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How to repaint bike well?

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How to repaint bike well?

Old 11-09-12, 08:42 PM
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masterofsilence
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How to repaint bike well?

Hello,

My bike is REALLY scratched, but I'd rather not fork over $300 for a pro to do a repaint when I already have an (plenty big enough) air compressor. I don't have any paint guns or paint tools yet, but that's where my question starts. I'm sure there are many of you that are quite experienced with painting frames. Could you all recommend me what to buy and give me tips? Like paint guns, best paint brands, how to paint, primers, clearcoats, whether or not to make custom decals that look the same as the original but don't scratch off since they're under the clearcoat, stripping, how to take the bike apart without forgetting how to reassemble, whether or not to remove BB, and just tips in general. I try looking around the internet for tips and guides on this, but they don't ever seem detailed enough and there's always so many ways to do one thing, which further confuses me.

My frame is chromoly steel, it's a bridgestone xo-3 with simple decals, which makes me think I can use stickers to create a lasting logo in the new paint job. My dad is great at painting, me not so much, but I'm getting better and better, so I'll have assistance from a more experienced person on this. The deal is, he's never done any pro-like paint jobs either, just spray painting, house painting, and other small things. So I'd like to learn from the experts on this to help us both do a good job, since after all, this is a great bike and I don't want a paint job that starts flaking in 3 years.

Thanks.
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Old 11-10-12, 12:10 AM
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On the surface it may seem like $300 for "a pro" to do the paint job is a bit much. So you want to do it yourself? If you are only considering this (one) paint job, you'd be better off farming it out.

You have a compressor already, but that's just a start. You need some type of filter system and water trap and pressure regulation. Guns? It depends. For a one time job there are some decent $40 guns, but you need to have the experience to get the most out of them. However, the same applies to a top line gun. One can easily spend upwards of $300-400 paint gun. But you gotta know how to use it. The "pro" has, and most likely does.

Materials? Modern materials are expensive and one could easily spend $150-200 in materials just to paint one frame. The biggest problem is the minimum order requirement. And, without experience in the application of these materials, you could waste the whole batch. What if things go well? What are you gonna do with the leftovers?

Frame prep? It's key to a good paint job. It also requires some skill and knowledge- not to mention a little bit of equipment.

I don't mean to scare you off, but to gear up to do the type of paint job the pros deliver is ouitside the capabilties, and budget of a beginning painter.

"flake off in three years?" Hard to quantify that one. You will not find a guarantee on any paint job that covers three years.

Solution? Powder coat is one. Another is give it a go yourself.
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Old 11-10-12, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by masterofsilence View Post
My bike is REALLY scratched, but I'd rather not fork over $300 for a pro to do a repaint when I already have an (plenty big enough) air compressor. I don't have any paint guns or paint tools yet, but that's where my question starts. I'm sure there are many of you that are quite experienced with
Ditto what other person said if a one-time only job, also that $300 could drop a lot if you remove everything, strip paint off bare, and take to a local shop that does powder coating or a car place. I'd imagine you'd get in the $100 area or less.

You can use rattle cans yourself too, bringing budget to $20. Mixed results can come, durability.
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Old 11-12-12, 10:12 AM
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I have painted two bike one rattle can and one using automotive paints (using a preval sprayer ....which is a rattle can you put your own paint in) The auto paint is far more durable.

either way it costs more than you would think. Even spray can you get a lot of overspray (ok I did) and you use up way more can's of paint than you would think

I put over 160 bucks into auto paint supplies and the prevals. It is hard to get small quantities, so you will have leftovers for other jobs. I also alerady had a good mask which is needed.

the work is a lot also this is what i did based on research here and assuming steel frame

1. strip frame to bear metal (chemical stripper) you want no old paint as it causes bumps in the end surface
2. put gloves on...used scotchgard pad on frame.
3. Clean frame with acetone or paint prep
4. coat acid etch primer.\
from now on follow recoat times and temps to the letter
5. Coat of fill primer (pros put a coat of one color on and then a coat of contrasting color to help in gauging sanding)
6. Sand smooth with fine paper 600 grit or so
7. remove any dust
8. color coat (thin coats, at least 3 maybe more depending on color) follow recoat instructions
9. clear coat (thing coats 3-4) follow recoat instructions


I swear my utility bike will get powder rather than a paint job as it's rattle can is getting really dinged up.

