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  1. #1
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    How does one paint carbon fiber?

    I know this isn't exactly frame building. But, I figured you guys would have the answer over any other sub-forum.



    I have a monocoque carbon fiber frame exactly like the one in this photo. I'd like to have it painted. Would standard local powder coat and bake work? Or is there a special process or materials?

    Thanks,

    C

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    You can't powder coat carbon. You have to heat the powder in an oven to cure it and it reaches temperatures beyond the tolerances of the frame's epoxy resin (it'll melt).

    Normal paint will work fine though.
    Prep sand the frame, prime it, paint it, clear coat.
    Search through Dr. Delton's posts for excellent tips on how to properly apply the above.
    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen
    I believe that in this case "solid meh" means "so 'meh' that it could never be anything more than 'meh', and yet also no less than 'meh' -- in a word, exactly 'meh'"

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    You can't powder coat carbon. You have to heat the powder in an oven to cure it and it reaches temperatures beyond the tolerances of the frame's epoxy resin (it'll melt).

    Normal paint will work fine though.
    Prep sand the frame, prime it, paint it, clear coat.
    Search through Dr. Delton's posts for excellent tips on how to properly apply the above
    .
    Could be a good look.

  5. #5
    Trail Destroyer
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    I was reading somewhere that you CAN powder coat carbon fiber, and that larger industrial coating companies do it regularly. It involved a person actually being IN the oven. I believe that its a lower temperature, and they spray the piece once its warm enough, and the powder actually cooks as its flying through the air. Its sounds a little wishy washy to me, because I thought the piece had to be grounded, or negatively charged. I'm not sure which.

    I could be completely wrong too, I just thought I'd throw it out there. Besides, that would probably cost BIG bucks.

  6. #6
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    What you are painting, to be mister picky, is epoxy, or in the case of a finished frame, whatever stuff they put over epoxy. In some cases it might be a different resin system, though I like epoxy. There are many products designed to finish epoxy, including sprayable epoxy paints. Yacht finishing systems are available, and car paints of course. Some of these are brushable. I refinished parts of my trimaran this summer and the brushed on awlgrip was very hard to grind through. Tough stuff.

  7. #7
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr-14 View Post
    I was reading somewhere that you CAN powder coat carbon fiber, and that larger industrial coating companies do it regularly. It involved a person actually being IN the oven. I believe that its a lower temperature, and they spray the piece once its warm enough, and the powder actually cooks as its flying through the air.
    sounds a lot like flame spray. That's a technique where they heat metal and spray it on metal parts to make them bigger, for example to replace a worn area. Powder coat is melted on, so there is no reason why the melting has to occur while the powder is actually on the part to be coated. Don't think I would want to work in an oven though.

  8. #8
    Trail Destroyer
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    While the ingenuity of different coatings is astounding, applying any of these would be monumentally expensive (I'm guessing). Just not worth it on a bike. A yacht, yes, a bike no. Not for me anyway. To quote someone from somewhere, K to the R to the ylon.

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