Painting My First Bike

By Gary Fredericks

As the title says this is the first motorcycle I have painted. This is just the beginning as I will add some airbrush work later this year as well as fades and highlights into the existing flames, and an outline pinstripe. After a few months of consulting various internet sources, magazine articles, videos and attending a couple classes this is the method I used to complete my first bike.

Please drop Gary an e-mail and thank him for this contributing this article to the mag. I know he would love to hear from you.

Materials Used: Tack rags, lint free towelettes, ½” 3M tan masking tape, Auto Mask, 3M blue 1/8 fine line tape, DuPont Prep-Sol wax and grease remover, House of Kolor: Epoxy primer, Orion Silver base coat, Snowhite Pearl basecoat, Kobalt Blue Kandy Koncentrate, SG-100 Inter coat clear, and UC-35 clearcoat with catalyst.

I washed everything with dawn dish soap and water and thoroughly rinse everything taking care to tape off all openings into the tank. Using the Prep-Sol on a lint free cloth I wiped down the entire surface of the tank and fenders. Then using a red scotch brite pad and water with your average Comet type household cleanser I scrubbed again trying to insure against any left over wax or grime that was to stubborn to come off.

 

Step 1: I then used my electric orbital sander with 80 grit sand paper to remove the factory decal as its texture on the factory clear coat would shown through. I took it all the way to bare metal and wet sanded with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. There should be no shine left to the existing clear coat when you are done. Also be certain to feather the edges around the bare metal to a gradual transition from metal to paint. This will help save a little sanding after the premier is applied.

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

Step 2: I again used the Prep Sol to remove any oils from my hands that may have gotten on the surface during the wet sanding process than use a tack rag to clean any dust off of the surface. Be sure to wash your hands between each step to help prevent this from happening. I then blew it dry with my air hose and mixed up my Epoxy Primer according to the label. Using a 1.8mm HVLP gun by Astropneumatic I apply three primer coats over the bare metal spots on the tank, allowing it to flash dull in between coats. I repeated the same steps with the bottom of the fenders and the underside of the gas tank as well. Three medium coats follow this over the entire tank and fenders allowing flash time between coats. I let them cure for two days even though you can sand on them after 12 hours.

Using wet 600 grit wet / dry sandpaper I began creating my tooth for the paint and leveling off the surface making it as smooth as I can. During wet sanding I noticed low spots where the decals were. I mixed more primer and re do the same steps as above to fill these areas. The next day I wet sanded again and this time it came out fine and I was ready to apply my Orion Silver base coat. Some people use the sealers for this product line but I decided not to as I was on a tight budget and this is my personal ride. I apply 3 light / medium coats and this covers well and even. Two medium coats of inter coat clear follow the silver. You can use a catalyzed topcoat clear as well.

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

Step 3: Onto the flames. I use 800 grit wet / dry sandpaper to create tooth for my flames, followed by wiping it down with the Prep-Sol, blowing dry and then tacking off the dust with a tack rag. Using the 1 / 8″ blue tape I “draw” out my flames. The first couple designs didn’t suit my taste so I re-did it several few times until I was satisfied with them. The good thing about this tape is it can be peeled and re applied a couple times before it is no longer any good which is especially helpful around the curves. I suggest buying a roll of it just for practice and layout flames on your coffee table during your favorite show as it will give you practice and leave no messy residues. This stuff will take a little getting used to. Keep the roll in the hand that is doing the “drawing” and keep the tape low to the surface. Make your turns in smooth turns by keeping the motion steady and constant. If you do it in slow, unsteady movements, your turns will come out irregular and not smooth. After I am satisfied with the flames I cover the entire surface with the AutoMask, overlapping each piece by 1/2 inch. I then used my #11 X acto knife and CAREFULLY cut along the center of the blue tape using a new blade and changing to a new blade as soon as I felt resistance to the cutting action. I removed the cut outs and checked for areas that I had ANY doubts would allow paint to spray under and onto where I did not want to paint. I used my ½” tan 3 M tape to seal these areas off along with taping the seams of each overlap of automask. Wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap and run your finger along the blue tape to insure it is completely on the surface and sealed properly.

 Painting My First Bike

 Painting My First Bike

 

Step 4: Mixing the Snow White Pearl base coat according to the label I then add approx. 10% Kobalt Blue Kandy Concentrate to the mix to create my blue pearl flame color. I used my stir stick to judge the intensity of my color continuing until I was satisfied with it. Using my Iwata W-88 I apply 2 coats evenly with a 50% overlap. I let it flash for about 60 minutes and removed the auto mask first and then pulled the blue fine line tape sharply against itself to perform more of a shearing action with the tape rather than pulling it straight up which can cause the blue paint to flake off and ruin the flames edge.

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

Step 5: I mix my UC – 35 clear coat with a 2 : 1 : 1 mix ( 2 parts clear : 1 part reducer : 1 part catalyst ). I clear coat the entire sheet metal surface including the bottom of the fenders and the tank tunnel underneath using 3 wet coats than letting it flash until sticky, but NOT stringy when touched with a finger between each coat. I let it cure 24 hours and wet sanded with 1000 grit wet, we t/ dry sandpaper smoothing the borders of the flames and creating one uniformly smooth surface. Using the tack rag I clean the surface of dust and debris and blow off with air. I now mix another batch of clear and over reduce a little bit to get more flow out and more shine in the finished product. I apply one wet coat and let it cure over night. The result is a very nice shine and smooth surface. The bike was re-assembled and immediately taken for a ride around town!

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

 Painting My First Bike

 

Comments: I must add that I used my barn / garage for the whole process. This is a back yard job from start to finish. It is important to have adequate ventilation and to wet your floor to keep the dust down prior to spraying. Be sure to follow ALL safety guide lines for the products you are using as well as a dual cartridge active charcoal respirator rated for Volatile Organic Compounds ( VOC ‘s). I had a lot of fun doing this and hope at least some one can get a better idea on how to approach similar projects such as this from this How To. Hope you enjoyed it!

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