Modifications - Performance Discuss aftermarket and DIY performance modifications

Lets talk fork coating..

Old 07-02-2011, 08:25 AM
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Lets talk fork coating..

Im the kind of person to always want to improve my bike whether it be aftermarket bolt ons or custom fab work... but Im not big on replacing components with parts from other bikes.

With that said I dont plan on replacing my forks with parts from other bikes but modify my forks to suit my needs (racetech springs, gold valves, fork brace etc...)

now Ive heard a lot about fork coating and benefits both in performance and cosmetics.. and have also read that the process is specialized and can be expensive (TiN and TiCn) however when I rebuild my forks I plan on polishing them and was wondering if anyone knows any other coatings that can be done at home without fancy equipment..

Im looking for both the performance and cosmetic benefits so I will take 1 or the other if thats all a DIY coating will give me, I just dont have the funds for a professional coating (engine rebuild this winter)

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:30 AM
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There is Kashima and DLC too. To my knowledge, however, most of these have to be applied in a vacuum chamber..... $$$$$$
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:43 AM
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oh yes very pricey, I was just reading up on those...

Im looking now at anodizing because it can be a DIY procedure but from what Im reading different types of alloy will look different with using the same dye..

so now im just trying to figure out if its for me
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:57 AM
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so after reading a lot about anodizing I have come to the conclusion that this may be the way to go... It seems like a pretty easy DIY procedure and as ive always wanted to make my own aluminum parts and have everything on my bike matching in terms of metal bits I can do this in order to get the exact same shade of whatever color I want as long as I do it correctly and natural aluminum parts for the bike are not only easier to find but cheaper too...

and who knows, if I can get good at it I may even be able to do this for people on the forum... just a thought
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:21 AM
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Are you talking about the fork tubes (the steel tubes) or the fork legs (the bits that hold the calipers and the axle)??

The tubes can be vapor deposition coated but not anodized. The legs can be anodized (or painted) but not vapor deposition coated.

Here's a pic of one of my former Yamaha SR500s with a very cool VDC that was intended for high speed steel and carbide metal cutting tools. I liked the rainbow effect so I dropped $500.00 (in '95) to have the tubes done.

Seat of the pants dyno showed minor improvement over OEM chrome finish.


Rex


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Old 07-02-2011, 11:33 AM
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bjorn - yea my thread got a little confusing as I was doing research on two different things at once...

yea I reallized that I cant anodize the steel tubes but am still wondering if there was some type of coating I could do myself or its just the expensive coatings that can be done to the fork tubes...

I started going off topic when I started thinking about all the other metal bits on my bike I want to anodize seeing as its hard to find all the metal bits for this bike in the same color except "natural" aluminum which is cheaper and I can anodize any color i want..
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by scottiemann View Post

......am still wondering if there was some type of coating I could do myself.....

Short answer....no.

The outfit that did the tubes for my SR500 said they would never do bike parts again. Something about contamination in their system from residual fork oil or the solvent I used to clean the tubes before sending them off.


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Old 07-02-2011, 12:11 PM
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uuuuummmmmm.... thats strange I would think a procedure as specialized and expensive as those types of coatings are they would have some type of cleaning procedure first....

maybe Im wrong..
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:18 PM
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I would powder coat lower forks tube/ sliders. cant do that to the uppers but the lowers u can, and then you could do steel parts or ally parts and they should come out the same. there are alot of colors to pick from as well. i just got into it and i love it. i will see if i can post a couple of pictures.
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:23 PM
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so as you can see my hawk with forks satin black and the exhaust is flat high temp black though had problem with SS mid pipes
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:26 PM
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this is also one that i did
did the wheels, forks, exhaust foot pegs/ and mounts driver and passenger engine covers center stand kickstand
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i also painted that bike as well but just wanted to show you not to rule out Powder coating. these are all dont in a 1970s green household oven. you can fit a 17inch wheel in one but no bigger. i think it cost about 2-300 to get set up with east wood PCing equipment a stove and some basic colors

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Old 07-05-2011, 09:50 AM
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I like the way the new bikes with the gold inverted legs look, I would like something similar to that on my hawk. I'll probably just paint them (anyone done this b4?) or have them anodized.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:51 AM
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If you are talking about the fork tubes, then no home style coating will work.

Also if you plan on polishing them, only do it by hand.

Do Not use any power tools to polish the tubes unless you have a lathe to mount them.

The only coatings that will work in this application (besides the hard chrome the factory uses) are TiNi or DLC and either will cost a few hundred to apply.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:11 PM
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Far cheaper to get some forks off another bike that already comes with the coating you want.. And they can be an upgrade in other ways while you are at it too.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:56 PM
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yea it seems that i wont be coating my forks any time soon but I will be polishing them this winter when I have everything apart...

I will be setting up my garage to do anodizing and once I get closer to ready and get some samples done I will be anodizing many parts on my bike...
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by scottiemann View Post
Im the kind of person to always want to improve my bike whether it be aftermarket bolt ons or custom fab work... but Im not big on replacing components with parts from other bikes.

