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Copper plate and other alternative finishes

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Copper plate and other alternative finishes

Old 04-03-06, 05:20 PM
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Copper plate and other alternative finishes

I remember seeing pictures of a steel track frame that had been copper plated. I can't find it anywhere - can someone point me in the right direction?

Anyway, it also got me thinking about alternative finishes that might be applied to a bike frame, be it Steel, Al, or whatever. Anybody here done or seen any interesting nontraditional finishes on bikes?
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Old 04-03-06, 05:21 PM
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Ground Up does copper plated track frames.
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Old 04-03-06, 05:31 PM
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http://velospace.org/node/183
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Old 04-03-06, 06:31 PM
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eric doesn't "do" copper plating... he just had his done by someone. also, i'm pretty sure he's selling that bike too...

mid way through this thread eric and the guy aaron who did his frame talk a bit about the plating process:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ghlight=copper
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Old 04-04-06, 01:07 AM
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Old 04-04-06, 01:10 AM
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I was thinking of doing the same thing . . . you'll find atleast 3 examples if your search FGG (but some may be conversions).
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Old 04-04-06, 01:11 AM
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copper plating seems like it would add quite a bit of weight.
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Old 04-04-06, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by sers
copper plating seems like it would add quite a bit of weight.
yup, that was my thought. Plus the idea of cleaning/ polishing it seemed like too much work.
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Old 04-04-06, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sers
copper plating seems like it would add quite a bit of weight.
The weight increase would be negligible and probably lighter than paint. The layer of copper ions on top of the steel is only a few microns thick.
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Old 04-04-06, 01:17 AM
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If you're that worried about the weight, I hope you're running carbon and Ti all over the place.

Cleaning and polishing wouldn't be an issue for me, as I *want* corrosion, patina, etc.
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Old 04-04-06, 06:56 AM
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I think a galvanized steel frame would look awesome. And it would be steel! Old galvanized steel farm equipment from the 50's is still looking good, even though it's been sitting in a field for 40 years.
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Old 04-04-06, 07:46 AM
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According to Eric (the Ground Up guy) the finish is pretty fragile, so not recommended for a street frame.

You can accelerate the verdigris patina process by spraying copper with a mixture of copper carbonate, ammonia and water http://experts.about.com/q/Metals-24...-verdegris.htm

Once it reaches the desired color of green, a clear coat of paint could be applied to protect the delicate plating. I'm not sure how the verdigris would react to the solvent in the paint though, so I think you would want a few very light coats at first.

There is also a copper paint, and oxidizing compound crafty folks use to give a verdigris effect to non-metalic objects. I'm not sure if the paint is suitable for a frame, but you might want to check it out. http://www.timeout4me.com.au/140.htm
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Old 04-04-06, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sers
copper plating seems like it would add quite a bit of weight.
Not as bad as chrome.
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Old 04-04-06, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mattface
According to Eric (the Ground Up guy) the finish is pretty fragile, so not recommended for a street frame.

You can accelerate the verdigris patina process by spraying copper with a mixture of copper carbonate, ammonia and water http://experts.about.com/q/Metals-24...-verdegris.htm

Once it reaches the desired color of green, a clear coat of paint could be applied to protect the delicate plating. I'm not sure how the verdigris would react to the solvent in the paint though, so I think you would want a few very light coats at first.

There is also a copper paint, and oxidizing compound crafty folks use to give a verdigris effect to non-metalic objects. I'm not sure if the paint is suitable for a frame, but you might want to check it out. http://www.timeout4me.com.au/140.htm

cheaper way to speed up the patina process is to just piss on it... really... it works... long story, but it works. The question is do you really want to piss on your bike?
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Old 04-04-06, 07:54 AM
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Depending on the frame, I'd love to try stripped + clear powdercoated.
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Old 04-04-06, 07:55 AM
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Another cool material would be Cortan steel... it forms a layer of rust in a short time and that acts as a layer of protection against further corrosion and is a beautiful rust color... amazing stuff... almost twice the cost of regula steel but who care about that.
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Old 04-04-06, 07:59 AM
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i'd really like to try gun blueing (sp?) on a steel frame.
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Old 04-04-06, 08:33 AM
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anyone here ever see that Crash Worship cd where they peed on copper for the covers. It adds a nice finish
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Old 04-04-06, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by isotopesope
i'd really like to try gun blueing (sp?) on a steel frame.
that would be VERY cool looking. maintenance would be a bear, though... always have to keep the whole thing oiled up.
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Old 04-04-06, 10:04 AM
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I know it's lugged, but check out this copper one:

http://bobbrowncycles.blogspot.com/2...ttle-time.html



I love the way it turned out, I'd definatly ride it.
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Old 04-04-06, 10:20 AM
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Looks like a plumbers bike

I love the frog cutout, and it's definitely been clear coated
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Old 04-04-06, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ZachS
that would be VERY cool looking. maintenance would be a bear, though... always have to keep the whole thing oiled up.
yep, cause otherwise you're going to get a bunch of surface rust...
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Old 04-04-06, 10:43 AM
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anyone ever thought of getting that rhino lining stuff they use for truck beds sprayed on a frame...it would probably be super tough
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Old 04-04-06, 11:00 AM
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About a year ago I visited the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Ashland, Oregon.
I had questions about their lugged frame fabrication classes.
One of the UBI instructors had made a beautiful lugged fixed gear bike, and had the frame plated in nickel.

Yes, nickel.

Find a nickel, the coin we call a nickel.
Look at the color and the soft luster.

Anyway, most chrome plating goes on over a layer of nickel.
Because of the high price of nickel, many plating companies first plate the steel with a layer of copper, which costs considerably less than nickel; then they plate the copper with nickel; and then they plate the nickel with chrome.
Plating companies call this triple-plating and imply they do it to make it better; but they really do it to make it cheaper.

Hard industrial chrome has ten times the thickness of decorative chrome, such as the decorative chrome one sees on a Bianchi Pista, and therefore costs considerably more.
The chrome finish on a Bianchi probably costs less and weighs less than paint.
A hard chrome finish would still weigh less than paint, but it would double the cost of the Bianchi frame.

So this UBI instructor had his or her frame plated in nickel, and it looks, to me, much nicer than chrome.
It has a softer appearance, almost like uncorroded steel, except not as bright.
I like it.

Nickel-plating does not have the hardness of chrome, and wears off with use.
For example, nickel-plated handguns lose their plating to holster-wear and general handling.

Another process, called Electroless Nickel has a hardness and wear-resistance superior to the underlying steel.
Electroless Nickel has no self-leveling qualities, and so it exactly duplicates the texture of the underlying material.
One could have his or bike frame frosted by glass beading, and, after the application of electroless nickel, the bike would appear to have a grey-silver soft-frosted appearance.

Electroless Nickel may have one other advantage over electrolytically-applied metals, in that, I believe, one can Electroless Nickel the inside of the frame; thus making the inside of the frame forever corrosion-free.

My wife has a Nishiki frame with a frosted hard-chrome finish that I assume came from the factory.
It appears soft silver-grey.
I don't know how Nishiki could afford to do this, but maybe scale of operation allowed this at one time.
I doubt if they do it today.
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Old 04-04-06, 11:14 AM
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Hammerite spray is a little heavy but a great unique and bulletproof finish.

Most of the ideas listed so far are interesting and look cool but are poisonous and heavy.

Since we often make a big deal of the relative cleaness of bikes and worry so much over weight...

Which options are light and not poisonous?

chrome and gun blueing agent are both quite toxic either in manufacture or treatment, galvanizing is crazy heavy.

What about handpaintings (Santana in Philly is good) on frames and then clear coating?
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