When You Want Carbon Fiber Look Without The Cost

A few months ago we came across a material from 3M called DI-NOC.  It’s their architectural series vinyl, and sure enough they offer a carbon fiber version.  We immediately got some into the CFG labs for inspection, and what we found is that we absolutely loved it!  It was the best alternative to real carbon fiber that we’ve seen.  I’ll explain why later on.

3m-dinoc-carbon-fiber

We started to stock and sell it right away, but had simply added it to our store and told our Facebook Fan’s about it.  We took some time to see how some of our customers were using it, how much they normally required, and what their thoughts were.  The feedback has all been positive, one of our customers will even have two OEM-provided project cars at SEMA with a bunch of the material installed.  So today we’re proud to announce CarbonFiberFilm.com, a site dedicated to showcasing and selling the material.  We have things like an easy to read pricing table, FAQ’s, a blog dedicated to showcasing customer installations, a gallery, and even more features to come!

So what makes the material so great?  There some select key features that I’ll go over:

  • It’s not just a printed pattern, but has a texture to it.  This allows it to reflect light in different ways, giving it a similar appearance as real carbon fiber.
  • It’s made by 3M, a huge company that puts a ton of money into R&D to develop the best product in the industry.
  • It can be used indoors and outdoors.  Tons of people are already using it on the outside of their cars to wrap things like their roof or body piece accents.
  • Indoor life is 12 years and outdoor life is 4 years.
  • It’s water resistant, and can be cleaned with soap and water.
  • It has a self-adhesive back with 3M comply adhesive, making installation a breeze.
  • It can adhere to a ton of things including wood, MDF, particle board, mortar, steel, aluminum, glass, plastic, and even itself.

The possibilities for what you can use the material for are literally endless, and we’re excited to see what some of  you do.  One of the things we tested with was covering the lightswitch panel in our office, it turned out great and really changes the look:

3M DI-NOC carbon fiber lightswitch panel

We created a little album of the install process that you can see here.  I think we’ll see a lot of automotive and motorcycle-related installations.  For example take a look at this Porsche Cayman that had the roof and rear spoiler wrapped, looks great and offsets the white paint job nicely:

Porsche Cayman with 3M DI-NOC carbon fiber film

If you’re interested in purchasing some, you can do so here.  You can even order a small 4″x8″ sample size for $10 shipped to anywhere in the world before committing to a larger size.  We’re to you guys to be creative with what you install.  Make sure and send us pictures and info, and we’ll showcase it on Carbon Fiber Film.

  • Shaking my head

    How can a company so dedicated to carbon fiber endorse knock off bs?

    • http://www.dpitmedia.com Dave

      I wouldn’t say we necessarily endorse carbon fiber look products. This site/blog will always be dedicated to real carbon fiber products. That’s why we launched a separate site to provide info on the vinyl, which we feel is the best alternative out there. It’s not always realistic to be able to do everything in carbon, and I would say that there are two trends in carbon fiber.

      1) Carbon fiber for the benefits/look
      2) Where benefits don’t matter as much, but the design/look is important. We see this as more of an important factor for things like interior design.

      Wherever possible though, we always love the real carbon fiber version, and will continue to dedicate this site to showcasing that.

      • Shaking my head

        I understand that there is a market for “CF look” however if you want to build CF into a sustainable business, it’s suicidal to promote the “CF look” stuff. We’re already plagued with plenty of poor “carbon” products ranging from this kind of vinyl sticker to the CF plastic stuff that some OEM’s use to knock off suppliers like Siebon. All of these uses of “carbon” diminish it’s value and discourage legitimate applications and innovations. It’s sad when a true leader in the materials space like 3m is wasting it’s time on developing CF look products instead of real functional CF applications.

        • http://www.dpitmedia.com Dave

          I agree and disagree with your statements. It does suck when the waterfall effect from promoting “CF Look” stuff hurts applications that use and benefit from real CF. I’m assuming the majority of where you’re coming from is in the automotive world.

          With that being said, it’s up to these companies to continue to heavily promote in legitimate uses and benefits of real CF…which we will continue to push.

