All Shiny and New
Adding Chrome and Painting Your Chopper
After you're done with the build, you've still got to add the paint. And if you're thinking about chrome on your bike, you'll need to consider it before the build.
What Finish To Use?
As far as looks go, paint is as important as design. A bad paint job will ruin the look of your machine. And a good one will help hide imperfections and work with the design to enhance the look.
The rule of paint is this: Gloss paint's smooth, shiny surface makes imperfections easier to see. Matte paint hides imperfections, but is dull. Satins are somewhere in the middle.
But there are other ways besides matte finish to hide imperfections. Let's consider one, the primer coat.
A Primer on Primers
You should definitely use a primer for your project. Though many paints will say they don't need a primer, they will be enhanced by a primer. This first coat fills in the rough surface of the metal and creates better adhesion for the top coat.
Primer is cheap. Finish paint is more expensive. You don't need the most expensive primer, since you'll be covering it up.
There are primers that Rustoleum makes that are made to cover rust. These are fairly expensive, and might be worth it. We used them for our projects. If you have a review about the long-term use of the "Rusty Metal" primers, please let us know!
To really improve the smoothness of your metal frame, a sandable primer is what you'll need.
These primers spray on, and then the high spots may be sanded down. You can continue to add coats and sand until you're happy! This will smooth out many imperfections such as pitting marks and then rough nature of hot-rolled material. That smooth surface will look better and you'll use less of your final coat paint filling in a rough surface.
Paint Choices For Mini Choppers and Go Karts
Paint comes in various gloss levels. At the two ends of the spectrum are gloss (shiny) and flat (matte, not shiny).
Gloss paint shows imperfections very readily. This is because the shine accentuates every little nick. Matte paint hides imperfections, but it's flat and boring. In the middle are satin and semi-gloss.
Cheap gloss paint will work, especially in conjunction with a good primer, but it will show those nicks!
We elected to use a new paint offered by Rustoleum. It is called "Hammered Finish", and comes in a variety of gloss colors. When laid on the frame, it somehow coagulates to where it has a hammered metal finish look which looks really cool.
This texture makes it ideal for hiding the imperfections on a project. And the gloss of the paint makes it look great. Because of the hammered finish, the paint has a deeper, richer look that is fabulous.
So, if you have welding imperfections, grinding spots, and other rough areas of the frame, the texture of the hammered finish will help to mask those problems.