How to paint your bike in only 10 months - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 2007, 9:49 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
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How to paint your bike in only 10 months

Well, after going around the world about 5 times in the last 10 months, I hit it hard today and finished painting the bike. Thought I would post some pics. Results of my painting project. Estimate was about $550 labor, and I provide the paint, so instead I bought a Sears oiled compressor for $400, a paint gun set for $107, paint ('wheel-color' Glasurit from Holt BMW, expensive, probably could have got PPG for half the price, but what the hey, you only live once, and the paint kit and the paint itself looks really nice ), a 3M respirator for about $150, and about a hundred bucks more for lacquer thinner, rags, air-hose fittings, and the desiccant filters from NAPA to keep the moisture out of the line, them are those little white cylinders, I put one on as the first link in the chain before the pressure gauge. The first foto shows the paint in the little Wal-Mart jelly jars, arranged by Coat 1-Primer, Coat 2-Color Coat and Coat 3-Clear, and their hardeners and reducers, and the gun set with the desiccant filter and the pressure gauge hooked up ready to rock, and the 3M respirator, which you must have. You can see a foto in the upper left corner showing the 'before'. Foto 2 is just to show how much sanding you have to do to bring the primer down to smooth before you hit it with the color coat (sanded on the right, unsanded on the left). I was an amateur spraying at first, it turns out there is a sweet spot for the distance back, too close you hose too much paint on and overspray, it can dry either super-glossy or dull, and too far the paint dries out before it hits the plastic and more spatters on so you have to sand it smooth, either way I had to sand each primer coat and then apply the next before I was happy that I had made a nice smooth base. Then I put on two coats of silver, let it dry, sanded it all with a green scrub pad just to rough it up a bit for the next two layers of the silver color coat, then immediately while the color coat is still wet you put on two coats of clear. Done. Check. Not too bad, I received the paint in February and finished today. I think the hardest part was getting used to the three controls on the paint gun for air, paint and mix, so I basically hooked up the gun to the compressor and hit the trigger, and just listened to the variation in sound between the extreme settings of each of the three wheels, and just set each one to the middle, and it worked great. Amazes me, the compressor just kept up like a champ, only turning on rarely, real quiet, so different from a can of spray paint, on the real deal you can basically pull the trigger and the paint will come out non stop, continuously for however long you want, no sputters or burps, nothing, just a solid spray for as long as you want to pull the trigger, like an AK maybe. After you get your distance, and you realize you can just pull the trigger and the paint will just come out forever, you relax and start following the curves like a Renoir man, I also found it helps to hit the surface at almost a 45 degree angle rather than head on, the paint dispersed a lot more evenly. Avg temp in my garage this time of year is about 44 F so the clear coat will have to dry longer than the 8 hours it says on the info sheet. One of the pics looks like the entrance to the bat cave. So maybe if I am lucky I will put the fairing on tomorrow and get the final pic. Jack
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2007, 3:37 am
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Great project Jack!

Is that the High Pressure Low Volume (HVLP) setup or normal compressed air? If the latter what air presure feeds the gun and what thinner ratio did you use.

Is the Clearcoat lacquer that nasty Iso-cyanate stuff. I've always been a bit concerned trying it.

Whenever I've done my own spraying, my biggest problem has been dust and keeping up the ambient temperature. My theory is if the temperature is higher, that gives less time for the dust to drop on so I use a 2kW halogen lamp (helps to see too). Did you do anything special to keep out dust? I guess it's the clearcoat that only realy matters if you're sanding down. What grit grades did you use?

Would you feel confident doing your own repairs on the plastic now? Seems like you've saved a lot of $$s.

You'll be ready to ride soon.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2007, 5:52 am
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It's good to see that you didn't rush the painting job. You must be pleased with your effort, not many people get up the courage to do what you did!
I dip my skid lid to you!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2007, 7:44 am
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Great job, Jack!

Bruce C
'04 K1200RS Capri Blue(totaled)
2008 Triumph Sprint ST
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2007, 11:11 am
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Paint Job

Hey Frisco,
Nice job! That's the base-coat for the BLACK top-coat right?..................................what?

Jim S.
* Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 2007, 1:49 pm
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What did you do to the original painted surface to prepare it for primer? What kind of primer did you use? Is the base coat urethane? Were your hands tired from sanding all the parts? Is there a place where people can learn the trade of applying automotive finishes? Alot of questions I know........
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 7th, 2007, 9:59 am
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Great effort. Not to be negative, but there doesn't appear to be any gloss. Are you changing from Black to Grey? Black coat not on yet, but you said you've already put down the clear coat?

