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Powder coat information thread

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Powder coat information thread

Old 11-06-18, 04:40 PM
  #1  
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Powder coat information thread

I just brought my first powder coated bike in to the work shop for an overhaul. While cleaning it I realized that I knew nothing about how to handle this material.
How does it react to chemicals?
Heat?
Abrasives?
Does it chip, scratch, peal?
can you touch up chips or scratches?
How long does it last?
How hard is it to remove ( to allow a paint job?)
Does it stain and can stains be removed?
Life expectancy in real world Vs paint.

So, please use this space to impart your wisdom in the use of this new fangled product.

Also, any tales to tell about the product or the process of getting the work done?
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Old 11-06-18, 05:18 PM
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Answered below. My experience is two bikes which I will compare to a 30 year old Imron job.
Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
I just brought my first powder coated bike in to the work shop for an overhaul. While cleaning it I realized that I knew nothing about how to handle this material.
How does it react to chemicals? Grease doesn't touch it. Simple Green seems not to either though I make it a point to water rinse Simple Green cleanings well to protect the metal parts.
Heat? Haven't tried heat
Abrasives? Much softer than Imron.
Does it chip, scratch, peal? Vs chips, superb except my second bike chipped easily when I was setting it up. I"m thinking the pain needed tome to fully set up. Seems fine now. Scratches - see above. Peal - I doubt if I will live long enough to see either bike peel.
can you touch up chips or scratches? Don't know except that I am sure you could use model or car touch-up paint.
How long does it last? See comment on peel.
How hard is it to remove ( to allow a paint job?) I don't know what strippers would work. Blasting shouldn't be an issue.
Does it stain and can stains be removed? I am sure something stains it but my 7 year old powder job is looking just fine and that bike is in no way babied.
Life expectancy in real world Vs paint. I'm guessing excellent within its constraints of hardness/scratch-resistance.

So, please use this space to impart your wisdom in the use of this new fangled product.

Also, any tales to tell about the product or the process of getting the work done?
Powder coat isn't a showroom knock-your-socks-off paint. As a paint for a daily rider to protect the steel under while looking quite decent, there probably is no better paint ever made. (Like any piant, you need to go to someone who knows what he is doing and has the right equipment, Prep has to be good. But I suspect experience with bikes matters little other than knowledge of masking (BB/HS threads and the like) will save you time and effort. In other words, you could go to someone with a good rep but who has never done a bike with your gem and you will get a very good paint job. Just might have to go the local shop or framebuilder to have the threads chased.

I had both my bikes painted through TiCyles. They did work on both frames; a repair on the first, then I had them send the second out to get stripped and inspected because I did not trust it. (I did well to be suspect, There was no braze under the lugs, just paint.) These were several years apart and TiCycles was working with a second powder coater for the second bike.

Ben

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Old 11-06-18, 10:42 PM
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Powder coat requires nasty chemicals to remove, it's really hard to sand blast off. Durability is the number one reason to use it.
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Old 11-07-18, 01:10 AM
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In my days sandblasting I made several attempts to deal with powdercoated items and never found a cost-effective way to remove it. Commonly available chemical strippers would do little other than slightly soften the outermost part, sand bounced off, manual abrasives took far too long due to the thickness, and heat was hit-or-miss when any details were involved. I've also tried to touch-up chips in powdercoat and haven't found a material or technique which gives a seamless repair as can be done on paint. These are good things if you don't care about the future of what you're having powdercoated since it'll look good for a while and then be thrown away when the owner realizes that it isn't worth trying to get it looking good again. It will chip, it will peel, and both the finish and the damage it sustains should be considered permanent. I'd only apply it to disposable objects.

Paint, on the other hand, lasts just as long and can be removed or seamlessly touched-up with ease. It's even easy and cheap to spray at home if you stick to automotive acrylic enamels. Since I dislike the idea of removing a piece of history from future generations this is what I do on the rare occasion that I encounter 50-year-old paint which has actually become bad enough to warrant refinishing.
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Old 11-07-18, 03:25 AM
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Painting over powder coat

Originally Posted by cinco View Post
In my days sandblasting I made several attempts to deal with powdercoated items and never found a cost-effective way to remove it. Commonly available chemical strippers would do little other than slightly soften the outermost part, sand bounced off, manual abrasives took far too long due to the thickness, and heat was hit-or-miss when any details were involved. I've also tried to touch-up chips in powdercoat and haven't found a material or technique which gives a seamless repair as can be done on paint. These are good things if you don't care about the future of what you're having powdercoated since it'll look good for a while and then be thrown away when the owner realizes that it isn't worth trying to get it looking good again. It will chip, it will peel, and both the finish and the damage it sustains should be considered permanent. I'd only apply it to disposable objects.

