as
Seibon and Carbon Creations that produce everything
from carbon fiber hoods to bumpers to side skirts,
fenders, doors, spoilers, you name it. If you’ve been shopping
around for anything of your car lately, you’ve more than likely
seen carbon fiber options from pretty much anything
and everything for your car. However, the aftermarket
companies weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the
benefits of carbon fiber. Of course, high-end auto
manufacturers such as Bugatti and McLaren
continue to use carbon fiber and composites in the
development of their cars. But, however, they aren’t the only ones. You have examples of other
manufacturers such as Chevy with their removable carbon
roof in their Corvettes as well and it’s Ford, who
introduced their 2016 GT350 rocking a full set of carbon fiber wheels right of the assembly line. But why is this? Why is carbon fiber such
an important material when it comes to the automotive industry or just an important material in general? What are the benefits of
having carbon fiber parts on your car? Well, besides the fact of
it looking (beep) awesome and making sure that you
hit the necessary rating in Need for Speed Underground 2, so you can get on the
final magazine cover, carbon fiber does offer quite
a few more benefits than that. With the number one fact
that it is very lightweight, like we mentioned. If you’re looking to
shave a few pounds off of your car’s total weight, carbon fiber replacements
are a great way to go. Like I mentioned before,
you can find almost anything as a carbon replacement for your car. We have seen it quite a few times throughout the last few years, where cars will pop up
every now and then at shows that are almost entirely made up of carbon fiber from bumper to bumper. This paired with the fact that it’s about four to five times stronger than steel, gives carbon fiber an amazing
strength to weight ratio. Now, obviously when it comes
to performance driving, weight means a lot and if there’s a material out there that can not only perform
as well as steel or aluminum but perform better and all the while maintaining
a fraction of the weight, it’s kind of hard to argue with it. Manufactured similar to the
way fiberglass parts are, carbon fiber pieces can be
molded into just about any shape that you could desire, this is why we see a
lot of aftermarket hoods with cool vents and fenders that offer more aggressive body lines and all those things like that that you normally wouldn’t
see with a sheet metal part or anything else. Style and performance are huge gains with carbon fiber car parts. As well as its resistance to corrosion. But it does come at a cost, and that being probably one of the biggest down sides to carbon fiber. (beep) not cheap. Now, although the price
has come down tremendously over the past few years, you are still going to be
spending a pretty penny on carbon fiber options. You can expect to spend
around $800 to $1000 for a decent carbon fiber hood and even more when you start
getting the things such as door panels or door shells and even wide body kits that people are coming out with nowadays. Now, the sole reason for this being, is the manufacturing process itself. The material is expensive to produce and when it people down
to taking that material and turning it into something
that you can put on your car, the prices soon begin to add up. With labor costs, costs of the mold, with the time that it takes
to produce all of that stuff. So who knows? Maybe a few years down the road, there’ll be a new material
that proves itself better than carbon fiber and the
price will maybe drop off then. Other down sides that
people would argue is that you have to take
care of it a little more than your normal material, whether it be the clear coat,
that is meant to protect it or watching for cracks that may form may reduce the integrity of the part. Just be careful with it, make sure it’s not
getting hit with anything that would cause like a shatter, cause things to crack, ’cause then you’re just not gonna have a good time with it. So the question comes down to; Is carbon fiber worth it? Well, it all depends really. If you’re building a time-attack car, something that every pound counts, then 100% carbon fiber is
gonna be a great solution. Especially with wheels, we see more and more carbon fiber options becoming available, whether it be in the barrels, whether it be in the lips. However when it comes down
to more everyday enthusiasts, such as you and me, the benefits of carbon fiber really don’t seem to matter as much. Like I mentioned, carbon fiber is a fantastic
aesthetic styling choice and can really make a car stand out. So go ahead and let us know
your thoughts on carbon fiber down in the comments below. I’m Gels from Fitment Industries. Don’t forget wheels, tires and suspension, and if you’re over there, don’t be afraid to add
your car to the gallery we’d like to see your aftermarket car. Help out some people, help out us, help out other people find it on fitment. I’m Gels from Fitment Industries. We’ll see you later. Peace. (upbeat music)

