As stated on our page about using US based materials, making a high quality part starts with using the best materials. The other factor is a skilled technician who uses the best process. We’re open about how and what we use because we know it makes a difference in the final product. Finally, we’re open about our pricing which you will find is more affordable than the large shops that have overhead costs that we don’t.
Choosing the best process:
There are many ways to make a carbon fiber part, each way has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The three main ways are “free (or wet) lay up,” vacuum bag formed, and pre-preg. “Free lay up” is the fastest and least expensive because it doesn’t require a vacuum bag process. The parts can look the same as vacuum bagged parts; however, the layers of carbon fiber are not laid together well and extra resin and air can be trapped in the part. Pre-preg carbon fiber parts are the most expensive and arguably the most difficult way to make a part. The carbon fiber comes pre-impregnated with the resin in it and it’s stored in a freezer to prevent the carbon from curing. The carbon is put over the mold and in a vacuum bag and then cured in a special autoclave to cure the resin with heat. The parts come out exceptional, but require expensive molds and bagging materials that can tolerate the heat, this adds costs for little gain in the end product.
Improved methods that save you money:
At Black Dog Carbon Fiber, we use a vacuum bag process because it removes all the air and excess resin and makes the exact shape to the mold. We have perfected the method to produce high quality parts with high quality materials at an affordable price. This is possible because we have found over a dozen ways to cut cost out of the process and provides the same results. We pass the savings on to you. For example, instead of expensive bagging film, we use thin sheet plastic. Instead of expensive peel ply, we perforate wax paper. Instead of expensive breather cloth, we use remnant cloth. Instead of expensive bagging tape, we seal the bag air tight with clay that we can re-use.
Making better parts than the competition:
For nearly every expense (except in the product itself), we have found a more affordable and more readily available alternative. This allows us to use the highest quality materials and have stronger, better lasting parts at a competitive price. In addition, we’re not in a big shop that would rather make mass produced parts as quick as possible rather than your individual request. We’re not making fiberglass holding tanks and other low skill, high production parts… then taking side jobs like the carbon fiber part you want that requires experience and attention to detail to make.
Extensive testing and true 100% carbon fiber parts:
Other ways we’ve developed is studying different thicknesses, weaves, layers, resin content etc. To the right is one of the many experiments we’ve done over the years. Other shops make parts with just one layer of carbon fiber for the outside and use layers of cheap fiberglass under that. At best, they might use 100% carbon fiber, but often use the fewest layers possible to produce a part. It’s truly rare to find a shop like ours that is open about every step of production.
Taking the time and attention to detail:
Another thing you are guaranteed with us is that we take the time to do the most to make your part the strongest, lightest, and best looking it can be. Some of the many extra steps we take are:
-Alternate the weaves of the carbon fiber from layer to layer.This creates the strongest matrix once cured.
-For parts that need to be the strongest possible and with the least amount of weight (like body panels) we vary the thicknesses based on the stress points, adding reinforcement to key areas.
-If a part is in area that could protect what’s underneath (like motorcycle fairing) we offer to add aramid (aka: Kevlar) under the carbon fiber. That way, in a crash the Kevlar can provide exceptional protection against the pavement wearing through to the engine or frame. Where as carbon fiber is very strong, it offers very little protection against abrasion.
-There are many other things we do above and beyond the competition standard and don’t charge extra for. There are to many to list and describe here. Things such as the special way we make our molds to how we protect the carbon fiber part with multiple layers of durable Acrylic Lacquer clear coat and wet sand and wax it. Most other shops cover parts with Lacquer because it dries fast and is more affordable (but is brittle and easily chips). They also skip wet sanding and buffing the parts.
-You know our parts are some of the best made out there because of the close up pictures we show in our work and pricing section. Plus we back our work by promising to remake it if it fails in it’s intended use. Most parts can look good at a distance, but when you get up close they show a different story. Not ours. We won’t send it out if it doesn’t look great.