As with all do it yourself there is a huge reward, but in this case it is not financial, IMHO
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Old 11-12-12, 10:19 PM
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The big auto parts stores like Autozone and O'Reilly's carry Duplicolor paint in rattle cans. It's pretty good stuff. Use their self etching primer, O'Reilly's carries it, Autozone doesn't. Pick out a few cans of their paint and go for it. Put down lot's of coats. Use Duplicolor clear on top. Walmart carries 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper in their auto department. Great for sanding between coats. Swirl remover from the auto parts store will give a nice finish. Be patient and let the paint cure for at least a month when you are done. I have no chips after a year, even where the chain slaps the chain stay.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by busdriver1959 View Post
The big auto parts stores like Autozone and O'Reilly's carry Duplicolor paint in rattle cans. It's pretty good stuff. Use their self etching primer, O'Reilly's carries it, Autozone doesn't. Pick out a few cans of their paint and go for it. Put down lot's of coats. Use Duplicolor clear on top. Walmart carries 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper in their auto department. Great for sanding between coats. Swirl remover from the auto parts store will give a nice finish. Be patient and let the paint cure for at least a month when you are done. I have no chips after a year, even where the chain slaps the chain stay.
I used duplicolor for my first paint job...you can get a nice looking end product, but it not even close in durability compared to real auto paint and catalyst clear. This is very clear when i compare the duplicolor job on my commuter vs the auto paint job on my son's fixie.

So if a person doesn't abuse the bike too much duplicolor might work..... as as noted before the costs are more than you would think even for duplicolor. think chemical paint remover, 1 can etching primer, one can fill primer, 2-3 cans color (but I may be a really bad painter I did thin coats and has lots of over spray) and 2-3 cans clear

as a inveterate do it your selfer, it was really satisfying to paint the bike myself, but dollar wise it was not really cost effective.
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Old 11-13-12, 12:01 PM
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To minimize cost and still have ownership in the effort, do most of the prep work then outsource the paint job. Whoever does the paint will still do some minimal prep but the majority of it can be done by you.
In disassembly, use 3x5 cards and ziplock sandwich bags to identify groups of parts, front brake, bottom bracket, headset, all in seperate bags with cards to identify if you need to. When a project lasts weeks, this is good way to keep the parts together. I place them all in a plastic bin like the ones sold in Costco, or a shoe box with the rest loose. You can also use tie straps to keep the sequence of parts in order like a head set. Assembly screws with washers in the right sequence to minimize loose parts.
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Old 11-13-12, 12:43 PM
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Seems the OP wants more than a rattlecan job so here's a few things for him to keep in mind;

You will spend better than half of that $300 on material and a cheap (but very serviceable) gravity feed gun. And you'll learn something in the process. But you really won't save much money if that's a factor. On the other hand, you may become the next Joe Bell.

Disassembly - well, everything must go, headset, BB, all of it. If you're a competent mechanic then that'll all be easy. If you're a beginner then take detailed pictures of the bike as you disassemble.
Some things, like the headset and bottom bracket require special tools, you'll need to buy or make your own or take it to a shop.

Stripping - Again for best results, strip down to bare steel. Commercial paint strippers work well. Just follow directions and wear eye and skin protection.
With the paint gone, you can tend to any rust, small dents etc. Do a careful inspection for cracks and other flaws in the frame and fork, no point in painting a problem.

Prep - Conversion. Most primers adhere much better to steel if it's been treated with a phosphate converter. Some two part primers are etching primers that contain phosphoric acid and don't
require conversion. Again follow the directions on the primer, including application pressure, temperature and reduction. In general there are two classes of primers, sealing primers and build (sandable) primers.
That $300 paint job you mentioned would include both. You need to apply a sealing primer, the sandable primer is optional if you can get a perfect surface on the sealer.
Be meticulous, if you screw up here there's no point in going any further with the job.

