Clear coating raw steel on the cheap?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by maurtis, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, so my Cranny could not take the awesome power of my China Girl. Ok, it probably has more to do with me needing to go on a diet... She is developing hairline cracks in several places, so I am swapping frames before she disintegrates at 40 MPH.

    I am on a tight budget and came across a rust bucket 1988 Schwinn. While not a Chicago, I am hoping it will last longer than the Cranny did (about 300 miles). Admittedly my 2002 Cranny was a poor example since the welds looked like they were done by a trainee who was mad and drunk.

    So this weekend I plan on stripping the two coats of paint and surface rust off of the "new" bike. Since my painting skills suck more than my building skills (which is not saying much), I was thinking it might look cool to just clear over the raw steel, probably using Rustoleum spray clear.

    Any idea if it will work out ok? I do not mind repainting every couple of years, or even yearly, so not overly concerned with long term durability. I am just looking to try something cool before caving in and taking it to get painted the right way, which means someone else other than me, lol.

    So the plan is to strip the paint, polish it up with a brass wire brush on my drill, spray a few coats of Rustoleum clear, then let it cure for a few days before swapping my HT and parts over.

    Or is this doomed to failure before even starting?
     
  2. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,301
    Likes Received:
    25
    I'd suggest trial fitting things prior to spending too much time making it look nice. That way if you need to adjust something you won't scratch up your efforts.

    As for applying clear over bare steel, yes, it will work but every blemish will show. Scratches, gouges and the pattern left by your wire brush will be right out there for the world to see. Also whatever clear coat you choose needs to be something that will stand up to gasoline. Spills are inevitable.

    Tom
     
  3. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Word on the internet has it that the Rustoleum clear will stand up to gas after it has cured, so it must be true!

    Thanks Tom, I will see how the frame looks after I get the paint and rust off. Maybe if it looks bad enough, people will assume that I made it by hand! laff

    That is a good tip on test fitting, too! While this is a standard Schwinn cruiser, it cannot hurt to strap the motor in for giggles.
     
  4. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Glad I checked fitment first, like a bonehead I completely forgot the research I did last year on mounting to the old Schwinns and just assumed it would bolt up without any custom mounts... d'oh!

    So looks like I will mount to the seatpost using the stock mount, and have a mount welded to the front tube. My neighbor has a wire feed welder that he uses to make picnic tables, hoping to bribe him with beer to weld a simple front mount to the frame for me.

    Something like this (I forget who I stole this picture from, but thanks for the example!):

    [​IMG]

    I still have the flat mounting flange that came with my BGF kit, so was going to use that. For the tube section, would a piece of seatpost work ok? I have the 1" seatpost from my Cranny build left over, so I could cut that down to fit...
     
    #4 maurtis, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  5. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,301
    Likes Received:
    25
    Maurtis,
    Just a word of caution. Get your neighbor to do the welding, then give him his bribe. You'll get a better job. :)

    On a more serious note I'd also suggest not using the rubber like the photo you posted shows between the engine and mount. That will come back to bite you in the form of broken engine mount fasteners or the mount itself. Bolt it solid to the mount, no rubber or resilient material in there. And yes, the 1" seat post material will be sufficient for that mount. Just make sure the welds are good.

    Glad things are working for you.

    Tom
     
    #5 2door, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  6. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Tom! LMAO, I did not even notice the rubber there, but I agree, solid is the way to go. That is something that I actually did not have a problem with on my Cranny, the SBP studs and mounting kit. It was everything else that tried to die, lol.

    Seeing all of the space in the new frame makes me want to ditch the HT and go Preddy (which is my intended next build), but since I already have so much invested in the HT, might as well get her in running form again to have something to tool around on while I slowly gather the parts for the 99cc Preddy build.
     
  7. leaded50

    leaded50 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2011
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
    The durability of a paint clear coat want be good, only for a time, perhaps a year out in rain & sun. Clears without color pigment, dissolves fast whatever brand or type. Tested & true. Chemist says something about no reflection of rays from the top, but also from inner part of substance. And as mentioned, all failures show!!!
     
  8. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    My girl is a garage queen, so only spends time outside when I ride. And I know this will not be a very durable finish, so if I can get a year before she looks jaundiced or rusts over again, I will be happy! And if it does not work out, I can always strip the clear and use actual paint...

    Once I get finished with the rust spots, she will have a good number of pits on her surface. I figure it adds to her character, she has history! Or it might look like poo, we shall see ;)

    Here she is after two coats of Citristrip pain stripper and a couple hours with a wire wheel on my drill. I really, really need an air compressor...

    [​IMG]

    For reference, this is what I started with, she had a layer of green paint over the stock yellow:
    [​IMG]
     
    #8 maurtis, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  9. moonerdizzle

    moonerdizzle New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    nice looking bike, and rustoleum clear coat is pretty durable, i used it on a set of bmx forks i stripped and let get a bit of surface rust before coating them, they still look like the day i cleared them and that was 5 years ago.
     
