I recently purchased a CravenSpeed shifter and shift well for my ND2 Miata. For a simple customized touch, I'd like to replace the plastic shift plate with a carbon fiber piece. The plastic shift plate is a simple, flat piece of what I assume is ABS plastic, which is about 4 inches in diameter. I purchased a sheet of 2mm thick twill carbon fiber that I think will work good. Its not clear coated and since it's going in a convertible, I'd like to clear it with UV stabilized clear coat.

I've never worked with carbon fiber before but I read that you can cut it with anything from a hacksaw to a bandsaw, using blades designed to cut metal (high TPI). Since the shape is a basic circle, I purchased a jigsaw and some metal blades. The plan is to use the existing part as a template and trace the shape onto the carbon fiber sheet with a silver Sharpie. I can clean up the cut with my Dremel. I promise I'll use eye pro and breathing protection.

Next comes the clear coat. I'm looking for a satin finish since I don't like high gloss in the cabin (too much reflection/glare). Is there an aerosol UV-stabilized clear coat that would work good? I'm not expecting a NASA quality finish but looking for something that doesn't look terrible.


AClockworkGarage Dork
12/15/21 12:00 a.m.

I worked as an aerospace graphite trimmer for years. The stuff sucks. BTW, nobody calls it carbon fiber until they're trying to sell it to you, until then it's just graphite.

The trick is diamond carbide tools. Nice clean cuts, and sand the edges with 80 grit. Regular drill bits will work fine but I like D-reamers. Clean up drilled holes with red scotchbrite pads. It's not that hard to work with really.

As for PPE, Don't skimp. Leather gloves, respirator, sealed goggles. Do it outside if you can, dust gets everywhere. If you're dealing with a raw part the edge can cut to the bone, if you're buying a panel it's likely already been delethalized. If you get any splinters make sure you get them out, they will get infected if you leave them in.

Mr_Asa PowerDork
12/15/21 7:33 a.m.

I forget who owns it, but the Escort that Curtis brought to the Challenge this year had the front bumper sprayed with an aerosolized UV coating.  It was posted about in here somewhere.

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/15/21 9:42 a.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

That was 2k clear. It's pretty solid stuff.


I plan on respraying my hood and roof over the winter and spring then hitting it with that clear. 

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