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Ex-Biker 2nd November 2003 22:39

What's the best finish for a chassis?
Simple question really.

I've got a steel spaceframe chassis coming. Have the option to get it powder coated at source, but it seems expensive, and I wondered if there is a better (or cheaper - but as good a) finish.

JG 3rd November 2003 16:21

I don't think you will get a finish as good as powder coating (but it depends how good it's applied I guess) It's generally hard wearing and looks professional.

But saying that I dont know what constitutes badly applied and properly applied coating process.

The price from Marlin may seem expensive but they might do a v.v. good job.....but then again :eusa_doh:

:eusa_eh: not really helped have I.

I'll get me coat.


vojx 28th November 2003 11:47

I'm not an expert on paint finishes (I develope paint strippers!) but in a previous employ of supplying metal cleaners and pretreatment prior to paints, I've seen a wide range of paint performances from supposedly similar paints. As with a lot of things, preparation is the key, and paint (whether it be powder or wet, brush or spray) will struggle to adhere to improperly prepared metalwork. A wipe down with a solvented rag doesnt really compare with the multi stage cleaner - phosphate treatments used by the car manufacturers, but very few kit car chasses will be prepared this way. The paint on my Litton chassis fell of as soon as I looked at it, a waste of a few hundred quid. It stuck in places, but was still too thin. Corrosive elements will penetrate even the best, unblemished surfaces.
How come car manufacturers can offer such long warranties on bodywork, whereas 10-20 years ago Rovers and Fords would just crumble. Much of this is down to the use of coated steels. The closest we could get to that is by galvanising the chassis, although making it heavier and costlier, if done correctly it will far outlast a painted steel chassis. (It should also be painted or else white corrosion would take hold.)
But if steel it must be, then ensure that it is completely oil- and corrosion-free before painting. Some sort of etch primer would be applied next so that there is a chemical bond between metal and paint, followed by the topcoat. Powdercoats tend to be more durable, but if damaged may not hinder corrosion as well.
I could rant on, but that's the basics, in laymans terms. Any use?

Ex-Biker 28th November 2003 12:17


I've decided to let the manufacturer do the powdercoat now. At least i'll get some warranty.

what you said about - "Powdercoats tend to be more durable, but if damaged may not hinder corrosion as well."

is very interesting. Looks like I'll need to keep an eye out for stonechips!

richardh 3rd October 2005 18:12


Originally Posted by vojx
The closest we could get to that is by galvanising the chassis

Be careful if tempted to take your chassis to be hot dip galvanised. The heat can cause distortions so you end up with a banana chassis, well several mm out of line.

This phenomena is a big problem on structural steel due to the way it is made and I've seen some distortions of 100mm over a few meters length.

Interesting idea, but you should find someone who's already done it before getting your chassis galvanised!

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