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Well guys...I pulled the trigger on my little (read: huge) paint project. I have a decent enough garage, 27' x 25', insulated heavily with a 40,000btu heater, 60gal compressor and a DeVilbiss HVLP gun.

I'll post some pics now and elaborate on the whole process later. My goal was to turn out something better than Maaco. So far, I'm told my results are really not too bad. This is the absolute first car I've ever attempted to paint. Prior to this, I painted a Camaro hood and a few test 3/S fenders.

First, here are some decals that I cut out with my Cricut machine when I was feeling artsy-fartsy... Probably won't make it onto my new, yellow paint, though. I do like how they turned out. And yes I have Brembo brakes and an Innovate LC-1 Wideband and SSi-4










Before wetsanding:


After a little wetsanding, before too much buffing...


A little relaxation time...
 

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Damn nice.
 

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Thanks for posting those pics. I'm painting a sunburned base model and although the taping might seem like common sense, it's nice to actually see where it goes.

Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to exit the vehicle after taping all that plastic over the inside of the doors :D

Paint looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will post more pics asap. I have a bunch of good ones after 3000 grit sanding and rubbing compound.

RawgDawg, as far as plastic goes.... What I did was to run lines of duct tape inside the doors, all the way around. Then, I took my plastic and let it hang from the roof over the door hole. Then, just push the plastic onto the duct tape and it will stick really well. For the rear hatch opening, same deal. Run the duct tape all the way around, from the inside of that opening, such that the sticky side of the tape is pointing up towards the ceiling. Then, stage the plastic on the roof and yank it over the hatch area. It'll settle down and meet the duct tape.

After that, just run around the openings with scissors and cut off all the excess plastic.

I'll take pictures. I do not have a good way with words.

Here's one quick pic of the hood after Meguiar's Ultimate Compound applied by hand. *edit* this pic looks alot better on my phone! Will add more soon. Thanks for the kind words and support!
 

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I'm in the midst of peeping my car. I'm still working on the major work that's need to be done so I still have a little way to go but, could you run me through what grits you used at each different step and when you dry sanded and when u wet sanded?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'm in the midst of peeping my car. I'm still working on the major work that's need to be done so I still have a little way to go but, could you run me through what grits you used at each different step and when you dry sanded and when u wet sanded?
Absolutely.

1) Begin with stock paint
2) Use pneumatic or electric DA sander with dry 180 grit pad to rough up existing paint
3) Identify low spots / spots in need of body work
4) Do body work. I popped as many dents as I could, but I had to resort to Bondo and spot filler quite a bit (20-year-old paint, lots of little chips in paint, spot filler works a treat)
5) Wet-sand Bondo flush to body panel with 500 grit
6) Go over panel with tack cloth and make sure it's totally clean. It would be prudent to also use wax&grease remover, but I did not
7) Wet the floor of painting area and sqeegee the excess water out. Let it sit for a bit to let excess moisture escape. This kept humidity down for me and obviously helped combat airborne dust particles
8) Spray your primer. Go for full coverage, at least, but you can keep building up if you need to fill a few really minor flaws (spot filler should have covered most of them)
9) Let primer set up for 1-2 hours (depending on brand) and then wet-sand the primer with 500 grit and get it nice and smooth (See below...you'll want to use the soon-to-be-mentioned sanding blocks for this step)
10) Tack cloth again to remove dust and other junk before you...
11) Spray color.

12a) Now, if you are shooting a single-stage paint, put 3+ layers on. You are going for not only full coverage with the paint, but you want to build it up enough to where you can wet-sand it and buff it afterwards (and for years to come, if needed).

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. Anyways...on with the show...

