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What should I do about graphics?

  • Put the full set on

    Votes: 11 27.5%
  • Just put the rad shroud graphics on

    Votes: 10 25.0%
  • Carbon fiber the rad shrouds, the motor, frame, handlebars, .....

    Votes: 19 47.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After years of watching the tank graphics on my 99 YZ400 shrivel up like my sack on a cold winter morning, I finally deceided to do something about it!!

A few months ago I was looking at getting an aluminum tank. This would have done the trick, but at $500, I just couldn't pull the trigger.

Then I searched in vein for some of those Hot Tops tank covers. None were to be found.

Then someone suggested making a shell out of fiberglass cloth and painting it. Well I took it one step further and made a shell out of carbon fiber. The theory being that the gas vapors will come throught the tanks, and escape between the two layers, keeping your graphics on the carbon fiber unharmed!

I got the black and blue carbon fiber/kevlar off ebay. I bought 3 times what I needed, so I'd have some left over to make other bling bling parts with, and in case I screwed up. Cost $90.

I bought some resin (ebay $40), and some plastic squegees and brushes at the local Lowes.

First, attempt was to vaccum bag it READ ABOUT THAT HERE.

That didn't work as the bad got a small hole in it, and leaked slowly...glad I bought extra!!

I decieded to lay it up by hand.

First, I used an old bed sheet to figure out the shape I wanted. Reinforcing with tape on the cut lines, I cut out my carbon fiber with a good sharp rotary cutter.


Then I layed that on the tank. I mixed up about 4 oz of resin, and wet down the top and down the sides using a paintbrush. Be sure to push into the CF so the resin soaks through. I didn't do it all at this point. Just the parts that I could get to lay flat on the original tank.

After that area hardened, I wraped the CF around a few more of the curves and applied more resin to those parts. And so on and so forth until the shell was made. It took me about 4 steps to get it all done.

Now, with one coat of resin on, I carefully trimmed the excess carbon fiber I had, and around the holes for the shrouds. Be sure when your wetting out the CF to go a little past where you want to trim. CF with a little resin in it cuts a lot better than just plain CF. It will pull and distort otherwise.

At this point it's tme to start applying a few more coats of resin, for strength. If you are using a laminating resin, you can recoat at will. A normal resin will require a light sanding before the next coat. Be careful not to nick the fibers!

After all the coats are done (I did 5), it's time to sand, wet sand, and rub out like you would if your were doing body work.

Then, a few coats of glossy enamel, a quick rub down and your done!!

Some of these pics are before I was completely done rubbing everything out...I just got so damn excited!!!






Oh, and I'm making some carbon fiber fork guards to match!!

I used my wife's food saver vaccum bagging thinghy to mold them.

I used a mold release wax, and some relese film and a breather to get all to come out right. Still not done yet though...




Now the big question is to even dare putting graphics over that sweet tank? I've got my brother working on some graphics for me...I dunno, what do you guys think?

 

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Nice post! Id just put some black or coloure around the parts that still show the stock blue. Otherwise CF looks sooo sweet Id leave it alone. Great job, and when R U going to make me one for my 1996 XR600R SM?
 

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sweet!!!! I was trying to figure out what to do with my scratched up tank... fenders and radiator shrouds are cheap but tanks are expensive... I think you just answered my question... thanks!
 

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And to think he could have just pulled the damn stickers off!!

J/K man, great to see your work paid off. Now I need a winter project.
 

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Can you say "cottage industry?"
 

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P.S. I think it looks good with just the carbon fiber, but if you really want to put graphics on then you should resin them in like the guy in that article you posted talked about.
 

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instant of blue keep it clear or no vinyl at all so you can see the carbon fiber. I do some carbon fiber work my self, i just finished my Airbox covers for the ZRX and i might try the same for the CR500 tank.. as a cover.

Keep us updated
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sniper X said:
Can you say "cottage industry?"
Yeah right! I didn't mention the part where my wife had a near pavlovian response to anytime I opened the can of resin? Within minutes of me starting to mix the resin she'd throw open the door of the house and tell me how bad it stinks in the house. When I would point out that she was making it worse by opening the door, she would get wicked pissed and slam the door, then call me on my cell phone to finish my tounge lashing!!!

Still worth it though.

I'm currently leaning towards having those graphics made and just using the shroud decals, and leaving the tank as is.

I'm also making a rear brake cover and a chain guard. Woo Hoo!!
 

