Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dave's cruiser frame...paint

An aspect of building that I truly enjoy is the paint process.  It allows me to switch gears, focusing on the creative side of the project, enabling me to dig deep and pull the personality of the customer out and into the frame's visual aesthetic.

From a purely selfish perspective, it's nice to be alone in a quiet room with my attention focused on a singular task...no phone, no distracting thoughts, one process to embark on that I slowly get to see the results materialize before an audience of one. Cool.

This cruiser frame finish gives a nod to the classic look but with a mix of colors that are understated yet flashy.

The frame began with a chemical/degreaser wash and a media blast with a 120 grit material, then it was into the paint booth to apply 4 sanded coats of primer.  Each coat is applied, allowed to flash off and harden in the bake box, cooled, then knocked down smooth with 600 grit wet/dry paper.  The end result gives a strong base for the color layers to come while offering long term protection to the substrate.

During the bake/flash process, I spend some time designing accent pieces for the frame, kinda a mix of old school and identity labeling.  This will be used on the seat tube of the frame and created in a metallic silver paint, matching the pin striping on the darts.  The masks are cut using a Gerber cutter/plotter and either it's proprietary software or Adobe Illustrator, dependant on the complexity of the design.

Moving ahead a number of steps (sorry, got focused) we've got the colors laid down, decals on, and the first coat of clear to preserve the work thus far. 

I began with the base white coats, laid down the first dart masking, and shot white again to seal the edges so the next colors do not bleed through.

Once the white flashed off, the metallic silver is applied to the tubes.  Symmetrical darts that lay parallel to the white are then placed and silver shot again to seal the edges.  I also place the negative masks on the seat tube over the silver and shoot the edges to keep them tidy.

The front of the bike is then wrapped in paper and then the frame shot in multiple coats of the midnight metallic blue.  Then it's time to slowly peel back the layers of masking to reveal our creation...

Before clearing, any tiny items are addressed, the edges of the masked area knocked down with a blending/tack cloth, and the base layers cleaned to insure no little nibs of dust will be contained in the clear.  I shoot  a hot coat of clear to burn in the color layers and protect the work, flash it off, and then add decals.  One medium coats of clear is then applied, building a smooth base and beginning  to bury the slight edges created by the decals and masking.

Three more sanded coats of clear will follow, creating a nice classy theme using midnight metallic blue, metallic silver for the accents, and carrera white for the contrasting color on the front.

This bike will be built with polished silver components, Ti fork, Ti bar/stem combo, Ti post, and a Brooks saddle.  Should be a snazzy looker at Nahbs and on the trail.



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