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Old 04-02-2010   #1
 
mountains, Colorado
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painting aluminium?

So I'm thinking of buying longer tubing for my frame and realized that to anodize the tubing costs more. I know that non-anodized tubing creates more frame marks and gives you that creepy metal dust on your hands. My thought was to solve this by painting the aluminium tubing. Whaddya think? Suggestions for better types of paint?

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Old 04-02-2010   #2
 
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I think powder coating may yield the best results in many cases, for a few simple facts. Powder coating is durable and cheaper to apply (depends on color/vendor) than a high quality paint that will last as long. Promoting adhesion on bare metal can be expensive and time consuming, depending on preparation and product used. I find that often times it would cost me more to go the paint rout than simply droping off some parts to be powder coated. I would price it out before making the decision to scuff and "rattle can" your parts. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-03-2010   #3
 
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I've heard that the heat from powder coating is bad for aluminum
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Old 04-03-2010   #4
 
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The little experience I had with trying to paint aluminum was a pain. It required an acid etching primer, which was expensive and nasty stuff. When all was said and done, it still didn't work. What I was wondering about was getting frame parts Rhino Lined in a light color that wouldn't get hot. That stuff is indestructible, and not cheap. I'd bet it would be $3-400 to get someone to do it.
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Old 04-03-2010   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB Rob View Post
I've heard that the heat from powder coating is bad for aluminum
The annealing temperature for aluminum is much higher than the temp used to bake the powder coating (depends on the type of Alum used, can rang from 650 to around 800 degrees). Some shops can offer a lower temp product that is less than the standard 300-400 degree bake. I'm not familiar with this product so I would check around. Typical powder coating will last 5 to 10 years depending on UV exposure. Just make sure that any tight clearance areas will have room for the coating, thickness depends on color and type. I don't work for a powder coating company or any thing, this is just my general experience working with metal and such. Any body else hear any thing different??
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Old 04-03-2010   #6
 
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if you have an NRS frame its $4 / foot for frame tubing, not a bad price but oversize charges will kill you. I think about $2.2/foot through an aluminum supplier for 6061-T6 but this is not anodized. Comes in 20 foot lenghts but you can cut this with a chop saw and carbide saw blade --- just clamp the pipe down good before you cut. I've built a couple of frames this way and then I polish the aluminum with the mothers polish that truckers use to get their tanks shiney. It needs to be re-buffed occasionally and I havn't looked at long term staining but it leaves less marks on your hands maybe because its got some sort of wax in the product? my straps do a good job of re-buffing it.

also you might consider buying the breakdown rail kit from NRS and a few extra feet of tubing ...
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Old 04-03-2010   #7
 
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All of the local powder coaters that I have dealt with all use dupont powders that were baked at no more than 400 , this is pretty much the norm. Like fishguts said this will not affect your AL. Just make sure the powder color you choose is listed as an outdoor color, or you will have to use a clear coat over it to make it last. Usually an additionally 50%.
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Old 04-04-2010   #8
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This is from the Rowframe.com website.
Anodizing Vs. High Solids Clear Acrylic
Arguments For And Against Aluminum Anodizing and High Solids Acrylic Clear Coating.
Anodizing: Anodizing is the process of electro-chemically enchancing an aluminum surface and making it harder. In a solution of electrolyte (5% H2SO4), a direct current is applied to the anode and crystals compriced of aluminum, oxygen, and sulphur form from the virgin metal on the surface subject to the current-flux. This new material formed is referred to as anodic oxide, which is a non-conductor or at least a hi-dieletric semiconductor. Anodic oxide is one form of aluminum oxide which is a popular abrasive material. It is quite hard. It is very thin. Anodic coatings vary from 0.1 mils(.0001") to 0.7 mils(.007") for most applications. Anodic oxides are good aluminum surface protectors for commodities like windows and storefront. Anodic oxides are extremely poor at resisting abrasion from silicas and sand found in riverbank mud. This sand being harder than the anodic oxide, will remove the anodic coatings in a single footprint. It is not economically feasable to repair the anodizing. It is impractable to weld to anodizing because it is a non-conductor.

High Solids Acrylic Clear Coating: This is a common automotive finish and is available in thicknesses up to 30 mil(.030"). Acrylic transmits the beauty of the substrate through the coating and can be furnished in satin or hi-gloss. This finish will prevent the silver gray oxides from occuring on inflatable tubes. Clear acrylic is available from thousands of vendors and can be applied with little expertise. Clear acrylic paint is easily repaired with Crystal Clear Krylon available in the sub $3.00 range. Acrylic paint can be removed with MEK allowing repair or weld modifications for little cost. Since the acrylic clear thansmits the beauty of the underlying aluminum, one should use a mild cleaner and wire brush to clean affected areas prior to painting. Questions about these processes or bulk cleaners & OS-PHO solutions can be sent to [email protected]

Acrylic clear coatings are applied at room temperature. Do not confuse this with clear powder coating. Powder coating pre-heating destroys the temper of the substrate aluminum and renders aluminum frames in an annealed state. This means a 20-40% reduction in strength.
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Old 04-04-2010   #9
 
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Just for reference the annealing temp for aluminum-magnesium-silicon alloy (6061) is 413 C or 775 F The artificial aging temp ranges 320- 350 F which is done after annealing. You are not going to see a significant reduction in strength in a short term sub 400 degree heating to apply polyester powder. Take also into account that welding processes heat the weld and the areas around it to 900 plus degrees F. This would be the only area for concern if you were truly scared of structural integrity being compromised. IMHO painting AL is probably best for those who like to do it often, as it chips,flakes and scratches very easily. Just my experience.
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Old 04-05-2010   #10
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For the DIYer... There is a an aerosol product sold at auto-shops for painting engine blocks. There are base colors and clear coats to choose from and the best part is this stuff is made to stand up to abuse + has a low cooking temp (220 F). Your fittings can go in the oven and the tubes could be baked in a homemade box (check craigslist for free shipping containers) with a blow dryer or heat gun. I'll take some picks when I finally get around to doing this but if anyone else gives it a run let the FO know how it goes.
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