looking to remove paint and polish alum frame- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    looking to remove paint and polish alum frame

    I have a alum frame that I want to strip the paint, then buff / polish then apply clear coat. What I've learned so far is I can use the airplane paint remover stuff, or get it media / bead blasted. Maybe buff with a Scotch Brite pad? Then apply about 5 coats of clear coat using automotive high intense heat resistant spray paint.

    Anyone have any experience with doing this? I'm in the Chattanooga, TN area and don't know of anyone who can bead blast it or apply clear coat. willing to do it myself if armed with the know-how and pitfalls to avoid.

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Polished Frame

    The best way to strip the paint is to media blast, but you need to find someone to use walnut shell instead of glass bead. The glass bead will leave a smooth but pumaled finish on the aluminum and will be a lot of work smoothing and polishing. For the clear coat find a finisher who can spray the frame with a Dura-Kote clear. You can get it in any sheen from flat to high gloss.One or two light coats and you'll be good and never have to bother polishing again. Plus the mud water and dirt will not stick. It's self cleaning.

    -ZX

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2000zaskarx
    The best way to strip the paint is to media blast, but you need to find someone to use walnut shell instead of glass bead. The glass bead will leave a smooth but pumaled finish on the aluminum and will be a lot of work smoothing and polishing. For the clear coat find a finisher who can spray the frame with a Dura-Kote clear. You can get it in any sheen from flat to high gloss.One or two light coats and you'll be good and never have to bother polishing again. Plus the mud water and dirt will not stick. It's self cleaning.

    -ZX
    Do you have any recommendations on who will do the clear coat? auto body shop?

  4. #4
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    Ball Burnishing

    If I were you I would try to get it Ball Burnished, I have no idea where but it will leave the aluminum nice and shinny with no need to clear coat. the BB'ing also hardens the surface of the aluminum giving a slightly stronger more scratch resistant finish. The only downside is (apart from finding where the h#*l to get it done) is that it does slightly tarnish over time and especially where you handle the frame, but this is very easy to polish off with something like autosol. This is the finish on a Cannondale Jekyll 3000 from 2002 (my bike). The don't seem to do this finish very often anymore (they did a 30th Ann. edition of the rush in europe only) as i think it's too expensive for them?? I think it's the way to go, you'll never chip the clear coat and have it corrode and you'll save the weight of the clear coat!!
    My friend paint stripped his and has just left it. It is a dull finish and was nearly impossible to get shinny! I have a Clear coated raw Cannondale Scalpel as well but it's nowhere near as shinny as the Jekyll! I'd love to see some pics of the job in progress and the finished product.
    Good luck!!!!

  5. #5
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    Hey thanks for the info...will post pics of the progress. Still can''t get my hands on a K2 sticker set though.

  6. #6
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    Day 1 of the tear down. Yet to get the 6mm swingarm pivot bolt loose.

    day1.jpg

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    Nice to see it underway Good luck, and keep us posted!

  8. #8
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    Day 2 of the tear down

    Finally got the swingarm off. Cranks and BB came out with no problems. Next is to try and salvage the stickers. Or have someone try to duplicate them.

    day2.jpg

  9. #9
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    Day 3

    Sandblasting (used fine recycled sand) is complete and frame prep is yet to begin. Not what I was expecting it to look like. Probably should have used a paint stripper instead. But I hope with some wet sanding and a buffer I can polish it out.
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  10. #10
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    A couple years ago I did a Jamis Dakar this route, even got so silly I built my own blast cabinet to size for it. Glass beads gave me a very shiny finish right off, seems to me walnut shells would be rougher? Anyway from where you are at, Start with about 320 grit dry, then 400, then wet the 400 and go to 600 dry and wet again. Finish off the process with at least 1000 grit wet. Hand polish with Mother's if it's still pretty rough, if there aren't many imperfections (or after the Mother's) you will get your best results with Blue Magic polish. Polishing to a chromelike finish is fairly easy but it is a very dodgey thing to get right, sometimes you will find yourself frustrated and going too far and it dulls again.
    Read the label of the polish carefully, it says something like "rub until black film appears, then buff off with a soft cloth." (reading now off bluemagic jar) Do not deviate from that. Sounds stupid but it isn't.
    For that final finish you should be using the baby soft flannel rags they sell for jewery, etc.