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. We have a new shirt dropping today! Make sure to check it out here

  2. So if my car cost 2k i have to spend half of its cost for a hood and i could buy better wheels with these money so i prefer wheels from hood but for 1k i would buy a turbo kit too for it so i would prefer a turbo kit from wheels because we all know more power is better than looks at least if you race your car

  3. As working in the Aerospace industry it has lost some “wow factor” for me but I do love the look of a satin 2×2 weave which looks amazing. You do have to watch for delamination when working/using it. It is still amazing to me that it has such a strength to weight ratio. I have been debating making some smaller trim pieces for my car but we’ll see how it turns out.

  4. It's nice, but of you go all out (besides doors and fenders and such) even cheap Cf is gonna be 3 grand just for hood,trunk,and bottom trim pieces

  5. I would add that true carbon fiber has a heat benefit as well. When you look at intakes truly had of CF, the air temperatures they achieve are always lower than their metal and plastic counterparts.

    I does make me sad that most CF parts you see online are fiberglass+CF wrap+clear coat. I wonder if it is purely cost prohibitive or some other factor that leads to this.

  6. I think for a daily driver, a carbon fiber stock shaped or vented hood and a small wing spoiler are enough to give the car some flare and make it stand out without it looking too ridiculous. Once you get to the carbon fiber doors, fenders, body kits, etc, then it gets expensive not only cuz they're expensive in and of themselves but also cuz carbon fiber is a lot more expensive to paint if you decide to paint those body panels. For what it would cost to paint all those panels, you could get the car wrapped with a really cool design.

  7. 99 percent of "carbon fiber" company car parts are all LOOKS! So your seibon cf hood is mostly fiberglass.
    It is basically all fiberglass with one layer of cf on top.(not strong) an all Carbon hood would probably run you 700$ just in material.
    How to tell if your part if it's all Carbon? Look behind, if it doesn't have cf pattern it's fiberglass.

  8. i know it's possible to build a non rice civic.
    i want to show the world that it is possible.
    I personally want to want to build my civic for Time Attack plus an AWD conversion.
    and do you have any shiny red SF06 rims ?

  9. It’s nice until it cracks and shatters on impact that would have done little but scratch a plastic version of it.
    I love it but not on my daily that lives on the highway 😭

  10. Its not worth it,its just like buying a giant diamond bling bling chain ,just to call atention look at me i have money

  11. FI: first car to use carbon fiber Bugatti EB110
    Ferrari: eehhhmmmmm F40
    Ferrari: Carbon Fiber and Kevlar, thank you

  12. not worth having a carbon fiber lip with a slammed static car and you’re going to regret it when you hit something on the freeway and your lip breaks

  13. Carbon is good and all until it starts to crack or the clear starts to fade….but I do think it’s worth it on a full racecar when it’s on a showcar why even worry about weight reduction.

  14. I’m already skinny as crap so I can’t lose any more weight. I can save over 400 pounds with carbon fiber tho.

    Yes it’s worth it.

  15. Carbon fiber, is awesome as long as it is done tastefully. I believe in looking good as well as being functional. I know people just slap carbon fiber on as much stuff as they can lol. Full body carbon cars are sexy as hell.

  16. I would love to send you a picture of my RSX it has hood hatch doors seats from seibon and I love it definitely a difference

  17. Definatly worth it IMO i bought my first carbon fiber part for my 13 wrx hatch bought a all carbon finer drive shaft it is rated for up to 800 hp and i can remebr the torq but its waay lighter than the oem with carrier baring its a one peice love it🤓🤩

  18. Weight reduction you have to pay for isnt worth it over doing other mods. At the end of the build and you have money to burn,go for it

  19. How about weight savings in gas for every day drivers ? .. That's what i tred to tell wife about spending that $ on carbonfiber parts.

