Archive for September, 2012

So with the powder coat colors chosen for the CB160 engine is was time to start the coating process on the good engine components. The plan was to shoot the cylinders, head, and valve cover with matte black. The upper and lower engine case will go HD bead blast silver and the side covers will be colored with anodized aluminum.

I am still very new to the whole powder coating process and have learned quickly that one similarity between anodizing and powder coating is the extensive prepping process required to ensure good results. In the case of the engine components I want to ensure that everything is out gassed and then surface prepped properly.

Engine has been out gassed and glass bead blasted. Onto the masking process.

Everything is masked and plugged and ready for the preheat

The first step involved an extensive amount of good old fashioned cleaning using a solvent tank and pressure washer. Once I had as much grease, oil, and dirt off the components as possible I proceeded with the out gassing. I fired the powder coating oven up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and baked all the engine components for 2 hours. It was certainly evident from the smoke and the oil that leeched out that the out gassing process was accomplishing its intended task. I made sure that I bolted the cylinder to the cylinder head before out gassing in order to prevent the cylinder sleeves, and head inserts, from coming apart.

Head and cylinders mounted onto an adapter plate I made so that I would be able to spray the fins vertically.

Set in the oven for a preheat session up to 160 degrees.

Once everything was out gassed I headed over to the glass bead blast cabinet. With all the important casting sections either taped off or plugged I proceeded with blasting everything clean. As with anodizing it is important to ensure that none of the blasted components have oil on, or in, them as the blasting tends to drive the oil and grease further into the pores resulting in a failed finishing process. This is why the out gassing is performed before the blasting.

Matte black powder fogged on. Careful inspection with a flashlight indicates everything got coated.

Completed and baked coating, fairly happy with the results.

With the blasting completed it was time to give everything a major bath and scrub it all down with hot soapy water. Once clean the time consuming process of taping off, and plugging, of crucial sections of casting could begin. Components with gasket surfaces got taped using high temp tape and all the bolt holes, and studs, were covered using silicone plugs.

Engine case after it has been out gassed and glass bead blasted.

Hot water and dishsoap was used for the clean up.

I wanted to lay the powder onto the finned engine components with the fins in a vertical position. If I sprayed the powder onto to them horizontally I feared that I would get too much powder build up in between the fins. I welded up an adapter that would allow me to suspend the head and the cylinders vertically and would also give me a way to rotate the assembly as I sprayed.

Masked and ready for preheating and coating.

The powder went on great, good coverage, no issues.

So with all the prep work done there was nothing left to do except lay on the powder and hope my rookie endeavor will experience a successful outcome. Over the course of the next few evenings I was able to get through all the engine components and complete the coatings. There were lots of lessons for me to learn and some flaws in the coating that defines my ability however overall I am very pleased. The finishes all flowed out nicely and the overall effect is great. The coverage is good and the color was what I expected.

Baked and completed HD Bead Blast Silver case.

So with all the engine components now coated I will be able to send the cylinders and the head out for machining. While waiting for their return I should be able to start reassembling the bottom end.

Sorry, no pictures of the side cover process however here is my good set of Aluminum Anodized powder coated covers.


So I got my act together and went full speed ahead on the fireplace. The feeling in the air has shifted to a feeling of fall and the daylight hours are getting fewer so it is time to get the summer project done while it is still summer. With the stone work complete it was time to move onto the cap stones and stucco.

Swapped a 10″ masonary blade onto my chop saw, it sliced the stone like butter.

I wanted to break up the lines of the fireplace so I opted to separate the stone from the stucco with a line of cap stones. They are not intended to be a mantel they are simply there to help add another texture, color, and dimension. The cap stones were cut and mortared into place with the same technique as the lower stone.

The color and texture worked out well considering my experience.

