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 General Info for Spray Painting

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Jark'osa Hauza


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General Info for Spray Painting
« on: Apr 06, 2012, 12:01 PM »
This information is meant to be General info, for helping less experienced painters (such as myself) with minimizing errors.  I stumbled across this link & would like to share it:

http://www.vac-u-boat.com/Spray%20Can%20Basics.htm

It shares some well explained tips for painting hobby crafts.

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After reading on hobby & car body forums, here is my plan for Prep, Prime, and Painting:

Preface:  Make sure you follow the Temperature/Humidity guidelines on the can.  (50 to 90 degrees, 85% or less humidity)

1) Sand surfaces with 180 (some prefer 220 and 320)
2) Use soap & water to clean.  Rinse with water to remove soapy film.  Air Dry.  This gets everything out of the crevices.

3)  When setting up for paint, give it a quick wipe with alcohol to remove debris/dust.  It evaporates quickly and many professional painters use it for cleaning for surface prep.  Tack Cloth may be used too.
4) Plastic Primer - Shake can rigorously for 1-2 minutes. Prime with thin first coat.
5) Wait for primer to dry / flash / harden (dry to touch, not tacky/rubbery) and recoat if necessary.
6) Wait till fully dry and WET sand with 400 grit. Light rinse after.  Air dry.

7) Wipe with alcohol to remove debris/dust.
8) Metallic Paint - Shake can, use thin first coat.
9) Wait for paint to flash and recoat.
10) wait till fully dry and WET sand with 400 grit (for better adhesion & a rougher metal look).  600 can be used also.
11) Lightly Rinse

12) Lightly pencil areas to mask for 3D weathering.
13) Masking Fluid or equivalent - apply with toothpick or fine brush  (This is located with watercolors)

14) Wipe with water to remove dust/debris. (Alcohol may remove masking easier?)
15) Top Paint - Shake can, use thin firs tcoat
16) Wait for paint to flash and recoat
17) Wait till fully dry and WET sand with 1000 grit or higher (for smoother appearance).  600 gives a very rough look on gloss enamel paints.  1200 reportedly keeps the shine.  1000 takes most of the gloss away and makes it look more worn, but keeps the color.

Repeat steps 14 thru 17, with masking/painters tape to paint different areas.
Peel off masking fluid & weather as desired.  Apply a light matte Clearcoat when finished to dull any gloss.

Final step) Let me know if this post should be edited. I want it to be as accurate as possible, without being too overbearing for new painters.

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Here is some follow-up after following this paint plan:

I used 2 cans of Metallic, 2 cans of Plastic Primer, and 2 cans of Top Coat.  This coated all the Jango-style armor plates from collar down to toes.  This does not include gauntlets or helmet, but it does include the kidney plate.  It managed to cover 3-4 passes, which measured about 2 medium coats on the front and the back of the armor.  I only painted part of the back - just enough to get all the edges.

I used the same amount of paint on my helmet, both gauntlets, blasters, and all the greeblies.  So 4 cans of each that goes on everything.

FYI, I suggest painting in a covered area with air ventilation.  I painted outside on a 60 degree day with 40% humidity, and it felt great outside.  But the wind gusts would ruin the spray pattern, and during the hottest part of the day, the direct sunlight caused the paint too dry too quickly (causing some wrinkles).  Also, had a couple instances of random debris flying onto the wet paint.

I painted in the middle of the garage, with the garage door open at 2 feet.  This worked out well - enough ventilation and minimal wind.  Laid down a painters mat in the middle of the garage for overspray (which only over-extended by a few feet).  Be careful when walking around the project, the paint will stick to your feet! :)

I placed photos a few posts down of my working area, showing the coat hangers and unique ways of holding up things for painting.

« Last Edit: Apr 19, 2012, 01:01 PM by Kilryth » Logged
Jark'osa Hauza -- Mandalorian Gunslinger

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #1 on: Apr 06, 2012, 02:18 PM »
Thank you for sharing this. The only thing I have spray painted so far is two of the RF pieces and I can say that I suck at spray painting...  :(

Hopefully thi will help me out! :D

Jark'osa Hauza


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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #2 on: Apr 09, 2012, 09:11 AM »
Thank you for sharing this. The only thing I have spray painted so far is two of the RF pieces and I can say that I suck at spray painting...  :(

Hopefully thi will help me out! :D

Glad I could help out!  I started using the process that I stated up above and have had good results so far.