Paint, on the other hand, lasts just as long and can be removed or seamlessly touched-up with ease. It's even easy and cheap to spray at home if you stick to automotive acrylic enamels. Since I dislike the idea of removing a piece of history from future generations this is what I do on the rare occasion that I encounter 50-year-old paint which has actually become bad enough to warrant refinishing.
Removing all the PC is a massive and tough job but is not necessary.
You lightly sand down the existing powder coat, check for rust creeping under the PC by tapping and listen for a dull donk rather than a healthy ding. Remove the bits lifted by rust and sand as smooth as possible. Treat with rust killer .
There will always be a slight mark where the PC has been removed. Mask the frame for painting as usual but then wipe the surface to be painted with paint thinners. This will soften the PC and provide a key for the primer to adhere to. Don't wait too long for PC to reharden.
Paint as normal.
Use decals, accessories, stops, cables etc to conceal the areas where there is no PC and a mark shows - dark colors help with appearances.
It works surprisingly well.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:05 AM
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Some powders coat thinner and cover better. Ask your coater about his/her experiences.

In general, treating your powder coater like some kind of custom bike painter is the wrong approach. This is not how he/she approaches coating.

Chromed frames generally donít coat well.

Masking lugs, etc. is more of a PITA for coaters and while most are too polite to say so, theyíd prefer not.

If you want a nice, clean paint job, with the vendor hanging on your every word, find a painter and pay the price.

If you want a durable coating with limitations, recognize them, save some money, and let your coater do what he/she says can be done.

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Old 11-07-18, 03:51 PM
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Nothing newfangled about powder coat. Raleigh was using it for most colors, higher production models, in the early 70s. Few ever noticed the difference.

Since many here will just not believe this the source is Gregory Houston Bowden in The Story of the Raleigh Cycle. Gregory being the grandson of Frank Bowden, the founder.
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Old 11-08-18, 05:06 AM
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PC lifted

Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Nothing newfangled about powder coat. Raleigh was using it for most colors, higher production models, in the early 70s. Few ever noticed the difference.

Since many here will just not believe this the source is Gregory Houston Bowden in The Story of the Raleigh Cycle. Gregory being the grandson of Frank Bowden, the founder.
​​​​​
Since many here will just not believe this the source is Gregory Houston Bowden in The Story of the Raleigh Cycle. Gregory being the grandson of Frank Bowden, the founder.[/QUOTE]

I restored both my son's 65 & 66 cm 1980s Raleighs that were both powder coated. Because I have difficulty finding big frames that are well made, I persisted long after it became ridiculously time consuming.
The frame's PC and decals maintained remarkable smoothness and clarity on the surface. Unfortunately some gentle digging with a paint scraper revealed very deep rust that only occurs when moisture(mixed with winter road salt) is trapped between an impervious top layer and bare steel.
The rust had migrated under the PC from the BB upwards and along the chain stays as well as from the top and bottom of the head stem bearing cups.

​​​​​​Both bikes were successfully restored but they were made from heavy duty tubing. I dare suggest any gauge of Reynolds would have been toast by the time we'd stumbled upon the deep rust concealed by the PC.
Like I said the PC that had been pierced by the usual stones strikes, parking up dings, drops etc appeared almost perfect. However IMHO a painted bike would have shown up rust long before it posed a structural threat to the frame.

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Old 11-08-18, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
...then I had them send the second out to get stripped and inspected because I did not trust it. (I did well to be suspect, There was no braze under the lugs, just paint.)
Sorry, I don't mean to derail this thread, but what did you mean by the bolded statement above?