          When 3M developed this I don’t think they intended it to replace the usage of real CF in true automotive applications where people want the benefit of CF. It’s part of the architectural series of vinyl, so I’m actually quite excited about further expanding the carbon fiber look into applications such as interior design…where the light weight or strength just doesn’t matter. For example in the lightswitch plate cover. Playing the devils advocate, as an automotive enthusiast myself, having a lightswitch plate made out of real CF I would much rather prefer, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I think there are a couple different key markets at play here, and unfortunately part of those overlap into each other and cause some of the disadvantages that you mentioned.

        • Aaron

          From an automotive enthusiast point of view, I say, why waste money, time and effort to achieve the ‘look’ of carbon, when a film as good as the 3M product is easier, cheaper and faster, especially for interior purposes.

          Granted a CF bonnet, guards and bootlid are all worth the weight reduction, but that said, even fibreglass (which requires painting) does much the same for less outlay again.

          The money saved is spent on more performance, in some cases on genuine carbon items like a tailshaft- one of few places where CF helps- weight reduction.

          Benefit vs cost- theres no ‘benefit’ in cosmetic use of CF, unless you need to be able to say ‘my gearshift surround is REAL CF’ to help you sleep at night :) I don’t, sleep better knowing I ran 10.08@129mph.

  • tech

    while I have no issue with the use of an improved CFVinyl…and having worked with carbon fiber and vinyl separately, I fully understand the benefit of convenience this may create…it does put the look into less skilled hands.

    My problem…or perhaps confusion in this….

    I happen to have bought a yard of 50″ wide 3k from Soller last week….. so thats 50″ X36

    PRICE $30

    from your site:

    36″x48″ 12 sq/ft
    Best value:

    At this size, you get the best bang for buck
    of the 3M™ DI-NOC™ vinyl.
    Carbon fiber film length ratio
    $120 Buy Now

    so I have to ask….is this selfadhesive convenience really worth 4X as much?

    • http://www.dpitmedia.com Dave

      There are always options out there in the marketplace. From what we’ve seen this is the best looking alternative to carbon fiber we’ve seen. It’s easy to work with, easy to install, looks great, and can be used in all sorts of applications.

      I can tell you first hand that if we sold a 50″x36″ piece of our material for $30 we would be losing money.

      Just to put into some sort of perspective, there are watches that cost $10 and there are watches that cost $50,000.

  • tech

    LOL while I do understand that the relative ease of use is the real selling point….and I appreciate the economics of resale…..

    Your watch analogy, however misses home….because in truth you are saying…

    Dont buy a rolex we will sell you plated replica watch that just looks like one for 4X…it wont actually tell time….its functionality is not at all comparable…..but it will be much easier to wear.

    Im sorry if this comes off as derogatory in some way..but had you titled this article…..

    “When You Want Carbon Fiber Look Without All The Work”

    Rather then…

    “When You Want Carbon Fiber Look Without The Cost”

    Id be offering an entirely different evaluation.

    I received a sample from 3m a bit ago and will say this IS NOT YOUR FATHERS CF FILM. This is truly a superior alternative to vinyl print film. I havent seen a CF alternative as convincing…..For nonstructural purely cosmetic uses, CF Di-Noc allows anyone to catch the look their after regardless of skill.

    I propose CFGear or your new CFFilm site should present two seemingly identical parts….one a reproduction of an existing piece of trim and one a “CFFilm wrap”. Then show step by step of both parts fabrication with a breakdown of time and cost.

    • http://www.dpitmedia.com Dave

      Haha, you’re right, I didn’t put too much thought into my analogy, but I think you know what I meant.

      With that being said, your idea on comparing two products…one wrapped in the vinyl and one real CF part is a great idea. It’s definitely something we’ll do, I appreciate the tip!

  • http://www.tunique.in Pasi

    We have made agreement with 3M to make our company mercedes vito covered all over by this DI-NOC film. Ofcourse windows will leave open :) Results will be seen in next spring.

    • http://www.dpitmedia.com Dave

      Cool, send us pics!