It was time to then see what I could accomplish with the stucco. I have respect for the trades’ people that can handle mortar and lay that stuff on like its art. To watch me trowel the stuff on is like sitting through a very bad live comedy show, it’s rather awkward. However by the time I was done I had developed a bit of a wrist flip technique and felt more at home with the direction the mortar wanted to be handled. The finish texture was one that I did not choose but instead it was the one that chose me. As finishing texture techniques take time to master the one that I ended up using was the one that seemed to flow from my trowel movements. I was able to gain consistency and in the end I think the texture lends itself well to the project.

Fired up the plasma torch to slice up the 4 x 8 sheet of 10 gauge.

Ring rolled and welded the hoop shut that will be used to prevent water from entering into the fireplace structure.

The stucco color turned out to be a bit darker then I had first anticipated. This was okay and I liked it however my concern now was that the black pergola and the planned black roof cap would make the top end of the structure have no contrast and would simply look like one big black box. So instead of using metal, which was the initial plan, to trim the sides of the roof I opted to use Smart Trim. The Smart Trim was the same trim I used to finish the gazebo off with. The trim is a composite wood with a manufactured grain in it. It is super tough and durable and if I paint it grey, the same as the gazebo, it won’t only add another dimension to the fireplace but it will also tie it into the rest of the yard. So I pulled the table saw and chop saw out from hiding and sliced up the trim. Once installed the trim got 3 coats of deck paint to make it feel at home with the other colors in the yard.

2 coats of high heat Tremclad brushed on.

Preheating the sandblasted pergola bolts that are being prepped for powder coating.

So I making good progress and I can’t stop now. Off to the metal yard I go to pick up a 4 x 8 sheet of 10 gauge mild steel to be used for the roof. Now that I didn’t need to contend with any sides, thanks to the Smart Trim, the roof could simply be a flat sheet with a hole cut out for the chimney. I am not too concerned about not having a slope on it for drainage as the surface area is small. I ensured that I cut the roof to allow for ½ inch overhang around the perimeter which will act as my drip cap. The chimney cap has a section of flashing that helps seal the chimney to the roof however there is still a chance that water could seep by and drain into the inside of the fireplace structure. To battle the potential water seeping I ring rolled some 1” flat bar and tacked it on the steel roof to allow for water blockage. A bead of silicone sealed it up water tight.

Dusted the mattte black powder onto the bolts.

I opted to go back to my trust worthy Tremclad for the finishing of the roof. Some High Heat Tremclad flat black will work perfectly. As much as I wanted to spray HVLP I opted to brush the paint on therefore recoating it for maintenance purposes in years to come will be easy and keep the finish consistent.

I had previously fabricated the pergola however I still needed to address the hardware that was going to hold the structure onto the front of the fireplace. I sandblasted the heads of some ½” x 2.5” bolts and then gave them a coat of matte black powder coating to ensure a tough, durable finish.

So what is left? Not a whole lot except to piece all the components together. First the pergola gets hoisted up and bolted on from the inside of the fireplace. Next up is the steel roof and it gets screwed down to keep it from shifting. Next on was the chimney flashing and a bead of silicone to help seal it to the roof. And lastly the top chimney cap gets snapped into place. Finished!!! Not a spec of anything left on the list, no undone jobs, no little items that still need to be addressed. Complete! So now what? Light it up, kick back, and relax.

So I continue to make progress with my 65 Revive project and have come to the point where I need to address the finer finishing details. The engine has been disassembled, cleaned, inspected, and parts have been ordered. Before the reassembly can take place the external engine components need to get color on them.

The plan from the beginning was to powder coat all the visible engine components. The difficulty comes in deciding what color, and textures, to use to finish the engine with. Everyone has fairly specific taste when it comes to the details therefore I decided to follow my wants.

I know that I do not want anything “showy” or flashy. I want to maintain a raw, natural, mechanical look to the bike. I want to maintain the look of a “machine” so I decided to keep the color palette in line with an industrial and stock look. Those colors being blacks, silvers, and greys.

So once I decided what the basic colors were going to be it was time to start browsing all the powders available in the color line up I wanted. Unfortunately it is somewhat difficult to get a good feel for the colors just by viewing a jpeg on the computer. Since the color scheme was too important for me to screw it up I figured the only way I was going to figure things out is if I started to spray some samples.

