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BeastlyTerri

Why do roller coasters fade?

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I don't understand why parks don't paint roller coasters with paint that won't fade. I have painted many things with outdoor spray paint in lots of colors that never faded, and cars don't fade so why can't parks use paint on rides that won't start looking awful after a few years? Banshee was beautiful when first built and now at only 5 years old it is super faded. When you spend $22million on a coaster I would think they would use so high quality paint they won't look crappy after just a few years. What am I missing? 

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29 minutes ago, BeastlyTerri said:

I don't understand why parks don't paint roller coasters with paint that won't fade. I have painted many things with outdoor spray paint in lots of colors that never faded, and cars don't fade so why can't parks use paint on rides that won't start looking awful after a few years? Banshee was beautiful when first built and now at only 5 years old it is super faded. When you spend $22million on a coaster I would think they would use so high quality paint they won't look crappy after just a few years. What am I missing? 

I get what you're saying...but most of the general public isn't going to go "man, Banshee is really faded, they need to paint it." The park pretty much stated at Coasterstock last year that it's not worth the $ to repaint a ride every couple of years. There really isn't a return on investment for it...while it sometimes would make the ride/area look a little bit better, it's not something that is such a big deal. If the ride operates as it should, the paint should be the last thing the park is worrying about. 

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20 minutes ago, Creed Bratton said:

I get what you're saying...but most of the general public isn't going to go "man, Banshee is really faded, they need to paint it." The park pretty much stated at Coasterstock last year that it's not worth the $ to repaint a ride every couple of years. There really isn't a return on investment for it...while it sometimes would make the ride/area look a little bit better, it's not something that is such a big deal. If the ride operates as it should, the paint should be the last thing the park is worrying about. 

Great explanation, they will  eventually paint coasters, but there is usually more than a decade between paint jobs. For instance TTD got its first paint job in 2014(it’s a two year process though). So it got its first paint job 11 years after it opened, a reason that might explain why it got painted sooner than most coasters is the fact that it’s arguably the centerpiece of CP’s collection (by this I mean most eye catching or most looked at). 

 

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6 hours ago, BeastlyTerri said:

I don't understand why parks don't paint roller coasters with paint that won't fade. I have painted many things with outdoor spray paint in lots of colors that never faded, and cars don't fade so why can't parks use paint on rides that won't start looking awful after a few years? Banshee was beautiful when first built and now at only 5 years old it is super faded. When you spend $22million on a coaster I would think they would use so high quality paint they won't look crappy after just a few years. What am I missing? 

Cars do fade... It's a high quality paint, so takes longer, but does fade... As for why they don't use the same type of paint, have you ever had to get a car painted??? It's not cheap... And what's the surface area of a car compared to a roller coaster??? It would cost a fortune to paint it with a paint of that quality...

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What I'm trying to say is that I have used paints that have not faded, or at least not nearly as much as the orange on Vortex or purple on Banshee, while still being used outside. I paint statues with indoor/outdoor paint from Walmart that is 89 cents and it holds up great for many years while sitting in the elements exposed all year. It starts to peel or flake off after 4-5 years but doesn't fade. I also spray painted some plastic lawn furniture 6 years ago bright blue and it had peeled in placed but not faded. 

Im really not trying to be a smart ass about using some magical non fading paint, i just have personally used paint that have withstood the elements and not faded as fast as most roller coasters seem to and was wondering why they couldn't be used on coasters 

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17 minutes ago, BeastlyTerri said:

What I'm trying to say is that I have used paints that have not faded, or at least not nearly as much as the orange on Vortex or purple on Banshee, while still being used outside. I paint statues with indoor/outdoor paint from Walmart that is 89 cents and it holds up great for many years while sitting in the elements exposed all year. It starts to peel or flake off after 4-5 years but doesn't fade. I also spray painted some plastic lawn furniture 6 years ago bright blue and it had peeled in placed but not faded. 

Im really not trying to be a smart ass about using some magical non fading paint, i just have personally used paint that have withstood the elements and not faded as fast as most roller coasters seem to and was wondering why they couldn't be used on coasters 

Yes, but did your paint costs tens of thousands of dollars?  The park is in the business to make money, nothing else, so they weigh the pros and cons of every thing that that do in a monetary sense.  If the benefit outweighs the cost then they will do it.  Painting coasters isn't high on the scale so they only do it when absolutely necessary.  

