Step 10: Painting

Painting can be quite a beast, especially on a large project like this. Instead of having it painted professionally, I opted to paint the bike myself with standard spray paint. There are already several Instructables describing how to paint a bike. Each one is a little different and brings different aspects to light. I’ll summarize most of it for you here and add what I learned from my experience.

There’s a lot of prep work that should be done before you ever pick up a spray can. First you need a well ventilated location. A good system to hang your bike is also very beneficial. You want to hang your bike in a way that will allow you to paint every surface without ever touching it. My rig consisted of a rope slung over the roof truss, tied to a 2x4 with two holes drilled in the middle on each end. I took some strong wire and fished it through the front head tube, out the bottom of the forks and bent the wire so it wouldn’t slide out. I did the same thing inside the rear seat tube and bent the wire inside the bottom bracket. Then I took the loose ends of the wire, strung them through the holes in the 2x4 and wrapped it around twice to make sure it wouldn’t slide out. 

The next task is to thoroughly clean the bike. I used some fine grit (wet/dry) sandpaper to clean off the rust that was starting to form after sandblasting. Then I sprayed the whole thing down with an air compressor to get the dust and debris off. Following that is the taping of sections not to be painted. I taped off the bottom brackets, the headsets and fork crowns with blue painter’s tape.

After all that was done, I sprayed on one coat of primer and let it dry per the directions. Then of course, the primary color. I gave it two coats, but I applied them in very thin, smooth layers. There should be no paint pooling or dripping. After the primary color was on and dry, I started prepping for the decals and accents. *Some people insist on a light sanding in-between coats with the belief that it helps the new coat adhere to the last. I don’t disagree, I just didn’t do that on this project.

To create the decals I used the pictures I had taken before the parts were sandblasted, used Photoshop to sharpen them up and print them out on paper. It took me a few tries to get the sizing just right, but once that was done I began cutting the paper images out with a utility knife. Then I laid blue painter’s tape lightly on a piece of plywood and used the cutouts to trace the designs onto the tape to create stencils. Once the image was on the tape, I cut them out with a utility knife, put the stencils in their respective places on the tandem and then firmly pressed them down. That was followed by taping off the rest of the immediate area to protect from over spray. During this step, having a steady hand and a lot of patients is crucial.

The next step was to paint the decals and I did this with the same technique as I did with the prior coats. Once the black decal paint was dry, I uncovered everything and very carefully peeled off the blue painter’s tape that was used for the stencils. As the tape came off, some of the black paint came off with it. In the end, all the decals had at least some paint peel off. I think the problem was that I applied the black paint a little too heavy and it adhered to the tape. My decals were fairly detailed and had several sharp points which seemed to pull off the most paint. I think if you apply a few extremely light coats and let them dry completely in-between applications, decals will work. However, the problem could also be due to the type of tape that I used.

Finally, it came time for the clear coat and I applied 3 solid coats and as always, I abided by the direction’s dry times. That concluded the painting portion of the project. The next step was REASSEMBLY!!!

