View Full Version : Painting
03-01-2005, 01:26 PM
As a new builder I have absolutely no experience with painting. I am getting ready to paint my RAF cabin and other fiberglass parts but do not know where to begin. Finding a repair shop with the ability to paint it is the easy part but do I need a specific kind of paint? And if So what and where do I get it? Second, for all the fancy detailing I see on some machines is that Airbrushed or painted on, or is it decals that you can get at local sign shops for cars, etc. What works and what doesn't?
I know this is kind of basic but I am a basic level builder trying to get better with little help in this area. Thanks, I want it to look good.
03-01-2005, 02:54 PM
Hello Lochik, I have been custom painting motorcycles for many years.
First and formost, is be ready to spend some money, cheap paint is not good,and good paint is not cheap.
Get a good TC-23c paint repirator with charcoal filters, protect your lungs, most of todays paint contains isocyanates, plus other toxic chemicals.
first get all your supplies from a AUTOMOTIVE PAINT Dealer, not Pep Boys or Auto Zone. You get the picture. DuPont, PPG, Sikkens, House Of Kolor, Etc, all have outstanding products. You will need to start with a good de-greaser/ wax remover. Fiberglass molds are coated with silicone release agents, Paint HATES silicone!
Once the pod is cleaned with the degreaser, wet sand the entire thing with 320 grit wet paper, sand it until it is smooth. Then you will need to primer it with a good 2 part epoxy primer. Once the epoxy cures, wet sand it with 320-400 wet paper. At this point you will need to see if you have any imperfections, pin holes, dips divots etc. if anything needs to be filled use a light weight epoxy filler, sand smooth.
Next step is getting a good coat of epoxy primer SURFACER, this will fill tiny hole scratches etc. after a couple of good heavy coats, let dry and sand with 400 wet paper. sand until it is perfect. re apply primer surfacer if nessesary. Sand, primer, Sand. You are getting the picture now, any imperfection will be magnified with paint.
after the primer is sanded and dry, you can move to painting.
I would use a good quality base coat clearcoat system.
apply the base coat until the pod is a uniform color, wait as per instructions, then apply your clearcoat, as per instructions. once the clear is dry you can sand it with 1500 or 2000 grit wet paper, until it is uniformly dull, with no orange peel or shiney spots.
Then buff with a variable speed buffer a foam pad and rubbing compound for the new paint. after it is thouroughly buffed, change buffing pads and redo the whole thing with a polishing compound such as finess-it III by 3M.
It should come out looking like glass.
Make sure your primers and paints are from the same manufacturer, and are compatable, Don't play Chemist!
I am not trying to scare you, but if you do a good prep job, use good materials, the paint should hold up and still look good 10 years from now.
The finish is only as good as the prep work. 80 percent of my time spent painting a motorcycle is spent sanding and getting the parts ready to paint.
Take time and be patient, and read up on it.
Good luck and keep us posted!
Oh yeah, most sign shops can do vinyl lettering, and make stickers.
Airbrushing is like painting all over again, only smaller, and you will pay for a talented painter. I usually charge about $50 an hour for airbrush work, it can be very labor intensive.
Pic Bike I painted.
Don't know about you Scott but the "best" tip I ever got was to use a guide coat after the primer to know how much to sand. David Eiland
03-01-2005, 07:15 PM
Whew! Glad I took mine to an auto body shop and said, "Here."
03-02-2005, 07:45 AM
WHEW!! Yeah, same here, Ken.
03-02-2005, 07:46 AM
Dave, Yes guide coating, is a good technique, especially on large areas,
03-02-2005, 09:08 AM
Ken and Harry I think I am with you. I almost felt like trying it myself, but not any more. I want it done right the first time. Scott, your work is Awesome. Keep it up, we need artists like you around.
03-02-2005, 09:45 AM
I am hoping to have a place in my hangar to have a spray booth set up, Then I could start painting aircraft/gyro stuff. There might be a small market for that stuff.
I need to think of something to airbrush on the tail of my gyro, it's all white right now, just a big old blank canvas.
If you go to a body shop, make sure you talk you a few, some won't mess with anything other than cars. Some people at body shops will be willing to do a good job, others will not be so willing to take something like this on, or you could check out some people that paint motorcycles.
Just be advised: most painters have a reputation for being extremely slow at painting side work.
I wasn't trying to scare you off from trying it yourself. It just gets expensive and time consuming, so you must be commited to doing it, or take a loss on your time and materials, if you turn it over to someone else halfway through.
03-02-2005, 10:19 AM
Thanks for telling it like it is. Shows on discovery channel lead the unwashed to think its SOOOOO easy to do quality autobody or paint work. Truth is it can take a pro shop 6 months to bring a body around to be painted. Painting is no small or easy task. I personally do not think that the perfection many seek is necessary for sport gyros. As you have found out pretty work is nice but it hurts so much more when something happens. Keep pretty work for a museum.
I worked on an older porsche for over a year doing a lot of mechanical and suspension work for the owner. He had the body work done with standard (hiding) white and the car was on the road a month and it was totalled by getting hit in the rear by an inattentive driver at a stop sign.
It hurt to know all my hard work was flushed down the toilet by a jerk.
03-02-2005, 02:36 PM
Scott, you did not so much scare me off but bring me back to reality. I am hoping to find a small shop that will take me on as a chance to show off a nice paint job on a different type of machine. I really don't want the airbrush look but rather a nice paint job with some decal work. Your comments are right on track with what I need to know as I approach this. Hopefully I can talk someone into doing the work this month.
03-02-2005, 02:50 PM
Shows on discovery channel show a paintjob overnight, yeah right! Only in Hollywood!
Johnathan, you are right, if you spend too much time and make it too pretty, Car, bike, Aircraft, etc. You are sometimes afraid to have fun with it.
Ken, see if you can talk them into doing it for you, maybe even letting them put "painted by" in a small spot, to get them some recognition. You never know.
Another thing that might work for you is to paint it with a color that is currently being used on newer automobiles, that way you can buy some spray cans of touch up paint in the same color, and use it for small brackets and parts so the colors match.
03-02-2005, 03:04 PM
Scott, I was thinking the same thing but wasn't sure if that was just wishful thinking. Since I think I will be the only Gyro flying in the area, scratching each others back may work. I also like the touch up paint idea for small parts.
03-02-2005, 11:49 PM
Most quality autobody shops will be able to turn their leftover paint to a spray can or dip tube for your touchups. It seems pretty neat although I have at least 7 cans of paint on my shelf that I might never use. AH! but it is there...
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