Introduction: Prepping a Bike Frame for Powder Coating With Logos

Picture of Prepping a Bike Frame for Powder Coating With Logos

I was given a nice Specialized Allez frame that just happened to be the right size for a girl that I am somewhat fond of (in the spirit of understatement). The frame was damaged and I did not really care for the stock Specialized aesthetic, so I stripped the paint off, added some logos and had the frame powder coated anew. The process is toxic but straightforward, and the results are not bad....

Step 1: Strip the Paint

Picture of Strip the Paint

There is not much finesse in this step, but there are a couple of tips. The first tip is that most places that powder coat things will also strip them for you. I was quoted $65 for the job of stripping the paint off of my frame. Naturally, I am far too stubborn (stupid) to recognize the value of this and opted to do the stripping myself.

Ok, so for the actual tips:
1) Get the Red Jasco - the really nasty stuff
2) Use _Neoprene_ gloves - Jasco will eat through everything else
3) Have a lot of scotch-brite on hand to aid in the stripping
4) A set of jewelers' files also help get to the bits stuck in the welds ... but will do bad things to the files.

The process of stripping the paint took me about 10 applications in various places. You wipe the Jasco on, let it sit and then rub the paint off. It is gnarly - do this outside.

Step 2: Cut Out the Logos

Picture of Cut Out the Logos

Instead of using stickers, I wanted a more textural and permanent look, so I cut the logos out of 0.0625" aluminum plate (6061-T6). I did this with our water-jet cutter. I know that this is cheating, but it is also rather inexpensive to hire a shop to do this.

If you are even more stubborn and would like to cut the logos out by hand:
1) Print out the logos
2) Laminate the paper to the aluminum plate with spray adhesive
3) Rough cut the logo with a jig-saw
4) Finish with jewelers' files (the same ones we wrecked whilst removing the paint)

A couple of suggestions for drawing curvey things that can be cut with waterjet software:
1) Simplify the curves as much as possible (get rid of extra knot points)
2) Omax has a curve simplification tool that is quite good
3) Omax also has a minimum radius tool that can fix tight corners

Step 3: Form the Logos

Picture of Form the Logos

The logos need to be formed to the shape of the frame. I did this using a piece of stainless round stock and an aluminum form. I used a hydraulic press to create the force needed, but a shop vice would likely be sufficient.

Step 4: Adhere the Logos

Picture of Adhere the Logos

Once formed, the logos need to be bonded to the frame. The difficulty with this part is the choice of the adhesive given that the powder coater will cure the frame at above 400 degrees F. Most epoxies burn at these temperatures, but standard JB weld does just fine up to 500 F. So, despite a wonderful selection of aluminum adhesives - Hysol, 3M Aluminum Series....etc - I choose JB weld.

The best way to affix the logos would likely have been to vacuum bag them to the frame. I was too lazy for this, so I used a clamp and clear packing tape. The nice thing about clear packing tape is that it will not bond to anything (that I have found yet). This makes the clean up easy.

Try to put a small amount of epoxy on the logos as you adhere them to minimize the finish work after they cure. I found that the finish work (getting rid of excess resin) was best done with a dremel.

Step 5: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Once the adhesive has cured, come back in and sand out the edges of the logo with sandpaper. Be careful to not use too rough a grit - it is easy to put deep scratches in aluminum. The most coarse I used was 320.

Step 6: Powder Coat

Picture of Powder Coat

This is the easy part: take the frame to the powder coaters. I had great luck with West Coast Powder Coating in South San Francisco. AJ at West Coast was able to simply wipe the paint off of the surface of the logos before curing.


dhardacre (author)2011-10-26

Do you know what the powder coaters put on the logo to prevent the powder from sticking to it? So they can just wipe it off?

hybridracers (author)2009-06-04

this is more kind of a diy of how to have everyone else do the project. I fortunately have access to most of the tools but the average person does not. Also the title has nothing to do with what happened.

