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  1. #1
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Who knows paint?

    I've been taking advantage of this crappy bicycling weather to redo my fixed gear bike.

    My original multi-color rattle can paint job didn't meet my expectations so I feathered down the edges at the color separations and now it's all red. The color looks good and it's reasonably shiny, but it has more orange peel than I'd like.

    Watching Chop Cut Rebuild (one of my favorite TV programs), they suggested giving it 5 coats of clear and color wet sand it with 900 grit. Might that work? I tested wet sanding the red and it lost it's gloss.

    Here's my choices:
    1. Leave well enough alone. Let the red paint cure for about a month and give it a good coat of Mother's wax.
    2. Leave the paint alone but work it over with buffing compound before waxing.
    3. Give it some number of coats of clear, buff (or not) and polish.
    4. Go all the way - clear coat, wet sand, buff and polish.

    Time doesn't really matter because I've got other bikes that I can ride if this bike isn't ready when it gets nice.

    A bad result, provided that I learn something from it, won't break my heart. I can always strip it down again and start over. I don't want to do that but I'm willing to if that's what it takes. Cost, within a pretty broad range doesn't even matter. I'm seriously considering spending a few hundred dollars for a spray *** and related materials.

    Finally, I know that I can have the frame powder coated at a reasonable cost. To me, however, that would be paying somebody else to have the fun of working on my bike. Not going to happen so don't go there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I use to paint a lot of boats. I would start with 400 grit and then go to 600, then 800, then 1200. After that I would use rubbing compound and then scratch remover by 3M. Some of the work I did looked like a mirror.
    George

  3. #3
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    If you spray anymore from rattlecans, warm the can in a pan of warm tapwater. The warmer and thinner paint will produce less orange peel.

    On the other hand, I used the hammertone paint to make intentional orange peel...........problem gone........

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    If you spray anymore from rattlecans, warm the can in a pan of warm tapwater. The warmer and thinner paint will produce less orange peel.
    That's a good point. Being a wintertime project I naturally pushed, and maybe even cheated a little, on the minimum recommended temperature.

    So what's your advice on what I should do now? Do you have any opinions?

  5. #5
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    It will be necessary to sand the existing paint down to smooth. If after that the color remains undamaged, then a clear coat could be applied to provide gloss and final smoothness. If the color is damaged (burn through with the sanding, color shifts etc) then another coat of color will have to be applied.

    It is harder to avoid orange peel with rattlecans than with proper painting equipment because you don't have much control over pressure and paint thinner. With proper equipment you can also add a retarder into the paint mix. Longer drying times make for less orange peel. Basically, orange peel is caused by paint not having enough time to flow over the surface.

    Ultimately, with spray cans you have to get brave. The final coat or coats must be applied wet enough to have time to flow smooth. This will always be near the limit that produces runs. Practice, practice, practice.

    On a bike frame, good practice is to paint the tubing junctions completely first because peel will not be as noticable in the joints. After all the thin dust coats, the main tubes can be painted in more or less complete sweeps. Start on the bottom surface of any given tube and work your way around to finish at the bottom again. The idea here is to have the final bit of overspray on the bottom as this again is one of the highest points of risk for orange peel.

    Your going to have to provide pics as we are all eager to see the results.

  6. #6
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    Go here and read:

    http://www.cycling-adventurer.net/how-to/paint-01.html

    I'd suggest that the orange peel has come from trying to apply too much in one coat. The keys to building a good paint job on bicycle frames are time, patience, and thin coats.

    If you don't have enough of the final colour left, very lightly sand down with wet and dry at a minimum of 800 grit and apply a final clear gloss finish. The trouble, though, is that your topcoat is likely to be uneven, and you are likely to get down to the primer coat at some places even if you are ultra-careful.

    Best to sand back with wet paper to the smooth finish you want, and apply a final light topcoat. Then finish with additional coats of gloss.

    Putting extra coats of gloss over the orange peel might work, but I suspect you will end up with the same problem --- orange peel -- on the clear coat, too. And the original defect won't be covered up that well -- it will just give the paint a texture.

    You don't need to spend a lot on compressors and spray guns and the paraphenalia required to ensure your thinning is just right for the spray nozzle you have. Rattle cans (better quality ones as well as cheap ones) can produce a highly satisfactory finish and the paint is already thinned.

    Your application temperatures (and as suggested dipping the can in warm water for 10 minutes -- an old model car building technique from the 1960s) can go a long way to getting an even better finish.

    Good luck with it.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Not certain on what paints you use in the US- but going back about 10 years- and there was a problem. Differing paint types did not mix and if you painted the wrong type over the other type of paint- Orange peel came about---Even on very old paint. This was changed with the introduction of "Epoxy" two part paint as that would cover anything- but that has mostly gone now with the Introduction of newer types of paint.

    If you have orange peel- then you have to get rid of it. This will normally mean rubbing it down to the extent that you will have to remove all of the paint you have put on. So time to start again I am afraid.

    Hopefully you will not have the Incompatable paints- but once you have it painted and just need to Polish it- Start with 400grit and get down to 1200 if you have it. Then finish off with a rubbing compound and finally wax it- Or whatever the latest form of protection is nowadays.

    And thinking of that- 10 years ago- there was a Silicon based "Wax" that was used on cars to give that final finish. That also caused a problem with respraying.

    I would put it into a stove enameller and let them have the problem.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The temperature is supposed to go into the high 40's this afternoon. I'm thinking that I'll put my little electric heater in the garage and go with option #3 (clear coat, buff and wax). This time, however, I'm going to warm the spray can in water first.

