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  1. #1
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    spray painting your crappy bike

    So I've decided to go through with this to jazz up my 60$ 1980s craigslist road bike. I've done a bit of research and was hoping to avoid the chemicals or any real heavy costs so have opted for the sanding route.

    Question:
    Do I need to sand off all of the paint before priming and then painting? Or is the point of sanding to create a slightly rougher surface area for the primer and paint to latch on to?

  2. #2
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    No, yes.

    You can simply sand a little to get a rough uniform surface. I would not recommend sanding down to bare metal. It will be way more work, and then you have to prime really well to get it to stick.

    As long as the bike isn't rusty just sand it lightly. Then get it REALLY clean, with alcohol and towels. Then prime and paint! Make sure to use several thin coats like the can says or you'll get unsightly runs.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  3. #3
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    A few tips:

    Sanding bare-handed will leave finger-shaped imprints. Get a sanding pad. You can use one that works with sandpaper, or rough surface pads (look like kitchen scrubber pads) at an auto paint supply.

    When sanding, the key is to get a rough, FLAT surface to paint on. You'd be amazed at the little bubbled and drips you'll find, even on a high quality frame. Wipe down the surface with a grease-free cloth before applying primer.

    Very light sanding (1600+ grit) on the primer will make the final coat look better.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, that sounds like what I was planning but a little back up is reassuring

  5. #5
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    One other thing: When I did mine, I used the Truck and Van spray cans from the auto parts store, thinking that if that paint was good enough for cars, it would certainly be tuff enough for a bicycle. Despite very conscientious aging, it wasn't. I buffed it up and it looked great, but any time something abraded it, it got abraded. It just didn't hold up. Next time I'd try enamel. I don't know whether enamel would be better but lacquer wasn't that good.

    MM

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Melvin View Post
    One other thing: When I did mine, I used the Truck and Van spray cans from the auto parts store, thinking that if that paint was good enough for cars, it would certainly be tuff enough for a bicycle. Despite very conscientious aging, it wasn't. I buffed it up and it looked great, but any time something abraded it, it got abraded. It just didn't hold up. Next time I'd try enamel. I don't know whether enamel would be better but lacquer wasn't that good.

    MM
    After painting my old Fuji many times with rattle can enamel (I use chemicals to take it to the bare metal every time) and having poor results, I tried single stage auto enamel this year. Used a compressor and an auto paint sprayer with hardener in the paint just as if I was spraying a car. Came out great. Probably the last time I'll have to paint it. Worth the effort and cost.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    No, yes.

    You can simply sand a little to get a rough uniform surface. I would not recommend sanding down to bare metal. It will be way more work, and then you have to prime really well to get it to stick.

    As long as the bike isn't rusty just sand it lightly. Then get it REALLY clean, with alcohol and towels. Then prime and paint! Make sure to use several thin coats like the can says or you'll get unsightly runs.
    I like working on crummy old bikes so I've rattle can painted a lot of frames. My personal experience is pretty much the exact opposite. Whenever I've tried to cheap out by not removing all of the old paint, the result has been that the new paint chips off easily. When I've taken the time to strip the frame down to bare metal, the paint has been much more durable.

    I haven't experienced difficulties with primers either. My fixed gear conversion is a Raleigh Technium frame with aluminum main tubes and a steel main triangle. It was stripped using a chemical stripper and primed and painted using Rustolium products from the hardware store. I painted it around 3 years ago and it still doesn't have a chip anywhere.

  8. #8
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    I like to wash with soap and water before degreasing with solvent and towels. J&J Baby Shampoo is the easiest to rinse off.

    Try to paint on a less humid day.

    I have also had good results with ordinary rustoleum (oddly enough, also on a Raleigh, but mine was a Portland made M50). I think the metallics are catalyzed and will dry as fast as a lacquer but be as strong as an enamel. Let it dry for at least a week before you use it. I left mine in the sun.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't think that anything in a can is catalyzed because the catalyst will harden the paint wherever it is, including in the can.

    Maybe I'm getting old, but giving a guy $70 to sandblast the frame down to metal is looking better and better to me. I've talked to a few of the small sandblast shops in town and these guys sound like they know what they're doing.

    The only time I did take a set of classic car wheels to a body shop to be sandblasted, they took it upon themselves to spraycan the wheels with epoxy primer, which I believe they don't sell any more because no paint ever stuck to it.

    M

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Melvin View Post
    I wouldn't think that anything in a can is catalyzed because the catalyst will harden the paint wherever it is, including in the can.
    Maybe that's not the right term, but when you spray their metallics they harden up about as fast as a lacquer but the label says they are enamels.

  11. #11
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    I have had bad luck painting over old paint, and quite good luck using rustoleum on bare metal after stripping with chemicals. If you don't want to use chemicals, don't bother trying to sand to bare metal - that will take a loooooooong time and you will ahhms like Ahhnold when you are done. Paying for sandblasting/media blasting is also an option.

    I think 'luck' is the right term, tho... even some factory paint jobs (on bikes, cars, motorcycles, etc) sometimes wind up peeling or chipping easily.

    Good luck!

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