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 Post subject: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:40 am 
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big hucker
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Location: Dallas, TX
While I had one of my forks disassembled to replace the bushings, I decided to try painting the lowers a different color.

I don't need (or really want) a factory fresh paint job. I just wanted to change up the color to a nice neutral black.

Using a heat gun (on low) I gently warmed the decals and removed them. I put them on a sheet of paper in case I wanted to scan them in and try to reproduce them later. Turns out I just bought some decals off of eBay for $10 instead.

Image

I used #1 steel wool (medium coarseness) to rub the lowers until there was no gloss left. You'll see visible scratching of the paint that's hard to capture on the camera.

Since it's tough to get the steel wool into the crevices of the fork, I used a small brass welding brush. You'll find them in the welding supply isle at the hardware store. The steel brushes will eat through the paint fairly quick. Brass is softer and will just scuff it up nicely. Here's a photo of one from the internet:

Image

I then washed the fork using TSP, rinsed it with clean water, and let it dry for a day. Once you wash the surface, do not touch it again with bare hands. Skin oils jack up paint.

Image

The paint I decided to use was Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy. I've read good things about the durability of this stuff and they had it at the local hardware store. I emailed Rustoleum and asked about proper application and they specifically said no primer with this paint. Scuff existing paint or apply directly to bare metal. Made me happy to hear that as it saved some steps.

Another option would have been the Duplicolor Engine Enamel (with ceramic). The Duplicolor had more color choices if that's what you're after.

I cut out a piece of hanger, bent the ends into hooks, inserted them into the bottom of the lowers.

Image

Taped off the top of the lowers.

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Used my $55 dollar workstand to support the piece.

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I'm not a huge fan of the slick glossy look on mountain bike parts. After putting on a few coats, I held the can further back and 'dusted' the lowers to give it a slightly textured look. This method has worked real well for me in the past when painting things like stems and handlebars.

You can still see some of the underlying gouges. Doesn't bother me as I'm quite sure I'll add some new gouges in the near future.

Image Image Image Image

When it was dry to the touch, I hung it up in the attic to cure for a week before applying the decals and installing the bushings.

After being in the attic for a week the paint cured up nicely (no more odors from solvent evaporation). Meanwhile, the eBay decals arrived. Since they're designed for a 32mm stanchion SID they wrap around the fork a bit more than intended. But, I think they look nice. It certainly freshened up the look of the fork.

Washed, dried, and applied the decals...

Image

Image Image

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Update after five months:

I knew the paint wouldn't be invincible. There's a small chip on the right side about 1/2" below the seal. Other than that the paint job has been holding up just fine. This isn't my daily rider; but, I'd estimate I have this one out once a week. That would be approximately 20 rides or so.

Image Image

Overall I am very happy with how the lowers turned out and I wouldn't hesitate to paint more using the same method.

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:19 am 
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stealth kitty
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Great job. I have an older (2007) Fox Talas that I'm updating with a newer lower (2011). Got the new lower off ebay for like $20, and had the lowers powdercoated.... put on new stickers... then accidentally messed up the stickers when some acetone drippd on it. I still got to put the entire thing together.

-S

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:35 am 
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big hucker
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Shibi, I've seen others asking about powder coating the lowers. I guess there are no concerns with the heat weakening them during the curing process?

And, do you have any before / after pics? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:12 am 
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stealth kitty
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Didn't get the pic taken before but here is the "after" pic. Notice the discoloration on the new stickers thanks to the acetone I spilled. The powdercoating was done at about 425 F instead of 475 - I had the same concerns about messing up the magnesium casting, but it should be OK.

Image

-S

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:06 pm 
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lil' hucker
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Nice write-up Marp! Great results, too. Get a black permanent marker and color in that chip.


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:12 pm 
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big hucker
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Nah, I wear the chips and scrapes as badges of honor. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:52 pm 
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lurkin' kitty
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The problem with rattle can is that it is not very hard. This has a lot to do with the evaporatives they use in rattle can to keep it from hardening in the can. You can get a local auto paint store to mix you some custom colors in a spray can with real paint hardener in it for not much more that a few cans of Krylon. When I have home painted small parts I have used some auto grade high build primer on it first which hides the old imperfections and makes for much better adhesion. Don't get me wrong, I have a crate of rattle can in a rainbow of colors. All home welded and machined raw work gets a coat of paint regardless. These days, I use auto grade paint on anything I really care about.

