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Painting Tools ?

Old 02-21-15, 02:02 PM
  #1  
dweenk 
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Painting Tools ?

I am tired of rattle-canning as a paint method. Even though I prep the frame and wait for the undercoats to cure, sometimes I get a result that is just unacceptable. If my memory serves me well Randyjawa uses a brush with good results, and many members use powder coat shops to paint their bikes. Although I like the durability of powder coat, I am not excited by the way the coating hides detail. In addition, I believe that color choices are limited by the process as well. Besides, I like to do it myself.

So I see that Harbor Freight has a detail spray g*n for $9.99 on sale. I read the reviews which generally state that once the sloppy thread connections are cleaned up, teflon taped, O-ringed (if needed) - and adjustments to paint and air orifices are made - the spray g*n is very good.

So now I am thinking that I should buy one of these and give it a try. I would use automotive primer/paint with it.

Do any members have experience with this method?
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Old 02-21-15, 02:04 PM
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If your talking about the purple paint *** from Harbor Freight? thats all I use, I love them. I think I have 5 of those guns.
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Old 02-21-15, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
If your talking about the purple paint *** from Harbor Freight? thats all I use, I love them. I think I have 5 of those guns.
Thanks Sloar. You just tipped my boat in the direction of HF.
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Old 02-21-15, 02:37 PM
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I love to hate HF. They have good prices on latex gloves and zip ties but I hate standing in the que listening to cheapskates gripe about not getting their 20th free whatever that month.
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Old 02-21-15, 04:13 PM
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Since sloar likes 'em, I may have to buy one. I use an old siphon-feed Craftsman detail g un (~$50 at the time), but always wanted to try a HVLP detail g un.

You will need a compressor that will handle painting. You'll be using more air than a nail g un, for example. Check the CFM delivery at the pressure you need (adjust for hose length/psi losses) before deciding on one.

Last edited by Ex Pres; 02-21-15 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 02-21-15, 04:40 PM
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I don't find powdercoat limiting at all myself.

There are an unlimited number of colors, and you can actually mix custom colors if you want. You need to vist several shops and find one that stocks an assortment of colors, or is willing to sepecial order a color for you or mix it. When I have something powdercoated, the shop I use has catalogs of colors from different manufacturers, as well as sample of colors that are in stock.

The thickness of the coating can vary just like paint. The person applying it controls how thick it is. Details are not necessarily lost due to the thickness of the coat, but the surface is normally prepared by blasting and some detail can be lost depending on what the blasting media is, and how much air pressure is used.

To me, the only limiting factors when considering powdercoating is the maximum temperature that the base material/s can stand, and the value of the item/s in when compared to the cost of the process and ultimate value.

I have a couple of paint sprayers and a healthy size compressor, but the cost of powdercoating is still competitive/lower because the cost of paint keeps going up along with the materials necessary to prep, spray, and clean up, when done has push the cost of paint up over the cost of sending/taking items over to the powdercoater (two blocks away from my house).

You can also powdercoat items yourself at home (powdercoating tool setups can be had for less than $150). The limitation is the size of the oven that you have access to for baking the coating. I don't think it would be a great idea to cure powdercoated objects in your home oven. You could get an oven for free out of Craigslist for exclusive use in the garage, but you would still be limited to whatever fits.

Last edited by RoadGuy; 02-21-15 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 02-21-15, 06:46 PM
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I'm in the Randyjawa paint-it-with-a-brush school. I've made a box that holds a frame and fork and gets up to 250 F in summer sunlight. In winter I have to put a heat gvn in there. Good prep and proper curing make a durable finish. I have a lot to learn yet, but the brush method works.
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Old 02-21-15, 07:35 PM
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The magic isn't in the spray ***.

The magic is in the prep.
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Old 02-21-15, 07:39 PM
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I understand that to use a sprayer like the Harbor Freight one, a regulated air supply is required?

I know NOTHING about air compressors, but I have two - one is a "flying saucer" from Wally-World that I use to air up the occasional auto tire. The other is a 5.5 HP behemoth that I scored at a yard sale for $50. Would the big compressor have a built in regulator, or do I need an external one? If it should have one, where would I find it and what would it look like? Along with the compressor, I also got a brand-new paint sprayer with a small reservoir on it, which I also know squat about. How do I tell if my paint thing is appropriate for bicycle frame work?