13a) Alright. So - you've got your color laid down with a few coats of clear on top of it. You've waited 3-4 days for the clear to set up (I've wet-sanded clear coat after about 18 hours...but, unless you're in a hurry, wait for it to set up and cure a little more)

13b) Get some sanding blocks...
Motor Guard RL-1 Roller Block Sanding Block - Amazon.com

Amazon.com: Motor Guard SB-1 Soft Block Flexible Sanding Block: Home Improvement

Motor Guard HT-1 Holey Terror Sanding Block - Amazon.com


And get a California blade
Pilot Automotive CC-2010 11" Soft and Dry Water Blade : Amazon.com : Automotive


13c) Fill a spray bottle and a 5 gal bucket with lukewarm, soapy water. Just use dish soap. Soak a 2' x 2' or so area and hit it with 1000 or 1500 grit sand paper. Start "cross-blocking" the area with the sandpaper, using the sanding block. Basically, you just want to make your sanding strokes be perpendicular to each other. Usually I go diagonal strokes from bottom-left to top-right, then go back over the area the opposite way. Just google "cross blocking" if you don't get it.

13d) After a few strokes in each direction with the sandpaper, squeegee the area off with the California blade. You'll immediately see that the area is now really, really dull. You'll inevitably see a few spots here and there that are still shiny...those are the low spots - you want to keep sanding lightly until they are gone. Soak the area and sand those spots a little more, a little at a time, squeegee-ing the area frequently until all shiny spots are gone. This is where you'll probably be thinking "What the F am I doing...this looks dull and terrible". It should look like that at this point. Don't worry, dull is exactly what you are going for. Don't burn through to the primer!!! If you do, hit the panel again with 500 grit wetsand and spray more color. It happens if you aren't careful, but it's not the end of the world.

14) Hit the area with 2000 grit, now. If you did a good job on the previous step, you are only using the 2000 grit to remove 1000/1500 grit sanding marks. Again...cross-block in this step.

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.

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.

16b) Wet the area and use the remaining Meguiars compound to further work the area. Wipe the area off with a lint-free cloth. You should have a pretty decent finish. I really don't know how long you have to wait before you use polish.

You don't need to use Meguiar's Ultimate, but you should make sure whatever you use is safe on fresh paint. Google it...don't take a chance and F up your new paint. I'm sure someone that does this for a living will tear my process apart...but hey, I'm not a pro.

I'm just an average Joe that does IT work for a living and car work is one of my many interests (I play ice hockey, race R/C cars and slot cars, play and paint Warhammer 40k mini's, paint model military craft and cars, play airsoft, powdercoat stuff...the list goes on and on.) This is how I accomplished the finish in the pictures shown above. You can see in the two pics of the rear left quarter panel that you can end up with a lot of orange peel and still have a good looking product if you're willing to wet-sand and buff your newly-sprayed paint.

Please feel free to ask any questions about any step. I tried to be thorough. There are many guides and videos online showing how to tune an HVLP gun. Those are required reading/watching. And, with the money you are saving my painting your car yourself, you should be able to afford a somewhat decent HVLP gun. I bought a DeVilbiss FLG-4. I found it locally on CraigsList for $175. It's not the end-all be-all, but it is better than Harbor Freight (I have two HF guns - I'd use them for thicker, higher build primer, but that's it)
[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Devilbiss-Finishline-FLG-670-Solvent-Gravity/dp/B006ZO2MI8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352923132&sr=8-1&keywords=devilbiss+finishline+4[/ame] <-- link to DeVilbiss gun I used


Again, I'd love to help anyone - just keep in mind that I am an absolutely self-taught novice painter that Google'd the ever-loving shit out of this subject, did a lot of asking around, and only a small bit of practice before deciding to shoot my own car. It's not impossible, not even close. I'm turning out paint in my garage that, minus a few dust specs here and there that floated onto the wet paint, look better than most factories would do. I'm waiting to do the engine bay until the next time I pull my engine, for anyone that is wondering.
 

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Thanks shifty 556 for the nicely written article. I have been a hobbyist painter since the early 70's. I would just like to add a comment or 2. The most important aspect of a quality paint job has more to do with the prep that most everything else. I have found this to be true with all the paint systems.