Paint - Two part acrylic coatings are readily available from auto body shop suppliers, online stores etc. Dupont, BASF, PPG are all fine. You may be limited to what you can buy by local or state air pollution laws.
All these systems use a pigmented base and a hardener (or activator etc) and a reducer, basically a thinner. Again FOLLOW the directions on the can regarding application pressures, temp and reduction. In general the "paint" is applied and allowed to flash off for a very short time, usually less than an hour then you apply the clear.

Clear - get a clear compatible with the color. That's why these pairs are called "systems". Typically clears are applied in multiple coats with wet sanding between them. This does require patience since you need to wait several days before sanding (or oven bake in an IR oven). Then shoot the next coat and repeat.

Gun - You CAN get very usable small gravity feed guns for very little, look at Harbor Freight for instance. If you can buy two. One for primer and color and one for clear only. Any air source will need to be water and oil trapped. Any oil in the air will cause fisheyes so buy a decent oil trap. A 4 oz. cannister gravity feed touchup gun is perfect for shooting bikes.

Safety - All the materials you'll be using are toxic. FOLLOW the safety measures on the MSDS for every material you use. That will include at very least skin and eye protection and a respirator.

Best advice can give is - make friends with the counterman at an auto paint supply and pick his brain. Practice using any gun you buy. Shoot yard furniture with Rustoleum or something just to get used to putting down a
layer with good coverage and no runs. Enjoy learning and be creative.
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Old 11-13-12, 01:24 PM
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Paid $120 for a powder coated job (frame, no fork, single color) couple months ago. Frame was stripped of parts and painter did blasting and masking. YMMV.
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Old 11-13-12, 02:34 PM
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I mean, as far as practicality goes, should I really worry about repainting if there's no rust from the scratched spots? I really don't want to deal with this, since I know that if I get a new paint job, my OCD will kick in and I'll freak out whenever a scratch appears. Right now, I don't have that problem since it's an 18 yo paint job. Also, how well does fingernail polish do as touch up paint?
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Old 11-13-12, 05:16 PM
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"i really dont want to deal with this..." then dont! Practical in what sense? like most have said you are going to learn a lot and possibly feel warm and fuzzy knowing u did it yourself. Saving money is possible, however it is more likely to result in a less than "perfect" paint job. If you dont actually care about it because its already old and scratched then... whats the dilemma?

not trying to be negative, i have gone through something similar recently. I learned that intent is the key to most any decision making process. What is it that you desire for your end result? If you just want to keep riding and dont care about looks then, slap on the nail polish and be done with it. if you just want a new look and dont care about small imperfections and details then powdercoat is a good solution. if you want smooth as a babies backside perfection then paint is a better option... just picture what you want in your mind first and go from there.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:15 AM
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One money saver I have used is to prep the frame and leave it with a auto repaint shop with general instructions/request to "next time you shoot a car in deep red, please also shoot this frame for me while you have the paint mixed and gun is up and running." I have had reasonable luck getting a $50 to $75 paint job using this technic and a good bit of social engineering to grease the skids.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cale View Post
Paid $120 for a powder coated job (frame, no fork, single color) couple months ago. Frame was stripped of parts and painter did blasting and masking. YMMV.
There are a huge range of prices for PC. Call around if that's a route you choose. We have several in my area and I was quoted from as low as $75 up to $125 for a single color frame only. Including stripping and media-blasting.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TampaRaleigh View Post
There are a huge range of prices for PC. Call around if that's a route you choose. We have several in my area and I was quoted from as low as $75 up to $125 for a single color frame only. Including stripping and media-blasting.
yes definitely shop around, i got mine done for 75$ frame & fork blasted and single color. this place was very experienced with bicycles though so im sure that has a lot to do with it. here's what it looks like, not bad for ZERO work on my part. that was my main incentive, as my time is less abundant than my $$ at the moment.




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