If we need photos, I'll take some. Thanks - FH
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Old 02-21-15, 07:49 PM
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On my paint g.u.n. I have a water filter and a pressure regulator. I usually run around 10-15psi.
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Old 02-21-15, 08:19 PM
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The big compressor may have a gauge on it for PSI, but no way to regulate the flow. Google up regulator and moisture trap combos and you'll get a lot of ideas. Check out the big spray equipment suppliers like TCP global or Spraygunworld.com for deals and types. And ebay. Lots available there too.

Yes, post a picture of your sprayer. Small cup? Could be a detail g un, or an airbrush.




Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
I understand that to use a sprayer like the Harbor Freight one, a regulated air supply is required?

I know NOTHING about air compressors, but I have two - one is a "flying saucer" from Wally-World that I use to air up the occasional auto tire. The other is a 5.5 HP behemoth that I scored at a yard sale for $50. Would the big compressor have a built in regulator, or do I need an external one? If it should have one, where would I find it and what would it look like? Along with the compressor, I also got a brand-new paint sprayer with a small reservoir on it, which I also know squat about. How do I tell if my paint thing is appropriate for bicycle frame work?

If we need photos, I'll take some. Thanks - FH

Last edited by rootboy; 02-21-15 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 02-21-15, 09:19 PM
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Do not underestimate the value of proper prep work. And after putting all that time and effort into prep, it would be a shame to NOT finish it properly. Harbor fright guns are poor quality. I cringe at the idea of using them for anything other than primer or sealer. If you want to do a legit paint job that will look great today and a decade from now, you need to know how to do proper prep work and have the right tools to lay a lasting finish. Most guns (including horrible freight guns) require 11-18 CFMs. Most people do not have an industrial strength compressor in their garage. Eastwood's concours guns are great low priced ($160) guns that were designed to be used with a home compressor--it only requires 4 CFM. I have sprayed with $700 guns and can say that the Concours yields great results for its relatively low price. And the fact that it requires such a low CFM makes it perfect for the DIYer. It may be a good idea to get a HF cheap g*n for primer and a decent g*n for base/clear. Ideally, most pros have a separate g*n for clear to avoid contamination, but that's optioanal. If you think $160 is too much to spend on a good g*n, think of it this way--if you use it once a year for 10 yrs then it only cost you $16 a pop.

Last edited by Scratcher09; 02-21-15 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 02-21-15, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Scratcher09 View Post
Harbor fright guns are poor quality. I cringe at the idea of using them for anything other than primer or sealer.
Harbor Freight sells probably a dozen different types of spray equipment, all of which (of the ones that I've used) were perfectly OK for their intended purpose. I've got an HVLP from them that's fine for spraying anything up to huge barn door and I've got a $10 airbrush kit that I've used recently for painting a bike frame with excellent control and efficiency. Obviously prep work is the most important part of any spray job, and in my experience, control is the most important part of applying color. Especially on skinny bicycle frame tubes.

Dissing a brand name because it's cheap is counterproductive to the discussion of what's available to an amateur who wants to get his feet wet, which is exactly where a lot of us are at here, I'm guessing. My advice for people attempting their first paint jobs is go ahead and buy those cheap crappy spray kits (think "airbrush") and a cheap crappy compressor and a cheap crappy regulator from HF and see what you can do with it. You definitely need the regulator, though.
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Old 02-22-15, 12:02 AM
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I said HF guns are poor quality. I have painted professionally and am glad to share my knowledge. The purpose of this forum is to share knowledge. If someone says they are happy with the performance of Walmart tires that cost $6.99 I hope that someone here would explain the benifits of paying more for better quality tires.
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Old 02-22-15, 06:29 AM
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In my personal experience, as a hobbyist, I've found it better to do the time consuming prep work at home and leave the painting to professionals with the proper experience, equipment and facilities. It can take me days to carefully strip a frame. I have a collection scrapers from broad to dental pics that I use to remove paint chemically and I'm very careful with abrasives. It would be crazy expensive to pay someone to do the stripping, prep job I do on a frame. And it would be crazy expensive to buy the tools and build a facility that could do as good a job as the body shop in town.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:32 AM
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So here's my $50 compressor & paint ***. I'm assuming that the knob on the compressor is a regulator? What are the two knobs on the paint *** for?









