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simplest way to paint aluminum kids bike

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simplest way to paint aluminum kids bike

Old 10-27-11, 11:32 AM
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Chris Chicago
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simplest way to paint aluminum kids bike

I picked up a giant 16" bike for my daughter. $10 on craigslist, pretty nice deal. only trouble is she INSISTS on a blue bike and it is black. so I told her we could paint it. but I cant seem to figure out the best way to go about it. and by best, I mean easiest. I did see something about engine enamel paint being a good choice. and read that I should strip off the old paint but I dont want to go through that.

so I'm gonna paint my black bike blue, any tips?

thanks

(if this isnt mech forum appropriate, let me know and apologies)
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Old 10-27-11, 12:33 PM
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I wouldn't strip the old paint off as it is very likely anodized on and will therefore adhere to the frame far better than any new paint you could apply to bare metal. You probably should strip it down to the frame for best results though. From there, your best (low cost) option would be to just lightly sand the old finish to provide a roughness for the new paint to stick to. Pick up a sheet or two of 400 grit sandpaper from the local lumber yard or hardware store and sand just enough to break down the shine of the old paint without going through the factory finish. Clean it thoroughly with plain old paint thinner and allow to dry for a few hours. Then take your can of shake-n-shoot and apply light coats from about 6 to 8" away. Don't try to get it the color you want all in one coat, that will just cause runs. In temps above 70*, a 5 to 10 minute wait between coats is usually sufficient. Eingine enamels are good but usually limited in color choices and typically don't have a very fine nozzle to provide a good finish for something like a bicycle. Duplicolor, sold at Auto Zone comes in a huge variety of colors an is very durable. I have also found that Duplicolor cans tend to have higher quality nozzles than Krylon and Rust-Oleum cans. The better nozzles will yield a better finish. In the end; it IS a $10 kid's bike that they will likely outgrow quickly so I would take that into consideration on how much time and money get spent. If your kid sees you making the effort of stripping the bike down to the frame and carefully sanding and applying paint, they are likely to be very happy that dear old dad is faithfully on the job and the quality of finsih won't mean nearly as much as the labor and love put into the project.

I you want a considerably tougher finish, take just the stipped down frame to a local powder-coating operation and let them strip it bare metal an coat with the color of coice. But that is likely to cost you 10 times what you paid for the bike.

Last edited by cruisintx; 10-27-11 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 10-27-11, 12:52 PM
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Ok this is what u have to do...

strip the bike to bare frame..

Sand the paint job with 500 or 400 grit sand paper, just scuff it, u will use that as base for the new color. The color will get dull just in case.

Now the hard part, what kind of paint do you want to use??? Advice you to use polyurethane car paint, half a pint is more than enough. If you dont have a spray gun use a preval unit. The expensive part will be the clear coat and the reducer for the paint unless u can find reducer in quarts (generic one). The clear I advice you to use nason 4093 (i believe is the number), is sold in quarts and the activator. Dont use any reducer with that clear. Follow instructions, done.

I wont advice you to use rattle can paint from homedepot because it will take forever to cure and sure after a month will be chipping big time.

Maybe u could find a powder coating job for less than 100 that is a good deal after all.

Good luck.
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Old 10-27-11, 01:47 PM
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Make sure to disassemble the bike completely first. If you can't or don't want to remove bearing cups, I've previously just covered them with masking tape before spraying. Any decals will need to be removed- 400 grit glasspaper is good for this when you rough up the existing finish. I'd also recommend using a few coats of clear on top of the colour.
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Old 10-27-11, 04:45 PM
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You don't even have to get sand paper, just get a medium grade scotch brite to scuff it. clean the frame with some degreaser and alcohol, get a flat color close to the top one, and give couple of coat as described by cruisingtx. Enamel aerosol paints are not to bad, however they take more time to cure. clear coat will be a good idea. you can even put sticker after the top coat and then post the stickers in and after that clean careful with alcohol and spray transparent enamel. do not touch the fresh paint, finger print marks are dificult to remove, paint in a warm day.
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Old 10-27-11, 10:50 PM
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If you go the spray route, I've had great results with Oil based Rustolium in the can. I repainted my first beater car that way. Looked pretty good .
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Old 10-27-11, 10:54 PM
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I think you guys are way overthinking this. This is a 16" KIDS bike. How long before she outgrows it? Less than a year?

Here's my process:

- Wash with soap and water
- Mask areas you don't want painted (optional)
- Rattle can
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Old 10-28-11, 08:12 AM
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Scuff it up, blow it on, let it dry a good long time. You're in Chicago, over winter before you assemble it right before riding season in spring.
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Old 10-28-11, 11:39 AM
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thanks for all the tips. i will likely end up taking the parts off bc that aint hard. scuffing cleaning and spraying. maybe a clearcoat. just have to choose the paint i guess.

here is a pic of the bike
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Old 10-28-11, 11:46 AM
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If you want to paint that plastic fender thing, Krylon Fusion (I think that's the one meant for plastic) is pretty good stuff. It'll stick better than normal paint.

