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rattle can painting options

Old 07-19-12, 07:36 AM
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rattle can painting options

Hello. New to the site as a user, although i have read through hundreds of posts before. Now i'm feeling stuck on something.

i have a 1982 Trek 412 that i have stripped to the bare frame and fork. I am re-painting the bike before going to a 650B conversion. I first stripped and sanded and bathed the fork in mineral spirits. Then i applied 3 coats of primer (i am currently using Rust-Oleum products). After two days of letting it dry, I wet sanded it down and wiped clean before applying two coats of paint (bronze metallic). I plan to add 1 or 2 more coats of paint before clear coating.

Now that i have begun sanding down the frame itself I am becoming more and more concerned with the time and money i am spending and whether it is worth it. I have read almost only bad reviews on rattle can paint jobs. I plan to let the bike sit and cure/dry after clear coating for at least a month, if not more, before putting any parts back on. I am purchasing everything new (to me at least) which will take a while.

My question is whether i should just forget it and invest the $300 in a real paintjob/powdercoat or if i just need to let the frame sit and cure for as long as humanly possible after rattle canning it. also, wondering if it is useful to completely rattle can the whole frame and have the clear coat done professionally. I have read that rustoleum clear coat is garbage. has anyone used Eastwood's "Diamond Clear Gloss for Painted Surfaces"??

i've used rustoleum's automotive primer, bronze metallic brilliant metal finish, and have their crystal clear enamel. i have been extremely careful in my preparation, from removal of all paint to not touching the frame what so ever. the fork looks beautiful already in this color, but if it is only going to chip off within weeks/months it is just not worth it. i have heard about making an "oven" with a large cardboard box with a lamp and the bike frame inside. i'd be willing to do this if it will seal the deal. how long should it be left in such a contraption??

i know they're are a million posts on the subject, but i can't seem to find a straight-forward answer to my dilema. I am at a great point to either stop what i'm doing or carry on with some extra advice to help me feel confident in the paint job. thanks a bunch.
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Old 07-19-12, 08:29 AM
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A month seems like overkill, and so does building an oven. If you want to be sure of a fast/full cure, you could probably have a local bodyshop put the frame under their curing lights for a while.

It sounds like you're doing everything right, which is great. I think you're well on your way to a very nice-looking bike. Keep doing what you're doing, and when it's done, shoot it with this stuff:

2K Clear Coat

It's a tough 2-part clear that you can shoot from an aerosol can. LOTS of home motorcycle rattle-can paint jobs have been finished off with this stuff. I've never used it personally, but I've never heard complaints about it. Here's a thread with some example motorcycle rattle-can painting.
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Old 07-19-12, 10:30 AM
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I have had very good luck with Rustoleum in the past, but I always stripped the frame down to bare metal before painting.

Is it worth your time compared to a professional paint job? Depends on how much your time is worth.
It will likely be nowhere near as nice as the job a professional can do.
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Old 07-19-12, 10:41 AM
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I have painted 2 bikes, one rattle can and one using auto grade paint (preval spayers)

The rattle can job looked great, but is simply not as durable as the automotive grade paint.

I would suggest looking at getting the bike powder coated. The cost will be a lot less than the $300 you mentioned. More like $100-150.

find someone who has done bikes before (ask the LBS or check in your regional forum)
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Old 07-19-12, 11:29 AM
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Transparent color paint, i got green, over a black primer , was a nice tone.
it was a green patina of black ..

there are UV cure paints, then you put the finished job in a UV light box.

but powder-coat is practical.. lots of colors now..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-19-12 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 07-19-12, 11:51 AM
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Powder coat for a bike is nowhere near 300 bucks locally here....more like the 100-150 mentioned.

Best paint jobs on bikes I've seen are an auto epoxy like Imron, but you need a guy who does it
regularly, like an auto body shop painter.
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Old 07-19-12, 11:55 AM
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My experience is spray paint might look good, but it doesn't last. You prepped the frame as good as possible, it's the paint itself that will let you down. Had my Univega powdercoated. With sandblasting, it cost $115.00. Worth every penny.
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Old 07-19-12, 11:58 AM
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Here's a question for you:

Is the original paint on a factory-bought bike tough enough for you?

