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The Future Is Now With STEK Carbon Fiber Pattern PPFs

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Man, when I was a kid, I thought we’d have flying cars with full carbon fiber bodies everywhere by 2020. photo credit: liuzishan

Do you like carbon fiber? Because I like carbon fiber.

The head of marketing told me that I could write whatever I feel like writing here as long as it has to do with our products, so I’m going to tell you how cool our carbon fiber pattern PPFs are.
To do that, we first have to talk about carbon fiber’s history and application.

Is the future now yet?

Ah, carbon fiber, the perpetual material of the future. People often overlook the fact that the first form of carbon fiber was discovered in the late 1800s, and the high-performance carbon fiber we are familiar with was invented and commercialized more than 60 years ago. Somehow, carbon fiber still seems to be one of the first things to come to mind when people think of “innovative and futuristic” materials. 

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Matter of fact, the first car with carbon fiber parts was introduced in 1981 through McLaren MP4/1 in Formula One. Photo credit: Fiskens

The near-magical property it holds makes people believe that it has the potential to become the dream material that will take over the world in the future. But even with decades of research and development, it seems like carbon fiber still has a long way to go when it comes to reducing the cost and difficulty of producing them enough to make it an appealing option to the general consumer market.

Carbon fiber, what is it good for? Absolutely somethings.

Formula One racing is one of the very few fields in the automotive world where carbon fiber parts are a must. In that eye-wateringly competitive field that has teams scraping paint off their vehicles to reduce 350 grams (that’s 12.3 ounces!) to get the slightest of an advantage, the weight relief carbon fiber parts provide is basically considered a godsend. We all know that less weight means better fuel efficiency and faster acceleration. But do the benefits of weight relief provided by carbon fiber parts translate well into the everyday driving experience?  

A while ago, someone spent big bucks to get their 2002 Lotus Elise fully covered in carbon fiber parts. Let’s set aside how cool and expensive the modification looks and talk about weight relief. This extensive modification apparently helped the car become lighter by 30-40 kg (66-88 lbs). Now in Formula One terms, that’s impressive. But in normal life terms, That’s just one 12-year-old boy.

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“Sorry, son. You’ll have to walk to school because I can’t afford you weighing down my car.” Photo credit: freepik

Simply put, the functionality of carbon fiber parts is inconsequential unless you are constantly driving over 110 mph, and a fraction of a second makes a significant difference that decides your career trajectory.

The dark side of carbon fiber

The high cost of producing them is not the only reason why carbon fiber, as of now, is not a very convincing alternative to replace other materials that are more prevalent in the current market. It surprisingly has a massive, and I mean, MASSIVE environmental impact. 

First off, the most common method of manufacturing carbon fibers uses petroleum as the main ingredient. And the manufacturing process consumes a lot of energy. How much energy, you say? Roughly 14 times more than producing the same weight of steel. Let that sink in. Making steel involves literally heating up and melting metal. And it takes 14 times more energy to manufacture carbon fibers.

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Who would’ve thunk this was more environmentally friendly than carbon fibers? Photo credit: Pulsarlube

But wait, there’s more! The carbon fiber sheets require a trimming process to be made into a uniform shape before it is sent to the second chain of manufacturers to be used to produce a final product. It is estimated that almost a third of the original sheet goes to waste during the initial trimming process, and even more of it goes to waste when making the final product. 

Many manufacturers are investing a lot into finding a better way to produce and recycle carbon fiber. However, without drastic change, a future where carbon fiber is everywhere sounds like a pretty bleak future.

But it looks very cool

I know it’s hard to believe it when I’ve been trash-talking carbon fiber parts throughout the whole post, but trust me, I really do love the looks of carbon fiber. I was always fascinated by its ultra-modern look. It’s fascinating how the looks of it invoked the sense of future for decades and still has not lost that futuristic vibe.

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You have no idea how much I drooled over these carbon fiber guitars back in high school. Photo credit: Brian’s Guitar

What I’m trying to say is that the vast majority of us are infatuated with carbon fiber for its instantly recognizable appearance, not its usefulness in everyday life. 

And now, we can finally talk about why STEK carbon pattern PPFs are an excellent alternative to genuine carbon fiber parts.

The looks of carbon fiber minus the baggage

STEK carbon pattern PPFs are not the same as the carbon fiber pattern vinyl films available on the market. (You can check out this article by my pal Jose if you want to learn more about the difference between PPF and vinyl films.) Our carbon fiber pattern PPFs provide excellent paint protection and self-healing properties that vinyl wrap simply does not have. 

