Thursday, January 15, 2009

Refinishing Parts

Refinishing parts is going to absorb a LOT of my time in the near future. It's already starting to and I've barely scratched the literal surface of things. I'm trying to reduce the amount of labor as much as possible so I've been using some chemical stripper and a new toy to remove some of the old paint and rust from the smaller parts. The larger ones I plan to have mediablasted as soon as I find the right place to do the work.

I decided to try a vibratory tumbler to de-rust and polish nuts, bolts, and small pieces of hardware. I picked up this little tumbler at Harbor Freight, along with some media to remove rust without rounding off edges or destroying threads.

The Operating instructions say 2 to 6 hours is required to remove rust so I thought I'd do a little test. I threw the media, along with some pieces of the rear brake, into the tumbler and fired it up. The series of pictures below are from time zero, 30-minutes, and 60 minutes of tumbling. I'll continue the test and re-post the series when I have more time but so far things look great. The rust was noticably reduced in only 30 minutes.

I have learned two things in using this tool. It is noisy. Not loud really but it's like a maracca being shaken by someone who missed their ADD medication and drank a LOT of coffee. After an hour of listening to this in my garage I was ready for something else. AC/DC couldn't even drown it out.

The other thing to note is that the instructions, which tell you to wait an hour before opening up the tub, should be followed. A huge cloud of dust doesn't blot out the sun if you don't, but there is a lot of dust and it doesn't seem like dust you should be inhailing. I don't know if an hour is really necessary but 10 minutes was not enough. I was impatient, what can I say?

The other tool I experimented with was a wire wheel on my grinder. I used it to get the rust off of the passenger footpeg supports and the front brake cover.

I did managed to get one part primed: the door to the tool box. It was pretty badly rusted so I sanded off the remaining paint and as much of the rust as I could. I sprayed it with a rust-stopper from Dupli-color. It started out as a clear coat and as it cured turned black. I'm pleased with the final result. It still needs some final sanding and paint but so far I'm quite pleased.

I'll be stripping, grinding and sanding a lot more but I feel like I'm making progress. I still need to find someone for the engine work but there is not shortage of work to do while I get that sorted out.

More to come. Happy Cycling.

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