Can carbon fiber be repaired? Yes it can, but you should only trust experts who know how to work with it.
Repairing carbon fiber parts takes some pretty serious skill, experience, tooling and patience. Making and fixing carbon fiber parts is what we do here at STEVS. We’re good at it and our clients are never disappointed.
If you're on this page you're probably considering our carbon fiber repair services or maybe you're just looking for more information. I won't get into all the technical stuff, but in this article we'll break down our repair process and the "STEVS difference."
First, we analyze the part
Before we even get into the repair work, we'll take some time to understand how your part’s been made. By looking at a part we can tell what types of resins were used, the ‘layup schedule’ and the overall workmanship.
Knowing how a part's made is important — it helps us come up with a solid game plan so we can repair your part in the best way possible.
We go above and beyond to make sure the repair is done right
We only use the best materials for the job
We’ll assess the damage and determine the correct materials to use for the repair. Using high-quality materials is obviously important, but we also want to make sure we’re using the right material for your repair. And Knowing what to use only comes from experience.
Our process is everything and we never cut corners
During the repair process, we implement a strict order of operations. This is so important for a successful repair. Proper cleaning preparations and procedures are critical, as well as following product-cure schedules and material compatibility. With our experience in composite engineering and design, start-to-finish manufacture, our internal quality standards and procedures, we can make sure every part is properly repaired.
We use modern technologies and traditional techniques to fix the part. Most importantly, we use creativity and critical thinking to sort through different ways of achieving a result. We'll always choose the best method for the application and your budget.
We do more than carbon fiber repair work
We started our business by making premium carbon fiber parts for cars. Through the years we expanded and added CNC services and repairs to our roster. But our high-end carbon fiber components and accessories remains the number 1 driving force behind STEVS.
Browse through the site and take a look at our unique collection of high-end carbon fiber accessories, key-chains and components. Our parts are made in Canada using high-grade materials, with the best manufacturing practices and a passion for making the best products.
1. Superficial – topcoat – chips, fading, light scratches
This is damage that only affects the coating or clear coat of the carbon fiber. It's most commonly caused from stone chips, sandblasting, light scratches and top coat fading or deterioration.
2. Cracks — non visible areas
This is damage that affects the composite structure itself. The area will be prepared and new material will be laminated in to return the part to its original strength. If the damage area isn't visible, the repair cost will be less.
3. Cracks — visible areas
This means damage areas that are located on clear-coated carbon fiber parts. The part will be reinforcement with new material. And specialized black fillers will be used on the visual part to fill and smooth the damage so it's prepped for clear coat. In most scenarios, the damaged area, that's been filled, is not extremely noticeable from a few meters away, especially when located on the lower portion of the vehicle.
This mean damage areas that are located on clear-coated carbon fiber parts. The part will be reinforcement with new material. And specialized black fillers will be used on the visual part to fill and smooth the damage so it's prepped for clear coat. To return the part back to its original appearance, a new layer of carbon fiber (matched to the original weave type) will be laid over the part to hide the repairs. This type of repair is usually worth the cost on high-end luxury and exotic cars, where the cost of replacement exceeds the cost of repairing — by thousands and thousands of dollars — or if a replacement part is not attainable.
5. Major damage
This means the damage has severely deformed the original shape of the part. This type of repair requires extra preparation work like fixturing, reverse-engineering and in some cases, 3D scanning. Sometime, we need to make new moulds if entire sections of a component are missing.
6. Core structures, special material, inserts and attachment parts
Some vehicles like professional race cars use parts that are manufactured with sandwich-core structures, metal inserts and bonded or riveted fasteners. Repairs to these types of parts are on the higher-end of the cost scale due to the specialized techniques and knowledge required to perform the repair. Plus, sourcing or re-manufacturing the metallic inserts or composite fasteners can take some time.
7. Compounding repairs
A part can have different types of damage all on the same part. In this scenario, all the damage will be assessed and an estimate will be calculated. In some situations, buying a new component will be cheaper. If a new component can't be purchased, a used one can be sourced and restored to a ‘like new’ condition.
8. Repair not possible? The world is yours
For damage that's too significant and can't be repaired or if a replacement part can't be found, we have one more trick up our sleeve.
We can put all of our skills, resources and knowledge into practice to recreate a component from scratch. This is done through reverse engineering the part (from another vehicle) and by 3D scanning and capturing the data to a workable CAD file. We'll also dissect the original damaged-part to uncover how the part was manufactured, the layup pattern and the materials used. We'll then design a new mould that'll either be CNC-machined or 3D printed. A brand-new part will be created off of this new mould.
In this scenario, there are many options:
A part can be improved structurally and physically
- Due to advancements in materials and processes a part from an older vehicle can be improved by using newer materials which offer better mechanical properties.
- Manufacturing practices and methods have also come along way. We'll determine how the original part was made, and try to figure out a better way to recreate the part — if possible. Our goal is to make a stronger, lighter and better-looking part.
- In some cases, manufacturers save money by using filler layers of fiberglass to add rigidity to a carbon fiber part, but they also add a lot of weight. We'll recreate the part completely in carbon fiber and recover that lost performance.
A part can be improved aesthetically
- If you're looking for something unique, we'll work with you to make modifications to the original shape and form of the part to add extra style and performance.
- You can commission a small production run and sell the recreations for profit.
- If the part is no longer available but there's a demand for it, you can commission us to manufacture a low-production run of the parts that you can then sell for profit. Think of this as starting your own business. We become your supplier and you become the hero — you can offer clients something unbelievable. Let's work together to make the car world a better place.
There's more to us
Yes, we do repairs. But did you know we make and sell high-quality carbon fiber parts too? We've made so many different carbon fiber parts using both modern and traditional methods of manufacturing. This gives us a leg up and a behind-the-scenes insight into understanding how to properly perform a repair.
Our specialty is making and repairing parts for high-end and high-performance carbon fiber parts, ranging from super cars to thoroughbred racing cars. But we don't discriminate, all carbon fiber parts are welcome!
*All photos are property of STEVS Automotive Performance Design Ltd.