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Spray paint for bike frame?

Old 08-12-05, 10:18 AM
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BryE
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Spray paint for bike frame?

I'm thinking of painting my bike frame. I've spent hours searching the forums, and I know I should get it done by a pro, powdercoated, imron'ed, etc., but that route is too expensive (or, in the case of DIY imron, too dangerous - I like my personality the way it is, thanks ).

So I'm going to go the spray paint route. I've looked through several sites for DIY spray paint (this seems to be the best), and I'm looking for recommendations on brands, types of paint, ...

For you DIY spray-painters out there, what brands have worked best for you? What types of paint are the most durable (lacquer, enamel, polyurethane)?

I'm thinking I'll follow the above link's advice, except that I'll try to find a polyurethane enamel clearcoat for the top layer (according to the Duplicolor website, you can safely layer enamel on top of lacquer). Does this sound reasonable?

As an aside, does anyone have experience with the Duplicolor Mirage color-changing paint? It looks cool, but it seems like you have to really layer on both the paint and the top coat, and I'm afraid the result would be way too soft.
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Old 08-12-05, 04:56 PM
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IMHO, if you want a real professional result, get a professional. If you don't have any qualms about showing your DIY ethic on your sleeve, do it yourself and keep it simple. I took an old Trek, sanded off the old paint, smoothed it, gave it a coat of primer, and two coats of a dark pewter color. Not all this sanding in between coats, etc. No clear coat over the top. The guys at the LBS, once they noticed that I had painted it, were pretty impressed. It's all in the smooth even stroke. And if I scratch it, no big deal. If it's down to the metal, I'll clean it up and do it again. Fast, easy, and maintainable.

Edit - here's a pic. Still has the crappy orange pedals I bought to replace the clips.

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Old 08-12-05, 08:31 PM
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Of the conventional spray cans, Duplicolor and Plastikote are the most consistent quality. One option I prefer that costs a little bit more is to get a Preval spray canister. It is a jar that you screw a propellant canister onto, making anything into a spray can.
That allows use of more durable automotive paints that are only available in non-propelled variety.
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Old 08-12-05, 09:18 PM
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Whenever I paint a bike or something like that I use different caps than the ones that come on spraypaint. Various caps that are usually used for graffiti murals can give you a wider radius of spray, and if you hold the can upside down you can spray out some of the aerosol to reduce the pressure. makes the paint apply a little more evenly.

If you go with plain old spray paint I'd stay away from Krylon even though they have a larger color selection. Tends to be more "watery".
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Old 08-12-05, 09:55 PM
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You are right about enamel over lacquer; but the reverse is not true. Can't do lacquer over enamel.
The difference between the tqo is that lacquer dries by evaporation, while enamels dry by a chemical reaction. Lacquers dry faster, but enamels are more durable, especially when clearcoated.
As far as brands go, Duplicolor is a good quality spray.

As mtbikerinpa has stated, a PreVal sprayer is a neat option, if you can get auto paints that require reducer and/or hardener. The difference is the finish is quite noticeable, and these paints far exceed spray cans in terms of durability. I recently did my first frame with a PreVal, and it came out pretty good. Here's the link to the "Classic and Vintage" thread

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/129478-my-first-attempt-paint-design.html
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Old 08-13-05, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by duane041
As mtbikerinpa has stated, a PreVal sprayer is a neat option, if you can get auto paints that require reducer and/or hardener. The difference is the finish is quite noticeable, and these paints far exceed spray cans in terms of durability. I recently did my first frame with a PreVal, and it came out pretty good. Here's the link to the "Classic and Vintage" thread

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=129478

PreVal - never even heard of it before, but it certainly sounds like something I want to try. I have an auto body supply store in town, so I'm sure I can get the paints (or, if nothing else, I can try to buy left overs from one of the dozens of local auto body shops in the area). How was it to use? Do you just throw out the PreVal propellant canister when you're done? What did you use for a breathing system and eye/skin protection?

Thanks guys, that's fantastic advice. I'd about given up hope for a really durable finish, and I was probably going to get Duplicolor auto enamel instead of the auto lacquer for the increased durability, but I would have been limited to about 16 color choices.
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Old 08-13-05, 11:16 AM
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Yep, I'd go with a quart of two part urethane and shoot it with a disposable preval. You can do clear over solid or all solid. I did my oclv frame 5 years ago with this stuff on recommendation from the trek paint guy and all I've got is a little rub spot on the chain stay now, which is pretty good. It's the next toughest thing to powdercoat, but I'd call an auto paint supplier and tell him what you're doing just in case there's a newer better product out now.