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Old 02-22-15, 10:40 AM
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The knob on your compressor controls the regulator. There are three adjustments on your g-n. The upper one adjusts the fan. The middle one adjusts the amount of material. And the lower one adjusts the air.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:43 AM
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A moisture trap should be used to avoid contamination in your finish
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Old 02-22-15, 10:48 AM
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OK - I can afford a moisture trap. I've been trying since posting the photos to Google a manual for the Husky sprayer without success. Any idea where to find one?

I guess it would be prudent to get the manual for the compressor as well. I suspect it has some maintenance requirements.

With a different tip, could I do my own sand blasting with this compressor too?

Blasting isn't expensive, but painting is. Maybe to avoid silicosis and to save time, I should just pay to have my frame blasted & then use this rig to do the painting?

What's the learning curve for the paint ***? Last time I painted a frame with spray cans, I had only one sag. How long will it take me to become competent with the air sprayer?
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Old 02-22-15, 11:07 AM
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The compressor has an air filter that needs to be replaced periodically and the tank needs moisture drained out the bottom.

Sand blasting guns guns are cheap. I have one from HF (blasting guns are not critical like paint guns) and it does the job fine. Again, the CFM output of your compressor will struggle to keep up with the requirements of the guns. Get the smallest *** and don't shoot continuously for too long or you can burn out your compressor. That compressor is fine for spraying bike frames. But for painting something larger (like a small car) that compressor would not be able to keep up with that g-n.

The method of paint removal depends on the frame material. Blasting is great for steel, but aluminum is too soft and could be damaged by blasting. Chemical removal is easy and effective but precautions need to be taken to protect your skin and lungs. Sanding is more labor intensive. But also keep in mind that you don't always have to go down to the bare metal. If the factory paint is in good condition then it only needs to be scuffed up with 400-600 grit paper or scotch pad to give it enough tooth for adherence. If it looks like anything other than a factory paint job then taking it down to bare metal is safest.
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Old 02-22-15, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
OK - I can afford a moisture trap. I've been trying since posting the photos to Google a manual for the Husky sprayer without success. Any idea where to find one?

I guess it would be prudent to get the manual for the compressor as well. I suspect it has some maintenance requirements.

With a different tip, could I do my own sand blasting with this compressor too?

Blasting isn't expensive, but painting is. Maybe to avoid silicosis and to save time, I should just pay to have my frame blasted & then use this rig to do the painting?

What's the learning curve for the paint ***? Last time I painted a frame with spray cans, I had only one sag. How long will it take me to become competent with the air sprayer?
A sandblasting spraygun is a totally different animal. I would also suggest a possible "cheater" valve at the spraygun to fine tune the pressure to the paint. Practice on some tubing, garden tools. Then really plan your paint application. Consider doing the complicated regions first. Much easier than attempting to spray them last. If you are using a gravity or siphon feed spraygun be sure you can move the frame around to keep the spraygun orientation happy. Avoid painting in marginal temperatures, warm is better.

That spraygun is way bigger than anything I have used on a bike frame. One knob adjusts the paint flow and the other the air, which adjusts the "fan" or the width of the spray. You need a detail spraygun in my opinion to avoid wasting paint, and for better control.

Last edited by repechage; 02-22-15 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 02-22-15, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Scratcher09 View Post
I said HF guns are poor quality. I have painted professionally and am glad to share my knowledge. The purpose of this forum is to share knowledge. If someone says they are happy with the performance of Walmart tires that cost $6.99 I hope that someone here would explain the benifits of paying more for better quality tires.
A few years ago, I bought a few that still work really well, the stuff today looks marginal. The same style of *** is the same price as I spent 25 years ago...
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Old 02-22-15, 11:57 AM
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Repechage is correct that a detail g-n is better suited for bike frames.
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Old 02-22-15, 12:06 PM
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How To Use Compressed Air Paint Sprayers

Tips and techniques
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Old 02-22-15, 02:03 PM
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Having a dust free space or enclosure is very important for a good paint job. That's the biggest obstacle I face in home paint jobs. And personally, I would never blast a frame to remove paint. Blasting strong enough to remove paint will round off corners, dull features and leave a coarse finish on the steel. It might be fine for powder coating, but not for a high quality restoration of a classic frame IMO.
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