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Old 11-10-18, 09:08 PM
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Coating powders have come a long way in the last decade. I donít agree that you canít get ďknock your socks offĒ finishes with powdercoat. Modern powders now include semi-translucent, sparkly, pearlescent and color-shifting finishes that can be every bit as smooth and glossy and vibrant as liquid applied paint. Columbia Coatings is one maker who offers a wide range of beautiful custom powders. With careful application, bike frame details such as serial numbers, pantograph engraving and lug shorelines can be preserved. The key is working with a coater who has the experience and desire to pay attention to these. My coater is a vintage bike and car guy. He takes pride in his work, and pays extra attention to the details specific to a nice bike frame finish. Iíve had good luck with powder coated over chrome.

Iíve had seven or eight frames coated. A couple of those had clearcoat powder applied over the color that didnít end up as smooth as I wanted, so I wet-sanded them the same way you would wet sand paint. Iíve even wet sanded out a couple of runs in the clear. Results were very satisfactory Ė basically the same as paint.

Powdercoat is more resistant to chips and scratches than most liquid paint, with the possible exception of catalyzed epoxy paint. It will scratch or chip if you hit it with something hard or sharp enough, but Iíve been surprised and encouraged when accidental bumps against doorways or tools have resulted in no damage. Like paint if the scratch is shallow enough, it can be buffed or sanded out. However like paint, this can be much more difficult if the topcoat has metallic or pearlescent elements in it. You can touch it up with liquid paint, using the same techniques. Like liquid paint, the challenge is finding a good color match.

Resistance to staining seems at least as good as paint. I like to clean it up with mineral spirits, then a nice cleaner wax like Maguires. Stains might also be removed by wet sanding.

Resistance to heat is the same as most thermoplastics, since thatís basically what the powder is.

A couple of the frames I had coated ended up with powdercoat in areas where I didnít want it, such as on chrome lugs or socks, or in threaded areas. The heat-resistant masking tape used for powdercoating doesnít like to bend or stretch around complex curves the way painterís masking tape will, resulting in some powder bleed-under at the edges. I was able to easily remove it with acetone and a Q-tip. For thicker areas it might be necessary to use a brass wire wheel on a dremel.

Iíve seen results where clear powder has been applied directly over bare metal, and over time rust ďspidersĒ have developed between the two. The powder likely doesnít penetrate into the metal pores, or provide an electrochemical barrier to corrosion the way a good zinc etch primer will. @Johno59 offers good experience with powdercoat on a frame that will be exposed to repeated heavy moisture and road salt.





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Old 11-10-18, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
How hard is it to remove ( to allow a paint job?)
I saved this link some time back, but have not tried it: Removing Powder Coating Quickly and Cheaply -- Chopper Surplus
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Old 11-12-18, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Sorry, I don't mean to derail this thread, but what did you mean by the bolded statement above?

DD
I didn't see the stripped frame, but Dave Levy at TiCyces was very surprised it held up as long as it did. He got braze to flow into most of the lugs like the frame had just been jigged up. Several tubes were cracked at the ends, clearly from no support from the missing braze. It seems the painter did a very good job of flowing paint in under the lugs. He missed under the DT stop for the shifters. That was open daylight and raised my suspicions.

Ben
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Old 11-12-18, 05:13 PM
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I recently saw a bike that was painted with Cerakote. It looked really nice. Funny thing about that bike was that it was steel, but the color made it look like Ti.

I want to start powder coating. There is a makerspace in Pittsburgh that has the equipment, but I don't know if they have it set up yet.
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Old 11-12-18, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I didn't see the stripped frame, but Dave Levy at TiCyces was very surprised it held up as long as it did. He got braze to flow into most of the lugs like the frame had just been jigged up. Several tubes were cracked at the ends, clearly from no support from the missing braze. It seems the painter did a very good job of flowing paint in under the lugs. He missed under the DT stop for the shifters. That was open daylight and raised my suspicions.

Ben
No way! That frame must have felt like a rubber band from the saddle, and yeah, I'm surprised it didn't come apart at the seams. I've seen the commonly-posted brazing sins of some Raleighs and Pugs (too much brazing material) and even high-end framebuilders with the odd gap in brazing (not enough) - but never a lack of material such as you describe. That had to be some kind of mistake, but damn, how do you make it?

