How to repaint a bike frame

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by OrangeBrian, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. OrangeBrian

    OrangeBrian New Member

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    Is there any instructions on how to completely repaint a bicycle frame and fork? I Am going to buy a used bicycle but i want to know on how to repaint the bike from scratch.

    What Type of sand paper do i use to take off the old paint?
    What type of filler do i use to fill in dents and what not?
    What type of primer do i use?
    What paint do i use?
    Any Tools i have to use or buy?
    Special procedures?
    What type of paint do i use to paint the motor?

    Thanks
    Brian From hawaii
     
    #1 OrangeBrian, Mar 8, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  2. K.i.p

    K.i.p New Member

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  3. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    So much depends on the bike's condition, your expectations, budget and resources. Can you afford to buy tools for this one project? Can you borrow them - or are you planning to do more bikes in the future? How bad is the bike's condition - is it simply the wrong color, or is it all crusty & rusty? By "used" do ya mean "cheap" or vintage... both? Do ya want a jaw-dropping show stopper and will do whatever it takes to make it - or just a nice lookin' daily driver? Are we talkin' a weekend here - or a full winter project or more?

    heh - I'm not tryin' to be difficult, there's simply "tricks & shortcuts" that are different depending on whatcha want... for the best of the best there's little corner cutting that can be done, and it really outa be decided before ya start. Still, I don't wanna give ya the wrong idea - fixin' up an old bike is not hard and can be lotsa fun ;)

    What Type of sand paper do i use to take off the old paint?

    This depends on the bike's condition, if ya really want alla old paint off - then sandpaper isn't the way to do it. Striping the bike down completely is far easier if ya remove ALL parts and beg, borrow, or buy a sandblaster. In less than half an hour you'll have a spotless raw steel frame. BUT caution must be used if it's aluminum (as well as a different blasting medium), older steel frames have brazed joints - gotta be careful with that too 'cause they're far softer than the surrounding steel.

    No sandblaster? Bummer... ok, a 4" side handle grinder with a wire wheel will be a lil more labor intensive but outa still make short work of a bike's scruffy paint & rust. A low-cost muti-purpose tool that ya outa consider havin' anyway if yer gonna get into this game - it's just a bit dangerous tho so watch yer fingers and leave the guard on - ya bind up in a corner made by two pipes and it's gonna kick lol. Safety glasses are a must have as it'll shed lil bits o'wire at about mach 10. Yer lookin' at about an hour or two plus some detail work with this method... longer if ya want "perfect" - the 4" wire wheel just can't reach into some of the corners. Speakin' of which, ya prolly want to get a Dremel for the detailing as well as about a zillion other projects that'll come up later.

    IF the old paint isn't all that bad and there's not too much rust, then the above just isn't necessary. Not to mention using the original paint as a base coat can be far stronger than any rattlecan primer, this is when we get into sanding. Tryin' to get paint/rust off w/o power tools? I'm lazy and don't like it - but sometimes it's gotta be done. For the tough stuff I tend to use 80gt... it's tempting to use 60gt but that can often cause more labor later sanding out scratches. Try not to skip more than 20 "grits" or so with the rough stuff, the finer ya get - the more ya can skip till ya get to the really fine stuff. The progression for cleaning & feathering old paint to clean steel usually goes somethin' like this: 60, 80, 120, 200, 280, 320 etc., the finer grits usually come later in the project to blend in imperfections. DON'T CHEAP OUT - with sandpaper the cheap stuff will cost ya more as you'll use a freakin' ton of it as it'll lose it's cut almost the first pass, particularly on metals - get the best wet/dry paper you can afford or you'll be filled w/a urge to smash things.

    IF the paint is in really good shape and ya just don't like the color, all ya need to do is "frost" the surface to get the primer/paint to adhere. In this case it is far easier to use steel wool - not the soapy things under the sink, check yer local hardware store for 000 and 0000 grade steel wool. That's not a typo - that's how they grade the fine "grits" of steel wool heh, three zeros is fine, four is super-fine. If yer doin' aluminum get stainless wool - if not, don't bother and get the regular stuff. This is true for aluminum and wire brushes as well BTW as non-stainless will contaminate aluminum.

    Once that's all done and lookin' good - wipe it down with acetone or denatured alcohol (camp stove fuel) and a terry cloth rag (towel/washcloth). The terry's lil "fingers" pick up dust & grit where a cotton cloth will just smear it around - the soft cloth comes later for polishing an already clean surface - any grit with a "smooth" cloth will result in scratches. Oh right - obviously acetone & denatured alcohol are both crazy flammable so make sure to have good ventilation and DO NOT use power tools when there's a buncha fumes... I tend to do the wipe-downs outdoors because of that. If you don't have an air compressor, those cans of air for cleanin' yer 'puter work really well for those nooks & crannies... but that can get expensive and yer 'puter will get jealous lol

    What type of filler do i use to fill in dents and what not?

