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Matt Bacon

"Forged carbon" for your Lamborghini the cheap and easy way

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"Forged Carbon" components are an alternative to laboriously-crafted carbon fibre parts which have to be built up from layer upon layer, of fabric and end up with the graphite checkerboard or woven twill look we all know, and for which you can buy decals in many sizes, weaves and scales. Lamborghini pioneered forged carbon, but it's now to be seen on aftermarket parts for other mean machines, like a wing for a Hellcat. It looks like this:

forged-carbon-real.jpg

I think there may be one decal sheet available, but since forged carbon is usually to be found made up into complex shapes, that being the point of the stuff, decals don't seem to be a great solution anyway. I thought I'd try painting it instead, and what follows is how you can make reasonably convincing forged carbon pieces in a few  minutes with minimum cursing and stuff you probably have lying around...

basic-tools.jpg

packing-sponge.jpg

The basic tools are a couple of shades of grey -- you don't need forty -- Tamiya Smoke, tweezers, a paper palette, and the all-important sponge. This is packing sponge that once protected a graphics card in a cardboard box, and I keep around for things like filling intakes to stop paint getting inside.

bits-o-foam.jpg

At the back, our convenient piece of black painted plastic ("Here's one I prepared earlier"). At the front, a few small pinched off pieces of foam.

foam-in-tweezers.jpg

first-grey.jpg

Grab a piece of foam in the tweezers, scrabble it in the lightest grey, and dab it on the palette until it starts to make speckles rather than blotches.

pale-splotching.jpg

Then dab all over your surface. It works just as well on curved bits 3D bits. If you have areas of forged carbon surrounded by something else (eg carbon air vents in an alcantara grey dashboard top) then do the carbon first and paint the surroundings after, so you can cover up any wayward blotches...

second-grey.jpg

Go to the darker grey, and then the black. If you feel like it needs more highlights, or is looking too repetitive, tear off a different shaped bit of sponge, and go back for another pass with your grey of choice. Once you've worked through the layers and additions/touch-ups, you'll end up with something like this:

all-splotched.jpg

Finally, apply a topcoat of Tamiya Smoke to blend and give it a shiny surface. On small parts, brushing it on works fine, but here I've airbrushed it.

final-2.jpg

If you look hard, you can maybe see that I've applied a heavier layer of smoke at the right hand end, which tones it down a bit. The camera tries to balance out the exposure, so it's a bit more contrasty than in real life, but you get the idea...

And this is how it looks used in anger, on a Huracan Performante:

dash-from-right.jpg

back-end-assembled.jpg

built-high-right-rear.jpg

best,

M.

Edited by Matt Bacon

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Lest there be any misunderstanding, it's important to note that "forged" carbon is nowhere near as strong as traditional carbon with carefully oriented fiber. "Forged" carbon is essentially chopped carbon fibers and resin goo, pressed in matched molds. It was developed to make carbon parts quickly and economically, in shapes that would be too complex to be laid-up in the traditional manner, at considerable reduction in structural strength.

Think of the difference between particle board or MDF, etc, and plywood, and you have the idea.They all use wood fibers and glue, but the specific orientation of the fibers in plywood, and the much longer fibers, results in much greater strength.

"Forged" carbon really isn't forged at all, as anyone familiar with metallurgy will realize instantly. Forging is the repeated hammering of a metal into a shape that has much better controlled grain than cast metal, is more dense, and is stronger as a result.

"Forged" applied to carbon is a catchy marketing term whose meaning is stretched far from its correct definition.

"Forged" carbon is used primarily in relatively low-stress parts, for now, and though work is moving forward to try to utilize it for things like suspension control arms, so far, it's not being integrated into production vehicles in high-stress applications.

NOTE: The Wikipedia article contains several errors and/or incorrect or incomplete information regarding this material.

 

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Cool technique.  Always nice to have techniques that are quick and yeild great results.

I think in this case the forged is being used in the context of being fake or counterfeit.

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2 hours ago, bobthehobbyguy said:

...I think in this case the forged is being used in the context of being fake or counterfeit.

Nope. It's being used as an attempt to conflate two thoroughly different procedures, that of forging metal and that of forming composite sheet-molding-compound in matched press-dies, into a term that is, frankly, highly misleading...especially to those outside the composite materials industry.

"Fake" or "counterfeit" carbon fiber has been available commercially for well over a decade, in the form of decals, other types of decorative film, and black-dyed fiberglass.

The stuff really does have some interesting and novel characteristics, and its use in highly-stressed structural applications where traditional carbon fabrication techniques don't work well at all, looks promising. But it's no more "forged" than I am...though the term is kinda typical in a world that now largely ignores word meanings.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Thanks for the photos! I was unaware of "forged carbon" as a surface finish trend. Not sure if I like it, but I don't have Lambo $$$ so I guess I don't need to make a final decision, lol.  I'm always happy to see how modelers represent real finishes in scale. This one is tricky because of the way the carbon chunks catch the light...sometimes creative fakery is the best way to approximate an effect like that, as you've done here!

