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repainting a bike frame

Old 08-13-12, 10:52 PM
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patrickonofre
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repainting a bike frame

Hello, I was planning to repaint my bmx style bike frame and I have been reading a number of ways to get the coat of paint off the frame. I was wondering if anyone could help me with the proper steps I may needs to take to remove the paint from the frame and to repaint the frame.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:08 AM
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The easiest and least expensive way to get a new finish on any bike is to have it powder coated. Other than that, you have rattle can, or automotive paint. To remove the paint, I use paint stripper. Follow the instructions on the can. Oh, to do a good job you have to disassemble the bike completely.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:31 AM
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And to do a good job, you can't really use rattlecans; the stuff doesn't cure hard enough.

It's not the sort of job I'd do myself, and I do as much as possible of my own work.

Painting frames is a right PITA and requires proper equipment for a good result.

Although if it's an aluminium frame, you can get a pretty good result by stripping it raw and giving it a brushed finish with Scothbrite or a plastic kitchen scourer.
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Old 08-14-12, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
And to do a good job, you can't really use rattlecans; the stuff doesn't cure hard enough.

It's not the sort of job I'd do myself, and I do as much as possible of my own work.

Painting frames is a right PITA and requires proper equipment for a good result.

Although if it's an aluminium frame, you can get a pretty good result by stripping it raw and giving it a brushed finish with Scothbrite or a plastic kitchen scourer.
Tell me more about the brushed aluminum finish. Do you have any pictures?
Thanks,
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Old 08-14-12, 08:42 AM
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patrickonofre
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Will the paint stripper in any way weaken the structure of the frame making it more vulnerable to rough terrain?
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Old 08-14-12, 11:07 AM
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If steel the answer is no, but w/o paint will get rust. If aluminum the answer is no, but again, w/o paint will get rusty.

If carbon, no idea what will happen.

Good luck and do not use rattle can.
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Old 08-14-12, 11:43 AM
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I have repainted many bikes with rattle cans and had fairly good results. If what you are looking for is a high quality job of a classic restoration then no. if you are looking for a super tough surface like powder coating then most likely not. But if you want something cheap and ok I wouldn’t rule it out. I have never bothered to take things down to bare metal, if the factory paint is hanging on that good all I have ever done is sand it smooth and then use auto paint for the paint and then several coats of clear over that. Primer and paint and clear. You can also get epoxy paints in rattle cans and that paint is pretty tough. Follow directions though as epoxy need to have coats put on one after another or wait 48 hours between. If you let harden and then recoat soon it will wrinkle. I have never cleared over epoxy.

I have a couple bikes I rattle canned that have been rode a lot for at least 4 years and they still look good.

It won’t be a show piece but won’t cost a fortune ether. If you are worried about trying get a junk frame and experiment.

Here is a bike I painted after about a year. It was GMC truck blue.



.
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Old 08-14-12, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by owen006 View Post
Tell me more about the brushed aluminum finish. Do you have any pictures?
Thanks,
Well for a start,
Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
If aluminum the answer is no, but again, w/o paint will get rusty.
Aluminium doesn't rust; it gets a protective oxide coating that lasts pretty well, unless it gets exposed to salt... chlorine corrodes it, IIRC.

My bike's finish is pretty rough; up close it shows all kinds of scrapes and a little mild corrosion here and there, and the top tube is fairly polished, and a spot on the front of the seat tube, from portaging it. But I kinda dig it that way, and from a short distance it looks bloody great. I think of it as a kind of rat race bike... it gets a few comments too. I'm pretty sure it'll be dead from fatigue before it dies from lack of paint; I've already had to trim 6mm off the top of the head tube to remove a crack.

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Old 08-14-12, 02:35 PM
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Does anyone who does rattle can jobs use appliance paint? I recently repainted the side of a refrigerator and was thinking as I was doing it that the paint might work well on a bicycle.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:10 PM
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I just recently took a steel frame to bare metal and repainted and built it back up. While it looks nice from a distance, the paint is soft and I have some issues with how it went on. I didn't have a proper location to do the painting. Oh did I mention its a huge pain in the butt? After I stripped the paint using terrible chemicals, I learned of a place that would sand blast the whole thing for $50. Which is way less then the cost of chemicals/supplies plus all the labor to do it. They also do powder coating but I didn't get a quote on that. I used this more as a learning experience. If I end up keeping the frame, I'll probably just powder coat it once all the paint rubs off enough.

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Old 08-14-12, 03:47 PM
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Cool bike. I reckon it could use some pin stripes or something...

But powder coat wouldn't look as good on it as it would on my frame; it's thick stuff, and obscures the lugs a bit.

...Although you can get whatever you like printed on it these days; sublimation powder coating is cool stuff.

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Old 08-14-12, 08:41 PM
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I painted a couple of different bikes back in the day. At the time, all I had access to was enamel in spray cans. While color selection is pretty good, and they're easy to use, the durability of spray enamel is not good at all. It didn't take long before my paint jobs looked pretty beat up. Powder coating works well, but you have to be careful with aluminum. Some powders require fairly high curing temperatures, which can anneal the aluminum. Also, while epoxy, whether appliance spray paint or powdercoat, is tougher than enamel, it is not resistant to UV. It will oxidize and become chalky over time.

If I were going to paint a frame now, I'd use a catalyzed automotive enamel from an auto body supply. It's a good bit more expensive than what you would get at a home center, but will last much longer. Color selection is essentially infinite, with metallics, pearls, and lots of other options available. Some places can put the paint into an aerosol can, if you don't have a spray rig.
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Old 08-14-12, 10:59 PM
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I'm not a real painter but have painted boats and done touch-up jobs. These days, two part polyurethane from an automotive or boat supply place is a good and very durable material available in all colors of the rainbow.

I have not seen anyone recommend the Preval painting system. These are used frequently in yacht repair for small jobs, which is what painting a bike frame would be. I've seen a real painter spraying Awlgrip do a perfect mirror finish on a 55 foot custom sailboat. https://shop.preval.com/collections/p...preval-sprayer
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Old 08-15-12, 04:52 PM
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I dont have a spray gun but i use the preval with polyurethane, good stuff.
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Old 08-15-12, 10:58 PM
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I live in the Twin Cities. There is a guy in the area that will sandblast and powdercoat your bike for $65. I had him do my daughter's Basso. I would have spent nearly that much on decent paint and the chemicals necessary to strip the frame not to mention all the time it would take.
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Old 08-16-12, 06:06 AM
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When I once bought a used bike from a shop the lady salesperson who was quite savvy told me not to repaint it. It had a few nicks and insignificant rust spots, but was a quality Fuji. She said it was much less likely to be stolen if it looked as is. I just sandpapered the rust off and added a clear coat of nail polish or something similar.
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Old 08-16-12, 07:03 AM
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I'm no pro painter, but I am a long-time woodworker and DIYer. The Preval system looks pretty innovative, but the consumable "power unit" cost will add up quick. Reminds me of the aerosol cans of Propel compressed air I used to buy for my hobby airbrush years ago. For $45 you can get an electric HVLP spray rig from Harbor Freight. Despite being Chinese-made, it's a pretty good unit that gets lots of good reviews. I bought one to spray lacquer and polyurethane finishes on furniture, and it works quite well. If I ever painted I bike, that's what I'd reach for.

For a one-color paint job, if I didn't already have the rig, $65 for turnkey strip and powder coat would be tempting. Again, make sure the powdercoat is polyurethane, because epoxy will oxidize. And, if the frame is aluminum, don't cure above 400 deg. F. If it's carbon, then powdercoat isn't an option.
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