    I wasn't happy with the look I got when I wet sanded a section with #1,000. Maybe a few coats of clear would bring the gloss back but, if it didn't, that would mean stripping and repeating the whole process. I'm not willing to take that chance.

    I'll also confess to being a little impatient about putting the bike back together again. Each day that passes Spring gets that much closer. It'll be fun to ride it again.

    Now if my LBS would ever get my Open Pro rim in I could lace up my Chris King front hub.

  9. #9
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    The dulling of the paint surface with fine wet paper sanding is normal. It will come back to a high gloss with the clear coat. In fact, a rub over with wax probably would do it, too, but a rubbing compound would be better.

    Probably too late now, but keep the head of the can at least 9", preferably 12" away from the tubing. Spraying closer than that is a significant mistake and is caused by (a) the relatively small surface area making you think you need to maximise use of the paint coming out the nozzle and (b) the desire to get a depth of colour straight-up with the first coat (which definitely is not the way to go because you end up with... orange peel).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It's done now. It's only had a couple hours of dry time so I can't handle it very much but I'm satisfied. I'll probably let it cure for about a month before I give it a coat of Mother's wax and reassemble the bike.

    Incidentally, I'm pretty confident of the actual spray can use. I've painted at least 10 bike frames so I've got the handle of getting paint in the seatstay and chainstay areas, not to mention just spraying tubeing, without causing runs. I was mostly just trying to refine my knowledge and technique. The advice that I got here was certainly helpful.

    I've got a couple of other bikes that I may repaint this year. I'm still seriously considering taking the plunge and buying a spray *** so I can use real automotive finishes. If I do that, however, I'm definitely going to wait for warmer temperatures.

  11. #11
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    I have bought a model spray ***... well, it's probably a bit bigger than that. But it uses a small reservoir, and although I haven't used it yet, I think it will give me greater control over the job when doing bike frames, than a full-sized spray *** would. Plus, it is more portable, because I can use off-the-shelf compressed air, or some other non-commercial means.

    It seems to me that to set up and use and then clean a full-on spray *** brings a whole heap of unnecessary work and hassle for what effectively is less than five minutes of spray time.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I have bought a model spray ***... well, it's probably a bit bigger than that. But it uses a small reservoir, and although I haven't used it yet, I think it will give me greater control over the job when doing bike frames, than a full-sized spray *** would. Plus, it is more portable, because I can use off-the-shelf compressed air, or some other non-commercial means.

    It seems to me that to set up and use and then clean a full-on spray *** brings a whole heap of unnecessary work and hassle for what effectively is less than five minutes of spray time.
    That thought has crossed my mind too. The spray *** that I have been looking at is an automotive trim ***. It has a gravity resevoir that will probably take more paint to wet the tank than what I'll use on a bike frame.

    I'd be interested in knowing exactly what you have, where you bought it, and, whenever you get around to using it, how well you like it.

  13. #13
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    If you want to try a model airbrush that is definately capable of painting a bike frame, you might take a look at the series of guns from Aztec, also sold under the Testors label. The principal advantage to this piece is the "cartridge tip". It is a completely self contained tip and needle in a $10 replaceable cartridge. There are a wide variety of tips available for different paints and coverage areas. There are also a variety of gravity feed cups and siphon jars in different sizes. They provide basic guns, single action (you control air flow but adjust the needle for paint flow) and dual action (you control both air and paint flow with a 2 axis control). Each *** comes with a small cleaning tool and plugs to change the instrument from right hand to left hand use. Most of the small "1/10hp" compressors will provide enough air. Use a water filter/trap in the summertime as the humidity will eventually show up in the air. Portable air tanks are useful and the ultimate air source is a small CO2 bottle used for soda machines. A bike frame is on the largish end of the spectrum for a *** like this, but still within its capabilities.

    After years of using the traditional standby's from Binks and Pasche I changed over to these about 10 years ago and have never looked back.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    If you want to try a model airbrush that is definately capable of painting a bike frame, you might take a look at the series of guns from Aztec,
    That's good stuff, Max. Where can I buy one? Would model/hobby stores carry them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    That thought has crossed my mind too. The spray *** that I have been looking at is an automotive trim ***. It has a gravity resevoir that will probably take more paint to wet the tank than what I'll use on a bike frame.

    I'd be interested in knowing exactly what you have, where you bought it, and, whenever you get around to using it, how well you like it.
    Max has given you the brilliant answer. Testors have been around for a long, long time, and model builders are very demanding, so the products should be excellent.

    As I say, I haven't used mine yet, although there are some bike projects coming up where it will be used, especially for the difficult metalflake finishes.

    FWIW, I bought mine on a specials stand outside a local hardware shop in Australia for $30, and it's a Project Air, model PA-AS1010... a 1.8mm nozzle, a maximum pattern of 50-180mm, and a recommended air pressure of 45-85psi. It's a siphon pot version.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  16. #16
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    http://www.testors.com/category/136948/Airbrushes

    Link to Testors/Aztec Airbrushes.

    http://www.plastic-models.com/

    Link to an online hobbyshop that I have been doing business with for decades. Super online catalog and very good prices.

    There are several brands of airbrushes available (I have probably used them all at one point). The advice I give is based on personal preference only. I fell in love with the removable cartridge tip idea about 20 years ago and have never gone back. An airbrush with one of the larger tips is capable of spraying a bike frame. It won't apply paint as quickly as an automotive type ***, but a non professional will have much more control over what's happening.

    Edit: The max tip on the aztec airbrush is about 2/3's the size of the detail *** specified by Rowan.

    I've added one picture of one of my other hobbies to verify my credentials as a painter.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 06-01-09 at 06:53 PM.

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