Very nice work. I have "dusted" a lot of stuff as well. I find the Hammerite to be the best for durability, hiding ouchies, and being the easiest to touch up or repaint later.

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:29 pm 
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lurkin' kitty

Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:19 am
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Location: Greece
I prefer removing all the paint with paint remover and when all has gone i apply 2 thin layers of primer coating. Next i aplly at leat 2 or 3 layers of paint(i always go to car paint shop and mix my own custom color).
When this is over i put the decals on and at last i apply 3 to 4 layers of color vanish which hardens the paint and protects the decals to.
It takes a little longer(approx. 2 days because you have to wait for the color to dry) but the result is great and the paint stays on no matter how many rocks you will hit

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:57 pm 
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big hucker
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Haris, welcome to HK! Sounds like you have more skill (and patients) at painting than I do. ;)

Any pics of the finished product? I love bike porn. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:13 pm 
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bad kitty!
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What brand and type of pain do you use Harris?


Magura :)

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:40 pm 
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yappin' kitty
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Har is the Odoropoulos? what is an odoropoulos?


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:53 am 
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big hucker
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Bill in Houston wrote:
Har is the Odoropoulos? what is an odoropoulos?

:lol:

I'm pretty sure his name is Haris Theodoropolus.

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:02 am 
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yappin' kitty
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;)


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:34 am 
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lurkin' kitty

Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:19 am
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Location: Greece
First of all pleasure is all mine that i find this forum. Secondly i am from Greece and my first name is Haris(full name Charalampos) and my last name is Theodoropoulos.
I found some pics from the forks but not very good ones because i sold the fork weeks ago. The fork was a Marzocchi 55 tst 2009 model color black. In the first 2 pics you see the fork lowers after 4 months of abuse
I am gentle at all with my bike and you can see that the paint is still there.
In the third picture you are seeing how the colour matched exactly the color of the frame. I am using car paint and i mix my own colors in hardware stores which are specialized in car paints. Once again sorry for the bad pics


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:29 am 
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bad kitty!
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That looks real good!


Magura :)

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:32 pm 
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big hucker
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Location: Dallas, TX
I think the photos look good. The fork, bike, and color match look great!

Color matching is a level of quality I'll probably never achieve. I will have to send my lowers out for anything more than rattle-can black or white. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:28 pm 
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lurkin' kitty

Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:19 am
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Location: Greece
What i did was to take the frame the harware store and the guy there mixed colors and ..voila!!. I prefer to use a spray gun but if you haven't got any they put the paint in spray can. That easy :D

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:15 pm 
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revolting kitty
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marpilli wrote:
Bill in Houston wrote:
Har is the Odoropoulos? what is an odoropoulos?

:lol:

I'm pretty sure his name is Haris Theodoropolus.


Hiphopopotamus?



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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:18 pm 
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revolting kitty
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BTW, Bad Ass bike!


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:51 pm 
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friendly kitty
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Auto paint really is the way to go, and a touch-up gun is the perfect size for bike work.

Very nice Marzocchi !!!

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:21 pm 
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friendly kitty

Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:19 pm
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Rustoleum 9000 series epoxy mastic paints are tough as nails, and come in several colors. (Mostly mil-std types of white/gray/navyblue/OD).

I think if I ever paint my lowers, it'll be this stuff. Pretty much takes direct application of a blowtorch and 60ksi or so to scratch it. Should stiffen the lowers, too, it's often used as a structural coating.


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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:31 pm 
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stealth kitty
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axisofoil wrote:
Rustoleum 9000 series epoxy mastic paints are tough as nails, and come in several colors. (Mostly mil-std types of white/gray/navyblue/OD).

I think if I ever paint my lowers, it'll be this stuff. Pretty much takes direct application of a blowtorch and 60ksi or so to scratch it. Should stiffen the lowers, too, it's often used as a structural coating.


Just have Mark, our powder coating guy, powder coat it...... He did the talas lowers on marp's Titus and it came out great.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

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 Post subject: Re: Painting Fork Lowers
PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:51 am 
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lurkin' kitty

Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:32 am
Posts: 14
Enjoyed this post! I'd love to take the professional sprayer running off the compressor to my lowers, but I'm in the middle of rebuilding my Fuel EX and it's just too cold for painting right now. Besides, NO idea what color I would go, other than a brown/sepia or white. Fox sent me a free set of decal replacements too after my last seal kit order. Might wait to badge it up after paint. IDK, can spray looks good and so does the green bike! Nice thread, thanks all.

-GT


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