3 sample EGRs blasted, cleaned and ready for coating.

So I ended up ordering 13 different powders from 3 different companies. I then got my grubby hands on some old automotive EGR valves that would serve as my sample test pieces. I chose the EGR valves because the aluminum finish was similar to that of the bike, plus they had some corners and curves that would allow me to practice coating, and they were free. The valves were fairly carboned up so after I stripped the electrical drives off them I gave them a good scrubbing to clean them up. Then they all received a blasting in the glass bead cabinet.

So over the next few days I was able to get all my samples sprayed and the actual decision making process of what colors to chose could begin. After comparing samples and getting 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions on what others thought I finally settled on 4 colors that would serve as the palette. HD bead blast silver, Anodized Aluminum, Wrinkle Black, and Tuscan Matte Black was the direction I was headed.

The chosen colors. Clockwise from top left; Tuscan Matte Black, HD Bead Blast Silver, Anodized Aluminum, Wrinkle Black.

However I was still not ready to jump full into the final stage of powder coating without first shooting some more samples. I decided to take some of the old engine parts I had, that were broken and useless, and shoot them with my color samples to see how things would work out in real life.

Cleaned and bead blasted sample cylinder ready for powder coating.

I started by coating the cylinders and cylinder head with the Wrinkle Black and it was a good thing I did. The powder coating aspect worked out great however I now had second thoughts on using the Wrinkle Black. The comments I received from others included that it looked like a BBQ that hadn’t been cleaned for 12 years, to it looks like a truck bed liner, to it looks like a big ball of oil and grease. I agreed and therefore have decided against using the Wrinkle Black. I have since changed my mind to Tuscan Matte Black for the head and the jugs however I have no samples to shoot therefore my good parts will get sprayed in hopes that I am making the right choice.

Wrinkle black test cylinder. This color is not going to work. Will try for the Tuscan Matte Black finish on the good cylinder.

I had better luck with the Anodized Aluminum color. I shot a broken side cover with the color and it worked out great! The color is very close to the factory looking silver used on side covers. The texture is nice and smooth and I think the color will contrast nicely with my cylinders and engine case.

So with my testing complete it will be time to move onto prepping the real parts to receive a powder session. The prep is always the most time consuming as it involves out gassing, bead blasting, washing, and masking. Hopefully my inexperience won’t shine through.

Old side cover used for color sampling of the Anodized Aluminum powder coating.

I have been using my weekends lately to get caught up on the fireplace build in the backyard. It’s tough to make any sort of progress in the evenings as any work that needs to be done requires hours of allotted time. I have been able to get a protective wrap of tar paper on it and then I installed the metal lath required for the scratch coat of mortar. Since I am not planning to install a tile surround on the perimeter of the fireplace opening I chose to weld up a stainless steel finishing trim piece that would give me a nice line to butt all my stones up to.

So I sacrificed an afternoon to getting the first scratch coat on. It is a job that I do not particularly enjoy however I sucked it up and made it happen. With the scratch coat on I was able to tackle all the stone work in a day. The idea was to only stone the face, and sides, of the fireplace. The remaining parts of the structure will be finished with a dark charcoal stucco finish. I am happy with how the stone work turned out and can only hope that the stucco process with result in an equally acceptable finish.

Tar paper and lath installed making the fireplace ready for the scratch coat of motar.

Stainelss steel trim that I TIG welded up using angle iron. The exposed section was then brush finished to match the rest of the fireplace.

Working my way through the scratch coat. It was smokin’ hot out that day forcing me to work fast before the motar dried up.

THe scratch coat completed. Yes it looks ugly but it is only the base coat and will soon never be seen again.

Started to lay down the Dark Rundle stone. Getting the corners completed first before moving onto the flat sections.

Compelted stone work. Glad it’s over. Time to prep for the stucco. Winters coming!