    Finally unless you are kind of lazy or can't stand fingerprionts between wipedowns (and even then)you may consider forgoing the clear coat. It just chips off and looks like ass very quickly, I live at the beach and have had OZ racing/Fittipaldi 5 spoke rims on my Corvette since 1987. In 1995 after I had issues with a few beers and a nasty curb which was still repairable, I had the clearcoat removed at a polishing shop (rims had to be disassembled!) and had them polished like glass. About once a year I have to spend about 20 minutes a rim to maintain it. For a couple years I let them go, and they oxidized, but came back like a champ with a bit of extra elbow grease. I bet your bike would be a half hour tops, maybe every 6 months.

    I'd rather do that than cry every time I chipped the clearcoat then if I wanted it to look new again, spend hours stripping it and coating it. Am I right or what? Not to detract from sp3000's pretty Cannondale of course but that is a factory hardened clearcoat, impossible to duplicate in our garages.

    (my current ride is all titanium, no maintenance. Is there anything you are suposed to do to ti?)
    All bikes weigh 50 lbs. a 50lb. bike doesn't need a lock. a 40lb bike needs a 10lb. lock. a 30 lb. bike needs a 20lb. lock.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by batvette
    Not to detract from sp3000's pretty Cannondale of course but that is a factory hardened clearcoat, impossible to duplicate in our garages.
    Great advice on the sanding and polishing, and I couldn't agree more with you about the clear coat. My Cannondale is actually Ball Burnished and then left like that with NO clear coat whatsoever. that is one of the things I like the best about that type of finish, it does mean i have to polish it every now and then because it oxidizes and fingerprints do make that worse, but it takes two seconds and comes up beautifully! even chips/scrapes are barely noticeable compared to a bike with clear coat. I also have a Cannondale scalpel that is raw with a clear coat, not as shinny as the BB but requires no maintenance, down side is that when you do get a chip in the clear coat it goes black and is near impossible the polish if its small.

  12. #12
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    Here is an actual shot of my bike
    you can see around the stickers it is a bit dull, that's where you obviously can't polish easily!
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  13. #13
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    I use aircraft paint stripper to remove the old paint. It usually takes about two coats. the first coat I leave on overnight and by morning the paint most of the paint has just fallen off. For the small spots that the stripper missed I will use plastic bead at aboout 60 psi (I think.) I only use glass bead to remove corrosion on the lowest setting, about 20psi . Dont get that **** on your skin, not even a little bit (the stripper) and wear safety glasses.

  14. #14
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    for the polishing I would reccomend using flitz polish and something that polishes a little quicker than a buffer like a die grinder with a polishing pad attached. Flitz is expensive so I found Blue magic polish cream at autozone which is the exact same thing as flitz. I use it to polish the leading edges of aircraft at work and the guys in our sheetmetal shop use it to polish inlets to a mirror finish that looks just as good as any chrome.

  15. #15
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    Hey guys, thanks for all the helpful replies. It is slowly coming together. I've taken a few pictures of it's current state. It looks good, except you can see in the closeup that there is still a little pitting of the frame. Not sure how much more sanding I want to do. I've put in my Thomson polished setback post for comparison. I think with a decal set and all my components, she should look pretty good. Anything beats that electric blue.DSC02767.JPG

    DSC02770.JPG

  16. #16
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    I think that looks sweet!! Nice job and thanks for going to the effort of taking photos to share with us!
    I can't wait to see it all built up and I agree once you get everything mounted it should look great, so I think you've done enough sanding. give the old elbow a break now and enjoy

  17. #17
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    Rebuild: Day 1

    Starting the rebuild yesterday...still waiting on a few components to come in.
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  18. #18
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    Love the red arms and stem! That will look unreal!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp3000
    Love the red arms and stem! That will look unreal!!
    Hey thanks a lot sp3000...I think this project has been more fun than riding

    Almost there:
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    Last edited by signalMTB; 01-05-2008 at 04:13 PM.

  20. #20
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    new pics above

  21. #21
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    Great pics of the stem and cranks, the whole build looks beautiful! I know what you mean by the project being more fun than the ride, I love working on stuff and it's such a shame when it's all done! I don't think I'd ever buy a complete bike again, I'd always build it up from the frame.
    explain the cranks? I've never seen an offset arm like that?

  22. #22
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    hey thanks sp3000...she's almost done. luckily, I just picked up an old FS Dakar Team that is in serious of need of restoration.

    Quote Originally Posted by sp3000
    explain the cranks? I've never seen an offset arm like that?
    oh man, Caramba Double Barrels...made for only a few short CNC seasons in the mid 90's...cottage industry style. super light and stiff...a cross section explains it all:

    http://patineto.smugmug.com/gallery/1089671#50658772

    but don't let anyone tell you otherwise...simply the best crankset ever

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