Buy one PreVal aerosol cartridge/bottle and one extra cartridge in case you run out of air. The auto paint store should have those. You'll need a mask too, get one made for paint fumes, not just a dust mask. Those are totally worthless. You'll have a lot of overspray with a bike frame, so use a fan and/or drape some plastic drop sheets. Wait till it's fully cured, not just dry but cured, to reassemble or you'll chip it out around the seat clamp and forks. If you get spots that need repair, a run, fingerprint, bug etc.. you can finish sand with succeedingly fine grits till it shines up.

Last edited by Michigan; 08-13-05 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 08-14-05, 12:33 PM
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Just to throw out another suggestion (and one I'm considering if I have to do any hard paint work) is POR-15 paint. ( https://www.por15.com/ ) My boss at work got the Hardnose paint for our concrete lab floor (read: heavily abused) and it's been great. They specialize in rust prevention and car-type paints, and they have great paint removers and degreasers too. The only things that look annoying about the stuff is price, not a huge selection of colors (though not bad for the engine enamels) and if put on sloppily with a brush or done wrong it would probably look a little crappy, though they say it "runs flat" when brushed on. (plus it's probably HEAVY as paint goes) Some kinds can be thinned to spray on with a gun. After seeing the results my boss got with the black stuff on his T-Bird's undercarriage, I'm sold until I can find something stronger.
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Old 08-14-05, 02:19 PM
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POR15 can discolor in the sun, the recommend top coating it with another paint if it is a 'cosmetic' part. I probably wouldn't paint a whole bike with it for that reason, but it is a great rust preventer, and rust curer.

peace,
sam
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Old 08-14-05, 09:32 PM
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POR is a killer product in non-uv applications. We use it in the body shop for coating trunks and insides of body panels. It however is not the best adhesion promoter for a paint finish. A bottle brush with it will be a nice touch for tube junctions internally, but it is awkward to apply to a bike. The product I prefer for frames is Extend. It can be sprayed or squirted into the tubes and is low-build.
Preval canisters are just like normal spray cans as far as disposal is concerned. You will need to read as many datasheets as you can get for your particular paint, as some will require thinners/reducers/activators.
The store you purchase the supplies from should be able to provide you with this as well as safety equipment.
You will want a minimum of a NIOSH approved paint mask, and a lot of airflow. Remember when they write the datasheets they assume a constant airflow of 125 cfm through the paint room at 70 deg. At that ammount of volume the threat to breathing is minimal if any. One item of note about urethanes is the medical hazzard is not so much the particulates as the fumes. The particulates are filtered by your propper mask, but the Iso-Cyanate hardener is a neurosystem alergen to some people. You should only be able to smell it ever so slightly if anything at all if your airflow is sufficient.
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Old 08-15-05, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by BryE
PreVal - never even heard of it before, but it certainly sounds like something I want to try. I have an auto body supply store in town, so I'm sure I can get the paints (or, if nothing else, I can try to buy left overs from one of the dozens of local auto body shops in the area). How was it to use? Do you just throw out the PreVal propellant canister when you're done? What did you use for a breathing system and eye/skin protection?

Thanks guys, that's fantastic advice. I'd about given up hope for a really durable finish, and I was probably going to get Duplicolor auto enamel instead of the auto lacquer for the increased durability, but I would have been limited to about 16 color choices.
PreVal sprayers are great, like a mini spray bomb that you can put any color into. Aside from what's been said, I should mention that the spray canister gets very C-O-L-D when you spray, so don't be alarmed.
I have a mask that I use, and I have the luxury of using a 30,000 sq ft room to spray in, so fumes weren't an issue.

Again, as mtbikerinpa said (sounds like my kinda gal), get the data sheets for the paint you're using, if you can. They will show mixture ratios, dry times (dust, tack, cured, etc), and clean-up. If your shop uses PPG colors, the Omni AU (Acrylic Urethane) is priced right and is very durable. Plus, you can ask them to add a little sparkle to the color (my guys are always giving me extra silver and gold metallic to get the matches just right). Let us know how it goes.

That being said, I have a question for mtbikerinpa. How do you keep from getting the dimply overspray on the opposite side of the frame tubes? I shoot the right side, and the overpsray dimples the left, so I spin it around, and then vice-versa. Drove me nuts. Any pointers??
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