Posts Tagged ‘glossy’

Glossy Black Carbon Fiber DI-NOC Is Finally Here!

If I could only tell you how many times we’ve been asked if DI-NOC is available in a glossy black!  The glossy version (CA-421GN) is considered an indoor-use only material, but we wanted to see how it would handle being outside in maximum UV exposure over a long period of time before we made it available for sale to you guys.  So we tested for many months in an horizontal application in Virginia.  Even though the material is considered indoor-only, months later is still looked brand new.  While every environment is different, it looks like it actually does have some decent outdoor lifespan, just don’t expect 3M to stand behind it.  Basically, use at your own risk.\r\n\r\nAnother thing to note is that although it is considered a glossy version, it’s not going to be like a full gloss real carbon fiber piece that you may be used to seeing.  Normally, something like that is either a polished epoxy or has a clear coat applied, but more importantly, it’s typically smooth.  Because DI-NOC has texture to it, the look is more like the original CA-421 (the matte version) with a sheen to it.  In all reality the differences between the two are pretty subtle, and hard to even show in pictures.\r\n\r\nIf you’re really having trouble deciding whether to get CA-421 or CA-421GN, we highly recommend purchasing samples from us just to be able to see it in person.  We’ve snapped a few pictures below in a number of different environments to help give you an idea of how it looks.\r\n\r\nMatte vs glossy carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nMatte vs glossy carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nMatte vs glossy carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nMatte vs glossy carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nIf you have an outdoor application where you really want glossy, but have concerns about lifespan, you can always consider clear coating the matte material.\r\n\r\nWe also put together a video for you to show the differences:\r\n\r\n

3M Carbon Fiber DI-NOC Now Available In 9 Different Colors/Finishes

Previously we’ve only made the black carbon fiber material from 3M’s DI-NOC series available for sale. We actually have 9 different color/finishes of carbon fiber vinyl available from 3M:\r\n


  • CA-418 – Silver
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  • CA-419 – White
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  • CA-420 – Graphite/Gunmetal
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  • CA-421 – Black
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  • CA-1170 (Aka 421GN) – Gloss Black
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  • CA-422 – Light pewter
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  • CA-423 – Dark pewter
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  • CA-424 – Brown
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  • CA-5429 – Semi-Gloss Red
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\r\nTake a look at the lineup:\r\n\r\n3M DI-NOC CA-421 Black 3M DI-NOC CA-421GN Gloss Black 3M DI-NOC CA-420 Graphite 3M DI-NOC CA-418 Silver 3M DI-NOC CA-419 White 3M DI-NOC CA-5429 Semi-Gloss Red 3M DI-NOC CA-422 Light Pewter 3M DI-NOC CA-423 Dark Pewter 3M DI-NOC CA-424 Brown\r\n\r\nTo get a better idea of how each colors looks, especially when reflecting light, watch the below video we made showing all of the colors (does not include CA-421GN or CA-5429):\r\n

\r\n\r\nEven though some of the colors actually cost us more money, we’re price matching all colors to our current pricing.  You’ll find that no matter what color you purchase, it’s all the same price!\r\n\r\nPlease note that the CA-419, CA-419, and CA-422, CA-1170, and CA-5429 (silver/white/light pewter/gloss black/semi-gloss red) don’t have the same outdoor durability testing from 3M as the other darker colors, and don’t have the same expected outdoor durability of 4 years.  With that in mind, we haven’t heard any issues from customers yet, and for applications like show cars or garaged cars where they won’t be under the sun too much we don’t expect many issues.  In fact in a recent trip to London we saw this Porsche Cayenne outside of Harrod’s with white 3M carbon fiber DI-NOC…looked amazing!\r\n\r\n

Porsche Cayenne with white carbon fiber 3M DI-NOC


Porsche Cayenne with white carbon fiber 3M DI-NOC

\r\nIt’s barely noticeable from further away, but up close you can see the carbon fiber pattern.  I really love that subtle look.\r\n\r\nTo order any of the new colors, simply click the buy now button and you’ll be forward over to our parent site at Carbon Fiber Gear.  From there, simply choose the size and color you need.  We are still offering 4″x8″ samples of all colors for just $8 shipped if you want to get an idea how it looks in person.\r\n\r\nAs always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us or reply in the comments.