If I don't know the history of a cars paint I prefer to strip. I then repair any major imperfections before laying on a good coat of self etching primer and atleast 3 good coats of high build primer followed by a light coat of a contrasting color primer that acts as a guide coat. I then use 220 dry aluminum oxide paper and sand up/down, side to side and diagonally til either the guide coat is gone or til I break thru to the self etching primer.

It may be possible to just add more primer and start process all over. If imperfections are too deep for that I rough up the depression and apply Evercoat polyester primer then more primer and guide coat. It is all in the prep. I finish it all off with 500 wet

My last car was a 1965 Porsche 356C and from start to finish the paint work took well over 200 hours. Patience and prep make all the difference
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
You are dead-on with the guide coat. That is definitely the way to go.

Yeah, my rear quarter had a little dent that I tried to pull out with the cheap little Harbor Freight dent puller (the one that uses hot glue). Crossbar Dent Repair Kit

It was sad...the tool worked as intended.....but when the dent popped a huge chunk of Bondo fell off the panel!!!! Nice... Truthfully, I am ashamed to say that I Bondo'd right over the hole and kept plugging along. I am not kidding myself, it's a 20 year old car that is worth $4000 at max, I just want a decent paint job. I didn't want to bother with knocking all the Bondo off and pulling the dent properly at that point (and I really didn't want to see what else what under that mess of body filler!!) Bad attitude, I admit, as I'm sure I'll run into issues some years from now, but I keep going back to the "old, worthless car" thought. To say that I'm half-assing the project would be fair, but I'm definitely trying my best as the pictures hopefully show.

You are so, so so so so right about the prep. You can make the paint and clear coat look pretty damned good with wetsanding after the fact, but the phrase "It's all in the prep" is right on.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I can easily, easily believe your 200 hour estimate.

I'm probably approaching 60 hours right now. That does, however, include teardown of the car. I hope I remember how it all goes back together!! :eek:

Also, I'll tell you what, now I understand why paint jobs can run upwards of $8,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got over my shyness of the power buffer last night. Coming together nicely.

 

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Most all buffers rotate in a clockwise direction. When buffing door edges I find it best to position the buffer pad in such a position that only the clockwise portion hits the edge.This keeps the pad from grabbing the edge. I have also applied the 1/4" masking tape to the very edge to keep from burning it. I also prefer using the foam pads as opposed to wool-the cut is not as aggressive.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Here's a pic of the hood after maybe the last bit of buffing... It's not too hard to pick out the orange peel now. Shame on me for not color-sanding the yellow before putting clear coat down. But, like I mentioned a few times, this is not a show car and I'm not Chip Foose. My paint supplier also sells paint per 3/4 gallon, so I'm already cautious of burning through to primer and having to re-spray color. Anyways...take it or leave it. I may be half-assing it, but it looks better than it did before :-D


Here's a close-up pic. And no, I didn't use Nevr-Dull on the hood! :p


Top blister was sanded with 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit. See how it's all dull-looking. The bottom blister looked that way before buffing with a foam pad and Meguiar's Ultimate Compound @ 1800 rpm.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just curious...how horribly would everyone freak out if I decided to go through with a Puma GTO theme for this car? I originally wanted to do this car in green with the Puma graphics, like the original one but, now that I've gone yellow, kinda thinking about doing a black/yellow Puma theme.

This is just thinking out loud. Part of me thinks that most people on this forum would drop rice bombs on me. Part of me thinks that it would look pretty neat. Or, COULD look pretty neat. I have a Cricut vinyl cutter and I can do all the vinyl myself. I could obviously peel it all off if it looked horrible.

Thoughts?
 

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Looks good, dont put decals on it. Did you do the engine bay and trunk in yellow too?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Trunk jamb, yes. Trunk inside under the carpet, no.

Engine bay no. I'm sure I'll have to pull the engine/trans soon anyways, and I will paint it then.
 
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