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20 minutes ago, timfsu2k said:

Yes, but did your paint costs tens of thousands of dollars?  The park is in the business to make money, nothing else, so they weigh the pros and cons of every thing that that do in a monetary sense.  If the benefit outweighs the cost then they will do it.  Painting coasters isn't high on the scale so they only do it when absolutely necessary.  

I feel like maybe I'm not explaining what I was trying to discuss very well or something because it seems people are missing the point. I understand why they don't regularly repaint coasters, that would be very costly. 

No, the paint I use is NOT super expensive and still doesn't fade as fast as what is used on coasters, which I assume is expensive paint, so what makes one fade so fast and a cheaper paint doesn't? That is what I am wondering. I have used cheap acrylic latex paint on cement statues and so far seems to not fade at all after many years. It needs repainted for peeling before fading so I assume they wouldn't use that kind of paint for similar reasons- peeling. 

I have used a spray paint from Walmart that is about $6 a can and doesn't seem to fade after many years and being exposed to the elements, but I painted plastic with it, not metal. 

I personally think that it could have to do with the metal heating up to high temperatures in the sun compared to a cement staute or plastic lawn chair that is causing the rapid fading on coasters. Hopefully someone else will understand what I'm trying to get at and be able to add something constructive to the conversation about what causes roller coasters to fade faster that other painted things exposed to the elements. 

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The repetitive vibration of the track caused by the train would also contribute to the peeling/flaking.  I think the priority is to have something that won't peel/flake over something that doesn't fade.  Fading looks bad, paint falling off looks worse.

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7 hours ago, Honorarius said:

The repetitive vibration of the track caused by the train would also contribute to the peeling/flaking.  I think the priority is to have something that won't peel/flake over something that doesn't fade.  Fading looks bad, paint falling off looks worse.

I am not sure vibration is a solid argument. My car vibrates on the roads and with all the potholes around here, we should not have any paint left on most cars after 5 years.

Something else to consider, cars get clear coat to protect the paint, which may not be something that can be applied to coaster track?

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Now, I'm not necessarily saying they are employing this, but there IS this concept called 'planned obsolescence' you know...

Let me ask you this question.

Suppose it was possible to develop a paint which indeed never, and I mean NEVER fades. Would it behoove a company's long-term interests to sell such a paint?

Think about it....

 

 

(But honestly, I would say whatever paint they're using now is probably as high quality as it can get without being inordinately expensive. This paint has to go through sun, rain, snow, heat, cold 24/7/365. So yeah, its going to end up fading whereas most cars at least spend a great amount of their life protected in a garage.) 

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I was wondering about this same thing the other day. I bought bikes for my kids a year and a half ago and the more expensive one had faded and looks 15 years old where as the cheaper bike still looks literally brand new and they have been exposed to the same elements. 

Certain colors seem to fade much faster than others on coasters as well. The purple on Banshee, especially on the drop, hasn't held up as great as the rest of the coaster's paint. 

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1 hour ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I am not sure vibration is a solid argument. My car vibrates on the roads and with all the potholes around here, we should not have any paint left on most cars after 5 years.

Something else to consider, cars get clear coat to protect the paint, which may not be something that can be applied to coaster track?

Which is my point, that your cars finish is made to withstand sun and being on something that is going to move a lot.  That's why it costs a lot more than buying Tremclad down at the Home Depot... Paint one half your car with the normal autobody finishing process, and the other half with whatever you can find cheap at the hardware store and drive it around for 5 years... Which side of your car is going to look better???

And the clear coat is an important part of the process.  It has UV blocking chemicals in it, which is basically sunscreen for your car.  Also, the paint takes a while to cure... To speed up the cure time involves either chemicals or heat.  Chemically is more expensive, but it's not like you can stick the track in an oven... 

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All paint which is exposed to light fades.  The color makes a big difference and red and yellow traditionally fade faster then other colors.  While blue typically lasts the longest.  This is due to how color functions and the energy being absorbed will slowly cause the chemical bonds of the colorant to break down.  Just because the paint has faded does not mean it is not doing its job which is to protect the metal.

I am not very familiar with the specific paints being applied to coasters, but typically clear coats while they do a good job protecting the paint are difficult to paint over.  I suspect its not a cost issue upfront, parks are worried when a coaster does need touched up or fully painted.  They are likely looking at the entire possible life of the coaster and realized its just cheaper to repaint it.

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