There are a few ways to create custom carbon fiber steering wheels but here at Carbon Addons, we utilize the process known as Carbon Fiber Skinning.
Carbon Fiber Skinning involves wrapping the existing steering wheel with a layer of carbon fiber fabric and resin, rather than creating a new mold. This is why we require core deposit on our custom steering wheels since we utilize OEM steering wheel cores instead of after market ones. Check out our other blog post to see why we use OEM cores on our custom steering wheel instead of using a cheaper alternative after market cores.
Now let's get to the basic steps involved in making a custom carbon fiber steering wheel using the carbon fiber skinning process:
1. Prepare the steering wheel: The first step we do when making a carbon fiber skinned steering wheel is to prepare the existing steering wheel by stripping down any existing leather, alcantara and other material.
2.Reshape the steering wheel. All our custom steering wheels are shaped to your own specification. All our custom steering wheels comes with a sportier look and more ergonomic feel on the hand grips.
3. Cut the carbon fiber fabric: Carbon fiber fabric is cut to size and shape to fit over the steering wheel's shape. The carbon fiber material used for this step is based on which fabric you chose on your custom steering wheel. We offer many different carbon fiber material such as regualr black twill carbon fiber, and other color carbon kevlar twill. We also offer other weave style carbon fiber such as honey comb, forge carbon, and more. Don't see the carbon fiber you're looking for on our online configurator? Email us for inquiry. We can order it from our carbon fiber supplier just for you!
4. Apply the carbon fiber to the steering wheel: The prepared carbon fiber fabric is then applied to the steering wheel and pressed into place. Additional layers of resin are added to build up the desired thickness, strength and durability.
5. Cure the carbon fiber: This is the process that takes the longer which is why our custom steering wheel have up to 6-8 weeks lead time. Once the carbon fiber has been applied to the steering wheel, we then cured it by applying heat and pressure to the resin. This process can take days to complete, depending on the specific materials and curing conditions.
6. Clear coat the carbon fiber: After the carbon fiber has been cured, the steering is sanded to ensure no high spots are present on the resin. Once the resin is properly sanded to shape and desired finish, we then top the resin with our automotive grade clear coat. This process is to ensure that the carbon fiber and resin does not fade or damaged by the sun's UV.
7. Finish the steering wheel: After the carbon fiber part of the steering wheel is done, we proceed with adding the leather or alcantara material for the grips. Any necessary hardware and components, such as the buttons, paddle shifter, and LED display (If requested), are installed.
Overall, making a custom carbon fiber steering wheel using carbon fiber skinning is a more cost-effective and less time-consuming process than making a new mold.