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If the bike is outside a lot, make sure that the clear coat paint that you used was automotive with UV protectors. Epoxy resin breaks down fast in the sun (UV).
The tank looks good. The less stickers, the more people can see the CF.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
maxpower220 said:
If the bike is outside a lot, make sure that the clear coat paint that you used was automotive with UV protectors. Epoxy resin breaks down fast in the sun (UV).
The tank looks good. The less stickers, the more people can see the CF.
I'm sorry, what did you say?

I was staring at your boobs!:laughingr

I used a can of "crystal clear enamel" by Rust-oleum. Your basic run of the mill spray can stuff from Lowes. You think that will be enough? Or do I need to hit it with something a little more high test?

BTW, it lives in the garage, only sees the sun when I'm riding.
 

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Great job.

Looks great, BUT the "crystal clear enamel" by Rust-oleum" was a bad idea. Years ago I painted a 1975 CB 750 steel tank, and in a few months time the clear cracked and was cobwebbed over the entire surface. I think I read some were that a producer of the epoxy resins has a uv proof resin. Great job I hope it works for you, maybe it was the steel tank. But if it does cause headach, do a google for the other resin.

:D :thumbup: :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Chopshopchopper said:
Looks great, BUT the "crystal clear enamel" by Rust-oleum" was a bad idea. Years ago I painted a 1975 CB 750 steel tank, and in a few months time the clear cracked and was cobwebbed over the entire surface. I think I read some were that a producer of the epoxy resins has a uv proof resin. Great job I hope it works for you, maybe it was the steel tank. But if it does cause headach, do a google for the other resin.

:D :thumbup: :D
Aww damn it!! I knew I'd screw something up!!

I'd hate to have to go this all again. You think I can shoot some clear coat over it now? Or am I screwed??

My plan is to fill the tank with gas and let it sit all winter. I'll roll it near the window in my garage. Hopefully if anything is going to happen, it will happen while the snow is flying so I'll have a chance to make it all right by the time riding season is upon me.
 

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Good job, I think I may try the same thing on my Husky. The graphics will look great, it`ll be nice to see something original.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
smhead said:
Nice work. FYI here is a great site for material at a great price vacuum bags, wax release, breather layer etc).

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/index.html

BTW how much did you pay for the carbon?
I got most of my vacuum bagging supplies from fiberglast. The only things I bagged where the fork guards and the countersprocket cover. I used a foodsaver kitchen vaccum bagger that my wife uses for storing stuff in the freezer.

I got a 60" x 56" piece of carbon/kevlar cloth from a guy on eBay. It ran me about $90.
 

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Aww damn it!! I knew I'd screw something up!!

I'd hate to have to go this all again. You think I can shoot some clear coat over it now? Or am I screwed??

It is not that big of a deal, at worst you will need to lightly sand with fine grit and re-clear with automotive style clear. I could not find epoxy with UV in it already, but there was an additive to buy for that purpose. Most people on Fiberglast told me just to use clear, especially if you bike is stored indoors.
 

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whaler said:
Aww damn it!! I knew I'd screw something up!!

I'd hate to have to go this all again. You think I can shoot some clear coat over it now? Or am I screwed??

My plan is to fill the tank with gas and let it sit all winter. I'll roll it near the window in my garage. Hopefully if anything is going to happen, it will happen while the snow is flying so I'll have a chance to make it all right by the time riding season is upon me.


:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:


Well dump some gas on a rag and wash off that clear. A stronger solvent may be reqierd. From what I was told by a painer friend of mine is your top coat is only as good as what is under it. That reatle can stuff is the week link. I am certan you can wash it off. Make sure you test whatever you are going to use on some of your scrap dry epoxy resin, theres got to be a dry drip some were. If the solvent doesnt soffen the resin, you should be good to go, with a little more elbow greas. Good luck. You never lern if you never try.
 

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you need to go over to an industrial paint/plastics/resin store and have a good long chat about what resins/clearcoats they have that will do a better job than what you're working with. bring in your gas tank and their knowledge of materials and fabrication techniques should bring your stuff up to the next level, that is, if the wife still allows it.

by the way, that's an interesting thought using one of those food saver vacuum things. if you want to build a stronger one, you can make your own custom bag and use an air compressor to get some real suck going to remove all the air to get superior laminations and resin penetration between the layers and a higher overall finish.

oh and if you go with the shroud graphics, you gotta stencil on your last name or your nickname (here's a pic of my old race bike all painted up in a very similar manner:)

 
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