Because your rattle-can paint job with a 2-part clear (like the 2K listed above) will be as tough as that. If you want/need something tougher, go with powder coat, but keep in mind that you'll be missing out on the chance to wet sand it to a mirror-smooth finish.
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Old 07-19-12, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Syscrush
Because your rattle-can paint job with a 2-part clear (like the 2K listed above) will be as tough as that. If you want/need something tougher, go with powder coat, but keep in mind that you'll be missing out on the chance to wet sand it to a mirror-smooth finish.
I don't know what brand of bikes you are buying, but I have seldom seen a factory bike that looks as bad after 2 years of hard use as any rattle-can spraed bike. Factory paint jobs are great. I like my rattlecan bikes, but they are nowehre near the quality or toughness of factory paint. THe only exceptions are the occaisional bad batch of frames or defective paint jopbs that most shops see maybe once or twice per year, max.
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Old 07-19-12, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Syscrush
Here's a question for you:

Is the original paint on a factory-bought bike tough enough for you?

Because your rattle-can paint job with a 2-part clear (like the 2K listed above) will be as tough as that. If you want/need something tougher, go with powder coat, but keep in mind that you'll be missing out on the chance to wet sand it to a mirror-smooth finish.
Is there any compatibility issue with a 2 part clear which is designed to go over Automotive paint and rattle can color?

My limited (2 bike experience) is that the automative stuff (from an auto paint store) from primer on was way higher quality than rattle can from hardware or general auto stores.

Starting with an acid etch primer is also really good.

My rattle can job of a few years back is really getting bad....so it will most likely be powder coat for me.
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Old 07-19-12, 01:07 PM
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I think rattle-canning always ends up as a waste of time. The paint never develops the hardness or the bond you really want. I did a cheap frame once, using automotive primer followed by 'engine block' spray paint, which I thought would be pretty durable. Weeks later I could still take it off with a thumbnail. If your frame has value, definitely get it painted in a pro shop.
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Old 07-19-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
Is there any compatibility issue with a 2 part clear which is designed to go over Automotive paint and rattle can color?
Yes. Not all rattle-can paint is created equal. There are different chemistries and they don't all play together well. You'd want to ask the maker of the clear you intend to use if it's compatible with the paint you've already applied, and then you'd want to shoot some test pieces as well to make sure that the good stuff doesn't just eat the other stuff.
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Old 07-19-12, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes
I think rattle-canning always ends up as a waste of time. The paint never develops the hardness or the bond you really want. I did a cheap frame once, using automotive primer followed by 'engine block' spray paint, which I thought would be pretty durable. Weeks later I could still take it off with a thumbnail. If your frame has value, definitely get it painted in a pro shop.
Engine block paint is supposed to bake on from the heat of the engine. It won't properly cure otherwise.
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Old 07-19-12, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DCB0
I don't know what brand of bikes you are buying, but I have seldom seen a factory bike that looks as bad after 2 years of hard use as any rattle-can spraed bike. Factory paint jobs are great. I like my rattlecan bikes, but they are nowehre near the quality or toughness of factory paint.
Agreed, factory paint jobs are tough to beat.

Were your rattlecanned bikes finished with a 2-part clear? Were they wet-sanded between primer, basecoat, clearcoat, and polished after that? If you take those steps, you should end up with a result that's as tough as factory paint, and probably smoother.

If you powdercoat, it should be tougher than factory paint, but generally not as smooth - although modern powdercoat is very nice stuff.
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Old 07-19-12, 02:46 PM
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You can order automotive grade acrylic basecoats and two part urethane clear coat rattle cans from here:

https://www.levineautoparts.com/

They will mix your color from an auto paint code.

I have done this many times on paint repairs to my cars. It's a little expensive, but very good paint is anyway.

Tony
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Old 07-19-12, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
Powder coat for a bike is nowhere near 300 bucks locally here....more like the 100-150 mentioned.
In Boston, if you go to one of the few places that specializes in bikes it actually is. Don't know what it's like in Maine.
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Old 07-19-12, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Syscrush
Engine block paint is supposed to bake on from the heat of the engine. It won't properly cure otherwise.
See that's exactly my point - the amateur is never going to know all the fine points and is unlikely to really succeed. I figured there was something special about the engine block paint. So it needs heat to harden - but you'd still think that eventually, with enough time in the sun, it would completely cure. I think it eventually did get harder, but I never got over the feeling that it was a flop.
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Old 07-19-12, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
Powder coat for a bike is nowhere near 300 bucks locally here....more like the 100-150 mentioned.