Handsy (author)hybridracers2009-06-04

= most confusing comment evaaar

We powder coated a frame: CHECK
The frame had logos: CHECK

I think the essence of this instructable has been well documented via the title.

hybridracers (author)Handsy2009-06-04

No.......the problem with this instructable is that the only thing most readers can do is paint strip the bike. For it to be a true one it would have shown a DIY setup for powdercoating, logo making (and Id let that one slide) and the such. The only thing this showed most people is how to have someone else do a lot of work for you to make a cool bike.

I gotta agree with hybrid racers. This is how to PREP a bike for powdercoating, not how to powdercoat.

corwin (author)toekneebullard2009-06-04

Would you all feel better if I changed the title to 'prepping a bike for powder coating with logos'? I would agree that the interesting bit here is adding aluminum logos so that they look like they are part of the frame's material.

eddy3305 (author)corwin2011-03-11

knitpickers! I am an old far#$ and have been around and can and do build almost anything out of junk and make it look like it is bought new. My job is to fix what proffessionals cannot. I scanned this months ago and spent three days to finally track it down again so I could steal your idea to use. I say its brilliant and clever and I don't care what you call it.

Calorie (author)corwin2009-06-04

splitting hairs, legalese...who cares. He did a rocking job. It's a great idea, and one that I will use for my next beau. Everyone here uses the work of someone else. I have yet to see someone synthesis, distill and use their own chemicals (minus the catnip guy.) What about the fabric we use, or the LEDs we work with. He left the heavy lifting to someone else. Kudos

toekneebullard (author)Calorie2009-06-04

Obviously we all use other people's work. But it's one thing to use an LED in your instructable, and another to title it "how to build an LED" when you just use one in your 'ible. Corwin, I don't mean to hound you or anything, but truth is I clicked on your instructable because I was interested to learn if I could feasibly do powder coating DIY. (I truly know nothing of the process) So to read through the whole thing and then see at the end you just passed it off to someone else (perfectly respectable if you're not saying 'here's how to do powder coating' ) was pretty disappointing. None the less, the logo attachment was certainly interesting, and I'm sure useful to many people. Thanks for contributing, and I hope you don't take anything I've said as anything more than a little constructive criticism on naming your instructables.

Calorie (author)toekneebullard2009-06-11

Less talky and more searchy....

And yes, you are hounding the poor guy/girl. It would of been cool to see the process from start to finish. The link I provided shows what it takes to actually powdercoat at home at a realistic cost. It is 'cost prohibitive' as we might say in economics.

You'd get an approximately durable finish if you took your time and carefully used high quality spray paint (yes, from a can). I've seen it done and it is amazing. Powder coating costs a lot for diminishing returns, unless you really want powder coating.

hybridracers (author)Calorie2009-06-11

I know where to get supplies........Like I said, the title insinuated that he was doing this diy, you arent helping anything. He obviously has access to a machine shop to make contour presses and other goodies........which is cool......those are non common things. I have a powdercoat booth set up I made myself........I opened this page to see if anyone had something that worked better.

Calorie (author)hybridracers2009-06-11

you arent helping anything.

That's true. Sorry for the smart alecky remark. It just seems a bit picky and for whatever reason I perceived that s/he needed defending.

It is demoralizing for one to write an instructable and then to be bashed about. I think it is safe to say that we all want to encourage additional i'bles. A newbie might find it additionally intimidating after running across a situation like this.

I've wanted to write one, but I'm a bit intimidated by the level of detail. How much detail is good enough? I've repaired my plastic tanks on my radiator. I don't show "how" I removed the radiator (there are many car models, and the process varies greatly) but instead focus on out of car cleaning and prep. And I know that someone will inevitably say that I should describe how I removed the radiator. It's all a bit frustrating.

And I have found that passions run deep with bicycles. Whether it be WD-40 as a lubricant (some think using it will make your bike burst into flames) or if helmets actually work (they do, if they didn't the litigious nature of our society would either run the companies out of business or encourage refinement until they worked.) Cyclist are unusual by nature, and I count myself among their kind.

I'm off to powder coat my cat. Peace Out!

nick222 (author)hybridracers2009-06-04

"Powder Coat a Bike Frame with Logos" as a title makes me think that this would be a 'how to' powder coat your bike frame instead of just taking it to a shop... I think the textured logos part is awesome though, very creative!

