|March 2000 Bike Feature||www.virtualindian.org|
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FEW MEASUREMENTS ON THE FRONT FENDER…
When I was getting ready to finalize the
bodywork I received an email requesting some measurements from my front
fender. These are taken in reference to the top mounting hole, which bolts
into the forks. All measurements are center to center.
Bobs Indian constructed my exhaust system. There are two pieces: a header section and a muffler and tailpipe section. At the same time they made the shield that runs under the muffler and mounts to the floorboard. These items fit properly as received. There is not much else to say about this – it’s an exhaust system. I was very satisfied.
The sheet metal was ready to paint. But before I got into that, a good location was needed. Normally I would just go outside and spray it in the front yard. That was not gonna work this year because we were actually having winter weather for once. Even I know that paint won’t go on well when it’s snowing!
The paint booth had to go in the garage,
and there needed to be as little as possible paint odor in the house.
The air supply was from the house. In order to keep dust out of the garage, I built a filter bank for 3 20”X25” furnace filters out of 2 x 4s and furring strips. It is located alongside the 2 steps into the garage. About that time my secret weapon showed up. A long time friend, Gonzo, had agreed to spray the paint as he has done a lot of it. He also swapped air compressors with me so that we could use his oil free one instead of my older model. Together we built a construction door to seal off the filter bank area from the house. Air removal was by 2 24-inch fans. The bottom panel of the garage door was detached and when we needed the fans we lifted the top three sections, removed the bottom section installed the fans and a block off section, and lowered the door back on top of the fans. We got so that we could do this very fast and without loosing much heat while the garage was open.
When you are sucking air through the booth, you have to have a make up air supply. My make up air was by opening a basement window. Of course this air was in the 30 s or sometimes less, so I opened up the return duct to my heating system. It pulled air from the basement, heated it, and we sucked the heated air out of the house, via the paint booth. The basement would drop to about 50 degrees sometimes (from 65) but the house stayed pretty warm. We also preheated the air going into the paint area with a kerosene heater. When additional heat was needed in the garage, we blasted off with a propane heater that will cook you out in a few minutes!
Before Gonzo sprayed on the color coat, we blew down all surfaces with air, swept the walls, floor and ceiling several times and then blew the whole place down again with the fans sucking the dust out the whole time. Then we fed a hose in and wet down the floor for dust control. There are two additional steps we neglected to take. We should have gotten a Tyvek painting coverall, and misted him with water. We also should have grounded the parts (would have been easy to do as we hung them with number 12 stranded wire green even - for you electricians!).
We did a lot of sanding. Obviously this generated a load of dust. When it gets real dusty a respirator is a handy thing to have. When reading the instructions on your paint, there is usually a paragraph on safety considerations. Some paints require a respirator while some call for a supply of breathable air to be provided from a fresh air source. I purchased a ProAir 40 Niosh approved full face mask system from Eastwood. This may seem like overkill to some, but since I’m learning to paint, and have another bike, a sidecar and a convertible waiting for me to practice on, I figure let’s stay alive and enjoy the fun!
We also protected our hands from some of the paints by using latex “proctologist style” gloves (available at finer auto supply stores everywhere).
PREPARATION AND PAINTING:
The first thing you want to do is get the parts to be painted down to bare metal. I prefer to media strip so that there will not be traces of stripping chemicals to remove. But don’t just send the parts to a sandblaster, or they may be warped by some gorilla who turns the pressure up too high. We have a local outfit “SoftStrip” that does a lot with classic cars and bikes. They use various media depending on what is being stripped. This is the kind of outfit you should look for. I just dropped the parts off and when I got them back they were ready for the next stage.
After everything is clean, there are usually repairs to be made. Most of that has been discussed already, but this is the time for any welding, grinding, drilling etc. Holes for bolts should be one size over the bolt size to allow for paint filling the hole.
The next step is hammering things into shape if required. The hammers and dollies available at some auto parts stores are not always of the highest quality, so you may want to file your hammers to get them really flat or whatever shape you are using. When you are shaping things, you can run a file over the metal, and the low spots will not get scratched. Then tap the low spots out or the high spots down until it is as smooth as you can get it. There is no hurry in this. If there is, pay someone else to do it because you will mess it up. The idea is to get the part so smooth that no filler will be needed.
Once everything is as smooth as you can get it there will still be repairs needed to area where there is no access for the dolly. An example is the gas tanks. We used a two-part product called Metal-2-Metal “metal reinforced body filler”. Fillers should be used as sparingly as possible. You mix the stuff up and apply into the low areas, then smooth off and go for drinks. When you return it will be dry and you can sand almost all of it off except that little bit that was required to fill the very few low spots that did not respond to your dolly & hammer.
Now it’s time for a coat of primer. Spray it on and sand it off. When you hit metal that’s a high spot. You can smooth the piece quite a bit by sanding and re primering. When you think it’s pretty smooth, mist a contrasting color over the piece and sand again. Low spots will not be affected, high spots will have the misted coat sanded off of them. We sanded with 220 grit until Gonzo was a happy man. He did not get happy too fast. It took a couple cases of beer and three days before we go to the next step.
After the primer the next step in our painting system was to use primer filler. This fills up any low spots left from the previous step. We primered, then sanded with 220, then primered, then sanded again. If you hit the previous and different colored primer, it’s time to stop. If you hit metal, it’s time to spot in a little primer. After the 220 we wet sanded with 400. Things were getting very smooth by this time, and we could have gone on to 600, but the paint instructions said color coat after 400.
There were still a very few spots left. We used Dynatron Putty-Cote glazing putty. Then we sanded, primered and wet sanded again.
Finally we were ready for the color coat. We hung the parts and wiped them down with prep-sol. Then I got out of the way while Gonzo laid on the color and clear coats.
There are a few dust spots that got by us, but they are minor and will polish out. I kept the parts warm for the rest of the day, and then took them down to the basement (also a fairly warm area) and left them alone for a week and a half. This was to give the paint a chance to harden.
The process described above took two guys a week to complete. That was for 2 tank halves, a chain guard and 2 fenders. We were pretty slow, but it’s fun, right?
For more information take a look at Jake’s article on painting.
Picture 1. 640 front fender.
Picture 2. 640 Exhaust system.
Picture 3. Paintin' Place.
Picture 4. No they’re not Martians. Just a couple of guys working in their respirators.
Picture 5. Gonzo models fresh air system while demonstrating construction door operation.