20130202

Vinyl: Part I

I like orange.  Orange and grey were my school colors, so maybe subconsciously that's why I dig the District so much, but it's probably mostly because of the orange.  It's a good color, though I really need to get the matching rear wheel builtWhich leads me to an idea that I was farting around with the other day in Mypaint that involved getting more orange on the bike.
I grabbed this photo sometime back, I think from Trek's Website.  I also did about six of these, but I will spare you.
Inevitably I decided to take this to full project mode, and ended up with a giant sheet of orange reflective vinyl, endless coffee, an Exacto Knife, and an entire Saturday afternoon to play around with the combination of these things.
I like being visible, but I don't want to be the dude wrapped in flashing Christmas lights and LEDs from head to toe that doesn't even both to turn them off on the train and blinds the other passengers.  I have lights, but years of collecting road signs has taught me a thing or two about reflectivity.  Those things pack a reflective punch, which is something my bike currently lacks from a side angle.

So I decided to change that. 
Ruler, scissors, knife, coffee, and a nice comfy floor to work on.
I wanted the stripes to match what the bike already had, so I took some measurements and used my mock-ups as reference.  I needed mostly 5mm wide strips with a 7mm corner.
Stripping. 
I didn't even bother to see if this stuff would stick to the frame.  I just kind of went for it, and hey, it worked.
First strip in normal light.  Everything was mirrored on the other side of the frame as I went along.
I realized my Tron style mock-ups were nowhere near what this was going to look like in reality, so I improvised a bit.  I did want some variation though, so I played around with angles.  
Working on the rear reflective logo thingy that I made up as I went along.   
Fortunately my additions matched the frame to the point where you really couldn't tell they were stickers until you were up close.
This was as far as I got today - can you spot the imposter stripes?
Unfortunately this took me a long time to do, especially making sure everything was even on both sides, and I wanted to sleep on it a bit anyway to think about how I should deal with the down tube and the top tube (and my ghetto awesome commuter tag). So for now, I'm calling it a day.

The results so far are great - came out a lot better than I thought it would, and this stuff clings to the frame like nothing else. 
Close up of the rear triangle.  Still deciding what else to do here, if anything.
Purely by accident the fork decals are also visible from the front, giving me +5 in Reflectiveness.
Adding in the camera flash for the headlight effect, and you get...
I have nowhere in my house where I can take a photo without a roadsign reflecting everything into oblivion.
So I've got the fork, seat tube, chainstay, and right above the brake mount for now, on both sides.  Plus the two stripes on the front wheel, which I will probably up to four.
Since this is as close to a Lightcycle as I will ever get, just humor me.
Downtube and a rather out of focus rear.
It looks like a spaceship.  We'll go with that.
Considering I managed to get this far without terribly injuring myself with the Exacto Knife, I'd say today was a victory. 

If you're interested in doing this, I got more vinyl than I will ever possibly need from this super nice guy at a really reasonable price, and shipped really, really fast.  It doesn't seem like it, but it's near impossible to peel off the frame once it's stuck on, and it seems pretty high quality.  It also comes in lots of colors.   

Just remember to clean the frame anywhere you plan to apply vinyl, and you can cut this stuff with a knife, scissors, or a Cricut if you're snazzy enough to have one (and one that cuts vinyl, at that).  

Or, you can opt for something equally as cool and much easier

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