Davidnipp (author)2010-01-23

 Using a nitrile glove is the best protection the general public can get their hands on (excuse pun) for a moderate price.

marple200 (author)2009-08-17

I like this. I can see how this approach can be applied to numerous projects. Cutting thin aluminum and working with jewelers tools is within anyone's capability.

chrwei (author)2009-06-04

there was paint on the logo's? did you skip a step?

jswilson64 (author)chrwei2009-06-08

No paint on the logos, he had a dude at the powder-coater place wipe it off before they baked it.

camb00 (author)2009-06-07

PREPPING a frame for powder coat not misleading at all

eatin ramen (author)2009-06-06

good step by step on how to avoid paying the pros to do the stuff you can do yourself. but if you want your frame to look that good, you have to let the pros do the finishing touches. good work

gopackers (author)2009-06-06

I think it's beautiful! I wouldn't want to diy such a large, expensive part at home anyway. There are people on the cnczone that would be happy to cut logos for you at a reasonable price. I was wondering, while reading the instructable, how you finished the logos and when you said they wiped the powder off I thought how simple that was. Good job, I love it. If I ever see it I might steal it. (just kidding)

electrotyler (author)2009-06-04

Is there a reason that you would not want to bead blast an aluminum frame? I would think that this would be the quickest, easiest, cheapest, and least toxic route for paint removal, so I wonder if there's a catch... Soda blasting might also work.

Tagarashi (author)electrotyler2009-06-04

no blast beader or blast enclosure?

electrotyler (author)Tagarashi2009-06-05

That's a pretty good reason, but most powder coaters that I've spoken with can either bead blast items in-house, or know where to send them for blasting. I've had a couple of steel bike frames powdercoated, and this has produced good results quickly and at low cost.

pyrocop1 (author)2009-06-03

What did it cost to powder coat the frame?

corwin (author)pyrocop12009-06-03


Pkranger88 (author)corwin2009-06-04

That seems high for a part that size. Did you have to have it media blasted first? The shop I go to does a top notch job and that frame would've cost less than $30 to coat, but it could be that much if it needed blasting. Not trying to burst your bubble, just hoping to save ya from getting ripped.

zerol8on (author)Pkranger882009-06-04

where's that shop? i'm looking to powdercoat but bay area prices seem to be ~$100 ish...

Pkranger88 (author)zerol8on2009-06-04

Well, I live in Wichita, KS. The company I use is called Bob Eisel Powder-Coating. They do production fencing, aircraft, construction equipment, etc. Anytime I build a custom gate, machine auto parts, TV mounts, etc, they do a great job.

Tagarashi (author)2009-06-04

wow take the frame to a powder coater? I would have never thought of that!

billygetsthegoat (author)2009-06-04

how not to powdercoat a bike frame! did he get the girl? probably not or he would be out riding with her and not doing this! some of you folks need to get out and about a bit and away from your computers! so you know someone at specialised giving away reject frames -good for you! shame about the instructable though. love and luck to all. billy.

reinovator (author)2009-06-04

You can add metal filings to the 'JB weld' and it will conduct and adhere. Also it's a static charge which holds the power to the surface not just an electrical charge the key is melting point of the glue. but this is just my experience others may differ.

skrubol (author)2009-06-04

The biggest issue I've heard with JB Weld for using with powder coat is that it's not very electrically conductive. I guess not a problem when using it as an adhesive (you did it,) but as a filler I've heard the powder won't stick to it.

corwin (author)skrubol2009-06-04

There was a section of the frame that had been cut out by Specialized to prevent anyone from riding the frame because the dropouts where not straight. I did not take any pictures of this, so I could not include it in the instructable. However, I straightened the dropouts (filing) and machined an elliptical part to bridge the gap. The point of all this is that I faired in the gap with JB weld as well, and the powder coating stuck just fine.... although, I do not know if the powder coater prepped the surface with something once I gave him the frame.

Handsy (author)corwin2009-06-04

Since JB contains steel powder, I think it worked itself out. Nice instructable!

