Introduction: Carbon Fiber Notebook Cover

About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

I like to have a notebook handy to write down my ideas and sketch out future projects. Having a hard surface to write on is always a plus. So, I replaced my plastic and cardboard covers with 1mm carbon fiber. Now my notebook is its own rigid surface, and it looks super awesome.

This is an entry in the CNC & 3D Printing Contest if you would like to vote for me. Thanks!


Step 1: Remove Spiral Spring and Measure

I used diagonal cutting pliers to snip off one of the loops for the wire spiral. I set the stack of sheets in a safe place so I wouldn't knock them all over the floor. I then used a tape measure and calipers to get basic dimensions.

Step 2: Design in Fusion 360

I have used several design programs. Fusion 360 is my favorite (paying subscriber). I use it for my 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC milling machine, and water jet cutter.

I made the basic layout with a 5"x7" rectangle. I used the fillet tool to round over the edges, 1/8th of an inch. I also added 3/32" to extend the cover on the long edge. I then placed the first hole of the cover based on my measurements. From there I used the mirror function to reflect the holes all the way down.

I saved the file as a DXF and imported it to my laser cutter for verification.

Step 3: Verify Measurements

Watercolor paper is my "go-to" tool for trial and error. Before I cut the carbon fiber in my waterjet, I cut it out on my laser cutter. It's a good thing I did because the holes were off. Based off my measurements, I ended up with 24 holes while the original cover only had 22 holes.

This is where the rectangular pattern tool in Fusion 360 comes in so handy. I plugged in how many holes I needed and how far apart they should be. The next template lined up perfect. I used my 100-watt laser at 325mm/s at 10% power to make these templates.

Step 4: Water Jet Cutting

There are cutting services you can contract if you don't have access to a water jet. Buying a water jet has been a dream come true for me, but it was a significant investment.

I mounted the carbon fiber on the cutting surface and set the cutting path. I then verified that my path fit within my stock with a dry run. I set the cutting rate by selecting the material and thickness in the cutting program. Once it was cut, I rinsed off all the garnet and dried it off.

Step 5: Remove Tabs

I used the micro snips that came with my 3D printer to cut the covers free. Tiny nubs were left, so I used a small file to file off the remaining protrusions. I also pulled off the protective film and wiped them off with rubbing alcohol.

Step 6: Re-assemble Notebook

This part was sure satisfying. I lined up the front and back covers and ran the spring back through. I then used needle nose pliers to form a new loop to capture the spiral again.

Step 7: Lase Engrave

I probably should have done this before putting the notebook back together, but I was excited to see it. I started by engraving the cover art onto a sheet of watercolor paper. This gave me a reference on where to place the notebook. To offset the height difference from the spiral, I stacked business cards. This allowed the notebook to sit level.

I engraved the carbon fiber on my 100-watt laser at 325mm/s at 10% power. I wiped it all off with rubbing alcohol. The engraving is subtle and shows best when its reflecting at the right angle.

Thank you for checking out my Instructable. Brent

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