18 Places Carbon Fibre Doesn't Belong

Carbon fibre is one of mankind's greatest engineered materials. And because it's lighter and stronger than most metals, it has revolutionised everything from the aerospace industry, to auto racing, to artificial limbs. And while its distinctive woven appearance makes it even more appealing, that doesn't make it ok to use everywhere.

Even a cracked back panel on your iPhone 4 looks better than this carbon fibre decal. And you know what's lighter than carbon fibre? Putting nothing on your phone at all.

Image by brian.ch

We haven't needed mousepads since computer mice stopped using rubber balls years ago. Particularly pointlessly expensive desk accessories like this.

Image by K . Chan

Unless you type at a blistering 200+ words per minute, you don't a keyboard designed to endure extreme temperatures and unrelenting g-forces.

Image by H Sterling Cross

Carbon fibre is extremely stiff when hardened, exactly the opposite of how you want a wallet stuffed full of receipts, photos, and cash to feel.

Images by rh1n0

Do you want your marriage represented by the perfection of indestructible diamonds, or man's feeble attempt to one-up Mother Nature?

Image by Nickelfree

Unless you've got roommates who refuse to lift it because it's too heavy, there is no gastrointestinal condition known to man that can justify the need for an ultra-durable carbon fibre toilet seat.

Images by Carbon fibre Gear

Why stop at a carbon fibre tissue box that can withstand the rigors of cold and flu season, when carbon fibre tissues could last for months?

Images by Carbon fibre Gear

The sorcery that keeps this wine bottle balanced works just as well when it's made from wood, plastic, paper mache, or any other material that looks less ludicrous than carbon fibre.

Image by Carbon fibre Gear

The only advantage to a lightweight carbon fibre bathtub is that it's easy to carry upstairs. But the only people who can afford one can also afford someone to do all their heavy lifting for them.

Image by Carbon fibre Gear

What could make your heavy set of keys lighter than a carbon fibre keychain? Maybe forgoing a stupid keychain altogether.

Image by Carbon fibre Gear

Johnny Cash is probably rolling in his grave at this carbon fibre Blackbird Rider guitar. At least it's black?

Image by Blackbird

Not even Ferrari's Formula 1 racing team needs a carbon fibre toilet and bidet. And given carbon fibre can splinter, this may not actually be the most luxurious place for one's posterior.

Image by Alberto Del Biondi

Carbon fibre is extremely lightweight, exactly what you don't want in a dog bowl. Enjoy cleaning up spilled water and food when they easily flip these.

Image by Wired, Stockfresh

Sorry gamers of the world, carbon fibre still gets sweaty. And the friends on Xbox Live you're trying to impress can't actually see your ugly controller.

Image by Tech-kings/Inferno

No one's ever complained their chopsticks were too heavy. And if your intake of sashimi is so intense there's the risk of snapping a chopstick, maybe it's time to dial things back.

Image by Black Site

Carbon fibre is the only way to go if you want to keep whipping a horse as effectively at the end of your work day as at the start.

Image by Body Body

This carbon fibre violin probably puts Stradivari's wooden creations to shame. What's that? The Stradivarius is still the most sought after instrument on earth? Then why are we building these again?

Image by Luis and Clark

Is this a stylish carbon fibre necklace, or a neck brace for someone who couldn't fathom being caught in a white medical apparatus after labour Day?

Images by Elsa Smith

Lead image by Leonard Carson

Image Curation by Attila Nagy


    Quite a few of them aren't even real carbon fibre just fake vinyl crap

      Spot on the money there :D

        99% of items listed in this article don't use carbon fiber imho. (excluding the toilet seat cover which is from the Walley million dollar yahct). I believe it is just fiberglass mesh dyed black given a couple of coats of clear on top. http://www.fibreglast.com/product/Black_Fiberglass_2212/Fiberglass_Fabric
        The other objects use a relativity cheap vinyl transfer from Hexis Group which has a slight texture to it.

        For carbon fiber to be properly made they need to be left to set in a vacuum/pressure generally performed by an autoclave. I doubt that you would bother with this process if you were making jewelry or chopsticks that don't have any major engineering requirements.

        Realistically very few objects can afford carbon fiber they are just veneered to make it look that way. Even in automotive components i'm thinking of the Audi R8 the are just bits of aluminium covered in a couple of layers of black fibre glass. I have a piece in front of me but i don't know how to upload pictures.

          My friend showed me a few things he had been working on with the real stuff. Needless to say it was ultra difficult to get it into tiny curves and so-on. He was making a few things for the '76 / '78 Celicas, not all carbon fibre of course. But the main thing I liked was his Dash he'd been working on, incredible but he'd run into a few areas that were tricky. All the rounded ports for odometers and suck were a headache.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    A Carbon Fibre back on the new iPhone5 is still a good idea given that the new iPhone5 actually has a flimsy cheap Aluminium painted back.