    This is one of the very few things JBweld is actually good for (ZOMG heresy heh), though it's a bit of a pain to work - it's really tough and sticks well. Still - I tend to prefer bondo's 'Plastic Metal' (No. 901), it comes in a 5oz tube and you'll prolly not need more than that. It's a fine enough consistency to "feather in" well to the surface and not leave an obvious ridge if sanded with 320gt or finer. If yer still havin' a problem with lil ridges and/or pits and the super-fine paper isn't helpin' - there's a ultra fine filler sold just for that purpose, but ya shouldn't need it for this.

    What type of primer do i use?

    I'm gonna assume yer gonna do this rattlecan style, that ya don't have a nice detail HVLC paint gun and compressor. There's almost endless options in spray paints, tho there's far better - I tend to use good old Rust-Oleum sandable primer, get a bunch of it as you will be sanding it lol, the more coats and the finer grit paper = the better the paint job. Three coats (not sanding the last) usually does the trick, but I tend to use it to see how bad/where my fill work needs be touched up. If yer bike had a lot of rust to start with - it couldn't hurt to use one of the rust blocking variants... tho I've noticed it doesn't "blend" quite as well. Oh right - you'll wanna get a complementary color to your top coat, if yer bike is gonna be dark blue - get black primer, red? Get brown or oxide etc. - the base coats can effect the top coat's tone... tho not a lot.

    What paint do i use?

    Again assuming the lack of a spray gun and keeping budget in mind - 'Dupli-Color Engine Enamel' is one of the best options as it's low-cost yet quite good, best yet as it's an engine paint it's fuel resistant. The catch is it comes in a limited color selection so if yer after somethin' different than the few different colors available - you may hafta sacrifice that fuel resistance... not a big deal - just try not to spill gas when yer filling it up lol or paint just the tank/engine with the fuel resistant stuff and the rest of the bike in w/e color ya want... I like the 'Dupli-Color' regular paints for that too.

    Remember - a buncha light uniform coats with mebbe a lil super-fine sanding in between results in a FAR better job than tryin' to lay it on thick. I tend to hang the project upside down and start with all the tricky corners and stuff first - that way when ya flip the bike over for your final coats you can pay attention to makin' it look uniform and not hafta sweat the details or worry about gettin' runs as ya try to get that one missed corner.

    Any Tools i have to use or buy?

    Beyond the materials needed like the sandpaper, steel wool, and paints there's no tools ya really hafta use or buy, but there's a buncha stuff that'll make yer life easier. If this is the only bike ya plan on doing - then it's mostly just the Dremel multitool as there's so much other stuff that can be done beyond just this job. If ya wanna get a lil more - then it's the 4-5" side handle grinder. Again, it's a multi-purpose tool that can grind, cut, wirebrush etc. so it's an investment suitable for a buncha stuff other than just the paint job. Beyond that it's mostly labor-saving so it's up to you.

    Special procedures?

    Time and patience and a clean dry environment. For real - again I'm not messin' with ya heh, the more attention to detail, the more willing ya are to sand and recoat, even a touch of fine filler here and there to sand and recoat again - the better it'll look. Gotta let the paint/filler dry & cure FULLY before messin' with it - and even I have problems with that lol, primer ya can cheat with a lil as it really does dry quickly - but filler and paint really do need to set overnight for the best results... depending on temperature and humidity ofc. Your sandpaper will tell ya if you've been impatient - if it develops "gumballs", lil gobs/pellets of paint/filler on it - it's not fully cure and you've jumped the gun.

    What type of paint do i use to paint the motor?

    The 'Dupli-Color Engine Enamel' I mentioned before is the easiest and most economical paint to use. Painting as complex a surface as an engine can be... tricky, yet you'll still get a better job than one painted at the "factory" as those tend to be gawdawfull. Still, ya might wanna consider a pre-painted engine if ya haven't messed with one before as the best way to paint an engine and have it look sweet is to disassemble it and paint the components separately. It's not tough really (ya do hafta remember to decontaminate the greasy with acetone) but it's something best reserved for when ya do a buncha internal engine mods anyway... which you most likely will get into at some point heh.
     
