Monday, August 29, 2011

TCU and Ti...a nice combination

No matter how long I continue to do this, it always surprises me just how long everything takes.  Take for instance this paint job on Chad's Ti frame. 

The request did not sound too tough...Chad and his wife are both alums of Texas Christian University, his wife sits on the board, and both are die hard fans of TCU football.  So a finish for his frame that would pay tribute to his school seemed appropriate.  Oh, by the way, Nike designed a cool uniform for the football team that we can use for inspiration...mmmm, ok.

So some surfing the net yielded a pic of what Chad is looking for...
 Uhhh, I don't know why that one kept coming up in the Google search...the uniform we were going for is the one below...
 In researching the TCU uniform I learned a bit about the fans...these guys are tough customers.  When Nike unveiled the new threads, they incorporated not only the school colors of purple and white (purple for royalty, white for a clean game), but the physical characteristics of their mascot, the horned frog.  The pants are a two color silver with a triangular scale pattern to represent the froggy skin.  A red accent line on the helmet is to remind folks that when a horned frog attacks, he shoots blood out of his eyes.  The blogs exploded with critics... there is not enough purple on the jersey, the color of purple is not Pantone 268, are the scales suppose to be reminiscent of the University frog or the Athletic frog? etc...

I knew that if I wanted Chad to be happy, I had to nail this as best as I could. 

I finished fabrication last Monday, built up the bike to insure everything fit as it should, then broke it back down to get ready for paint.  Although no aspect of the finish was too out of this world complex, the entire piece together took ALOT of work.  I worked on it every day...today, 7 days later, I finished.

I started off with the the scaled pattern for the pants...as Chad's frame is Ti, I had a nice opportunity to do something really cool.  I could have painted the scale pattern using two colors of silver metallic, some netting, and some highlights with the air brush and been done in a few hours.  I wanted to use the natural unpainted Ti to give a really distinct look, as different as the football uniform looks between the jersey and the pants.

I created masks that mimicked the triangular patterns from the pants and cut them out in heavy weight vinyl...

The Ti rear end of the frame was then polished with 3 different grades of sand paper and finished off with Scotchbrite.  From this point until the paint is done, I can't touch the bare Ti with my hands or the oils will transfer and create visual prints/discolorations. So with care, I then applied over 1200 tiny little triangles.

Once all the masks were placed, it's off to the bead blaster to prep the frame and create the matte finish on the rear end... 
 Once an even finish is achieved, the frame comes out of the cabinet and then gets rubbed down with Scotchbrite on the rear end to soften the finish.  The main triangle is left with a bit more tooth for the paint to adhere to...
 Then the work really began.  It takes about three times as long to remove the decals then to put them on.  The weight of vinyl necessary to hold up to the blast media and the heat created by the media friction creates a synergistic effect...creating a highly sticky yet easily torn little triangle.  So, little by little, each piece is removed.  Total time to make the masks, apply, blast, and remove without contaminating the surface...10 hours. 
 The finish is exactly what I wanted, should look killer with the front triangle painted up.
 I was even able to include a neat little tag line on the stay..."Lil froggies with big fight"

We then move into the booth and the rear end is all wrapped up to protect it as we work on the front with paint...
 I had the purple metallic paint custom mixed to match the Pantone PMS color of TCU...it's a difficult color to translate across the monitor, as it looks very dark in the booth, but then comes alive out in the sun.  The front triangle received two coats of sanded primer and then three thin layers of the purple to insure an even coverage of the metallic with no sags or concentrations that would draw the eye.  The first color on in the booth...
 And how it looks out in the sun, displayed here on fork...
 Creating the masks took a day.  I had worked on some drawings previously, but ditched them because they were not detailed enough for the final vision I had for this evolving project.  Using tweezers to remove the small details of the logos...
 The Athletic Horned Froggy...  (positioned at the top and looking to the right as mandated by TCU)
 The frame all wrapped up and ready for the air brush...
 I used a pearlized white for all the airbrush work and the downtube panel...
 The vinyl put back...removing the thin outline around the white U to add the black borders...
 The black borders in place, unwrapping for the next step...
 The frame got the TCU arch with the athletic frog, a froggy on the top tube shooting a stream of red blood out of his eye, pooling under Chad's name, and a center white panel with TCU



 Skipping ahead  (cause it's late and I'm getting tired), lots more clear, cleaning the guns, wet sanding, more spraying, more wet sanding, more gun cleaning, and then final clear, here's the finished frame... (click on pics for bigger images)




Not pictured is the Ti stem with masked froggy and the Ti post with Groovy logo.  I say it a lot, but it is true...pics never capture the true bling of the finish.  I'll build the frame up tomorrow, get Mike from Sherrick Photography to come over and snap some good shots, then it's off to Texas.

Chad, thanks for your patience...I hope the finished product is all that you hoped for (visually at least).

cheers,

rody

5 comments:

dicky said...

That's more than awesome.

wv: phothell

Lasea said...

WOW! Impressive. Truly amazing work, Rody.

Pablo said...

Amazing

inclined said...

UNBELIEVABLE!! A Masterpiece!! Rody, you've just so FAR exceeded my expectations it's amazing.

Chad

rmb said...

Love it!