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  1. #1
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    OK to Sandblast Steel frame?

    Looking for advice on how to strip remaining paint and rust from and old frame that I really want to build back up. Is it fine to sandblast a steel frame?
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I recommend aircraft stripper available at your local auto parts store... Then use emery paper to remove the rust and then perhaps some finer paper to smooth it out. It's cheaper then blasting. It's not okay to use sand, it take metal off. media like plastic pellets or walnut shells must be used. Also I have talked to people in the business who do bikes regularly and they have told me horror stories of people who have no finesse or appreciation for the delicacy of a bike frame and have seen many a frame come out bowed after being blasted. Save some money and use chemical stripper.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  3. #3
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I just finished stripping a couple of frames. I used a pad sander and a wire wheel mounted in a drill. I only had to use a chemical stripper in the areas where the pad sander and wire wheel wouldn't reach, mostly around the bottom bracket and seat lug.

    The areas that are chemically stripped still have to be roughed up so the primer will stick properly.

  4. #4
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    I've blasted one (myself) and chemically stripped 3 others, and IMHO it's worth every penny to find a media blaster in your area that can do the work correctly for the $25 that others on this board have reported. I'm finding one next time. My time is better spent in other areas of preparation.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    I've blasted one (myself) and chemically stripped 3 others, and IMHO it's worth every penny to find a media blaster in your area that can do the work correctly for the $25 that others on this board have reported. I'm finding one next time. My time is better spent in other areas of preparation.
    I can't find blasting under $50 so the hour it take to use a fraction of a can of stripper and prep the frame is more economical for me.... anyway if you are spray bombing I would recommend leaving the old paint on and sanding everything, new paint and primer will stick better to the roughed up old paint although in the rusty areas you will have to take it down to the steel.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Be ready for bad news when you strip a frame. The Raleigh Competition that I stripped had serious cracks in the downtube that I didn't see until I stripped it. The Carlton had literally dozens of small dings and a couple of larger ones that had been filled with Bondo by someone that didn't know how to use it. I managed to save the Carlton, but it took a month's worth of spare time.

  7. #7
    Novist senior member tolfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    .
    The areas that are chemically stripped still have to be roughed up so the primer will stick properly.
    so thats what I did wrong.
    There are some things a man needs to believe in wether they're true or not;

  8. #8
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    Lightly sand blasting is the way to go. But! Don't use heavy media, and don't blast hard at the middle of the tubes. The blasting is a very nice prep for primer. When you paint: spray bombs will work fine. Primer first, then lightly sand. Another coat of primer, and lightly sand again. Primer again, then let it sit for a week, preferably in a hot attic or something. Then first top coat, and after it dries a day or two, sand lightly and repeat top coat. Do this for four coats, and then let it sit for a week or more(preferably in a hot attic). After the paint is well dried, and after at least a week, lightly polish the frame with polishing compound. Wax afterwards, buff with soft cloths, and admire.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Also I have heard stripper can hide in the frame, and then come out while you're turning the frame
    over while painting. Same thing with blasting sand though. The powdercoater I used to use would not
    do a thorough enough job, and would have sand in the powdercoat. Whichever type you use, make sure
    it's completely removed before priming and painting.,,,,BD
    Last edited by Bikedued; 06-06-07 at 07:04 AM.

  10. #10
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    Thank you for all the information from your experinces. I am sure this sounds dumb, but do you sand ightly after the fourth and last coat of paint? Also, what is a spray bomb? Again, thank you for all the help. If I can find someone around Los Angeles who will use plastic beads or walnut shells to blast it with for $50 or less I think I will try that route. Otherwise, I will try the aircraft stripper. Lots of rust here and I think I need to go all the way down to the metal everywhere and paint from scratch.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I think glass bead blasting is better than sand blasting, because the glass beads don't remove metal.

  12. #12
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    I've got a question- what about scratches or dings? fill them in with bondo? Is there something better to use? What about that cold-weld stuff? I've got a steel mtb frame that's got a deep scratch on the bb shel and a scratch/ding on the chainstay.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Bondo and other plastic fillers work well if you know how to use them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon
    Also, what is a spray bomb?
    Also known as a Rattle Can.

    It is paint in a spray can. I have found that I can get some good results by going to an Auto Finishing Store and getting the two part paints from them. Your last coat or two will be the clearcoat. Let the folks at the Paint Store KNOW what you are doing and ask for suggestions.

    If you have any decals, put them on BEFORE the Clearcoat and it will look nearly like a new frame when done.

    Good Luck
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Walnut shells would probably be even better. It's big with auto restorers, since it even leaves body filler in place, and will not hurt chrome. Finding someone to glass bead something is pretty hard around here, must be a lot of them where you are I guess? I know from personal experience that sandblasting too long in one spot will warp body panels on a car(heat), but tubing is probably a different story.,,,,BD

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