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Old 04-19-11, 01:16 AM   #1
Rowan
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Baked fork, anyone?

I've been painting frames over quite a few years now with rattle cans. I get good results, and I have quite detailed instructions on my website that others have used to equally good or better results.

At present, I have a project to change the colour of Machka's steel Surly fork that she opted for on her titanium bike (she has an aversion to carbon forks).

She acquired a green Brooks saddle and has some green tape to go on new, wider bars. And she wanted the fork changed from black to a dark green -- Brunswick green is what it is called on the spray can.

I stripped the fork and primed it. Originally, I put on four coats of the Brunswick green, but didn't wait long enough for the paint to fully harden (a combination of cold weather and my impatience).

Consequently, when fitting it back on the bike, I chipped it. Oh well... I took off the paint with stripper and started again.

Trouble is, we are going away for six days over Easter and we are taking the tandem, my carbon and her titanium, and we leave on Thursday night. So there is some urgency in getting this project done.

Then I got thinking about baking paint. A mate of mine at my previous workplace said the reason why car bodyworks use ovens is to make the paint dry quicker and harder, and it's economically effective because it reduces the wait time.

I googled it, and came up with some answers, mainly from model train makers and Cub Cadet owners. But they were really helpful.

So last night I applied the four coats of finish paint (the wonders of modern spray cans allow you to do that), cranked the oven to around 195 deg F, and popped the fork in after letting it sit for an hour. I left the door open, and had the exhaust fan on full power and windows and doors open.

An hour later, and the fork came out and this morning when I checked the paint was all nice and hard and ready for four coats of clear finish, which will get the same oven treatment.

I was really impressed. It's a way to shorten the process considerably. Comments on the forums I consulted said the paint was harder and seemed to adhere to the metal better.

Obviously this is not something I would contemplate with carbon components, although I think the epoxy resin has a high resistant to heat to a certain level.

I do, however, have three metal frames (Machka's steelie touring bike, an aluminium Giant MTB for my new commuter, and my steelie fixed gear) all lined up for new paint. Now I am on the lookout for a large enough cabinet that I can set up a barbecue plate and bake them, too.

I had to laugh at one of the posts on the train-makers forum. It said someone had put a nice locomotive model into a toaster oven to bake, but was unaware it had been assembled with low melting point solder. He ended up with a model kit for his trouble.

Anyone else here tried baking painted parts?
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Old 04-19-11, 04:42 AM   #2
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Rowan, Later production Canadian Enfield rifles came with painted steel buttplates. The paint used is now largely unavailable and as these rifles generally sit butt down needs a good paint job. I heated the bare metal to 180 F and then sprayed. Proved quite durable over the years.

Brad
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Old 04-19-11, 09:21 AM   #3
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Rowan,

I have never baked metal parts in painting. But I have heard of it being done. I think if I were trying such a thing I might have run a slightly lower temperature than you did. But it certainly sounds that you achievedl a success. And nothing succeeds like success. Congratulations on your ingenuity and perseverence.
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Old 04-19-11, 10:12 AM   #4
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I have a setup to paint cars so with auto paints it is not necessary..,By the way as info, at auto paint places you can buy a small hand held gas powered,spray unit that holds 6 or 8 oz of custom color mixed auto grade paint and use it on small areas,,(ie.bike sized)and it does a nice job..
Bud
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Old 04-19-11, 11:42 AM   #5
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Putting a freshly painted fork in the oven would cause more marital stress that it would be worth. Or let me put another way, the fork still hot from the oven. would be forcefully put in a different warm(98.6) place.
I do like the idea of building a cabinet for the purpose though.
BTW what is your website?
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Old 04-19-11, 11:50 AM   #6
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Painting is a chemical process and many work better at higher than room temperatures... many frame makers bake their frames after painting to create a more durable and attractive finish and it does shorten production time.

Kuwahara was notable for doing this and their finishes are among the toughest I have ever seen.

We have an oven for powder coating that can handle a tandem frame and will also bake painted parts in it to get a better finish although with most of our work powdercoat is the desired finish.
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Old 04-19-11, 12:22 PM   #7
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Trek's Imron paint jobs of the early 80s were "baked" after painting under IR heat lamps.
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Old 04-19-11, 02:02 PM   #8
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I used a 1500watt oil filled electric radiator and a small ceramic heater in a huge cardboard box. Cover with sleeping bags and let the frame cure. It seemed to work well. I was using a silver base coat and Metal X tinted clear.

Craig
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Old 04-19-11, 02:34 PM   #9
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Rowan, about that invitation to come over for a home cooked meal. I just remembered I have somewhere I have to be that day. But thanks anyway.
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Old 04-19-11, 11:51 PM   #10
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Rowan, about that invitation to come over for a home cooked meal. I just remembered I have somewhere I have to be that day. But thanks anyway.
Don't blame Rowan when you become anemic due to your iron-poor diet.
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Old 04-20-11, 01:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by oldster View Post
I have a setup to paint cars so with auto paints it is not necessary..,By the way as info, at auto paint places you can buy a small hand held gas powered,spray unit that holds 6 or 8 oz of custom color mixed auto grade paint and use it on small areas,,(ie.bike sized)and it does a nice job..
Bud
I used to have a small spray unit that I acquired for painting bike frames. I never got to use it. The bushfires in February 2009 took care of that.

