Monday, July 31, 2017

Brompton Accessories #20 - Powder Coating The Brompton

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BROMPTON ACCESSORIES #20 - POWDER COATING THE BROMPTON
There may come a time when you would want to change the look of your Brompton; perhaps just for a new image or perhaps the paintwork has been badly scratched by fequent handling. I had previously had my Brompton copper plated (... see blog). Metallic plating is good as gives the bike a permanent bonded coat. But plating is also a tedious process and also there are limited colours to choose from.
Another, and easier way, is to have the bike powder coated. It is a simpler process.... AND there is a wide range of colours to choose from. Powder coating can be done by a paint shop that does automotive re-painting.

COLOUR SELECTION
The powder coating process starts of with selecting a colour of you choice from a paint colour chart, literally there are hundreds of colours and tones available. Just choose one to to one's liking - one that will project the image of you and your bike.


Other than the colour charts, at some paint shops, often there are pre-sprayed panels finished with the more favourite colours to assist in colour selection. These are sprayed onto curved panels (which looked like miniature mudguards), so that the paintwork can be seen at different angles. For some colours, especially those of a metalic base, the colour tone may change dramatically when viewed from different angles.


After my friend had selected her colour, i.e. Gun Metal. The actual paint is mixed from the primary colours, i.e. blue, red, yellow and black. The mixed paint is then sprayed onto a sample panel for viewing to see whether it is the colour she wanted as the colour on the chart may differ slightly from the final colour due to the difference of printing colours on paper and the actual works.


The proportions of the primary colours that make up the selected colour are then put into this spray cans which are then mechanically agitated to ensure the the paint is well mixed.

PREPARATION & PAINTING
The bike is un-assembled to its bare frame. It is stripped of the old paintwork and then given a chemical wash. After drying, a coat of white paint is sprayed on to give an even base for the finishing coat.


The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin".
Here the different parts of the bike finished with powder coating.


A close-up look shows the even sheen of the paintwork.


The bike is ready to be reassembled - the wheels, cables, gear-sets, etc. are all fixed back.


The chain-ring and pedal arms have been finished with a coat of black automotive paint. Automotive paint is much harder then normal paint and should be able to withstand scratching better.

FINISHING TOUCHES
Final finishing touches using air-brushing - on the main tube, the Brompton folding icons...


... and the BROMPTON logo.


... and some personalisation too... guess what's this?


It's a DRAGONFLY, beautifully rendered to make the owner proud!
A final layer of matte lacquer was sprayed on for further protections of the paintwork.


Here's the bike fully completed.


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