I admire your effort, but was it worth it? You spent almost as much as the labor on equipment. True, you'll have it for future projects, but it sounds like you've spent a lot of personal time on the project. I think the original quote of $550 for labor was pretty reasonable if prep was included.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 8th, 2007, 12:13 am Thread Starter
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Will try to answer the questions here:

The gun set is an HVLP kit, I set the pressure gauge on the compressor to deliver 50 psi, the gun kit also came with a pressure gauge which the instructions said needed to be set at 29 psi to obtain the 10 psi I needed at the outlet of the spray gun ( according to the very detailed info which arrived with the paint kit I got from Holt BMW).

Before I sprayed the primer, I sanded the graphite color with 400 grit and then 600. It took me 3 days on and off to get it, I just sat on the lawn with my garden hose and just lightly sanded really just to rough up the surface a bit, and I used JB Weld to fill holes with, no idea if that is recommended but that stuff sets up fast and hard, and doesn’t leave pits like other epoxies I have used.

The paint came as a kit in a single box: the primer, which was mixed 4:1:1, that is to say 4 parts primer, 1 part hardener and 1 part reducer. The notes show the hardener was ‘fast’ as opposed to ‘normal’, which I believe was chosen due to my elevation (9097 feet) and the cold in my garage, 45 on a good day. The info sheet says it is an acrylic resin. I had to sand each of the three primer coats because I was such a rookie, but after I sanded the 3rd coat I was happy with the surface smoothness and went on to apply the color/base coat, described as being a polyester resin, with a mixing ratio of 2 parts paint to 1 part reducer, no hardener. No hardener was nice, so I was able to take my time and be real careful. I asked also about the formulation of the paint, and was told it was all some form of polyurethane resin.

The clearcoat was also a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts clear coat to one part hardener, no reducer, the hardener was in a small can, and it was a different formulation than the can of hardener I used in the primer step. The reducer however was the same for both the primer and the color coat.

The primer color was grey, not black, as you can see on the pic of the gas tank piece, if I understood that question correctly.

To keep the dust down, I made a little clean room, all 4 walls, the ceiling and then cardboard on the floor, closed the garage door while I painted, and didn’t have any problem at all, there is zero dust on the finished product, I was amazed. Actually after I put the first color coat on I did have some dust at the bottom, so I sanded and then raised the parts up about 2 feet higher before I sprayed the remaining coats, and that worked great.

The $550 was the estimate for labor only, if I provide the paint, seemed about maybe 75 bucks higher than I really wanted to pay, but in today’s market everything is expensive, and after doing this I have a new found respect for professional painters.

I put 3 clear coats on, it does seem a little less glossy than when it was graphite, maybe the silver color reflects more light such that it doesn't look glossy so much as silver.

Don't really think I saved any money except in the sense I could sell the compressor for say 300 bucks and recover that cost, plus I always wanted to try my hand at painting, so it really was never about the money so much.

Hands weren't really tired, probably because I dragged this out for months, mainly the primer and sanding part, the color coat and clear I did in two days straight last week.

After I get the bike put back together, tomorrow (Friday) I assume, I will take a pic of it in its new silver/'wheel color' and maybe change my avatar, cheers, Jack

Last edited by frisco99; Nov 8th, 2007 at 12:21 am.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 10th, 2007, 9:10 pm Thread Starter
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final paint pics

Final paint pics, showing the backside of the windshield fairing with my Xenon hi and lo beams ready to rock, I bought a euro switch for the right handgrip, it works great, it just plugged into the wiring harness in the same place the US version did, but now I can start my bike with the euro switch in the down position-lights off, then when the bike is running I can move it up to the middle position and just use the tiny little parking light at the very bottom of the light assy, or move it to the top position and then select with the standard left hand switch either hi or lo beams, the flasher even works. This way I don’t have to draw so much current on start up, I can get the bike running first and then fire up the lights. And bright they are, I made a ‘before’ pic, and would have made the ‘after’ but it snowed like 60 seconds after I finished my test ride, then the temp dropped further and froze some ice on the road, but maybe tomorrow night it might clear and I can go back to the same spot and make an ‘after’ pic for the halogen vs xenon comparison. I also tossed some ‘comfort’ handle bar holders on, they move my hands back about an inch and a half, and up about the same, my ’98 came with the original ‘max forward lean’ bars.
Cheers, Jack
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