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Putting a freshly painted fork in the oven would cause more marital stress that it would be worth. Or let me put another way, the fork still hot from the oven. would be forcefully put in a different warm(98.6) place.
I do like the idea of building a cabinet for the purpose though.
BTW what is your website?
I do the cooking in our household, so the oven is my domain. I did make concessions, however, with the open wiindows and exhaust fan going full blast. That was as much for my benefit, or preservation, as Machka's.

Anyway, it's her fork, so she can put up with a tiny bit of inconvenience.

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Painting is a chemical process and many work better at higher than room temperatures... many frame makers bake their frames after painting to create a more durable and attractive finish and it does shorten production time.

Kuwahara was notable for doing this and their finishes are among the toughest I have ever seen.

We have an oven for powder coating that can handle a tandem frame and will also bake painted parts in it to get a better finish although with most of our work powdercoat is the desired finish.
I checked the fork this morning before going to work. The resultis outstanding. I noted a small area of orange peeling at the top of one of the legs after I had applied three coats of clear. After coming out of the oven, the orange peeling had disappeared. I am very happy with the result and I will be finishing the re-build tonight.

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Rowan, about that invitation to come over for a home cooked meal. I just remembered I have somewhere I have to be that day. But thanks anyway.
Oh, shucks. The smell dissipated within an hour of the job being completed. Honest!
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Old 04-23-11, 07:31 AM   #12
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Due to air pollution regulations its really rare to see paint baking operations here in Southern California. It used to be quite popular back in the 1960s-1970s. Most of the paints/coatings have been reformulated to meet air pollution restrictions; basically taking out the VOCs, volatile organic compounds, that create the airbourne pollutants. I do visit a customer that does baked coatings, but they're specialized coatings used on military/aerospace parts (really, really expensive, not cost effective on a bike frame). Powder coating is really popular here in So Calif, and baking is an integral part of that process.
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Old 04-23-11, 10:32 AM   #13
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I hope that you both have had a nice Easter break when you get back to read this!

This post struck a chord with me, as my steel 1982 bike has seen many years and touring miles and is ratty looking - I'd really like to do a respray. Can't countenance the high cost of a pro job. I found your webpages, and will study further - thanks!

I've baked with small parts, and it really seemed to work despite my worry that the maximum temp to do the most effective job was a complete guess - and this may differ with different manufacturer's paint formulations. I kind of like the idea of the big-box-with-external-heater of some sort for baking a frame. Since there'd be no temp regulation, I'd include a small low watt (say computer) fan inside to keep the heat charge uniform, plus small adjustable opening(s) on the box and a thermometer - don't want to broil it after all. I lean towards lower temp over longer time - am I being too cautious?

Cheers!
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Old 04-23-11, 01:02 PM   #14
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I used a 1500watt oil filled electric radiator and a small ceramic heater in a huge cardboard box. Cover with sleeping bags and let the frame cure. It seemed to work well. I was using a silver base coat and Metal X tinted clear.

Craig
Just pop the frame in the attic on a sunny day...
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Old 04-23-11, 05:09 PM   #15
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I hope that you both have had a nice Easter break when you get back to read this!

This post struck a chord with me, as my steel 1982 bike has seen many years and touring miles and is ratty looking - I'd really like to do a respray. Can't countenance the high cost of a pro job. I found your webpages, and will study further - thanks!

I've baked with small parts, and it really seemed to work despite my worry that the maximum temp to do the most effective job was a complete guess - and this may differ with different manufacturer's paint formulations. I kind of like the idea of the big-box-with-external-heater of some sort for baking a frame. Since there'd be no temp regulation, I'd include a small low watt (say computer) fan inside to keep the heat charge uniform, plus small adjustable opening(s) on the box and a thermometer - don't want to broil it after all. I lean towards lower temp over longer time - am I being too cautious?

Cheers!
Yes, I should have posted the link eaerlier after a request (but I haven't been to the website for years to update it and the email link is broken...):

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

The reason why I went with the baking experiment was to accelerate the drying-curing process to meet a deadline. The alternative which works just as well, is to leave the part or frame for as long you can before assembling -- that is, weeks or a month. As JohnD says, leaving it in an attic or even a car during the day in summer would do the trick.

Essentially, you are trying to get rid of the solvent in the paint... and that means you really do need some sort of vent in whatever "oven" you create. And you have noted that.

I have noticed that with the paint I used, the paint is still a little brittle despite the baking process. I did use a cheap paint because that was the colour available, but I might do the project over again (yes, I am that finickity) with the more expensive Rustoleum, which I have found to be very durable once it is dried.
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Old 04-23-11, 05:26 PM   #16
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Throw some bacon in there and make it a bacon flavored fork. Or some peppermint, whatever you like so as you ride you can smell the aroma. What a concept. Maybe pie.
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Old 04-23-11, 05:42 PM   #17
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Throw some bacon in there and make it a bacon flavored fork. Or some peppermint, whatever you like so as you ride you can smell the aroma. What a concept. Maybe pie.
Chicken flavour... makes the fork a wishbone!
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