The past couple of days have brought gray skies and rain. Friday I spent the day taking apart the DT1 front wheel and testing the powder coating colors, methods, processes on it.
Powder coating- what is it? It’s a way to add a colorful, durable coating to something. It’s painting…except it’s dry. No liquids involved.
An positively charged powder is propelled by compressed air and shot out of a gun. The part or item to be coated is hooked up to a grounding cable. + powder attaches itself to the – part (polarity might be backwards, but principle is the same) So at that point, You have a part covered with a very fine dust.
In order to get the color to stick, smooth itself out, and attain its final attributes, it needs to be baked or heated via some other means. Typically 400 degrees for 20 minutes is common.
As far as durability goes…powder coating blows paint out of the water. I like the coverage better as well, and the fact that if you mess up, it’s just powder. Wipe it off, do it again.
It’s not a hard process, but it’s time consuming and there needs to be a lot of attention to detail as far as masking things off, cooking times, multiple coats of powder. Anyway, that’s basically what it is.
I got the wheel dissembled (my first wheel I’ve ever taken apart) and spent the next hour or so cleaning all the spokes, nipples, and hub.
Again, not hard…but time consuming. If I were rich and had a garage- I’d just sand blast it all (media blast, more like. Probably with walnut shells) but I don’t. So I use simple green and steel wool.
The old rusted spokes got sprayed with the “chrome” powder. Nipples got sprayed a candy blue (candy meaning it’s translucent, not a solid color when fully cured. It’ll show the layer of paint/powder below) and the hub got powdered chrome, then blue. Seeing as how I didn’t need to use the wheel for anything and it was a test, it went well.
Lacing a wheel is the hardest thing I’ve done. Harder than building an engine. I spent about 2 hours just lacing it. Now it needs to be trued. Since I won’t use it, doesn’t matter. But I might try and sell it.
I don’t think anyone will want to buy it, though…