Our new line of Vacuum Infused Processed (VIP) parts will be developed using the highest grade composites that our clients have come to expect. Primarily two versions of carbon fiber (CF) commonly referred to as "wet" or "dry" carbon fiber, both excellent and decidedly unequaled in strength to weight ratios. Both versions of this composite are utilized extensively for racing and high-performance parts.
We still offer our cost-effective carbon fiber products that appear very similar to our full carbon line. The similarities however are typically limited to general appearance. "Carbon fiber" is a broadly used term similar to "alloy". The types, manufacturing processes, materials, product costs, and design elements differentiate the quality of alloys, much like carbon fiber. While two seemingly similar carbon fiber parts have notably different price points. In either part, we at VIS Racing focus on producing the finest products utilizing original designs, complex time-consuming processes, and top-grade raw materials to produce a finished product that improves performance, reduces weight, and improves aesthetics.
For example, while the outward appearance of two carbon fiber products from two different manufacturers may appear slightly similar, the strength of each product may differ substantially. Less expensive carbon fiber manufacturing processes use an external heat source or air to cure the carbon fiber shape which has been "painted" over the fiber weave, with a standard epoxy. In some cases, a single carbon fiber part may be constructed of more than one piece of carbon fiber weave and connected by epoxy and/or subsequent weaves (as this can often be less expensive and time consuming in the mold process).
The resulting part looks very similar to a high quality carbon fiber piece, however the strength, consistency, and density (even small air bubbles in the material will reduce strength) of the carbon fiber is not comparable to the more time and labor intensive single mold VIP parts. Wet Carbon Fiber that many are used to seeing, is manufactured utilizing the single mold VIP system, resulting in a finished product that appears to have a "wet", glass-smooth, surface. The manufacturing process, and curing process, combine to produce this unique finish. The carbon fiber weave is set in the mold, under vacuum to push the epoxy through the fibers until the correct consistency and equally distributed epoxy over the entire surface of the piece is achieved. The piece is then cured, tested for accurate density throughout the form, and either accepted as accurate and complete, or discarded. This is often referred to as "infused" carbon fiber.
Another version of the "wet" carbon fiber manufacturing process, which is the most common, simpler and our former process was our hand laid set-up (and typically not as consistent and slightly heavier), applies the epoxy onto the carbon fiber, without the vacuum technique which is the catalyst to the infusing the epoxy into the carbon fiber instead of on top of the carbon fiber. While it was not a terrible system, we can always stand to improve. When comparing VIS Racing wet carbon fiber components to "comparable" wet carbon fiber products, be sure to determine which method is utilized â€“ wet "application" (or "painting") without vacuum, or our VIP system. Some VIS Racing products, are also available in TRUE "dry" carbon fiber. The limited production of dry carbon fiber, which appears "dry" on the surface when compared to "wet" carbon fiber, is due to the near zero-tolerance manufacturing process required for the ultimate carbon fiber composite which is equal in strength, and substantially lighter, than wet carbon fiber. This differs from the wet carbon fiber process in which the epoxy is applied to the weave continually until the appropriate amount of surface area coverage and thickness is achieved to meet the strength and consistency requirements of the product design. The resulting product is lighter than wet carbon fiber because there is absolutely no excess epoxy, which accounts for the "dry" appearance of the finished dry carbon fiber component.
The bottom line differences are appearance, weight, and cost. For the visually driven, the appearance of wet vs. dry carbon fiber is a matter of personal taste, and can even be done with an extra cost for a "dry" look. From a performance perspective, both share similar strength and rigidity, however the dry carbon fiber component will be 10-20% more lighter than the weight of even our current parts, and already considerably lighter wet carbon fiber (which is notably lighter than some plastic composite or lightweight metals, utilized in stock components). That weight savings comes with an equally notable increase in cost due to the previously mentioned zero-tolerance manufacturing processes required for dry carbon fiber. In both cases, wet or dry, VIS Racing carbon fiber components are designed and manufactured to achieve a finished product that represents a well made and good looking product, but also at a good price-point without compromise.