Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Filling the world with color...

It's been a long haul the last 5 days. I've been working on paint for the show bikes and the experience over the last couple of days has once again reinforced what I already knew...

It always takes longer than people think it should (including me :) ) and you can not rush'll spend more time in the long run.

I had 5 frames, 4 forks and a butt load (that's a whole bunch) of bars to spray to get ready for NAHBS.

Long story short, I've slept 12 hours since last Thursday, look and feel like crap, but ended up with some really awesome finished products.

Without letting the cat out of the bag and showing you the show bikes, I thought since we've chronicalled Roy's bike build, I'd share the photos of his paint coming together, so here we go...

I first start off by inspecting the frame to insure that all the finish work is complete; welds closed, no pits in the brazing, all vent holes taped over, paint bolts in the bosses, etc...

Next up is a trip through the blast cabinet to clean the frame and give the material a consistant finish and a little tooth for the primer to seat into.

Once out of the cabinet, the latex gloves go on and the paint begins. I use PPG products the majority of the time, throwing in some House of Kolor for the super fancy stuff. The primer I use is some super tough stuff, like an Armadillo hide, it takes a lot of work to get through it. A solid primer is very important to the protection of your frame, as liquid paint will chip, but it should only reach the tough primer layer, protecting it from the evil oxidation process of rust.

The primer layer is dryed and then sanded to give a super smooth base for the color layers to come. I use 600 grit paper, dry sanding in even covering strokes.

The finished sanded frame is then carefully blown with filtered compressed air to make sure that all dust and fine particulate are removed.

Next up is the series of base colors, masks, and then clears.

One of the things that I really enjoy about painting is developing the paint scheme and visualizing how it is achieved, kind of like backwords thinking.

Roy gave me some guidance on the colors he desired but left the design up to me...this always makes me a bit nervous as I really hope that what I come up with is met with enthusiasm from the end customer. In this case, I struggled with a design incorporating the colors Roy wanted; olive green, off white, yellow/orange highlights. I had two false starts where I backed off and rethought. I finally came up with something that balanced the conservative (by my standards :) ) colors and my need for fun. Roy got a cream panel and polka dot with grunge green background. I was hesitant about the colors, but they really came together nice.

I began by laying down the cream white. Once in place, I dryed it and then began the masking. A panel on the down tube and seat tube and 4 different sizes of dots across the canvas.

Once the masking is complete, I sprayed the green on top, which will end up becoming the base background.

Then the delicate work began, carefully removing the masks using a razor blade, a steady hand, and some granny glasses so my aging eyes can see.

After the color is complete, a coat of clear is applied and force baked for 30 minutes at around 400 degrees...mmmm, smell that cooking?

A good sanding to smooth the texture, then its decals, another clear/bake/smooth, and finally the third and final clear ran really hot with double reducer so that it burns into the previous coat, evening any dry spray (orange peel) and giving a glassy finish.

The frame is baked again and finally finshed with a good rub down of 3M compound.

Then it's time to show it off!

Hope Roy likes it.

It's a shame that most indy builders don't spray their own stuff any more, I really enjoy tying the project together with a little eye candy to match the performance. It's very rewarding.

Catch y'all in a few days, I'm going to catch up on a bit of sleep!




Roy said...

Yes!! I really do like it!
Never knew you had mind reading qualities also ;-). Stunning paintjob and 100% my style.

steve garro said...

way cool! esp. for a "conservative" paint job! wish i could do my own gravy, but doing it sitting down would really suck, i think. cool feedjit readings......looks like you have quite the fanclub in western europe! steve.