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Old 08-27-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I'm going to fabricate a new set of T-tops from my car. They will be made out of carbon fiber and Kevlar. In the end, my goal is to replace my glass T-tops and have the new ones that are lighter, stronger, and blends in to the rest of the roof with a nice paint job. I don't know if its been done before or not, but I'm gonna go for it. If you're interested in how it all plays out, let me know and I will post pics and so you how it goes.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

subscribing.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Ditto I want to know how that looks.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

sounds cool love to see the progress subscribing also
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:25 PM   #5
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I wrapped my lexan tops in scotchprint, and it looks killer! Def post pics!
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I'll see if I can get some pics up sometime over the weekend since that's the only time I have to work on this, including the materials, cost, all that good stuff.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

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I'll see if I can get some pics up sometime over the weekend since that's the only time I have to work on this, including the materials, cost, all that good stuff.
That would be awesome!
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Subscribing also.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

subscribed
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I want to see the results and pics. Subscribed.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:13 AM   #11
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Great idea, subscribed
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:02 AM   #12
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I like the idea !
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:19 AM   #13
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

UPDATE: 08/31/2012

I completed the shopping list of materials I need for this project. Only thing I forgot was the kevlar. No worries, I'll pick it up next week. Here;s the skinny on the list:
(All fabrics are sold by the yard 1 yrd long and 38 " wide)
.75 oz fiberglass -$3.05
1.5 oz fiberglass -$4.19
3 oz fiberglass-$5.99
5.7oz carbon fiber- $35.00

MEK 4oz.- $4.80
PVA Fiberlease pint- 8.78
Wax-10.75
gelcoat -26.95
V/e resin gallon (up to 375 degrees heat resistant)-$75.00

grand total: $188.03

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Old 09-01-2012, 12:29 AM   #14
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

In order to preserve my original glass T-tops, I picked up a pair from the junkyard, cleaned them up, and dismantled them. The only thing left now is figuring out how to get off that frame. It's glued on a little too well. See the pic below.
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Rather than having the "lip" stick out, I'm thinking about trimming it down to blend in with the rest of the T-top itself. Then by using some bondo, sand it and seal it will make it look a lot better. Gotta be care not to shatter the glass though!
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I want to make it as sleek as possible. I will post more updates soon.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:49 AM   #15
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Maybe you should try to find some Lexan T-Tops, those are cheap since nobody want's them, and I'd rather modify them than glass ones.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:27 AM   #16
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I would have liked to, but unfortunately where I live at third gens are rare, and about 85% of the time the ones I do find in the boneyards are hardtops. I think it will be fine, I just gotta be careful.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:02 PM   #17
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

is that black jell coat I see in that pic? if so wouldn't you want clear
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:19 AM   #18
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

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Maybe you should try to find some Lexan T-Tops, those are cheap since nobody want's them, and I'd rather modify them than glass ones.
The super rare ones that I never even see on ebay.

But there are some fiberglass ones on ebay for $290 at the moment (6 days left on them).
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:43 AM   #19
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

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is that black jell coat I see in that pic? if so wouldn't you want clear
Yea that's black gelcoat. I'm going to paint the T-Tops that I fabricate black to match the rest of the car. Gelcoat and laying the fiberglass I'm going to start the end of this week.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:18 PM   #20
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Update 9/23/2012:
I will spare the details on why I'm late on any updates. Being in the Navy sometimes cuts into personal time. So here's the latest. I put a thick layer of wax on the t-top and a layer of PVA. Some say you only need one or the other, but for safety precautions I use both. Let it dry and here's the end result. I let it dry for an hour just to be sure.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #21
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Next up: black gelcoat. I mixed it up with 1% catalyst and painted it on as thick as I could. Manufacturers say let it dry comopletely overnight but in the current heat where I lived at the gelcoat layer dried in less than 2 hours. Later on in the pics below came the resin and fiberglass for the mold. After mixing a batch of resin, I poured it over the gelcoat and layed the fiberglass over it. I used a roller to help the fiberglass saturate into the resin. End result is about layers of varying fiberglass. The resin dried completely in about 4 hours.

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Afterwards, I separated the fiberglass mold from the T-Top. Now there were some places where the gelcoat fractured off due to it being to weak and thin, right around the curved lip of the T-Top.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:29 PM   #22
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Overall the mold came out very nice. I will have to add some body filler around the areas where gelcoat broke away but it shouldn't be a project. I will just cover the filler with a varnish or lacquer so when it comes time to lay the cloth for the new t-top the new resin won't eat its way through the body filler.