  4. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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  5. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Very nice, Barely. Wish I'd had this before my first go at this. I'll use it as a refresher before the next one.
    SB
     
  6. azbill

    azbill Active Member

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    some good tips/details there barely !!!
    thanks (^)
     
  7. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Thanks guys, but there's really a LOT more to "cuttin' corners" but still havin' somethin' fine to look at - but it depends so much on specifics that the above is just the basics :(

    *shrug* still - it's somethin' to start with FTW ;)
     
  8. freewheeling frank

    freewheeling frank New Member

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    im agonna post a pic here if i can this was a univega that i bought from the thrift store for 15 bucks, i sanded it by hand starting with # 80 and worked down to 200. one of the mistakes i have made in the past is ignoring the decals, and i mean just painting over them, this bike i used krylon rich plum for the down tubes and xmetals for the rest the whole thing was undercoated with the xmetals silver converter and the tank and forks was done in well im looking at the can and there is no name or number but its purple number one is be patient i have probably 50 hours into this bike40 into taking apart and putting it back together maybe 10 into mounting the mill etc. still not complete but close the pics are not that great and ya its in the house havent had sunshine here for a while so the pics are a little dim even with flash , ya all take care frank for some reason i cant post the pics ill get on this when i have more time ok i think i have this done just had to find the files, you guys are great keep it up
     

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  9. fasteddy

    fasteddy Active Member

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    BarelyAWake, as always first rate information. Just in time too since I'm going to start mine tommorrow if my shoulder heals from sanding the sidecar.
    What is better than enough varnish? Even more varnish.

    My brother is saying HT and shaft/prop and I'm thinking outboard. Mabe the next one.

    Steve.
     
  10. K.i.p

    K.i.p New Member

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    *snicker
    Nicely written Barely, good you have the patience to do that (writing it all down).
     
    #10 K.i.p, Mar 9, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  11. Bikeguy Joe

    Bikeguy Joe Godfather of Motorized Bicycles

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    I will add that I have successfully used chemical stripper, fast, easy, and no dust!
    You can strip just the paint and leave the primer if you want.
     
  12. Bikeguy Joe

    Bikeguy Joe Godfather of Motorized Bicycles

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    Also, I use automotive spot putty to fill in the boo boo's.
     
  13. Steve M

    Steve M New Member

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    Great job BarleyAwake!
    Steve.
     
  14. OrangeBrian

    OrangeBrian New Member

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    thanks BarleyAwake I think Ima do this over the spring break to keep me working not to just stay online the whole day. Alos to answer some of the questions i am doing rattle type spry but i just didnt know what type to use and i dont know how to paint period.

    by reading what you said I got this: Sand it down or Use chemicals to strip the paint, and use tools with wire brush attachment.
    then spray primer dry it then sand it down to refine it and repeat 3 times.
    then spray my Color choice Of rattle cans. Do i sand it?
    then spray again.
    then clear coat.

    Oh yea what type of clear coat do i use and do i have to put a clear coat?
     
  15. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    If ya've never spray-bombed before, I dunno if ya wanna have a bike as your very first attempt as it's all tubing - the hardest surface to paint uniformly. I'm not sayin' "don't do it" but I really think you'd benefit from pickin' up a few cans of the cheap stuff and practice painting... something you don't care too much about lol. Check out youtube's thousands of vids about spray painting for technique - even the graffiti guys. You'll notice their "pifft, pifft, pifft" style - gently "airbrushing" by repeatedly pushing down and releasing the spray nozzle, not just holding it down and coating everythin' in one shot... excepting the last coat where uniformity is key to a nice gloss finish, even then it's long passes off the edges of the project, releasing and doing it again - that's the stage were practice is so needful.

    I wish I could describe it better... but it's hard w/o a vid lol


    Sand it down or Use chemicals to strip the paint, and use tools with wire brush attachment.

    I never recommended chemical strippers or even sanding to strip ALL paint - that's the side-handle grinder w/a wire wheel attachment's job. I've used chemical strippers a bunch (was my job for quite a while) and there's no way in heck it's worth the toxic mess and pain in the butt cleanup for something like a bike. The better the stuff it is - the nastier it is... and trust me, it's freakin' NASTY business. Still, if anyone is interested for w/e reason, some of the best stuff I've used is the rather oddly named Aircraft Paint Remover - but again, it's bad, bad, BAD stuff, stay away from it unless you've no other choice... It certainly isn't any easier in the long run than a high-speed wire brush, which you'd prolly need to use even with paint stripper lol

    (sorry Joe - I jus' noticed it was you that recoed chemical strippers... to each their own lol, there's defo more than one "right" way to do things and that's a fact, but I still try and avoid the toxic death heh)

    then spray primer dry it then sand it down to refine it and repeat 3 times.

    Sanding the primer coat is only "as needed" - you may get lucky and get it perfect the first try, or ya might need a buncha coats with fine grit sanding wherever needed... if you've skillz, it tends to be three coats or less - but it's totally job-specific and depends entirely on your standards... Ima picky SOB heh

    then spray my Color choice Of rattle cans. Do i sand it?