As for the name of the material...the use of "forged" is used semi-metaphorically here, to mean "brought into existence".

As in: "forged in a deeply collaborative environment" or "forged from only the highest quality materials".

Diamonds are "forged" and require high temperature and pressure to create, so I'm imagining they were hoping to imply that the high-temp and pressure process they use to make these carbon parts produces similar strength. It's a good marketing hook, that's for sure.

 

 

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The results look convincing to my eyes, thanks for the tutorial, Matt.

On 7.3.2019 at 10:46 PM, Matt Bacon said:

The basic tools are a couple of shades of grey -- you don't need forty

:)

Edited by Tommy124

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It seems the more correct term for this would be Molded, or Cast Carbon fiber. It looks like other Molded materials.

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On 2019-03-08 at 1:28 PM, Spex84 said:

Thanks for the photos! I was unaware of "forged carbon" as a surface finish trend. Not sure if I like it, but I don't have Lambo $$$ so I guess I don't need to make a final decision, lol.  I'm always happy to see how modelers represent real finishes in scale. This one is tricky because of the way the carbon chunks catch the light...sometimes creative fakery is the best way to approximate an effect like that, as you've done here!

As for the name of the material...the use of "forged" is used semi-metaphorically here, to mean "brought into existence".

As in: "forged in a deeply collaborative environment" or "forged from only the highest quality materials".

Diamonds are "forged" and require high temperature and pressure to create, so I'm imagining they were hoping to imply that the high-temp and pressure process they use to make these carbon parts produces similar strength. It's a good marketing hook, that's for sure.

 

 

Great point Chris, I believe you are correct. The use of this process to create complex low stress  non structural shapes is brilliant. 

Thanks Matt for taking the time for the great tutorial. 

 

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 1:28 PM, Spex84 said:

...As for the name of the material...the use of "forged" is used semi-metaphorically here, to mean "brought into existence".

As in: "forged in a deeply collaborative environment" or "forged from only the highest quality materials".

Diamonds are "forged" and require high temperature and pressure to create, so I'm imagining they were hoping to imply that the high-temp and pressure process they use to make these carbon parts produces similar strength. It's a good marketing hook, that's for sure.

Lots of folks want to believe what they want to believe, in spite of actual first-hand knowledge offered by someone with inside info.

I've been directly involved with the composites industry for decades, and this explanation is just wrong. Sorry.

One of my missions in life, usually a complete and total waste of time, and one that usually gets me ridiculed as pathetically needing to be "right" and a "know it all", is correcting patently false information when I can. The web is full of it though, and it's rather like trying to shovel water out of a swimming pool while a fire-hose refills it.

Here's the real reason for the name, as I've tried to explain earlier. Maybe you all will believe Car and Driver.

"The forged part of the FC name comes from the goal of replacing metal forgings in cars. While FC suspension control arms and wheels are risky because it’s difficult to tell when they need to be replaced due to pothole or curb-strike injury, the ACSL has FC engine connecting rods in its showcase that may be closer to fruition. The most promising candidate delivers a 39 percent weight savings over a forged-steel design for that part."

Lamborghini ACSL Detail - forged-composite connecting rods before and after trimming  

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15347161/lamborghini-is-forging-ahead-with-forged-carbon-fiber-we-visit-their-u-s-based-lab/

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I think you missed the point Chris was making Bill about the use of the word Forged.  Unless we're sitting in on the marketing strategy meeting who are we to say how they intended the word to be understood. It's obviously a simple play on words and a marketing catch, hook phrase  being used by the carbon  manufacture. I am sure your wealth of knowledge you can provide us with many examples of other situations where a marketing angle has been used as a hook on consumers. In a time of more BS, smoke and mirrors marketing then ever it the consumer that needs to do their home work and ask the right questions to find the truth in marketing. 

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32 minutes ago, Rider said:

I think you missed the point Chris was making Bill about the use of the word Forged...

Nope. Any point missing isn't on me.

As I explained in the beginning, it's a somewhat misleading term that conflates the idea of forging metal under extreme pressure and temperature with the idea of match-molded composite materials produced at moderate temperatures and pressures. This is in contrast to the "open molding", "closed molding", "resin infusion", and several other common composite parts production techniques. That was the derivation of the term. 

And it is THAT specific meaning, not "the use of "forged"...semi-metaphorically...to mean "brought into existence". As in: "forged in a deeply collaborative environment" or "forged from only the highest quality materials", that was carried over to the marketing term as it's used now.