It also doesn’t have all the baggage of genuine carbon parts I’ve mentioned above. It is made of TPU, not genuine carbon fiber meaning it is significantly less harmful to the environment. It is also much more affordable compared to genuine carbon fiber parts. Sure, you won’t get the slight weight relief, but does that really matter? Plus, there’s one more thing I didn’t mention that makes STEK carbon fiber pattern PPFs a more attractive option compared to genuine carbon fiber parts. Two words. Resale. Value.

The two magic words

Unless you are a billionaire with more money than you know what to do with, it’s impossible for a car owner to not think about how to preserve the resale value of their car. And modifying your car is one of those things that drastically affect the resale value of the car. No matter how cool you and your friends believe the modification is, it’s a cold hard fact that your car’s resale value will be lower than a stock car.

As a result, many car modification enthusiasts make it a habit to keep the stock parts of their cars after replacing them with aftermarket parts. Letting those stock parts take up space somewhere in your house can get annoying, and putting the stock parts back on the car is extremely tedious. And genuine carbon fiber parts are no exception. 

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“Noooo, babe! Don’t throw them away! I’m keeping them just in case I have to sell the car!!!!” Photo credit: Mark Riccioni

But with our carbon fiber pattern PPFs, you can throw those worries out of the window. When you want to sell your car, you can just pull the film off and give your car a nice wash—boom, good as new. Plus, STEK PPF helps you keep the resale value as it protects the original paint underneath it. Now, are you still thinking about weight relief?

What kind of carbon pattern PPFs do we offer?

We have finally reached the part I tell you about our products. We have a variety of options that cover pretty much all bases. Let me introduce all of the carbon fiber pattern PPF options offered by STEK.

DYNOcarbon

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DYNOcarbon on a yellow Porsche 911. Photo credit: Right Choice Auto Glass & Tint

DYNOcarbon is STEK’s first carbon fiber pattern PPF. It is a transparent PPF that shows the original color under the film while giving it the woven carbon fiber texture. 

DYNOcarbon-gloss

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The rooftop of a Corvette C8 wrapped in DYNOcarbon-gloss. Photo credit: The Wrapping Shop

DYNOcarbon-gloss is the PPF that pretty much gives you THE unmistakable carbon fiber look. When installed by a skilled installer, it can look even better than genuine carbon fiber parts since it won’t have the problem of misaligned seams that many carbon fiber parts with curvature often have.

DYNOcarbon-matte

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DYNOcarbon-matte installed on a side mirror.

DYNOcarbon-matte is the less flashy, low-key cousin of our DYNOcarbon-gloss PPF. Perfect for those who love raw carbon fiber’s more subtle texture.

DYNOforged-gloss/matte

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DYNOforged-matte installed on the side mirros of an Abarth 595. Photo credit: Yuri Varesini

Now, this one is slightly different. If you are into the world of new materials, you might have heard of forged carbon. Unlike conventional carbon fiber woven into a sheet, forged carbon is made by pressing chopped carbon fiber into the shape of the desired parts. (This process is called molding, or moulding depending on where you are from.) 

Our DYNOforged-gloss and DYNOforged-matte PPF perfectly replicates the look of these forged carbon parts and comes in unique colors that are not available in genuine forged carbon parts.

DYNOforged-red wine

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DYNOforged-red wine on the hood of a car

We didn’t just stop at replicating the ordinary forged carbon look. STEK DYNOforged-red wine comes in a red wine color that cannot be replicated with genuine forged carbon parts.

DYNOforged-metal

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DYNOforged-metal on the rear bumper of a car

DYNOcarbon-metal is a forged carbon pattern PPF that comes with a metalic twist. The unique metalic luster will turn everyon’s head.

Where can I get them?

If you are a car owner that wants to get your vehicle wrapped with STEK’s carbon pattern PPFs, click this link to find authorized STEK installers near you.

If you are an installer that’s interested in carrying STEK’s carbon pattern PPFs, click this link to reach out to your nearest distributor.

In conclusion – We all love carbon fiber

Whether you believe that carbon fiber is truly the material of the future or not, it’s hard to deny that it will always have a special place in every automotive enthusiast’s heart. Because it fits a very specific niche and, most of all, looks really, really cool. With STEK’s carbon fiber PPF, you can get the looks of carbon fiber you only dreamt of and get the protection of PPF at the same time.

Have any suggestions or things you want to see us write about? Feel free to email me at calebhong@stekautomotive.com

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