    Sanding between color coats is... tricky with spray paint is it's far softer and thus more "gummy" than say yer standard auto paint. Drying time is critical because of this. Spray a coat in the cool shade - out of direct sunlight (or you'll get wild variations 'cause the paint is drying bfore you've finished the coat) then move it into the sun to "bake" the finish, or ya can use strong halogen worklights focused on the project to get the same effect (no closer than say two feet) - and/or just be patient and let it cure overnight (at least 60 degrees F w/o a lot of humidity). Then you can wetsand with 320gt or finer as needed. Remember - if the paper develops "gumballs" stop - it's not ready to sand yet.

    Still - sanding between color coats is the same as "needing" to sand between primer coats, while it will provide a superior finish, it's only "necessary" if you wanna do it - or you've got drips and runs to fix.

    then spray again.

    *shrug* again - it's project specific and depends on whatcha want. I'd not be happy with less than three coats as I tend to use the first color coat as a "base" to spot imperfections and sand as needed, then a "filler" coat to build up the paint to help w/scratch resistance (this coat is not any thicker/heavier, remember - multiple thin coats better than one thick) and sand only if needed, then my shiny "topcoat" the one that's supposed to be "perfect" heh

    then clear coat. & Oh yea what type of clear coat do i use and do i have to put a clear coat?

    I loathe rattlecan clear coats... actually come to think on it - I hate ALL clear coats lol They're a serious pain, overrated and tend to yellow and peel with age. I'm not sure but few (if any) are even fuel resistant. While some can have nice results - I wouldn't bother given the ease of simply waxing to achieve such a desired effect. People often don't realize this but wax is actually far more a protective layer than a simple cosmetic addition or an excuse to hang out by yer car ona weekend.

    Containing UV deterrents and being "ablative" it's slick surface helps to prevent damage to the paint itself and it's easily fixed up with just a soft cloth, whereas with a clearcoat yer lookin' at strippin' down the bike to sand and repaint, even if it's just the clearcoat that's messed up.

    This stuff is by FAR the most incredible wax I've ever used and with a bicycle - a $12 16oz bottle will last ya a lifetime lol: 3M Marine Liquid Wax part# 09026
     
    #15 BarelyAWake, Mar 10, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  16. DonBrouhaha

    DonBrouhaha New Member

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    #16 DonBrouhaha, Mar 10, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  17. OrangeBrian

    OrangeBrian New Member

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    im ust going to wet sand it
    spary with white primer
    spray my neon orange
    then wax.....
     
  18. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    HA! Talk about a "nice uniform coat" laff

    Sounds lika plan OrangeBrian - and now yer name makes sense ta me heh ;)
     
  19. OrangeBrian

    OrangeBrian New Member

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    heheheh orange has been my favorite color since 2nd grade hehehehe ive always wanted something that i can relate to and thats orange hehehe... i started riding a bike since i was 3 so my bike is my life. and i said to myself if my bike aint working i aint going anywhere. so yea

    also withe the in between parts of working on repainting the bike
     
  20. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    Another tip - don't get too attached to any one coat as ya can jus' sand it a bit and do it again... Murphy's Law dictates that the harder ya try for perfection the more likely ya'll mess it up somehow heh

    With the wax thing - ya only wanna do that ifn yer 100% convinced it's "perfect" and the last yer gonna paint it as you're contaminating the heck outa the surface with the wax. I only mentioned wax as an alternative to the troublesome clearcoats - I don't use either TBH. Should ya decide the super-shiny is too hard to resist and go ahead and wax yer bike (which is ossum too), if ya wanna re-paint it it could be a nightmare to try and "clean" the wax off by just sanding and/or acetone as both just smear it around and don't clean wax very well - the better the wax the tougher it is... that's it's job after all. If ya hunt around a bit there's some handy & really good de-waxing solvent available, used mostly for prepping boat hulls for paint (gelcoat has wax embedded in it), check any local marinas for the good stuff or include "hull" as a keyword in a google search. There's stuff available for cars too - it just isn't quite as good... it'll work tho.

    Although I try and paint my bike as spiffy as I can - I'm well aware that as much as I ride, the paint job is somewhat "disposable" and no matter how careful I am, it's gonna get all messed up pretty quick. With that thought in mind I detail high-wear areas (rear rack, dropouts, chain guard, etc) with a different color semi-gloss which hides imperfections better and is easy to "touch up" as needed. As I use a semi-gloss black to do this on my bike I can cheat even more and use a quality paint marker for those lil touch-ups (fasteners marred frm workin' on the bike etc.), it's a heck of a lot simpler than breakin' out the rattle-can and maskin' off everythin' for one lil spot.

    Ifn ya ride a lot then yer prolly lookin' at tearin' the bike down in the winter for a quick repaint, gotta have it lookin' sweet come springtime right? ;)
     

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