  10. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    After days of stripping, grinding, and sweating, I gave up on being an exotic dancer... uh... I mean I gave up on the idea of just clearing over raw steel. I just could not get a consistent enough finish to where I would not get mad at myself every time I saw it a little down the road.

    Here she was today after getting the last bit of paint off and after a little buffing with the polishing wheel and rouge:

    [​IMG]

    It is supposed to storm over the next few days, so once it clears up I will polish off the layer of rust that will surely have formed, and the put on a coat of primer. Still trying to decide on a color. Maybe black like my Cranny was, maybe bright silver? Paisley? Maybe...
     
  11. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2012
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    0
    a friend of mine made a sign for the entrance of my garage "redneck manufacturing"
    on his cnc plasma cutter.
    welded the lettering back in from the backside and buffed it up to bring out the lettering.
    i put an automotive UV CLEAR on it about two years ago.
    still as good as the day i sprayed it.been hanging outside the whole time.
     
  12. Nashville Kat

    Nashville Kat Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    1
    Reading this and looking at your build Maurtis, it strikes me that your unpainted bike looks a great deal like mine painted with chrome paint, I just wrote quite a bit about in the "Painted motor" thread here- there's a picture there.

    http://motorbicycling.com/showthread.php?t=40646

    Anyway the chrome paintr will give just as shiney a look, will cover the blemishes and protect the frame and can also be then clearcoated- a large spray can iis about $5-

    Some is more "chromey" than others- I recommend Red Devil at Big Lots over the less shiney Krylon at wal-Mart- but theres a lot of it retailling out there these days- I even use it on my car- tailpipe and muffler to keep rust away
     

    Attached Files:

    #12 Nashville Kat, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  13. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks NK, I saw the picture of your bike in the other thread earlier and thought the same thing, that a chrome paint might give me a similar look without the headaches.

    Right now I am leaning toward the chrome paint or a metallic gunmetal gray, and clear coated with the Rustoleum clear engine enamel, which claims gas/oil resistance.

    Thanks!
     
  14. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not ready to give up! Going with my gut and keeping at it.

    I looked at the bike again today in the sunlight and the finish is not as bad as I thought it was yesterday when it was overcast. I think a couple more hours with the buffing wheel and some elbow grease with hand polish and a microfiber cloth and I will be ready to clear coat. Picked up two cans of the Rustoleum clear engine enamel at Autozone.
     
  15. moonerdizzle

    moonerdizzle New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    paint stripper and a stiff nylon bristled brush works best. It leaves behind unblemished metal when its done.
     
  16. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nylon, interesting! I stripped the paint with stripper followed by a brass wire wheel and I have been polishing with a medium buffing wheel on my drill and "regular" rouge, followed by a soft buffing wheel and high gloss rouge. Then a final cleanup with metal polish and microfiber cloths by hand.

    I also treated the rust spots with naval jelly, but it did not do much since I had already wire wheeled most of the rust away. There are some dark pits left, but I was not too agressive about completely eliminating them since I did not want to take too much of the frame material with it.

    I really like the shine and finish this process brought out, but my issue is that it is not consistent on different parts of the bike. I think I can even it out eventually, just with many more hours of work.

    If a nylon wheel will help get a more consistent finish, I am definitely up for giving it a shot!
     
  17. dragray

    dragray New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    if i were you...I would have just gone over the frame with a scotch brite pad to remove as much loose rust and paint as you can(not down to bare metal) and then clear over the rust and old paint.
    this would have preserved the original finish and give the bike the "patina look" that everyone is after. But, it;s your bike, not mine.

    If you have polished the bare metal of the frame and if you're going to clear coat it, you should use some wax and grease remover on the metal before you clear it.
    the clear may not stick because of the polishing compound.
     
    #17 dragray, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  18. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Definitely! I was planning on using either a Simple Green & water solution, or dish soap & water before clearing.
     
  19. culvercityclassic

    culvercityclassic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,071
    Likes Received:
    47
    I am a little late to helping you but wow have you spent some time on this frame prep.
    I have a way that is quick and easy: I use Jasco to remove all the paint, such an easy process. Then I scotch Bright the complete frame. When finished I wash with soap and water to remove any left over Jasco. Wipe down with lacquer thinner and shoot some clear over the complete frame. I love the finish and as you can see in the pictures all the flaws in the tank show which I love. Ya know nice paint jobs require too much work, one scratch or chip kills it.

    Raw metal with clear...rocks...

    http://www.wmbarr.com/jasco/default.aspx


    The paint gun is from HF and the paint (clear) I get at the swap for 30.00...
     

    Attached Files:

  20. NunyaBidness

    NunyaBidness Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    There are a few folks here that I pay attention to when they post. CCC is one of those people. If he gives advice on something I listen, he knows what he is talking about. I know you've already done most of the work and it is looking great. We all know an easier way now thanks to CCC.
     

Share This Page