No semi-metaphorically about it. "Forged Carbon" is a simple but slightly deceptive allusion to the idea of forging metal...which the Car and Driver article makes abundantly clear, but about which apparently there is a lack of understanding here.

You do, however, make a good point. You say "Unless we're sitting in on the marketing strategy meeting who are we to say how they intended the word to be understood?" Well, you were NOT sitting in on any such marketing strategy meeting, but you still insist you know the way the term is supposed to be interpreted.

I have, on the other hand, been cognizant of this material and the processes used and the terms surrounding it since the beginning of its development.

The allusion to the hammer-forging of metal has been intentional, because to anyone in engineering or metallurgy, a "forging" is well known to be among the toughest processed parts available.

Once again...the intended meaning by the developers and the term as used for marketing the stuff is specifically intended to draw a comparison in the mind of anyone hearing it to forged metal...period.

 

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Your last sentence proves my point, it's a word being manipulated to sell product, it's nothing more then a marketing hook. Btw, I work in the bicycle industry where carbon fibre is used extensively and many new manufacturing processes and techniques have been developed. We use this forged technique to make rocker arms for suspension linkages, it's used in a pure linear application. 

I digress, perhaps the consumer protection agency needs to be alerted about your concerns. 😜 

I feel this conversation will just go round and round. I see your concern, but it's moot and more of a nit pick thing then a true technical issue concern. I will let the mech engineers and chemists, worry about figuring it out. Until they do we are just watching from the side lines and educating ourselves. 

Good luck with all the builds your currently working on while trying to correct all the misinformation out there on the net. I have no idea how you have time to breath. 😝

Edited by Rider

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The term "forged" is used by Lamborghini, since they are using it on their cars, mostly as trim parts.  I have a few kits, namely the Setso Elemento, that pioneered using carbon-fiber for everything, even the exhaust tips; the tub is this stuff.

Hope to find this when I get around to building a Lamborghini.

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3 minutes ago, Rider said:

Your last sentence proves my point, it's a word being manipulated to sell product, it's nothing more then a marketing hook. Btw, I work in the bicycle industry where carbon fibre is used extensively and many new manufacturing processes and techniques have been developed. We use this forged technique to make rocker arms for suspension linkages, it's used in a pure linear application. 

I digress, perhaps the consumer protection agency needs to be alerted about your concerns. 😜 

I feel this conversation will just go round and round. I see your concern, but it's moot and more of a nit pick thing then a true technical issue concern. 

Good luck with all the builds your currently working on while trying to correct all the misinformation out there on the net. I have no idea how you have time to breath. 😝

I said it was a BS marketing term in the beginning. That's all it is. It isn't "forging". So we agree in principle, but the semantic derivation of the term that Spex was proposing is what I took issue with.

Ain't no "metaphorical" or "deeply collaborative" mumbo jumbo about it. It's an allusion to forged metal. Nothing more, nothing less.

I also have to really laugh at your highlighted phrases above, as I'm often accused of and derided for making sneering and sarcastic comments towards other members.

Hmmmmm...who's the sneering sarcastic one on this exchange?

But...that's absolutely all I'm going to say on the subject. I have no interest in arguing, being "right" or any further discussion.

Anyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe, to understand or misunderstand anything I've said, to try to shift positions or pretend I've said things I haven't.

And anyone is equally free to dislike me, think I'm a big pile of self-righteous poo, or anything else.

But according to the rules of conduct as I understand them here, any personal attacks are out of bounds. 

Frankly, I think it is perhaps unfortunate I said anything at all. I actually like both you and Spex, and have much respect for the work I've seen you post here.

Hopefully, we can let this silliness end, agree to disagree or not, and go on about our business as usual.

And I really don't give a rat's rump either way.

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12 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

I said it was a BS marketing term in the beginning. That's all it is. It isn't "forging". So we agree in principle, but the semantic derivation of the term that Spex was proposing is what I took issue with.

Ain't no "metaphorical" or "deeply collaborative" mumbo jumbo about it. It's an allusion to forged metal. Nothing more, nothing less.

I also have to really laugh at your highlighted phrases above, as I'm often accused of and derided for making sneering and sarcastic comments towards other members.

Hmmmmm...who's the sneering sarcastic one on this exchange?

But...that's absolutely all I'm going to say on the subject. I have no interest in arguing, being "right" or any further discussion.

Anyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe, to understand or misunderstand anything I've said, to try to shift positions or pretend I've said things I haven't.

And anyone is equally free to dislike me, think I'm a big pile of self-righteous poo, or anything else.

But according to the rules of conduct as I understand them here, any personal attacks are out of bounds. 

Frankly, I think it is perhaps unfortunate I said anything at all. I actually like both you and Spex, and have much respect for the work I've seen you post here.

Hopefully, we can let this silliness end, agree to disagree or not, and go on about our business as usual.

And I really don't give a rat's rump either way.