With that said I dont plan on replacing my forks with parts from other bikes but modify my forks to suit my needs (racetech springs, gold valves, fork brace etc...)

now Ive heard a lot about fork coating and benefits both in performance and cosmetics.. and have also read that the process is specialized and can be expensive (TiN and TiCn) however when I rebuild my forks I plan on polishing them and was wondering if anyone knows any other coatings that can be done at home without fancy equipment..

Im looking for both the performance and cosmetic benefits so I will take 1 or the other if thats all a DIY coating will give me, I just dont have the funds for a professional coating (engine rebuild this winter)

Any thoughts?
I worked in the cutting tool industry for Allied Machine and Engineering Inc. and participated in developing a plan to set up a Physical Vacuum Deposit coating process for the company. Simply put the coatings serve two purposes, they allow the metal to slide over the surface easier and they provide a harder surface for increased wear.

Some coatings keep the chips from sticking to cutting tools, others work for higher temp cutting, and others simply provide a harder surface without having to go to a more brittle core material, like using TiN coated steel versus carbide. So much to know about coatings. But for bikes and the forks, the TiN is fine. The benefit for forks are the stanchion tubes will slide through the seals easier and the surface will not wear as rapidly, although not too many people have problems with the chrome surface wearing through.

The TiN is titanium nitride and usually a nice gold color. Then there is TiALN, Titanium Aluminum Nitride which has a sort of blackish purple hue. One more is TiCN, Titanium CarboNitride, which is grey in color. All of them are used for hardness and wear resistance and friction reduction as metal cuttings slide over the tool surfaces. Each has specific characteristics, you'd have to do the research and know what you want for the fork application.

One source for coating materials is Balzers with world wide locations. They were our original supplier and the best of the group we spoke with. In fact our final conclusion at the end of the research actually was to set up an agreement with Balzers to put a facility at the plant. The cost and ramp up time was totally prohibiitve. That may have changed now, I've been gone from the company for ten years now. Knowing the company they may actually now be doing the coating themselves.

You can probably see what it would cost to have the work done. Get a good company like Balzers to do the work. You don't want the coating to screw up. It's only like .003" thickness, but that's all that is needed. Do not just get some low buck place to do the work with something like this. Our findings were that the coating cruicible and equpment would cost about 3 million dollars and take up to 7 years to get the process down pat. Expertise here isn't quick to be gained nor cheap to get equipment unless a lot has changed. It ain't like powder coating or even chrome plating.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:23 PM
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KLX - all I have to say to that is Wow! I dont even know where to begin looking through their website.. seems like they are pretty established and capable of doing all sorts of hard coating...


now where is that million dollar lottery ticket I had............
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by klx678 View Post
I worked in the cutting tool industry for Allied Machine and Engineering Inc. and participated in developing a plan to set up a Physical Vacuum Deposit coating process for the company. Simply put the coatings serve two purposes, they allow the metal to slide over the surface easier and they provide a harder surface for increased wear.

Some coatings keep the chips from sticking to cutting tools, others work for higher temp cutting, and others simply provide a harder surface without having to go to a more brittle core material, like using TiN coated steel versus carbide. So much to know about coatings. But for bikes and the forks, the TiN is fine. The benefit for forks are the stanchion tubes will slide through the seals easier and the surface will not wear as rapidly, although not too many people have problems with the chrome surface wearing through.

The TiN is titanium nitride and usually a nice gold color. Then there is TiALN, Titanium Aluminum Nitride which has a sort of blackish purple hue. One more is TiCN, Titanium CarboNitride, which is grey in color. All of them are used for hardness and wear resistance and friction reduction as metal cuttings slide over the tool surfaces. Each has specific characteristics, you'd have to do the research and know what you want for the fork application.

One source for coating materials is Balzers with world wide locations. They were our original supplier and the best of the group we spoke with. In fact our final conclusion at the end of the research actually was to set up an agreement with Balzers to put a facility at the plant. The cost and ramp up time was totally prohibiitve. That may have changed now, I've been gone from the company for ten years now. Knowing the company they may actually now be doing the coating themselves.

You can probably see what it would cost to have the work done. Get a good company like Balzers to do the work. You don't want the coating to screw up. It's only like .003" thickness, but that's all that is needed. Do not just get some low buck place to do the work with something like this. Our findings were that the coating cruicible and equpment would cost about 3 million dollars and take up to 7 years to get the process down pat. Expertise here isn't quick to be gained nor cheap to get equipment unless a lot has changed. It ain't like powder coating or even chrome plating.
All good styff but it is Physical Vapor Deposition..... (as opposed to Chemical Vapor Deposition)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_vapor_deposition

Yes I am a vacuum tech...... ASNT level II cert in Leak Testing (Helium Mass Spectrometers)
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
All good styff but it is Physical Vapor Deposition..... (as opposed to Chemical Vapor Deposition)

Physical vapor deposition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes I am a vacuum tech...... ASNT level II cert in Leak Testing (Helium Mass Spectrometers)

Yes, that's what I said. That is what was done on cutting tools - PVD. That was what we were researching for the tools, not chemical. I am sure Balzers does both with their expertise in the industry back then.
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