Best paint jobs on bikes I've seen are an auto epoxy like Imron, but you need a guy who does it
regularly, like an auto body shop painter.
+1 Shop in Atlanta charges $100 for frame and fork. $300? Shop more. Consider shipping it, you can send a medium sized frame via USPS for less than $25 each way. I've considered shipping a frame, not to save on the PC job, but to get someone that was more experienced at it/better reputation.
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Old 07-19-12, 05:16 PM
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I don't wet sand between coats. I apply the next coat within the time frame recommended by the paint manufacturer, usually within 1 hour. That goes for both acrylic enamels and urethanes. The only reason to wet sand is to keep the paper from clogging. I use 3M pads that don't clog. They also don't scuff the paint off of the edges of the lugs. The only time I let the paint dry completely is after the last color coat, so I can apply the decals. That's when I use a maroon 3M pad to scuff the paint to get good adhesion of the clear.

I did this one with rattle cans to prove it can be done well. Four coats of color and four coats of clear acrylic enamel. It's been a year and the paint is fully hardened and there are no scratches or chips.



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Old 07-19-12, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aja8888
You can order automotive grade acrylic basecoats and two part urethane clear coat rattle cans from here:

https://www.levineautoparts.com/

They will mix your color from an auto paint code.

I have done this many times on paint repairs to my cars. It's a little expensive, but very good paint is anyway.

Tony
In my experience, even auto store touchup paint like Duplicolor works just fine, as long as you have a good, tough, 2-part clear over top of it. Unless you need to match a color exactly, I don't think you gain a lot by ordering something more exotic.
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Old 07-20-12, 05:39 AM
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Dupli Color touchup paint is lacquer. It's too brittle to hold up well on a bicycle. They also make a line of acrylic enamel which is more appropriate. I've had good results with the wheel paint. None of them is anywhere near as tough as a 2 part urethane.
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Old 07-20-12, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois
Dupli Color touchup paint is lacquer. It's too brittle to hold up well on a bicycle. They also make a line of acrylic enamel which is more appropriate. I've had good results with the wheel paint. None of them is anywhere near as tough as a 2 part urethane.
That's valuable info.

And I can't believe that I'm the first to say in this thread that your red bike looks awesome.
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Old 07-24-12, 07:01 PM
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thanks for all the replies.

Grand Bois, i can not understand for the life of me how you were able to get a bike to look that good. I will assume that the photos you posted are from a bike that has also been ridden a fair amount. I also have a 1976 Raleigh Grand Prix frame in rougher shape and I will try your exact methods on that after this project.

this bike I am working on is very special to me. It will be my workhorse as well as my long distance bike (charity rides, centuries, possibly rando rides). I need the paint job to hold up to a lot of use (not abuse: use).

while I appreciate the "$300? shop around more" typical dikish commentary, i would like to note that your assumptions have made an ass out of you - not me. I have shopped for a powder coater and/or painter anywhere that i can get the frame to (Maine/New Hampshire/Eastern Mass) and the prices are $275-300. Those are the facts. The only powdercoater with a reasonable price that i have found is https://1offpowdercoating.com/Services.html who seems like more than a good fella and also specializes specifically in bicycles. His prices are reasonable and also beat the locals even when including shipping to Arizona. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, go to this guy if it is within your geographical range. However, i do not want concern myself with the potential liabilities involved with shipping, etc.

Everyone else, thanks for the advice on the rattle can brands. I'm going to assume that this bike is not the project for such paint jobs by a beginner.

I've recently gotten wind of an automotive guy who may be willing to paint a bike frame. From what I hear his work is meticulous and his prices should be the winner.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:29 PM
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You have to paint that with polyurethane car paint and clear coat or the thing will start chipping quite quick. Some people say rustoleum is ok but sincerely is not even close to work as good as polyurethane paint. Well when you start getting chips as soon as you are putting it together you will see what i'm talking about.

Second option is Powder coating, but if you want to do it yourself and something durable like a car paint job, you have to go Polyurethane.
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