  20. Reading the comments – exactly why you buy real CF(if you're getting any at all). Love the way it dazzles in the sunlight.

    Realistically, CF is for the people trying to shave 10ths off their lap times. It's not for looking cool or trying to save weight on your daily driver.

  21. Shopping CF parts for Corvette and today came to the conclusion that I will go with CF for hood, spoiler, halo, and diffuser; but due to crappy roads where I live, I will go with painted or wrapped FG splitter and side skirts, due to cost savings and ease of repair from inevitable damage.

  22. You need to do more homework. How can McLaren as you say copy Bugatti with a CF monocoque in the F1 in the 1990's when McLaren was the first company to make a CF monocoque in the first pace? You totally skipped over the John Barnard designed McLaren MP4/1/2/2B/3/4. The MP4/1 was the first F1 car campaigned in 1981 which lead to the MP44 arguably the best F1 car ever (I think its the Patrick Head FW15C! FTW!!) yes with a CF monocoque in 1984. Vast majority of our car technology comes from Formula 1 including CF!

  23. IMO I would only get a carbon fiber hood, "Seibon" sells some very nice carbon fiber parts, right now you can get a OEM styled carbon fiber hood for your: 2013-2019 SCION FRS / TOYOTA 86 / SUBARU BRZ, for only $860USD which I feel is a great deal!

  24. Let’s not compare aftermarket “cf” hoods to actual cf used by mclaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. that’s like comparing microwave spaghetti undercooked by a 6 yr old to Michelin 3 star restaurant food

  25. I can remove and install all my carbon fiber exterior panels without any help. I kept all my factory pieces to swap out for harsher weather conditions and to persevere and treat the CF parts when not installed. Plus, the CF parts can be painted. These are a plus worth mentioning in my opinion.

  26. I wanna get a Caron fiber hood and fenders on my GTI so I don't need to sorry as much about rock chips cause fuck winter driving

  27. Dont forget about the uv delamination if you choose to leave it in the sun and elements. Always see cracked and chipped hi gloss epoxy.

  28. Do not ever buy carbon fiber pieces from Carbon Creations. Terrible, Terrible company. Cant believe it was even name dropped here.

  29. Literally skip to 7:10 the whole video is a history lesson and didn’t help at all. No comparisons, nothing practical, thanks for wasting my time

  30. Might wanna clarify that strength issue, S Glass would like a word with you. Secondly folks need to learn the difference between strength and STIFFNESS

  31. I thought it was the Jaguar XJR-13 that was the first car to use a carbon fiber body, not the Bugatti.

  32. Now a days. Forged is the next big thing, but that shit be ugly. Dry over wet but x2 the price. Vacuum or layered. But it can be overlaid on anything.

  33. Why the hell aren't there more comments abt that cardboard fiber im dying 2 minutes in and aprox 6 replays😂😂😂

  34. The answer is a resounding no. I have it inside and out on almost the entirety of my foRS and I regret every piece. The weight savings was negligible, the cost was astronomically, fitment isnt always perfect, and it gets damaged SO EASILY. And it shows damage 100x worse than painted panels. Rocks beat the hell out of it and it looks like absolute trash unless your constantly sanding, and reapplying resin and clear.

  35. If you want the look you could just wrap with the carbon fiber look I don't know if the price matches up or is cheaper then just getting the carbon fiber. The s2000 I have is wrapped but I bought the car after the car was done.

  36. Umm Gels bro don’t ever do ur eyebrows ever again u look so weird bro don’t feel no way about it just being honest just get a clean haircut

  37. no it isntjust buy fiber glass(+i dont like the look of carbon fiber tis much it needs to be a part that will look good with it like a skid plate splitter defuzer not a hood or a trunk)

  38. This might come in handy for relocating engine in the boot by reducing the strain on the rear axle via weight reduction parts

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