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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to paint an existing frame myself.

I'm wanting to buy a new cx bike, probably aluminum and probably stock.
What I really want is a custom paint job, ala LandShark or Pegoretti. But seeing as I'm currently not working, the cost is too much for a custom job. Has anyone self painted a frame that's already painted? Can you paint over the existing clear coat or is there a way to remove the clear coat? Any particular type paint to use. How about clear coating afterwards.
I'd love to have a unique paint job as the above mentioned builders.
Thanks
 

· More carbon fiber please!
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You have a couple choices. Either just scuff the existing paint and then prime/paint it, or strip it off and start from bare metal. If you strip it use an aircraft paint stripper and make sure you wear gloves and are in a well-ventilated area. When done stripping be absolutely sure you have washed/cleaned the frame to remove any minute trace of stripper. Then prep it with the correct primer and paint away on it. Mask off areas where you don't want any paint such as the head tube/seat tube/bb/etc.
 

· Converted Runner
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Rattle-can jobs take patience, but they can turn out as nice as any factory job. You just have to apply a lot of thin coats to avoid running and help things be nice and even/smooth. Get some 200, 400, and 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to go over the frame between the primer, color, and clear coat phases. Also, some kind of tack cloth to get any dust from sanding off of your frame is a good idea.

I spent a week doing a really simple strip, prime, color, and clear coat. The results are as good as I could have hoped for as my first DIY (i.e. smooth, no drips/runs, nice and uniform), and next time, if I get one of those carbon eBay frames, I'll actually try doing something a little fancier.

 

· duh...
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use the old paint as primer, sand down. auto touchup paint is a good choice and comes in plenty of colors. lots of patience needed. plenty of info has been posted here. your rattle can job will never be as pro or durable as landshark or pegoretti
 

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Good for you (seriously).

Everything I have rattle canned ended up looking like crap. I attempted it on a beater fixed gear, and the paint chips very easily. I believe painting takes either more skill or more patience than I possess.
 

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FatTireFred has a good suggestion, sand down with about 220 sand paper dry or 320 wet, try to get a good even sanding but not down to the bare metal. If there are decals on the frame it will be bit more difficult sanding them off without sanding through. I am pretty sure you can buy epoxy primer in spray cans now if you do happen to sand through. Wash the frame with soapy water, let it dry and check for shiny spots on the frame after it is dry, if you see any they need to be sanded a bit more.
Doing a Pegoretti style paint job is pretty fun and not too difficult, first decide on a base color and spray the entire frame. Next I get an artist brush and some model paint and just have fun with it.
The clear coat is going to be the biggest problem, spray can clears are not going to give the deep gloss finish you want, or be very durable but if you decide to go that route look for a clear that is either epoxy or polyurethene.
Best option would be to take it to someone with the capabilities of spraying automotive clear and let them do it for you.
Good luck, it is fun and will give you a custom frame you will love!
Rusty
 

· Adorable Furry Hombre
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been200mph said:
You have a couple choices. Either just scuff the existing paint and then prime/paint it, or strip it off and start from bare metal.
The OP is dealing with Aluminum here. You can't rattle can bare aluminum as Al instantly oxidizes in air. When the pros paint Al, it takes a great deal of special equipment to get bare Al to start with. Which leaves plan A, rough up the existing finish
 

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Marc said:
The OP is dealing with Aluminum here. You can't rattle can bare aluminum as Al instantly oxidizes in air. When the pros paint Al, it takes a great deal of special equipment to get bare Al to start with. Which leaves plan A, rough up the existing finish
I painted aluminum parts of my outboard with the proper (zinc oxide?) primer (it was green and spefically for alu). and it came out very well and has held up to hard use for 3-4 seasons w/o any sign of defects. I dont' think it's as tough as all that to get a sound, good looking coating on aluminum..

The trick, for all painting aluminum included is to start with a sound base whether that be bare metal or roughed sound paint.

Then clean thoroughly. I used a spray product for final cleaning, specifically made for that. A quick evaporating solvent of some sort for complete cleaning, degreasing, etc. prior to painting. (See below for source).

Prime, paint, clear coat w/ proper smoothing between depending on your inclinations, as others have suggested. Many thin layers, etc. There are a million "how to's" on the web, do some searching or in your library. Look for info on painting other aluminum stuff. There's a LOT of stuff on painting outboards, etc. - these are highly relevant as outboards have aluminum parts (leg, brackets, etc.) and also plastic/composite parts (the hoods). Exactly the same materials and techniques that one would need for a bike frame, and people who re-hab or custom paint outboards like the same nice finish and results, including decals.

I went to an automobile painting specialty shop and got all the materials I needed as well as a lot of free expert advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the replies.
Took another look at the Landshark site and he seems to use a lot of decals. How would one attach the decals to the frame? How many clear coats would it take to seal the decals? When I get the aluminum frame, it will be a slow project customizing. I'm not mechanical at all so I want to be deliberate. Seems the stripping, sanding, primeing and base color will be straightforward, the customizing will take the most time. Thanks for the ideas.
 

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Most decals are just printed stickers that you can get made at any quality custom sign shop. There are shops that specialize in bike decals too, but a good shop should be able to do anything you want.

Your choice whether to put clear coat over them or not. You can get the background in any color you want (including clear) and of course the printing and graphics are unlimited in terms of design and color.
 

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The other option is custom powder coating. This is similar to the more typical powder coating that you see on furniture, etc. The custom type has more options, e.g. translucents, chromes, etc.

I did this frame a couple months ago. It's a 2008 GT that started its life with a thick layer or shiny black paint. It was stripped to bare aluminum - chemical and hand sanded. Then done in a translucent burnt orange. This let the welds "shine" through.

 
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