Stripping the black paint and "hand-brushing" the aluminum? - BMW NineT Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Stripping the black paint and "hand-brushing" the aluminum?

Hey folks -- I've seen a couple people hint that they were going to or would strip the black paint off of their tanks to try to match the aluminum to the hand-brushed panels on the side. Has anyone actually done this?

I'm in love with my bike and the new unpainted aluminum tanks, but I'll be damned if I'm going to spend $2600 to have one installed. Any thoughts on how this could be accomplished for less money and great results?
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 04:14 PM
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Paint stripper and 80 grit and then you will want to have it clear coated by a car guy....
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Paint stripper and 80 grit and then you will want to have it clear coated by a car guy....
Is it really that simple? It can't be, can it? I mean, I get that there is likely a lot of skill to get a good quality brushed look that will match or at least not clash with the side panels, but this seams overly simplistic.

I wonder what it would cost to strip it down myself and then just have someone finish it.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 05:58 PM
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Per post 17 in this thread, I sanded the bevel on new aluminum hydraulic reservoir caps to imitate the brushed tank finish. 220 grit woodworking sandpaper appeared to give a pretty good match, but the area I did is a very small sample size.

For a tank I would buy some aluminum plate stock and practice with different grits and techniques on $10 worth of sample material before tackling a $2000+ part.

I'd love to see you try it and report back. I have some notions of a custom stainless steel exhaust in a brushed finish. It's easy to find SS, not so easy to find brushed, so if I pursue it I may be brushing it myself as well.

Mods: Bar risers, knurled seat bolt, canisterectomy, alum snorkel intake, titanium oil filler cap, aluminum frame caps, Wunderlich peg lowering kit, SW Motech mirror extenders, Sargent Storage Pod, Atlas Throttle Lock
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoGoogler View Post
Is it really that simple? It can't be, can it? I mean, I get that there is likely a lot of skill to get a good quality brushed look that will match or at least not clash with the side panels, but this seams overly simplistic. I wonder what it would cost to strip it down myself and then just have someone finish it.
Yep - go for it!
Have confidence in yourself!
Do your homework (as in read up some more, talk to people who've done it, etc) ... then set aside reasonable time to deal with it as a project. Prep an area, tools, brushes, etc. It's mainly a mechanical process (so no creativity challenges) which means you won't have to do anything different as to what professionals have to. You'll most likely find that problems were imaginary, and might surprise yourself positively with the swirl/brush pattern you created to give your bike the personal touch. It's much easier to create uniformly looking grain along the whole tank surface (eg: long continual sanding strokes front to back) than symmetrical or balanced looking round swirls freehand, though crazy-pattern-swirls can look good too. At one time some posh Shops in Melbourne decided that Polished/Grained Stainless Steel shopfronts were in vogue, I routinely made those from s/s sheet metal, using a die-grinder with a sanding-flap-wheel to get the grain just right (to please the designer/architect). It's not hard .... just need to take time and remember: No rushing the artist !

It shouldn't be too hard for you to find a car/bike paint (accident repair) shop where they clear-coat your fully prepped tank at very reasonable cost.

(P.S: not completely visible in the photo, all panels were polished to display vertical grain, including the welded corners where the sheet metal was folded around timber backing - which in turn bolted through the wall to form a skin on the shopfront)
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 08:15 PM
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glad to hear others support my point of view!
But the cool thing is that if it is not perfect, new strokes
can easily be laid over the old and will "erase" the old marks-
enjoy!!
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 10:47 PM
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I've been pondering the same thing.

I think there are three routes you can go.

Take the tank off, strip the paint with chemicals or abrasives and then polish it until it is gleaming aluminum.

Do the above and clear coat it. I've heard the clear coat yellows though. But I don't know.

Strip the paint and let the aluminum oxidize. I'm most interested in going that route. I like the old school bikes with oxidized aluminum.

If you want to talk to someone who has gone the first route, stripped it and polished it, give the BMW bike dealer in Chattanooga a call. It's called Pandora's. A guy in the service department did it a couple of years ago. I think he went with find grit sandpaper to remove the paint then a lot of hand polishing. Took something like 20 hours and I heard he swore he would never do it again. If he's still there he can probably give you some pointers.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-20-2017, 11:58 PM
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It really sounds like there are a lot of metalworkers on this forum. Cool!
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"Bald men rule!"
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-22-2017, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, gents. I'm giving this some serious thoughts. I'll likely swing into a couple metal shops and get their opinions on the effort and expected outcome as well.

I guess I could always just try and if I screw up my tank, I just buy the aluminum one. lol
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-22-2017, 03:29 PM
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Can we talk you out of it? The original ninet is perfect - less is more.
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