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Old 11-12-18, 05:56 PM
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For what it's worth, there are different types of powder. The most common is polyester based and moving up the food chain there is urethane. The urethane has better resistance corrosion resistance. For you guys considering a powder coat job you may want to talk to the shop and get more information on what material they use.
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Old 11-13-18, 02:35 PM
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I have 2 Bikes that have been powder coated one I had done and the other one came powder coated. Would I do it again?
No. Both frames are developing darker spotted discolorations in the coatings. They were done by different companies. And I have no idea what's causing it.
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Old 11-13-18, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
No way! That frame must have felt like a rubber band from the saddle, and yeah, I'm surprised it didn't come apart at the seams. I've seen the commonly-posted brazing sins of some Raleighs and Pugs (too much brazing material) and even high-end framebuilders with the odd gap in brazing (not enough) - but never a lack of material such as you describe. That had to be some kind of mistake, but damn, how do you make it?

DD
We had a customer way back, his Windsor Pro just could not hold it's headset adjustment.
OK, lets repack it, remove the wheel, remove the brake and Gravity won, the steerer remained in the bike but the crown and blades fell to earth.
What was holding it together? flux and plating. And the front brake mounting bolt.

As to powdercoat, having just stripped another, No, No, a thousand times no on a lugged steel bike. Maybe fillet brazed, any 90 degree edge is just a bad for coverage.
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Old 11-13-18, 04:21 PM
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FWIW anybody can mess just about anything up. Paint, powder, frame construstion or otherwise.

Locally it's about $700 and up to get a bike painted & about $100 for a cheap no-name random powder coater that specializes in deck railings and the like to do a powder job on a bike.

What you are paying for in both is time, & expertise. I've had 4 bikes powder coated. The going rate at the good shop was $175 +tax for strip, blast/cleaning, passivitation, & coating. The full proper frame prep is the important part.

I had 1 frame where there was an issue that developed after 18 months to 2 years of use. The coater offered to do the entire job again for free. Being that it was a $450 irridescent pearlized green under a clear high gloss, I was only too happy to let him rework his magic. At around the same time the shop had a walk out of half their staff, so I chalk this up to personnel issues and not the coating.

Here is my most recent project. Before & after. Rust problem cured.

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Old 11-13-18, 04:29 PM
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Powder is $100 around here, and they do a decent job. You can tell it's powder though. Wet paint is $400-ish and up to $1000. I don't think I would get approval from the finance dept. for too many wet paint jobs
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Old 11-15-18, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
We had a customer way back, his Windsor Pro just could not hold it's headset adjustment.
OK, lets repack it, remove the wheel, remove the brake and Gravity won, the steerer remained in the bike but the crown and blades fell to earth.
What was holding it together? flux and plating. And the front brake mounting bolt.

As to powdercoat, having just stripped another, No, No, a thousand times no on a lugged steel bike. Maybe fillet brazed, any 90 degree edge is just a bad for coverage.
"As to powdercoat, having just stripped another, No, No, a thousand times no on a lugged steel bike. Maybe fillet brazed, any 90 degree edge is just a bad for coverage."

The possible failure of the PC to bridge the 90 degree interface where the lug edges meet the frame tubing helps explain the deep rust creeping up under perfect looking PC from the BB lug. Obviously the BB has the most exposure to the elements coming up off the road surface and its lug has the most 90 degree edges.

As you say a brazed frame would be less vulnerable - but I dealt with the same problem on brazed as well, though it has to be said, not as severe .
Thanks for the informative insight.
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Old 11-16-18, 11:31 AM
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Just some of the frames that I've had powder coated:










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Old 11-16-18, 11:43 AM
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Powder coating gets you 95% of the look for 25% or less of the price of a wet paint job, IMO. It's significantly more chip and scratch resistant than wet paint.

In the examples I show above, you can have multiple colors, you can mask chrome lugs, and you can clear coat over decals.

But you need to find someone that knows how to handle a bike frame.

If you don't have anybody local to go to, I can highly recommend Groody Brothers in Kansas City. Mark Rainey there can do all of the above work, and can also braze on bottle cages, shifter bosses, etc. so he's a one stop shop. There are several other powder coaters I could recommend, but he's used to receiving and shipping frames - and that's mostly all they do.

The ultimate finish will always be wet paint. Powder coating has come a long way in the past few decades, and people who know how to do it well on bicycles has increased as well. I'd only use someone with experience in bicycles, so they know what threaded areas to mask, get the right thickness, especially around lugs, and especially how to media blast thin wall tubing frames without damaging them.
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