Several people have asked me how to paint the flutes on a crank, so I finally decided to put together a page with my "technique," which can also be used for flutes on seatposts, as well as pantographing, and other engravings and cut-outs. 

This is a crank that I painted with Testors model paint:

This is how I did it:

- Remove the cranks arms and lay them flat on a table.

- Clean the areas to be painted with mineral spirits.

- Use the Testors undiluted

- Use a small brush and give the flutes one heavy coat of paint.  Paint up to the borders and don't worry about keeping the paint within the borders of the  flutes either - that's pretty much impossible.  And don't worry about visible brush stroke signs on the paint.  Let it sit a couple of minutes and the paint will distribute itself nice and evenly along the flute.. 

- Within five to ten minutes of having painted a flute, take a a paper towel, fold it over itself several times, tightly, wet it with mineral spirits, and use the edge of the folded paper towel to clean up the paint that is outside of the flutes.

- Repeat the previous step, using a clean section of the paper towel each time, so you don't spread the paint you removed back on to the aluminum.

And there you have it.  You can do the same thing for all the other parts, like seat posts.  Here's one Super Record post  that came out very well:

The flutes on Super Record posts are relatively shallow, so they are tricky to clean up properly.  Intricate pantographing, like on the O with the heart inside, is also tricky, but do-able with patience, plenty of light and reading glasses for the over-50 crowd.

You can use the same technique on other engravings on Campy components, like shifters which are relatively easy due to the depth of the engraving (or rather, the casting):

Other engravings, like on brake calipers, are harder because they are quite shallow and require a lighter touch.  Deep grooves and good, deep pantographing are the easiest to clean up.

Good luck and if you have any tips or suggestions you can share, please do.


(Posted July 30, 2008)