Prepping a Bike Frame for Powder Coating With Logos




Introduction: Prepping a Bike Frame for Powder Coating With Logos

About: 182x62x24cm - 308 kg/m^3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.



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    51 Discussions

    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?

    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.

    11 replies

    = 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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!

    "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!

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

    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.

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

    PREPPING a frame for powder coat not misleading at all

    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

    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)