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Old 07-09-08, 03:58 AM   #1
solecal123
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Painting Bike with Enamel??

I was looking to paint my bike with Duplicolor engine enamel paint

http://www.duplicolor.com/products/engine.html

it comes in a color that i need which is a light blue and i cant find the shade in any other spray paint so i was wondering if engine enamel paint would work fine? thanks
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Old 07-09-08, 05:24 AM   #2
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No, I would not recommend High-Temp paint for a bicycle. It is far too hard and brittle. It can handle heat, but not banging, flexxing, or abrasion nearly as well as real two-part automotive paint. if you used it, even with clear coat, the flexxing alone would certainly crack the finish over time.

If you insist on spray paint, the regular enamels are much better.

However, if I may recommend. Since you don't seem to have all the equipment available to paint a bike, like a compressor and touch-up gun, etc. I would then recommend taking this route.

Go to the local automotive paint store, and pick out the color you want. prep and Prime the frame ahead of time. Then, have the guy mix up some proper two-part automotive paint in a spray can. Make sure your frame is hanging, and ready to paint as soon as you get home, because that mixed paint will harden in a few hours. Paint ASAP. Wait 20mins, then add another coat. Two or three coats is usually good enough.

After it's dry (a week is best), very lightly scuff it with a wet sand 600gr paper. This will prep it for clear coating. Then, go back to the paint shop, and have him mix up some two-part clear coat, also in a can. Run home, and clear coat your bike with two coats. Let the paint set for a good hour, then pull all the tape.

You're done!!!

Wait a week for a full cure before building.
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Last edited by Patriot; 07-09-08 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 07-09-08, 05:27 AM   #3
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Usually the paints available to the DIY-er are much softer and with less adhesion than what was put on by the manufacturer, so generally one should put off repainting as long as possible. But apart from that general recommendation ther's nothing wrong with using the paint you've suggested.

Prep thoroughly, sand the surface down, wipe dust off and degrease. If you're doing a significant change in color (from red to blue or something like that). consider using a primer first.
you'll probably need more than one can.
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Old 07-09-08, 06:53 AM   #4
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It has been my experience that the paint is MUCH more durable if you make sure to let the final coats cure at least 24 hours (longer preferably). Shoot the primer, sand, shoot, sand and when your happy; let it sit and cure. Same for the color coats before the top coat. After the final top coat, let her sit a few days and completely cure. I wouldn't even check the drop out with a finger nail for a day or two.
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Old 07-09-08, 07:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
Go to the local automotive paint store, and pick out the color you want. prep and Prime the frame ahead of time. Then, have the guy mix up some proper two-part automotive paint in a spray can. Make sure your frame is hanging, and ready to paint as soon as you get home, because that mixed paint will harden in a few hours. Paint ASAP. Wait 20mins, then add another coat. Two or three coats is usually good enough.

After it's dry (a week is best), very lightly scuff it with a wet sand 600gr paper. This will prep it for clear coating. Then, go back to the paint shop, and have him mix up some two-part clear coat, also in a can. Run home, and clear coat your bike with two coats. Let the paint set for a good hour, then pull all the tape.
Modern Basecoat/Clearcoat systems allow the clear to be shot just about as soon as the color is flashed over and actually require that it be applied within 24 hours of the color. Basically in the time it takes to set up the clear gun, you're ready to apply. No sanding necessary. Dupont Chromabase/Chromaclear requires you to sand and reshoot with color if you haven't shot the clear within the 24hr window. I imagine others are similar.
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Old 07-09-08, 08:16 AM   #6
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What about toxicity issues? I seem to recall that Dupont Imron is highly toxic and requires a forced-air respirator. Are the 2-part paints you guys refer to less toxic?
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Old 07-09-08, 10:23 AM   #7
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Lacquer only! Enamel is terribel stuff for bikes. Do a search on-line and you can find all kinds of cans for sale. Just find a car color you like then find it on-line.
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Old 07-09-08, 10:40 AM   #8
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You won't be, or shouldn't be, using any two part paints at home. It's wicked stuff on the body as mentioned by Sturmcrow.

I would never have suggested engine enamel either but a buddy of mine painted some frame parts for his motorcycle about a year ago. He baked them in his oven at 150 F for a few hours after it had air dried for about 6 hours and he's found it to be extremely durable. Probably not as good as some of the two parts but good enough for these items that are in regular contact with the rider's leathers or textile riding gear.

Of course baking your frame would be a little harder. But maybe not as hard as you think. near an insulated wall hang or stand the frame and using some blocks or stuff stand a sheet of plywood or similar up near the bike. Put a couple of 100 watt light bulb lamps (the old non energy efficient ones) in the gap with the frame and drape it with some blankets or an old sleeping bag. It'll get up to 150F in pretty short order. Allow venting as needed and leave it for a few hours or even overnight. Remember that the paint has to be dry to the touch before doing this.

Obviously if you're spraying from a rattle can with no booth to control dust this isn't a Concours D'Elagance type refinishing job. A lot of the comments above are spot on as for quality and appearance but without the right support equipment your results will be somewhat downscale from a nice auto shop job. But with a little care rattle can finishes can still look pretty darned good.

As to lacquer vs enamel? Things have come a long way in the paint industry over the last 25 years since I looked into this stuff. But back then when I wanted to paint a motorcycle helmet lacquer was the choice for a showey finish and enamel was the choice for durability. YMMV but I'd talk to an auto paint supply guy about it if it' matters. This assumes you won't be doing any two part stuff.
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Old 07-09-08, 10:46 AM   #9
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Lacquer only! Enamel is terribel stuff for bikes. Do a search on-line and you can find all kinds of cans for sale. Just find a car color you like then find it on-line.
Lacquer is terrible stuff for bikes because it's not durable. All of the Dupli Color touch up paints are lacquer. The wheel paint is acrylic enamel and is durable after it cures for a few weeks.
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Old 07-09-08, 11:59 AM   #10
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What about toxicity issues? I seem to recall that Dupont Imron is highly toxic and requires a forced-air respirator. Are the 2-part paints you guys refer to less toxic?
Probably not. You have a good point. My understanding is that a good mask (activated charcoal?) is actually sufficient but that forced air is required because the isocyanates (sp?) in the paint are odorless. You can't know if the mask has be compromised.

I'm pretty cautious (used forced air when I painted my car) but I would not lose much sleep over shooting a bike frame with a couple spray bombs as long as I used a good mask.
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