"Gone in 60 days" : from idea to product in hand.

"On April 29th 2022,  I launched a crowdfunding project to create a new 1:1 E46 M3 CSL carbon diffuser option on the market. 30x members backed the project in a few days 🙏

In this special series written in collaboration with René at CarboProject.de, I document the entire ideation, development, master & negative mold production process along with my unboxing impressions and final fitment

This journal entry documents the unboxing impressions and my ordering recommandations."
-Matt

A refresher on what makes this special. 

The initial crowdfunding idea was based on this journal entry: The Ridge!

What makes this special: 

  1. A new mold to OEM precision. 
  2. OEM matching carbon fiber construction process.
  3. Improved packaging for UPS air shipping. 
  4. Color matching service. 
  5. 50% less expensive than its OEM counterpart. 

The Packaging: better safe than sorry. 

René learned his lessons the hardware. It's his philosophy to always improve on products, and that includes packaging. 

I already knew had improved packaging across the board as I received the OEM+ S85 carbon plenums and the E60 M5 carbon interior trims in extremely well packaged boxes without a hitch. 

The cardboard box is double walled and has added foam inner walls to enclose the diffuser that is itself wrapped in bubble wrap, and the paint is further protected by wrapping paper. 

René uses UPS Expedited Air shipping worldwide. They have their reputation - I'm confident the probabilities of shipping damages have been greatly reduced. 

The Pre-Preg & Autoclave'd Carbon Work. 

This isn't my first rodeo with René, he is the OG Connex. I love the guy for many reasons, and his craftsmanship continues to impress. 

Pre-Preg Carbon application is not easy - using the plain 1x1 CSL weave pattern on the accentuated curvatures of the OEM diffuser design further complicated the process. 

The backside showing the various carbon layers. 

The carbon is carefully positioned in visible areas to retain a specific weave orientation. 

The inner sections close to the outer exhaust tips show a layer separation that will be hidden away when installed. More pictures to follow once fitted. 

The Ridge. 

Let's get down to the business of why this was such a success. 

The ridge is a small design detail yet highly significant to distinguish from most replicas out there to the quality ones. 

It's absolutely mint! The aesthetics are spot on. 

 

The Color Match Service.

The ridge is a critical design feature, but it's also a practical feature. 

The paint line. 

The ridge allows perfect outlining and separation from the visible clear coated carbon section and the color matched paint sections. 

The paint line is proper. 

The paint work itself.

I have a deep background in automotive paint. I became OCD about paint quality when I first met Jonathan at Exclusiv Automotiv in 2015. 

I discovered what orange peel was - my life hasn't been the same since. 

Carbon fiber is notoriously difficult to paint for quite a few reasons. 

  1. It isn't a flat surface, no matter the prep work. 
  2. Bonding isn't as easy as on metal panels, it requires specific primers. 
  3. Visible carbon fiber is awesome to look at, only when clear coat quality is perfect. 
  4. Body shops operate in conditions that can never replicate the OEM insulated and ventilated paint facilities. 

Understanding this is critical to evaluating the paint work when comparing to OEM body panels. 

The good news:

There is zero orange peel. You do see the weave pattern bleeding through like on a classic Ferrari F40. I like it. 

The nit picking: 

There is some clear coat popping and I found 1x dust spec in the clear. 

 

Search for it in the picture below. 

 

Why it may happen, and how it's fixed. 

René needs to balance the community's desire to get their hands on the product rapidly and finish quality. 

2-component clear coats harden and continue evaporating solvents for over 30 days after application.

This is commonly called "outgassing". It's why most PPF installers & Ceramic Coating applicators require a 30 to 90 days waiting period after any resprayed body panels. It's also why you'll have a slight "paint" smell when unboxing the diffuser. 

If this happens, René is usually cover on helping provide a solution local to you. I do recommend professionals do the correction. Last thing you won't is burning through the clear coat.  

My bottom line of the value of the color matchpaint service. 

The color matching service is offered by René at 70-100$ extra over the ready-to-spray primered option. 

It's worth it [...] unless you're OCD about your paint and for things no one else but you will see. 

This is me. 

I ordered the paint service knowing all the above. I wanted to take you guys into the nitty gritty details. 

The car will be getting fully resprayed and we plan on correcting the slight imperfections. 

Up next: fitment and pretty pictures. 


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