Experimenting By Clear Coating DI-NOC

A couple weeks ago we made a post about how one of our customers clearcoated the vinyl.  We decided to do a little experimenting ourselves in order to try and get a great result.  What we found to work best was Valspar Clear Gloss Enamel, which you should be able to pick up at any local home improvement store:\r\n\r\nValspar clear coat used for 3M carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nYou can see a few samples on the right-hand side of the above picture, here’s a closer shot followed by an explanation of the differences:\r\n\r\nDifferences in the number of layers of clear coat\r\n\r\nClear coat differences\r\n\r\nAs you can see, the piece on the left is DI-NOC as it comes with no clear coat.  The other two pieces were clear-coated, the middle has just one coat, while the right piece has three coats.  The pictures make it hard to show how it really looks in person because it’s highly dependent on the lighting.  You’ll need to take a look at the video below for a better idea.  We also tried doing another with five or six coats, but it starts to get a bit blotchy and fills into the texture.\r\n\r\nWe only tested on these sample pieces so we’re not sure how it will hold up over time or once installed.  Upon inspection it seems like it would be just fine.  With the three coats it starts to bend back a little (although it’s still bendable without issues), I would suggest clearcoating once the material is installed rather than before.  This may seem obvious, but I just want to make that apparent.  Make sure and mask off any areas prior to spraying that you don’t want cleared.\r\n\r\nFor spraying techniques take a look at the below video:\r\n\r\n

How One Customer Made His 3M Carbon Fiber DI-NOC Glossy

One of the questions we most frequently get asked is if the 3M DI-NOC material comes in a glossy version or if there is a way to make it glossy.  The answer to the first question is no.  3M only makes the material in a matte version which more resembles a dry carbon look versus a wet look.  The answer to the second question is potentially yes.  While we will be doing some testing here in the near future to see what kind of results we get, currently we can only go by what our customers are telling us.\r\n\r\nWhat we’ve heard is there have been two successful methods of making the material look glossy.\r\n


  1. The first is by covering the film with a clear film.  We don’t sell this film, but we’re assuming it’s the same type of stuff that is used to do a clear bra on a car.
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  3. The second method is we’ve had customers clearcoat the material with no problems.
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\r\nWith any method, we always recommend testing on a small piece prior to doing an entire piece.  This way you can see how the material reacts with whatever you’re doing, how well it adheres, etc.  If you’ve successfully done anything that makes the material glossy, be sure to send us pics and give us the details on what you did so we can share it with our readers.\r\n\r\nWe do have a little insight from one customer, Rick, who use Duplicolor Rattle – Can Clear to clear coat the material on a lightswitch panel.  Since the material has a texture we asked him if he had to sand it down at all and how that worked:\r\n

There’s about 4 heavy coats on the light switch and there’s still texture to it.  I think I’d have to add quite a bit more clear to get enough to cover up the texture.  I do plan on doing this though.  I just don’t know what I’m going to cover yet.

\r\nWe also asked him how well it adhered to the DI-NOC:\r\n

The clear adheres very well.  I didn’t do any prep at all except to brush off the part on my sleeve to get any big debris off.  Once you get some clear on it I’d compare to anything else that you would clear: Metal, plastic, etc.  I’d be that the part will be as strong and durable as anything else one might paint.

\r\nHe also spoke to how the material compared with the clear on it:\r\n

It’s gives it a completely different look.  When it’s uncleared the light really reflects off the contour and you can see the carbon fiber look from any angle.  When it’s cleared it gives it a much more subtle look.  From most angles it looks black, but you can tell somethings different about it.  Then when you catch it in the right light you can see the Carbon Fiber pattern.  So this stuff would work great cleared if you were going for that subtle look.  I tried to show this as best I could in the pictures I took, but it really has to be seen in person.

\r\nHere’s a couple pictures that you can see examples of how Rick’s clear coating experiment worked:\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nYou can see more of his pictures here.\r\n\r\nI think if we continue to test different methods, together the community can perfect the technique to make the material glossy.  Be sure to let us know if you try something out.