🍻👊🏼🤝

 

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On 4/28/2019 at 9:32 PM, Rider said:

🍻👊🏼🤝

 

...and yet knowing from his vast amount of time here, he keeps invading peoples posts with his arrogance, and instead of practicing his own words on not caring, he PURPOSELY keeps commenting with LOOOOONG responses. For someone who is all-knowing, he cant seem to realize that right, or wrong, the way he interacts with people causes issues. Its plain, and simple; he does it on purpose. Any decent person would NOT interact in a way that causes another distress, they would simply notice that they are always causing issues, and either stay away, or adjust the way they interact, because they care for, or truely value the individual that they are interacting with.

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By the way, i think this build is looking amazing, and that CF technique looks pretty spot-on!!!

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5 hours ago, Dann Tier said:

...and yet knowing from his vast amount of time here, he keeps invading peoples posts with his arrogance, and instead of practicing his own words on not caring, he PURPOSELY keeps commenting with LOOOOONG responses. For someone who is all-knowing, he cant seem to realize that right, or wrong, the way he interacts with people causes issues. Its plain, and simple; he does it on purpose. Any decent person would NOT interact in a way that causes another distress, they would simply notice that they are always causing issues, and either stay away, or adjust the way they interact, because they care for, or truely value the individual that they are interacting with.

Could not agree more. We are building models not real cars. Matt's original post was about making it look like the stuff, not about  the technology or what it is used for.I would rather see posts that contribute to model building than posts that go on about how much we know.

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12 hours ago, 935k3 said:

I would rather see posts that contribute to model building than posts that go on about how much we know.

Knowing about what you're talking about contributes to many aspects of life, model building included. Get a copy of Thomas W. Mather's "A Text-Book of the Strength of Materials and of Stresses in Structures: For Use in Scientific High Schools and Schools of Technology" and you'll appreciate why specific terminology should be used in its correct context and meaning, not as some nonsense peddled by a marketing department. I still have my high school copy.

12 hours ago, 935k3 said:

We are building models not real cars. Matt's original post was about making it look like the stuff, not about  the technology or what it is used for.

If you're going to make it look like the stuff used on a real car, you are, in fact, attempting to reproduce a scale version of what is used on a real car.

17 hours ago, Dann Tier said:

For someone who is all-knowing, he cant seem to realize that right, or wrong, the way he interacts with people causes issues. Its plain, and simple; he does it on purpose. Any decent person would NOT interact in a way that causes another distress, they would simply notice that they are always causing issues, and either stay away, or adjust the way they interact, because they care for, or truely value the individual that they are interacting with.

Heed your own advice, bud.

Edited by SfanGoch

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Isnt it funny how people use classic lines like; "Better watch, check, or whatever yourself"?....nowadays, its just an empty, dont know what else to say thing. My statements SUPPORTING others isnt breaking my own "rules", and by the way, you dont have to know ANYTHING scientific about a landscape to effectively capture it in a painting....there are MANY things in life that are only realistic on the surface......including people. I dont need to say anymore about this, because people are smarter than others think. This CF technique IS impressive  REGARDLESS!!!!           

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I happen to welcome Bill's posts, and him sharing his knowledge on the forum.  Regardless of the tone, I find his posts on-target and informative.  I welcomed his explanation of what the forging process is and how in this instance it is misused.

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Somewhere along the way we have forgotten about models again. We took a very nice tutorial about mimicking something in scale and argued about what it should be called. Lets call it a modelling technique and leave it at that. If you want to argue about 1:1 applications, take it to another thread and be sure to keep it civil, as once again several folks have taken it upon themselves to make things personal. If it continues, I will just remove all the posts that do not pertain to the modelling technique that Matt has been nice enough to share with us.

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On 2/18/2020 at 5:57 PM, Xingu said:

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten about models again. We took a very nice tutorial about mimicking something in scale and argued about what it should be called. Lets call it a modelling technique and leave it at that. If you want to argue about 1:1 applications, take it to another thread and be sure to keep it civil, as once again several folks have taken it upon themselves to make things personal. If it continues, I will just remove all the posts that do not pertain to the modelling technique that Matt has been nice enough to share with us.

Agreed. I thought Bill's first post was informative but in poor taste. There was no comment on the technique and tutorial to begin with which is what we should be talking about and any additional info after that is just gravy.

Matt, this is an awesome tutorial. How many coats of clear smoke are you adding? Do you add enough to cover any texture from the paint splashes?

Unfortunately for me I have a few kits that are stalled because I'm trying to figure out a way to paint twill weave patterns. A few of the kits I have do not have CF templates available(Porsche 918, Aoshima Diablo GT) I'm too lazy to make them myself right now. Currently waiting to see if anyone develops them. Would rather develop a painting technique than hours of decal cutting.

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