Pkranger88 (author)skrubol2009-06-04

Any time you apply a non-electrically conductive material prior to powder coating you have to spray or apply a conductive paint to prep the surface.
It can be expensive if you're only doing it once, but powder shops should have the spray

hstan3 (author)2009-06-04

Nice job! One caution though... The high temps (400 deg F for an hour usually) *may* compromise structural integrity in annealed aluminum. Probably not a factor in MB frames as much as a good road bike aluminum frame.

I just redid a Cannondale road bike frame and debated powder coating. Powder coating was actually a tad cheaper than painting at the same shop, but I went for the paint because the road frame is very thin annealed T6061 aluminum. They did an amazing job, and I'm happy with the result.

Your logo is quite awsome!

skipwkk (author)2009-06-04

What did the actual powder coating cost ?

Pkranger88 (author)2009-06-04

I think this is a sweet project. When my MB frame's coating starts to die I may try something like this. A few thoughts though for next time. Could you have used solder or a silver epoxy to ensure conductivity? Another approach would have been to apply a non-conductive paint, paste, etc to the letters after they were applied so that the powder wouldn't stick. Also, your process of making the logos would make a great instructable. It looks like you have access to some nice equipment, so I'm guessing you either work in a machine shop or are going to school and have access to a shop there. Good job.

robhybrid (author)2009-06-04

You could use a jewler's saw for this. It's a little tricky to get the hang of, but you can get some good results with a lot less investment.

Pkranger88 (author)2009-06-04

I build quite a few items that get powder-coated afterwards. A tip for anyone reading: If you are trying to strip the existing powder coating on an item, the most efficient and effective way of removing the coating is by flame. Powder coating will burn off at upwards of 800F. An oxy-acetylene torch will do the trick, or even just build a burn pit, get the coals hot and place your item on metal stakes above the coals for a while until the coating catches fire.

Pkranger88 (author)Pkranger882009-06-04

Clarification on the temp I gave. A local powder shop I've used uses a burn oven with a sprinkler system in it. They heat the parts to 800F for an hour, turn on the sprinkler to wash off the burnt powder and then repeat the process a few times.

creature0077 (author)2009-06-04

awww, i was hoping for a powercoat diy. doesn't seem like there is much point of this (besides the logo which should be the title) since you can just drop off a bike frame at any paintshop and they'll strip the paint and powdercoat it for you.

Pkranger88 (author)creature00772009-06-04

I was hoping for a DIY also, but to get the setup for powder coating right, you need to have an oven, a positive pressure spray booth and the spraying equipment. I priced out a "DIY" setup a while ago at close to $600. So much for saving cash. On the other hand, I sent some gates to get coated and it only cost me around $6 per foot of gate. I thought that was reasonable.

trmatthe (author)2009-06-04

I did think from the title that we'd be taken through a DIY powdercoating process and although we weren't it was still interesting to read.

I think I speak for all of us though when I ask "'What did the girl say? Did you get anywhere with her?" It's a lot of work for somebody who doesn't seem to reciprocate your feelings. Good luck anyway dude :)

Rogue Gourmet (author)trmatthe2009-06-04

Seroiusly, What did the girl say?? (the logo looks sweet by the way)

JamesRPatrick (author)2009-06-02

This looks really nice. What kind of paint would you use to paint it yourself and get the same kind of look?

thepelton (author)2009-06-02

Consider that Woooaaa of Minhocaloca seconded.

minhocaloka (author)2009-05-30

woooaaaa, looks nice!=]

beauwalker23 (author)minhocaloka2009-06-02

im diggin it! but theres gotta be a better way to do this, like cut some tape and paint over it..

minhocaloka (author)beauwalker232009-06-02

You're right! But, I think taking off the paint make a better texture, like brushed metal, iff you do whit the tape, will be whit a look of just painted! ¬¬ I think!?!

About This Instructable




Bio: 182x62x24cm - 308 kg/m^3
More by corwin:High-heel, clipless bike shoesPrepping a Bike Frame for Powder Coating with LogosElectromagnetic Actuator
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