29er Mountain Bike Frame – Paint

I’ve started painting my own frames more on my last few builds.  It gives me a sense of full ownership in the process and I can make any final changes if I don’t like the color, etc.  (Plus I really can’t afford the 800+ bucks for the pros)  Painting is just has difficult as the build in many ways.  It also takes just as much experience and practice.   So I’ve got a long ways to go.  I’ve been able to pick up some tricks and tips, as well as access some good paint that has helped move my painting further towards pro with each effort.   If you were to read the warnings on this stuff you would consider me lucky to survive the experience.  So in setting up to paint,  there are the practical issues as well as health issues to consider.  Obviously,  I don’t have a paint studio.   So the transformation to paint is a serious undertaking.  It needs to be clean and enclosed to protect the other items in the space.   I have to mount or hang the frame in a way that allows full access to the areas that need to be painted.   It has to be 65 degrees for the paint to work properly, while also keeping it ventilated enough that I don’t grow horns or something.    Of course I live in Colorado and seem to be painting in the winter a lot.  I need a hot and ventilated space to dry quickly so that I don’t turn this endeavor into a month-long journey.  Additionally,  I like to place logos, etc. on the bike.  So I need decals that work with the clear coat and that hold up over time.

Quite a list of issues to deal with. Fortunately,  I’m not smart enough to be discouraged by the task at hand.  I’m also fortune to have an infrastructure that is easily manipulated to accommodate these challenges.   I create a paint room in my garage shop, which happens to be well insulated and well heated.  It can also be sealed off from my car garage area. I use a series of fans to ventilate the space by sealing the fans to the garage door.  I also have a separate bathroom that is ventilated and has its own heater.  This is very helpful in allowing me a small space that I can crank the heat up to very warm Temps and hang the frame for quick drying between coats and curing the clear.  I am also fortune to have a vinyl printer.  I’ve found vinyl that is made for outdoor applications and is tacky enough to withstand the demands of a bike frame.   It also works well with a 2k clear coat.   So with this set up, can relatively easily create a good environment for painting a frame in a matter of days.  I use automotive paint for all my bikes. The paint is high quality,  readily available, and I can see what it looks like by observing the cars around me.  I went with a Smoke Grey found on Infiniti or Nissan cars for this bike.  The paint has a great metallic look with some reflective flakes that allow the frame to change colors depending on the light.  I used black decals to create a subtle,  but noticeable detail on the frame.

Putting on the Clear
Putting on the Clear

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Paint Setup in Garage
Paint Setup in Garage
In the drying room
In the drying room

 

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