Just for kicks, here's my commuter I spray bombed. I did not even bother cleaning or sanding it first. I even painted the rusty chrome fenders, which seem to be holding up well so far. I went with semi-gloss black, which is why it's not particularly shiny.

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Old 10-28-11, 05:25 PM
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I like it! looks good.

hows that beater ride and how'd you get the big chainring off those cranks? i thought those were un-removable.

Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
If you want to paint that plastic fender thing, Krylon Fusion (I think that's the one meant for plastic) is pretty good stuff. It'll stick better than normal paint.

Just for kicks, here's my commuter I spray bombed. I did not even bother cleaning or sanding it first. I even painted the rusty chrome fenders, which seem to be holding up well so far. I went with semi-gloss black, which is why it's not particularly shiny.

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Old 10-28-11, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Chicago View Post
hows that beater ride and how'd you get the big chainring off those cranks? i thought those were un-removable.
It rides surprisingly well, besides being incredibly heavy. A Dremel tool and a few cut-off wheels took care of the big ring. This is my first IGH bike and I'm happy with it so far.
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Old 10-29-11, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
I think you guys are way overthinking this. This is a 16" KIDS bike. How long before she outgrows it? Less than a year?

Here's my process:

- Wash with soap and water
- Mask areas you don't want painted (optional)
- Rattle can
Exactly. That's what I did for one of my boys when he was four, except that I put a smock on him and handed him the rattle can. He had a blast painting it, and is quite proud that his brothers have ridden and still ride that bike.
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Old 10-29-11, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pmt View Post
Exactly. That's what I did for one of my boys when he was four, except that I put a smock on him and handed him the rattle can. He had a blast painting it, and is quite proud that his brothers have ridden and still ride that bike.
that's a great idea, thanks.
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Old 04-12-12, 09:27 PM
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update: nearly 6 mos later i finally got the frame mostly ready to paint. residue from stickers was biggest hassle. cant decide if i should bother taking the cranks off or just covering them up. going to pick the paint this weekend hopefully. stay tuned

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Old 04-12-12, 09:46 PM
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Cranks off. Though it's only a kid's bike, use the opportunity to do as good a job as possible. Though it may be too late, there are some transluscent paints that are made to be applied over a black undercoat. Try to find an auto paint supply, as they can make up small batches and load it into rattle cans.
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Old 04-12-12, 10:17 PM
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Did anyone mention primer? It would be pretty hard to cover that black with anything, I would think.
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Old 04-13-12, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
- Wash with soap and water
- Mask areas you don't want painted (optional)
- Rattle can
I'd skip most of the hassle too, but IMO it'll be no improvement without disassembly and deglossing. Definitely recommend the scotchbrite over sandpaper, particularly for something like a bike frame.
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Old 04-13-12, 07:55 AM
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WOW you really did strip it down, as you are this far, you might as well take the cranks out!

I painted this bike with a foam brush and paint similar to rustoleum, trick is with foam brush painting is to smooth it out and to know it will need at least 3 coats by hand.
it looks great and you cant tell it was a brush job if you do it well.
my daughter helped paint to, she loves that bike.

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Old 04-13-12, 09:14 AM
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your daughter bike looks great!

primer and translucent paint have not been mentioned. my plan is to get a can of light blue spray paint, duplicolor was recommended earlier, and do a couple of coats. turns out the frame is all steel not aluminum, not sure if that changes my strategy.

i've no experience with one piece cranks but if they arent complicated I'll take them off.
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Old 04-13-12, 01:14 PM
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word from the wise- you know your daughter will trash that bike, and your paint.

If you did go with a brush job you can touch it up and no one wil know.

keep it simple on this one, she will not keep it long.

does she know how to ride on 2 wheels yet?
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Old 04-13-12, 02:48 PM
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negative, but she is like greg lemond with the training wheels on .

i see your point.
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Old 04-13-12, 03:16 PM
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I fully agree with the guys that are saying that some are WAY overthinking this. It's a cheap kids bike.

One option I've used for some items of my own including bits I've made for my motorcycles. Flecto brand color enamel thinned with about 1 part mineral spirits/low odor paint thinner to 5 parts paint. This makes a paint with good coverage and that brushes on well and flows out to a spray job like finish. Two coats would be needed to get good coverage over that dark a base but once it dries for a week or so in a warm place it's darn tough.

The other option is engine enamel. Once dry enough to handle stick the frame in between the furnace and hot water tank to "bake" for a couple of days. When fully dry like this the paint is tough as nails.
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Old 04-13-12, 07:18 PM
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is primer recommended with the engine enamel? or other paints?

oddly enough it's illegal to sell spray paint in city of chicago. have to go to suburbs to buy it, silly but true.
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Old 04-13-12, 08:08 PM
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Primer is good if you were down to metal. But the paint that's on the frame already is what is providing the bond. So you're fine to simply scuff it a little to give the new paint a little "tooth" to hold onto and spray away.

Just a thought but I wonder if the ban on selling spray paint is to cut down on the graffiti art. Although some of the stuff is pretty darn good! ! ! !
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