      It's not real CF.
      Besides "Even a cracked back panel on your iPhone 4 looks better than this carbon fibre decal. "

    What? My desk at work eats mouse feet! I go through a mouse a year as they get to worn out to use!

      Read this after I posted. Spot on Steve.

      o_0 ever though of just buying new hyper glides they cost next to nothing

    I'm sorry, but that carbon fibre dunny seat and lid do it for me :-P

    The carbon fibre instruments are also an exception. Carbon fibre resonates better than wood, and given how United Airlines breaks guitars, the strength is a nice bonus.

      also on the bigger instruments like a cello , the weight reduction will make it easier to carry

    I'd just like to point out that mousepads are still a good thing to have. Carbon fibre totally unnecessary but cheapies are good. I was also under the impression once I got a laser that I don't need one either. After a few months without using one my G Logitech gaming mouse had completely worn pads underneath it and it was starting to scratch my desk!

    CF is actually quite good where certain instruments are concerned.
    For eg. it gives a very sweet clear sound to most stringed instruments (guitars, cellos etc) and as a bonus it's lighter and tougher which goes well with the traveling muso.
    That said, I agree with most of the other ideas being borderline ridiculous though.

      I can only comment on cf guitars and they certainly do not sound sweet. They are clear, loud and treble heavy but that is the opposite of a sweet acoustic sound.

    Your average optical mouse still hates a varieity of surfaces. Reflective ones for example like a polished marble dining room table your friend's parents might have as the only available surface when you're having an impromptu LAN (something a mouse ball would be good for :p). Sure, the old piece of paper + s ticky tape mousepad works, but optical mice aren't invincible like you made them out to be.

      Yeah I hadn't used a mousepad in years until I moved to somewhere with a shiny desk, then it became a necessity.

    Isn't 99% of everything made out of carbon?

      Not at all. Technically speaking 90-odd % of "everything" is currently assigned to "Dark Matter" or "Dark Energy". Getting (slightly) less technical, most of "everything that we know what it is" is Hydrogen, followed by Helium. On Earth, I suspect you'd find that Oxygen and Iron outweigh carbon.

    The controller looks pretty good IMO. Also, don't say mousepads are unnecessary. Using a mouse on wood is loud and wears the feet down to nothing.

      ^ Right on the mark, and on certain textures, some mouses start to crawl by them selves.

      Yeah I realised I still needed a mouse pad when I was wearing away the paint/finish on my desk after a few years. Must have been a combination of my obviously deadly, corrosive hand sweat combined with the constant friction from the heel of my palm.

    The thing is, its not the practicality of the carbon fibre that matters, its how it looks. The way things look are one of the biggest influences to people buying things, and carbon fibre is associated with spaceships and F1 cars, so its natural that it would be used for other things because it looks modern.

    I have a glass desk, I still need a mouse pad

    The carbon fibre wallet (assuming actual carbon here) would be quite useful, as all my cards gradually get curved being in my pocket. Or perhaps I should wear looser jeans :þ

      Same, my desk is glass and my Logitech G9 doesn't track on it.

      As for the rest, sure, no one needs carbon fibre in most things but it may be desirable from a fashion perspective. I'm sure I've seen links to Carbon Fibre book cases, sun glasses and the like on Gizmodo and the only issue that seemed to be raised each time was the cost, not whether the material was of any great structural benefit.


        In fact Gizmodo seems to have quite the thing for Carbon Fibre

    "We haven’t needed mousepads since computer mice stopped using rubber balls years ago. Particularly pointlessly expensive desk accessories like this."

    I sure need one if I'm laying back on my bed using my wireless keyboard and mouse.

    More on the comment "“We haven’t needed mousepads since computer mice stopped using rubber balls years ago. Particularly pointlessly expensive desk accessories like this.”

    Depends on the surface you're using your mouse on. If it is abrasive, you start working away at the plastic 'feet' on your mouse. Eventually, those 'feet' start leaving marks on the surface.

    Agree, the CF mouse pad is silly, but mouse pads themselves remain a vital accessory for use for many users, like many authors here at Giz though this author didn't even attempt basic research and makes wild claims with no evidence behind them like the one about mousepads. Typical Giz BS really....

    "What’s that? The Stradivarius is still the most sought after instrument on earth? Then why are we building these again?"
    One good reason is because Stradivari hasn't made any for nearly 300 years and he's not showing any signs of starting production any time soon.

    Most of these items use CF for cosmetic reasons, but some use it for other, more practical reasons. The article is clearly written by somebody who doesn't like the look. Fair enough, but does that make for a good article?

    The violin could actually benefit possibly, those strings are under high pressure, snapping the neck isn't uncommon.

    I have tried the guitar. It sounds worse than it looks. Playability was terrible for the pricetag as well.

    Am I the only one who thinks everything looks better in carbon fibre? Fake or real, it just looks amazing, especially with red or blue highlights in it.

    Yeah, lets not use metal any more because we've got a range of plastics that are just as durable.

    Cry more.

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