Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Riverside, California
Bikes: Trek 2100 Road Bike, Full DA10, Cervelo P2K TT bike, Full DA10, Giant Boulder Steel Commuter
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I have done lots of rattle can paint jobs that end up like auto paint literally... mostly in building high end computer cases with custom paint. My next project bike I will probably do a custom paint scheme from out club... but...
To paint a bike frame with rattle cans the right way takes lots and lots of work... did I mention work, oh ya and lots of time, like weeks.
1. Prep... stip old paint, primer, etc, fix any damage underneeth. In my work this means fabrication, fillers, etc. On a bike just sanding down the bare metal with 600 grat and using tack cloth afterwards works.
2. Primer... spray it, use a medium build at least at first to fill in any minor scratches in the medal. Sand it down with 220 grit then when smooth, 400 grit, 600 grit and possibly to 1000 grit +. Remeber your primer makes all the difference in the look and durability of the paint. It the primer gets thin and exposes bare metal reprime and do it again... and again. Always use wet and dry sandpaper about 600 grit and go slow...
3. Once a nice smooth primer finish is down spray your first color coat, making sure you have enough paint for the entire set of coats. Follow directions on the can for painting, generally alot of little coats seperated for a little amount of time. Next let the paint cure... and not for 10 minutes or till dry but for atleast 5 days... and I mean it unless the can says shorter. Not letting the paint cure will mean that is is still slightly wet underneeth the layer and your color sanding will come out bad.
Once the paint is cured you can color sand, no less than 600 grit, but 1000+ grit is better. Sand ALL the orange peel out, any left in will cause the gloss to be not good and bumpy. Once you sand it all out you will notice somthing, either the paint has changed colors (kind of a grayish original color) or you will have eaten to the primer. If the later is the case repeat and add more paint to where the cut through occured. Pacience here is what makes a good rattle can paint job.
On a side not if the paint is a metalic, color sanding excessivly will ruin the matalic properties... do not color sand or do so with 1000+ only and not much. I have learned this the hard way.
4. Once the paint is dry, cured and colorsanded spray with a nice high quality clear coat, atleast a few coats according to the label. The clear also has orange peel so it must be color sanded too, just with nothing at a minumum of 1000 grit of lower, 1500+ is recomended. Once the clear looks good you will say, wow this looks crappy... buffing is next.
5. Remember that nice flat color you cleared over... now change it back to the normal color... take your polishing compound (rubbing compound or the nice stuff works well). Start with small areas and move around. You will see the nice polished finish and color come out. You will get to a point where you can not go any farther, you may be done. This can also be done with an auto polisher quicker and easier.
6. Take a nice glaze componend (like show car glaze 9) and polish the surface to get rid of the last bit of cloudiness. You are done congraduations.
The paint will be harder to care for than normal auto paint and it can scratch easy. Also test on a test surface before spraying. Otherwise good luck... there are alot of resources out there to help you with this too.
Just your average club rider... :)