How to Paint Carbon Fibre

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How to Paint Carbon Fibre

Carbon fibre bikes are costly and require a great deal of care and caution during cleaning. Owners should undertake painting a carbon fibre bike with concern for a process that preserves all of a carbon fibre bike's lightweight qualities without risking its strength and flexibility. For this reason, only those with experience painting other varieties of bikes are encouraged to attempt painting a carbon fibre model, as a poor job may compromise the bike's integrity.

 

Tools

Owners need to strip their carbon fibre bike of old paint, sand it, prepare it for painting, paint it, and seal it carefully. This may require more specialised tools than painting a more traditional variety of bike.

 

Tool

Purpose

Sand blaster

Sprays sand or other aggregate at high velocity to strip away paint

Glass cleaner

Cleans remaining sand or plastic beads or dust off the frame before painting

Primer

Cover the frame before painting

Paint

Paints the desired colour

Ceramic clearcoat spray

Protects the paint and the bike

 

Avoid chemical strippers, as they can seriously damage the integrity of the carbon fibres in a bike frame. Sanding is the best and safest process to strip and prepare a carbon fibre bike for painting.

 

Painting a Carbon Fibre Bike

Owners should completely disassemble the bike before painting. Ideally, hang the parts from the ceiling in a well-ventilated, dust-free zone using prefabricated bike hooks. Owners can also place the bike on a stand.

Sanding the Bike

Sand is an acceptable aggregate for sanding the bike, though some may prefer plastic beads or other synthetic options. After loading the aggregate in the sand blaster, spray the bike frame and parts evenly from all directions until the old paint is gone. The carbon fibre should be worn smooth and free of any paint. Evenly sand the underside and topographies of the frame, being careful not to over-sand any one spot. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear according to the sand blaster's instructions.

Cleaning the Bike

After cleaning the area from sanding, use glass cleaner on terry cloth and gently clean the bike of sand and other particulates. Use this time to look for any areas that need additional sanding. Repeat the sanding step if necessary.

Primer Coat

Once the glass cleaner dries, begin spraying the primer coat in thin, long strokes. Build the primer up gradually rather than spraying heavily. The object is to keep the primer coat as thin as possible while still evenly covering the bike. Allow the primer to dry according to the primer instructions.

Painting

Allow the primer to dry as directed and test it for dryness before beginning to paint. Use the same procedure, spraying in long, even strokes. Build the colour up slowly rather than spraying heavily. A good primer coat helps reduce the need for thicker paint coats.

When finished painting, inspect the bike from all angles to ensure complete coverage, and allow the paint to dry and harden per instructions. When dry, use the glass cleaner and terry cloth to clean the paint before application of the clear coat.

Clear Coat

Add the clear coat directly after cleaning dust and particulates from the paint. Doing so ensures that new dust does not settle on its surface, marring the clear coat. Spray the clear coat in the same fashion as the paint and primer, using long, even strokes. Not all clear coats are immediately visible once sprayed, so keep track of progress keenly. Allow the clear coat to dry.

Nonceramic clear coats require gentle sanding by hand after the coat has hardened, using a fine, high-grit sandpaper. Ceramic clear coat does not require sanding after drying.

 

How to Buy Carbon Fibre Painting Supplies on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer a great selection of sand blasters and other tools, many of which are less expensive than comparable retail options. Searching for painting supplies is as simple as typing 'sand blaster' into the search box. If you want supplies with specific features, use specific search terms such as 'portable grit shot blaster'. To save on shipping expenses, narrow your search further to display local sellers who agree to an in-person pickup.

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