Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cerakote and snakeskin...

Ok, so I've done snakeskin in liquid paint and sublimated powder, but combining such elaborate masking layers with ceramic is a new frontier for me.  The Ti Zombie bike pushed the negative masking envelope, but this is a whole new ball game.

The difficulty being this...the masks must be removed before the cerakote is fully cured, leaving the finish subject to smuding and smearing.

The frame starts off with a trip through the blast cabine, getting an nice even finish.

The frame then goes through a solvent bath and is put into the bake box to insure it is fully dry and all solvents are fumed off.

The frame then gets a coat of graphite black ceramic, is baked to a partial cure, and the first layer of masks are applied.

To create the snake skin effect, an expanded net fabric is cut to just shy of the diameter of each tube, then stretched tight and secured in place.

Hours later, the entire frame is enclosed in the pattern.  It is imperative that it is secured and will not move or the finish will be scrapped and we'll begin again.

A blue titanium is mixed to provide a flat appearance and is sprayed over the entire frame.  Sand grey and bright white are then sprayed to provide a little contrast and visual diversity.

Everything goes into the bake box for a partial cure and then gets yanked out for a quick undressing.

The material is carefully removed, lifting directly vertical to prevent smearing of the still soft ceramic.  Negative decal masks are then carefully lifted with an Xacto Knife.

A cool finish, but very tedious.



Monday, April 15, 2013

Back from vacation and at it...

Thanks to all for your patience while I took some time off.  As of today, I'm officially back in the shop and trying to get caught up and will be sorting through the voice and emails.

So, with the beautiful beach sunset in the rearview mirror, this is what's been shaking...

...amidst all the office stuff, I did a quick frame prep for a local shop.  Ya know, ream and face the head tube, chase and face the bottom bracket, and install the pieces parts.  I took some time to make a tool that I've been needing, but had not made the time to this point.

With the changing "standards" in headsets, bottom brackets, axles, etc... shops constantly need to update their tool inventory, and that gets spendy.  Since I'm cheap, I tend to make a lot of the tools I need, that way when the next "standard" comes out and the previous year's hottie goes into the back of the tool chest, I don't feel so bad.

So here's todays tool...a 1.500" fork crown setter.

This started off as a couple of pieces of chromoly tube and a 8.00" x 8.000" x .375" plate.  The square plate was cut to size, welded to the tube and then thrown into the lathe where it was turned, faced, and then bored and relieved to match the spec of the Chris King base plates.

The fork plate sits snugly on the bottom face of the press...

while on top a solid piece of 6061 aluminum was turned to allow a press fit into the top of the tube for a solid surface to hammer against.

I'll throw it into the queue for a little ceramic finishing to keep it looking nice and fresh.