Yeah, for the first 20 hours of the project (disassembly, mostly) I thought, "What the F am I getting myself into?"
Now, being about halfway done, I've gone too far to turn back now! It's still hard to work up the ambition to keep painting. It's really tedious and I hate it. The worst part is mixing paint and cleaning the gun...it may sound weird but around 3pm when I'm sitting at work and thinking about what to do that particular night, I think about the un-fun parts of painting and it really defeats me alot of the time.
Probably won't be done til Spring. I have a set of Teins on the way, a CarPC to install, and a powder-coating oven that my dad and I have almost completed that is big enough for a Harley frame. I'll still keep busy in the winter, but I may be done with painting for this year. That is, unless I can get 2-3 consecutive days off work and just force myself to pound it out (if the weather behaves).
I'm also a novice painter, but I've done 5 or 6 cars now, and 2 of them have won awards at local car shows. You're pretty much spot on, I just wanted to add my 2 cents.
Originally Posted by Shifty556
12b) If you are shooting a base coat / clear coat, just get good, even coverage with the color, you may only need two coats of it. As long as you don't have a lot of orange peel you are ok (you will have some...robots at auto manufacturers can't even spray perfectly, look at the paint on a brand new car...). In my experience, if you cake 3 layers of clear on top of the lightly orange-peeled paint, you can wet-sand the clear and get a pretty good looking result. If you are going for a show-car finish, then stop reading this thread and go to auto-body school! :-P *edit* I Google'd this a lot before starting and most people say that orange peel in the color coat will show through the clear no matter how much you sand the clear...I didn't find that to be the case, and I have a pretty critical eye for my own work.
I've only painted in Texas, but I've found it's hard to get significant orange peel on basecoat, because it's usually so thin (compared to clear) that the solvents evaporate pretty quickly. But then, that's Texas and it's not unusual to be painting when it's 90 degrees or so, which they also say you shouldn't do. :P Either way, I can add that if you laid the clear down correctly, any underlying orangepeel shouldn't show up. Remember you're laying down a liquid, so as long as it flows enough to get into the gaps, it's going to be pretty much optically pure.
15) Optional : Use 3000 grit paper to wetsand the area further. Haven't done this enough to know if it's necessary. I used the 3000 in the above picture of the hood.
It's a matter of taste - if you're not going for a show car, then the casual, even critical onlooker isn't going to be able to tell a 2000 grit buffed clear from a 3000 grit one. When you compound it, the compound will usually tell you "removes 1500 grit scratches" or whatever. As long as you're above that, the compound should get rid of the scratches. You'll do a lot less rubbing if you use 3000 or 2000 than you will at 1800, but for normal road cars, 1800 is where I stop, and it still comes out great.
... because the worst part of painting your car is that first chip. :P
16a) Use Meguiar's Ultimate Compound (by hand, or get someone to teach you how to use a power buffer). I am a bit gun-shy of my power buffer, as you can easily burn through paint and clear coat on the edges of body panels.
I've definitely burned my share of edges, and then touched them up with a little base coat on a paint brush with a hairdryer to cure. The best thing to do with a rotary buffer (not a $20 polisher from Walmart) is to stick to the big flat expanses. Those are the ones that really throw the shine back at you anyway. In a pinch, use masking tape and tape over the edges of each panel. After power buffing, then go back and rub by hand to blend the edges into the main part of the hood. A little orange peel at the edges is not even noticeable when your hood and fenders and doors are reflecting like mirrors.
Also note that the compound you use for hand rubbing is a lot harsher than the kind you use for machine compounding, so don't use hand compound by machine. If you use machine compound by hand, it'll work, but you'll be there until your arms fall off.
Also, I started with a Devilbiss Finishline3 which works great if you have an awesome compressor. Tip size is important, if you can only get one, get a 1.3 or 1.4. It'll handle clears, bases, metallics and most primers. Anything bigger and it's too easy to get heavy orange peel in the clear. Not a problem really, but a LOT more sanding. Like down to 800 grit, then 1000, then 1200, before going to 1500 and 2000. I have a smaller compressor now (33 gallon 3hp oil-free) and the Devilbiss outruns it substantially. My gun of choice now is an LVLP clone gun, called a Razor, I think. It was about $60, I believe, and my paint quality is drastically improved.
The best kept secret of painting a car is that anyone not suffering from epilepsy with any kind of attention to detail can paint a car well enough to get great results, HVLP or LVLP paint goes on 30 times thicker than spraypaint on average, so as long as you make sure your color matches, mix it all per directions and get enough clear on it, you can't mess it up too much. The really hard work is in the preparation and the finish sanding afterwards.
Pretty sure the gun I found is called Astro Evo4014, and works great and came well recommended by the Autobody101 forums that I used for research. If I remember right, it's also able to be used with waterbased paint.
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