Last edited by -LateNite89-; 09-25-2012 at 12:12 AM. Reason: bad spelling
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:28 PM   #23
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

looking good man.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:54 AM   #24
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Quote:
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Maybe you should try to find some Lexan T-Tops, those are cheap since nobody want's them, and I'd rather modify them than glass ones.
Huh? The glass ones I just throw away, the lexan ones I used to get big bucks for. For example, a set is on ebay right now for $950.

-- Joe
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #25
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Yeah I thought the lexan ones would be worth more, they are rarer and lighter. And since they had issues with them there wouldn't be many good ones left. This is an interesting project and I look forward to seeing the finished product
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #26
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

looks good so far
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:09 PM   #27
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

how can you tell what kind yours are, mine are a bit heavy but certainly dont feel like glass
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:11 AM   #28
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

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how can you tell what kind yours are, mine are a bit heavy but certainly dont feel like glass
The ones I pulled are pretty heavy. Plus I accidentally let one slip and it hit the ground hard. Sounded like glass to me.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:48 AM   #29
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

i suppose i could tell this way, the vin appears to be chemically etched into the glass on every window on the car even the ttops, so i guess if you cant do that to lexan then they're glass right?
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #30
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

[quote=kmcn47;5386792]i suppose i could tell this way, the vin appears to be chemically etched into the glass on every window on the car even the ttops, so i guess if you cant do that to lexan then they're glass right?[/quote


If it is glass there will be an etching in one of the corners stating it is safety glass.

And now back to the t tops, hows the progress going. Did you make that mold of the whole t-top.or just the glass,
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:36 PM   #31
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

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how can you tell what kind yours are, mine are a bit heavy but certainly dont feel like glass
There's no way you can confuse glass and lexan ttops. One is glass and the other is a hard plastic. If you knock on a glass ttop it sounds like you're knocking on a window. Knock on a lexan ttop and it sounds like...plastic.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:12 AM   #32
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

mine are glass then
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:23 AM   #33
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

[quote=T/Aperformance;5387916]
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcn47 View Post
i suppose i could tell this way, the vin appears to be chemically etched into the glass on every window on the car even the ttops, so i guess if you cant do that to lexan then they're glass right?[/quote


If it is glass there will be an etching in one of the corners stating it is safety glass.

And now back to the t tops, hows the progress going. Did you make that mold of the whole t-top.or just the glass,
Made a mold of the whole ttop. Yesterday I took body filler and filled in the lip portion of the ttop where the drip rails hang out of. Now when I layed the fabric for the actual ttop it should be nice and flush with the rest of the car. Don't worry, more pics and progress are coming!
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #34
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

any update on your t-tops
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:35 PM   #35
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

UPDATE 10/12:

Driver's side Ttop is nearly complete. I pulled it from the mold, overall its not bad, but definitely got some work to do around the edges. I layed it up against the glass top and it matched nicely. Some grinding to do and need to add the housing underneath. Overall not bad.

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Down below you can see inside the mold where I added body filler to get rid of the "lip."
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Next update will show the complete T-Top on the car.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:38 PM   #36
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I still need to clean all of the separator off with a hose and sponge. So far without the locking mechanisms ever on there it's incredibly light. Thinking of adding 1 or 2 more layers of carbon fiber. So far it has 1 coat of gelcoat, 2 layers of fiberglass, and 2 layers of carbon fiber.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:41 AM   #37
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Any Updates?
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:15 PM   #38
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Quote:
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Yeah I thought the lexan ones would be worth more, they are rarer and lighter. And since they had issues with them there wouldn't be many good ones left. This is an interesting project and I look forward to seeing the finished product
Idont like Lexan. They end up looking foggy and horrible due to weathering. Also they scratch very easily.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:04 PM   #39
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Any new updates on this, its bean a few months since you last one, I hope you did not give up on them, I'm thinking of something of the same thing but I'm thinking of removing the glass and just making mine off them.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:43 AM   #40
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

any updates?
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:58 PM   #41
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Any updates?
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:07 PM   #42
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

any updates man? cant wait to see it
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #43
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I'd like to see these too!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:18 AM   #44
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

any updates? is it done?
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:19 PM   #45
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

I just checked the thread starters member page. Turns out he is a Navy service member. He's either been deployed or out on a FTX (Field Training Excercise). That's probably why he hasn't responded to our update requests.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #46
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

updates???
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:39 PM   #47
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

You can clearly tell lexan from glass with out touching them...
the lexan have metal trim on each end to help keep the flex down, there notorious for cracking... Name:  2012-06-23_11-00-25_761.jpg
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:41 PM   #48
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

glass
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:56 PM   #49
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

No updates ?
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:50 AM   #50
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Car: 91 Z28, 87 SC, 90 IROC, 92 RS
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Re: Carbon Fiber T-Top project

Love to see an update...
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