Frame painting?

I know some of you have tackled a frame refresh, so I am looking for some input. My sons 2017 Compkart is in need of new paint. The factory’s fluorescent yellow is in terrible condition but the kart still works well and is competitive so I think its worth some time and expense. So, here are my questions;

Paint removal - hand sand, sand blast, chemical? What would be the best option to do this?

Paint - I have access to having it sprayed with automotive paint but does the process require primer too? The other option would be powder coat but I would need to find someone to do this.

Color - while the original color is great for inspecting the frame its a terrible color to keep clean and is impossible to color match for repairs. Later Compkarts could be had in blue which I think looks good. Any other suggestions?

When me and my dad did a restoration on a old kart we used: steel wirebrushes sand papper
For prep we wiped it all down with some of that alcohol and went with a anti rust primer
Then chose right paint code and got spray cans,
Do 1 thin layer let dry and we did 3 layers paint. Then a uv resistent clear coat 2 layers.
This may not be the “right” way but it worked and it turned out amazing
Paint is still on and no rust/chips

:arrow_down::arrow_down:Listen to TJ he is him when it comes to painting :arrow_down::arrow_down:

Powder coat is going to be the most durable and that’s the route I would take. If painting, I would use a direct to metal primer first and then paint with enamel probably as that’ll be easiest and wouldn’t require a clearcoat. That still won’t hold up to gas and grease and scraping like powder will though.

I’ve had a few frames re-powdered over the years and it’s always been a couple hundred bucks. I would certainly pay that instead of buying paint and putting in the labor of painting it myself for an inferior end result.

Powder coat all the way.

Just got a crazy idea! Why not powdercoat a whole frame in chrome pink🔥

My son wanted his race engine cover metallic purple, and since we have another engine for next season, we’re going to do that one in chrome pink, so he’ll have a purple and a pink race engine.

If his kosmic frames ever need to be refinished, I’ll probably do them in that metallic purple.


When I painted both my frames I just matted them down with sand paper. Sprayed and 2k clear over it. Has held up great :raised_hands:t2:

I stripped one down to bare metal a few winter ago using paint stripper and wire brush. I painted it and it looked amazing. Unfortunately the paint just wasn’t tough enough for the application and it looked like crap after a few months. I would go the powder coat route next time for sure.

I don’t think realize how much time it’ll take to sand down and prep a frame for paint. I know (and I used to paint commercially) I didn’t realize this too until I did it. If it was me, and I decided I wanted to go this route (not saying I would again). The only way to do it correctly is to sand blast the entire thing. Sure you can scuff and top coat, but that usually only works well if you use good paint and a really good clearcoat with a hardener. Even then its 50/50 IMHO.

I agree with others that getting it powdercoated would be your best bet, cause their going to sand blast it anyway.

Take into account that I have commerical paint guns, a sand blaster, and the knowledge how to do this if I choose to do so. But even I would prefer to send it out cause between the cost of materials, the time it would take me, I’d probably be into it well over $400 minus the headache.

I only say this cause I’ve been in your shoes before, thinking it would be easier and cheaper, when in reality it isn’t if you want a superior/durable finish. :100:

Keep in mind people always post pictures when they do this right after its painted, but I’m always curious what it looks like a year or so later. Not a dig at Lucas Borka, as it looks like he did a nice job.


+1 on the amount of time to strip the paint. Not a kart, but my dad and I used Citristrip on our formula car back in 2017 and it was a bear to get all the crevices and entire chassis stripped of the powder coating.

We also used firearm paint instead of powder coat or regular automotive paint. We’ve found that it doesn’t disguise any cracks like a thicker powder coat may. Again, not a kart but it has held up very well over the past 6-7 years and I’d be interested to see someone try it on a kart given that it holds up for thousands of rounds in a firearm.

I’ll take some fresh photos of it, has held up great after many sessions. I used clear with hardener and 2 coats. Proper job since I had all the tools for it :raised_hands:t2:

Dean is right, painting tubes sucks. It seems like a small job but it’s a deceptive amount of area to cover. I’ve painted a few bike frames and I hate doing it.

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Thanks for that insight. I do have a possible advantage in that I work at a vocational school and we have an autobody class that may be able to do some or all of the work.

Would the chemical stripper interfere with any of the possible color coats (Paint or powder)?

Being old school, MEK if it’s available in your area. (Not the “substitute.”)

Distant 2nd, Aircraft stripper from you local big box store.


I rattle canned mine 2 seasons ago, blended a metallic orange with metallic red. I pressure washed it, sanded it, but I didn’t really go apeshit, just roughed up the surface, then primed it. After that I hit it with a red gloss for 2 coats, let it dry, might have sanded a little more, then I put a few coats of the metallics, followed by a few coats of clear. It looked pretty good.

I touched it up after season 1, and will do the same this year.

I’d probably powder coat if I wanted a solid color, but I wanted the sparkly blend. I didn’t think it was very hard, and has held up well.

When I was refurbbing my Daughter’s Dap Kid Kart I took it to a local Powder Coater that also happened to run a Kart and Car race team (Crosslink). Sean Owens was working for them at the time and got me a good deal.

It looked like one of the previous owners had just taken a rattle can over the original powder coat. Several areas had bleed through.

I went with a different color, but in retrospect maybe should have gone back to the original red. They did a fantastic job and saved me a lot of time and headache.

Kiddo sadly has not run it more than a time or two, so I can’t speak of the wear and tear factor. It did look like a brand new kart afterwards!

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@Lborka how does it look now? Any pics

Looking brand spanking new, no abnormal wear really. Underside ofc but that is what you get from pushing

I have roughly 25x10mins session on it since painting

And on your energi?

Same but ofc more scuffed at the front part of the frame because of hard braking.

I haven’t got any pics since I have it in another place