Beginner’s Guide to RC – Prep Your Carbon Fiber Parts
Most high-end on- and off-road RC cars and trucks come with carbon fiber (CF) components. These components are lightweight and super-strong…2 key factors in keeping your ride fast and nimble. These parts are cut from a large sheet and, once completed, often have sharp, un-prepared edges. These edges can be fragile in a crash and the carbon fiber plate can de-laminate, causing the part to weaken and fail.
To combat that, there is a process of ‘sealing’ the sides of the CF parts. This involves taking a small amount of super glue and applying it to edge of the parts, effectively sealing the edges. This will allow the parts to take much more abuse before failing.
A file. You don’t need anything fancy. I use a fingernail file found at any convenience store.
Super glue. Any kind will do. Note that thinner glue will be a little more difficult to work with but will dry faster.
Black Sharpie (optional)
Q-Tips. For applying the glue.
Small piece of plastic, preferably a plastic bag.
A towel for any emergency cleanup.
NOTE: Work in an open area with good ventilation! Any water coming in contact with the glue will speed up the hardening process, but will also create a fume that will irritate your eyes and nose. It is suggested you let the carbon parts dry completely before applying the glue.
Step 1:Remove your carbon fiber parts and, under running water, lightly sand the outside edges with your file. Make sure you sand BOTH sides of your parts. Graphite dust is extremely fine and, since it’s not good to breathe in, sanding under water will eliminate the dust. The object here is to remove the hard edge of the cut carbon fiber.
Step 2:This step is completely optional, but I like to do this because if looks a little more “Factory”. Once you have sanded all the edges, take a Sharpie and color the edges of your carbon fiber parts. This will turn the edges black and make the final product much more appealing. If you’re adventurous, you can try different color markers. I Sharpied a red one once and it came out pretty cool, but because it was initially a little hard to see, I had to do some additional prep work. DO NOT USE PAINT! If you use paint, the super glue will not be able to seal the edges. Any collisions will cause huge paint chunks will fall off (at the same time that your chassis de-laminates).
Next, find yourself a place that you can set your parts to dry. Remember, you will be applying super glue to the EDGES of your parts and then setting them aside. Find some place where they won’t glue themselves to the surface you place them.