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Am thinking of changing the color of my helmet. It is silver and I want to change to gloss black. Is this doable with good quality spray paint from an auto parts store? Any info?
 

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I don't think that it is adviseable if your are VERY concerned with what the helmet will do for you crash protection-wise.

The paint may decrease the crash effectiveness.....
 

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I wouldnt use spray paint on it but I've never heard of custom paint having an adverse effect on any helmet.
 

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Paint away, I've done some old ones of mine several times. Get it the color you want and then clear coat it. Mind you it will scratch easy, just like the paint on a car.

I cannot imagine that any commercial paint you'd buy in a retail store would so crrosive that it would eat away the very hard and mostly indestructiable shell. :roll:

Now if you get your hands on some expermental paint from some secret army lab, well then that "might" be a problem. 8)
 

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rickbb said:
I cannot imagine that any commercial paint you'd buy in a retail store would so crrosive that it would eat away the very hard and mostly indestructiable shell.
It's not "corrosive." It's because the solvents used in most paints are not at all friendly to the (usually) polycarbonate plastic the shells are made of. I've seen other applications (not specifically helmets) where the wrong paint made a plastic part astonishingly weak and brittle after a few weeks. I wouldn't do it unless you'll consider it a "novelty" helmet after you've painted it.
-G
 

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If you take an old helmet and sand away at it, you will find that the color on it when you bought it, is paint. The factory color is not normally part of the molded shell.

I suppose there are some that have a fiberglass resin type of layer that has been dyed/colored, but out of the dozens I've sanded and painted I've not seen one.

Me and a few fellows I know have been painting them for decades, no problems. We used to custom paint our moto cross helmets for every race, and crash more than once while wearing them, knock them up good, next week paint them again. Even filled the deep scratches with bondo, never had a helmet failure of any kind, and I pushed them very hard.

Like I said, unless you have some expermental 100% acetone or battery acid based paint or such, your not going to hurt it one bit with store bought rattle can paint.

It's funny, seems like half the bikers in the world think helmets are more dangerous than not wearing one at all. The other half think that the slightest bug splat will render them useless. The truth is somewhere in the middle, they do save lives, and they are durable enough to be painted and dropped and scratched without worries.
 

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I know that spray paint eats styrofoam, so there has to be some potential for the solvents in the paint to soften or otherwise adversely affect the integrity of the shell, but with all the different paints and plastics out there one could probably find a safe combination. :)
Through trial and error. :(

-K
 

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rickbb said:
If you take an old helmet and sand away at it, you will find that the color on it when you bought it, is paint. The factory color is not normally part of the molded shell.
That is not regular enamel or lacquer paint though.
It's the same stuff they use on fiberglass boats and it's called "Gel Coat".

It's specifically designed for fiberglass applications and itself hardens similar
to an epoxy to give added protection to the shell.

Gel coat takes a special gun to shoot and it's kind of expensive... but then again, all paint is expensive these days.


On the same note, one of our race cars is has a fiberglass body and the
other has a carbon fiber body.
It's painted with regular old auto body shop enamel and the body
isn't falling apart on it.
Lacquer based paints will definitely cause problems, but an enamel paint
should not.
 

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WAAYYY back in the day,and i mean way back,spray paint could turn a helmet into jelly. paints have changed and so has helmet material.

"MOST" helmets today are painted from the factory. if you sand that and stay off of the helmet shell,all you are really doing is putting paint on paint.i do however,quite often,work from the plastic shell up w/ no noticeable adverse effects on the helmets.

keep in mind that i don`t have them "snell" tested after i paint them,but they are shipped to me all the time from the distributors and individuals,ALL of them knowing they are going to be painted on.

this brings up another interesting question.would a helmet company warrant the product or even suggest it is ok to paint one of their helmets??
i would have to say probably not. corporate lawyers are way to smart to allow that.

anyway,here are a few pics of of the last batch i finished a few weeks ago for the virginia championship harescrambles series. also,the first pics i have ever posted on the internet,anywhere,EVER!!!

[/img]


[/img]
 

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the ones in the above pics are plastic shell and didn`t have gel coat, but,the manufactures use everything from a silk screening process(not really silk :lol: ) to water dipped design,thin vinyl decals and even sprayed color and clear.

the chinese have made helmets VERY affordable but when you paint over one of their helmets,you never know what is on it because they don`t have the same enviromental type regulations in the big red as we do in the usa.

for instance,i have ran into some of their cleared helmets that i absolutely could not tell what kind of material it was. it didn`t act like lacquer and it didn`t act like a urethane.
 

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dirty d said:
i have ran into some of their cleared helmets that i absolutely could not tell what kind of material it was. it didn`t act like lacquer and it didn`t act like a urethane.
My guess would be a polyester resin. Very transparent, relatively cheap, and able to be sprayed into the mold to eliminate prep work of the shell(making it even cheaper yet). If that's what it is, it should take almost any paint very nicely, but lacquer may attack it.
 
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