Easier frame coloring

Hello all-

We would really like to paint/color-in-some-way our VersaFrame chassis but powder coating is beyond us this year. Is there any cheaper/easier methods that people have successfully used to give their frames some color?

This year we spray painted ours then put a clear coat on it and it looks great.

We’ve had more success with spray paint than powder coating this year, just make sure that your paint is made for aluminum.

Did you put/need any protective coating over the color paint?

On 223, this was the ‘guide’ I always followed when painting our robots:

We also always used some sort of primer prior to spray painting.

We didn’t, however, we sand blasted it before painting which seems to have made it pretty strong. I’d recommend sand blasting if you can, otherwise I’d rough it up with sand paper. I don’t think a clear coat is necessary if you prepare it correctly, but you could try it with and without on scrap to see which finish you like better.

We painted our frame and are loving it. It was just spray paint that we picked up at Home Depot.

Here is a photo:

  1. Cleaned metal with goo-gone
  2. rough sandpaper (80-100grit)
  3. soapy wash followed by alcohol rub down
  4. Self Etching primer for bare metal
  5. Krylon spary paint for metal
  6. Clear coat on top.

everything available at Home Depot

Frame Primed.jpeg

Frame Primed.jpeg

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I would select something that flashes faster than goo gone, Perhaps acetone, before sanding.

I agree on using enamel. It is a lot more durable than regular spray paint.

With access to a very large oven, we bought an Eastwood powder coating gun. From time to spray to being able to handle is only about 35 minutes per batch. And application is very simple.

Maybe you guys should check out this company for next year or the offseason


I realize you said powder coating is out of your reach for this season. However, let me suggest something.

Try finding a local company that does powder coating and see if they will sponsor your team by doing your robot. I talked to a company near my me and they gladly did out two chassis as well as our full pyramid! Not only that, but they also had me do the powder coating myself, with instruction and guidance, of course. Simply asking doesn’t hurt. Good luck this season!

I’ll echo two points -

(1) powder coating may be closer to your reach than you believe. When faced with a very large shooter assembly, I was going to opt for automotive spraying this year rather than the powder coating I had planned to develop. The paint was going to be easily three to four times the cost of the powder, and the application equipment for the paint was about equal. We have a sponsor that makes large furnaces, and as such has in house powder coating. Our hot pink (color not even available with paint) and black parts will be ready today or tomorrow.

(2) If you do go with paint, get yourself several cans of the self etching primer recommended above. Also keep in mind that this primer is dark gray, so you may have to follow it up with white or aluminum color if your final color is exceptionally light or a transparent paint color.