This tutorial goes through the steps involved in cutting and laminating carbon fiber onto the top and bottom of a skateboard deck. Adding a layer of composite material can increase the strength and rigidity of an existing board. Using the Thin Air Press vacuum bag is a great way to laminate these materials with a controlled and even pressure. 


Straight Edge Ruler 

Sharp Utility Knife

Masking Tape

Foam Roller

20" x 70" Offset Thin Air Press (TAP) Vacuum Bag

TAP Hand Pump

File or Coarse Sandpaper


Carbon Fiber Cloth

2 Part Epoxy with Pump, Mixing Stick and Tray

Release Film

Breather Ply

Existing Skateboard Deck

Step 1: Cut the Carbon Fiber, Breather Ply and Release Film

It is easy to pull individual strands of carbon fiber while cutting. Here is an easy fix that will help keep your carbon fiber straight and without annoying pulls in the cloth. This tip will help the finished job look cleaner and more professional.

The material has been rolled out flat, on a clean table. You will find that the cloth can twist. Try to make the cloth square before cutting. Use a corner of a table or a builders square as a guide.

Apply masking tape to the areas where you want to cut the carbon. The cloth in the photo below has sewn kevlar on the outside edge. No need to tape over this. Make sure your cut piece of cloth is larger by a couple of inches than the length and width of the decks shape you are laminating it to. 

Using a long straight edge and a very sharp utility knife. Cut along the middle of the tape. Make sure you cut all the way through the tape and cloth.

Once cut, the remaining tape holds the carbon cloth from twisting and prevents pulls in the material. Do not remove the tape while laminating.

Now cut your Breather Ply and Release Film to the same size. 
can you reuse the bags?
<p>Hi Tomahawk, the bags are designed to be reused and easily maintained. </p>
<p>I have a deck without grip tape on it yet and I was wondering if you know anything about using carbon fiber on the edges where there is no grip tape or paint from the bottom. Any help or tips on how to apply it as well as if i would need to cover it with something or what.</p>
<p>Very Cool! I have a question, not about the 'ible, but who is helping in the last set of pictures... Is that Lance Mountain? If it isn't, man, doppelganger for sure!</p>
Very nice instructable. But I really would recommend you wearing protective gloves. Nitrile gloves for example are very cheap and protect very well. Skin contact to epoxy is known to cause allergic reactions.
You will notice in our latest Instructable, the builder wears protective gloves when using the epoxy. Thanks for the kind words and concern!
Where do you get carbon fiber from?
We got it locally (Toronto) from a composite specialty store. You may have some in your area as well
Hi!! <br>This is a really cool instructable and I really want to try this at home. <br> <br>I just have a little question though, How did you get that final polish on the last picture? Did you just clean the deck and applied varnish? Or does it need something special?
What type of trucks are those?
They are 180mm 45 degree Seismic trucks
Even a so-so rotary cutter would save a ton of aggravation when cutting carbon fiber cloth. Clean, pull-free cuts along a straight-edge or even free-hand
Yup, there's definitely a few ways to do it. We find the tape/knife combo works great and are things a lot of people have around.
I used a similar process to reinforce a deck I cut drop-throughs into. I used commercial grade peel ply and absorber cloth, but for the vacuum bag, I used a Space Bag, the bags available at department stores to store clothing and pillows and stuff. Then I used a shop vac to suck the air out. Sadly, there was a hole in my bag somewhere which released the vacuum and caused the resin to dry in ripples on the deck. I was able to sand them out, but it still didn't look good and I ended up painting the deck black.
Looks good! 1)do you ofset the weave angle of each carbon fiber layer? 2)is there a way to formfit wrap the carbon fiber on the sides, to completely encapsulate the wood board? thx
On this board we used a twill weave which looks nice when finished and helps with lineal strength. For a stiffer board (like a race board) they would use a biaxial carbon which does have alternating weave angles. Also, if you round over the edges of your board before applying carbon, it will give it a rolled effect that covers the edge. Hope that helps!
Pretty nice, how much would it cost to get a deck from you with my custom graphics on it?
Thanks, we actually don't sell any premade decks... but we have everything needed for people to make their own!
Looks sweet!

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Bio: Roarockit offers the technology, tools and materials to build custom skateboards and other bent wood projects. We work closely with schools to integrate board building ... More »
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