<p>Great project, thorough I'ble. Your creation is a thing of beauty.</p><p>I take pause with the brake controls. The front and rear brakes have very different effect on the braking, and if either is applied too hard they will make the bike unstable in very different ways. If the lead rider sees a hazard s(he) might need full braking power, which one does not get with control over only one brake set. For sure, both riders need to know exactly what the effect of their brake is on the bike. And it would be good for emergencies if they have &quot;brake now&quot; word, such as &quot;brake!&quot; I am an avid cyclist, but have never ridden a &quot;bicycle built for two&quot;. I would suppose the tandem riders have the braking thing all figured out, and I suggest heartily that you spend some surfing time on tandem sites and forums to learn about this and other SAFETY ISSUES concerning tandems. Also, are the brakes good enough to stop the weight of two people.</p><p>Another concern I have is the wheels and tires. If you can find a manufacturer for the wheels, I would consult them regarding the weight restriction of the wheels. Likewise tires. If you don't know the mfr of the wheels, I would recommend taking the bike to a good bike shop, preferably one that does tandems and get advice on whether the wheels and brakes are sufficient for two people. Or probably the tandem forums could help you with this. </p><p>Can't stress safety enough when it comes to cycling.</p>
With a quick glance at that final picture, I would have never suspecting that the tandem was a one time 2 different bikes. Very nice. I also like the way you split the braking responsibilities so that the driver controls the front brake and the passenger controls the rear - an easy solution to what I suspect was an area of contention.
That's a good point. Because I used all of the original parts (including the brakes and cables) that just kinda how it worked out and then afterwards I realized that it was a benefit that both riders had the option to brake.
Lovely job, impressive.<br>I wonder at the wisdom of sharing the braking - consider this: you both see a hazard, for example a car pulling out, one of you decides to accelerate out of trouble whilst the other decides that braking is the thing to do...
This is actually how many tandems handle braking duties. Usually the person in front handles the control of the bike, and the person in back pedals for their life.
Yes, I'm in the middle of rebuilding an old tandem. It has three brakes: the two usual rim brakes, plus a rear hub brake that is controlled by a thumb lever that can be locked on to act as a 'drag' brake for descending. I put all the controls on the front handlebars.<br>Photos here.<br>https://picasaweb.google.com/110336619050074124965/Tandem<br><br>
Интересная статья! Я бы с удовольствием попробовал прокатиться на таком велосипеде! <br>Я на своем блоге тоже публикую много чего интересного! <br>http://dmitrypetlekha.ru/
The final product looks phenomenal, I'd love to hop on for a ride. If those rear hubs still worked (They look like 3 speeds, if I'm not mistaken) or you could cobble together one working one from them, they would provide some extra help going up steep hills (provided the hub survived the stress of two people pedaling).<br><br>As for the decals, I've had my best success masking anything in general by pulling the masking off very soon after painting (the trick being to remove the mask while the paint is still wet, but after it has set). That way, you can consistently get clean lines. With dark colors, this can definitely be tricky, balancing the cleanliness of the mask and thoroughly coating the other color.<br><br>Again, great job, looks fun to ride on a lazy day.
just add two jack shafts and motors and youll be all done<br>
Great instructible. The wife has been wanting a tandem bike and I choke everytime I see the $1,000 + price tags of tandem bikes in the bike shops. My son has a nice shop and all the tools needed to do this.
I am not fond of bicycles, not to speak of tandem bikes, but I must say I find your project very well done AND beautiful !!!&hellip;<br>As a matter of fact this is what caught my eye at first : I find it so nicely designed that I feel you should know &hellip;&nbsp;<br>BRAVO !!!!&hellip;
Thank you very much. The goal was to inspire!
Thanks so much. &nbsp;I've always wanted to do this.<br> <br> One hint on the degreaser, I've found &nbsp;that waterless hand cleaner made for cleaning your greasy hands will also strip the grease off nearly anything. &nbsp;I've cleaned 40 year old bell housings back to nearly new using it. &nbsp;On the tough parts I'll use a round parts cleaner brush but that's about it. &nbsp;The nice part is that you can easily contain the sludge that comes off and that makes it easier to dispose of properly.<br> <br> Start by chiseling off the really built up crud and once it gets down to a reasonable thickness ( like how dirty your hands get working on an old car or truck) then apply the degreaser. &nbsp;Using the brush, work it into the crud and then you can either wipe the part clean or you could even wash it off with water.<br> Extra Bonus? &nbsp;Smells about a quarter as bad as using solvents. &nbsp;No serious solvents to remove the original paint either. &nbsp;It's usually less expensive and when done you can use the left over cleaner on your hands instead of having a can sitting around waiting to leak.<br> <br> Thanks again for the smarts.
I'll definitely have to try that out. Thanks for the tip.
A very nicely done project and a good instructable. Anyone attempting to build their own tandem should check out Sheldon Brown's website. He created several of these one junk bike plus one junk bike equals a tandem projects and wrote about his efforts and included tips &amp; links for homebuilders.
Absolutely. That's a great resource for just about everything dealing with bikes.
This is exactly what a good instructable should include... Nice intro, clear explanations, great pics and produces something outrageously awesome at the end of it!!<br><br>This has made me feel happy :-)<br>
Nice bike. Jealous.
Great Instructable and a beautiful bike!

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Bio: I'm an engineer who loves to solve problems by creating new products and finding useful ways to improve existing products. I like working in ... More »
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