No, it isn't as easy as it looks.
Carbon fiber parts are expensive, and that's why cars filled with composite material, such as the Lamborghini Revuelto, are such bank account breakers. But did you know that you can build dry carbon fiber parts using your typical cooking oven?
This came to us via the YouTube channel ECO-LAP Studio, which produced an engine cover using the exotic material in question using a kitchen oven. Sounds simple? Let's just say this DIY project isn't a cakewalk.
First, the YouTuber produced a model of his engine cover using a stock plastic engine cover as a mold. The materials used were epoxy and hardener with high transition temperatures to ensure the carbon fiber sheets adhered to them. The builder covered the entire process for this in a previous video.
He then carefully wrapped the mold, or "laminated" it, with prepreg carbon fiber sheets. Prepreg, or "dry carbon fiber," is 70 percent lighter than wet carbon fiber and is the choice for many aftermarket companies. Adro's kit for the BMW M2, for instance, uses this type of carbon fiber.
The initial process involved laminating the first sheet, sealing it in a release film, then vacuum bagging it for 20 minutes. Afterward, the other sheets, including the thicker prepreg backing sheet, followed. Interestingly, he used perforated release film without using a bleed cloth to wick away extra resin. This might be the cause as to why his initial oven-cured result had extra "pin holes" or imperfections.
The guy then jammed the thing inside his electric oven just for fun. It didn't fit at first, but he completed the oven cure by wrapping it in a heat-resistant plastic seal. He also removed the small oven door.
Following the initial oven cure, he carefully unsealed the thing and extracted it from the mold. The piece was refined by cutting off its extra bits with a Dremel and sanding it down. After which, it was given a final 12-hour heat cure and polished to a sheen.
Are you willing to replicate this process? Or would it be easier to buy carbon fiber parts from an aftermarket manufacturer like Vorsteiner or Adro?
While such a process might be fine for things like an engine cover, you probably wouldn't want to try making anything load-bearing at home. Companies like Koenigsegg and others that specialize in carbon fiber wheels and the like use autoclaves that can manage the temperature and pressure within to precise percentages, as variations during the curing process can create weak points that break at the first solid impact.
So while it's fun to know it's possible, we'd advise caution when cooking carbon fiber parts at home.