I did a final wipe with Denatured Alcohol on 4-5 pieces, and it had fully evaporated by the time I started spraying the primer on the first piece.  Rustoleum plastic primer is a much bigger PAIN to work with than the Rustoleum Self Etching Primer.  It sprays narrow and thick.. and it doesn't spray very far either, so if there's a slight breeze... nothing hits your armor.

The Metallic paint was a pleasure to work with - sprayed wide and a thin mist.. which sprayed far and covered easily.  It dried very fast also.

Only had two issues with the primer and metallic paint:  When lightly wet sanding the primer and paint, I found that the corners of the armor wanted to flake off very easily.  I will have to go back and touch these areas up with weathering at the end.

The other issue I had was the Metallic paint wrinkled on the chest piece almost instantly after spraying it.  Not sure why really... painted my armor from collar to toe... and a 4 inch spot on both chest pieces in similar areas (about an inch from the inside edge).  Not sure why this happened, as I sanded, washed, and wiped this area smooth.  The primer applied fine... but I think I may have overlapped primer from one piece onto the next while spraying... making it a little thicker.

Anyway, I sanded the wrinkled paint off, which removed some of the primer with it.. and resprayed it a couple times.  I figure I'll use it as weathering. :-\

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Jark'osa Hauza -- Mandalorian Gunslinger

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #3 on: Apr 09, 2012, 10:23 AM »
Gee, now I know I didn't put enough paint on my bucket lol And I didn't even wet sand :P

1 really good coat of primer
2 coats of auto paint for the base
MANY coats acrylic paints (purple, blue, black swirls, and red kill marks)
18k gold paint for kill marks
2 coats clear coat matte finish

For the RF and stalk:
1 good coat black spray paint (can't beat $.98 at Home Depot lol)
1 coat metallic paint (stalk)
several hand painted coats black acrylic for RF and swirls
1 good coat of clear coat

Same similar for the [aluminum] armor parts that needed painting (shins, top guants)
primer
acrylic purple and blue
acrylic black designs
clear coat
Bottom gaunt pieces were primered, sprayed flat black and clear coated

For the K'raam armor pieces, I just painted straight on them and coated with clear coat... Didn't even sand the auto primer already on the car hood armor.

Simple, easy, didn't sand and just waited for it all to dry (impatiently lol)

But everyone has their own way of doing things. Me, I had no choice...cuz each time I started to spray paint...it started to sprinkle   :( Funny though...the water drops didn't mess anything up. YAY! lol But the sucky bit is that I keep having to repaint everything that gets worn down to the surface of the bucket to hide the yellow/white resin showing through

« Last Edit: Apr 09, 2012, 10:26 AM by A'den Ca'tra » Logged
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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #4 on: Apr 09, 2012, 10:40 AM »
Those of you with metal armor:  consider baking the paint on, or possibly even bluing/anodizing your armor.  All these methods add a lot of durability to your coating - that's how finish is applied to firearms.

Unfortunately you can't do any of this to plastic. :(

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Jark'osa Hauza -- Mandalorian Gunslinger

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #5 on: Apr 09, 2012, 10:57 PM »
sorry if this was already stated) a really good tip i learned from a friend who is great at painting is that dont just hold the nozzle down do it in bursts yes it takes a bit but really well worth it. and spray off something before you start to clear out the nozzle also with the bursts it helps prevent dips and runs.

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #6 on: Apr 10, 2012, 11:33 AM »
The finish wrinkle mentioned above is likely the result of not shaking the paint up frequently enough. Metallics are notorious for separating QUICKLY inside the can. I shake vigorously about every third or fourth stroke of painting.

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #7 on: Apr 12, 2012, 03:35 AM »
Not gonna lie, I pretty much sand the plastic, wash it to get the grit off, then paint without all those intermediate steps just fine. lol I know it makes some hobby people cringe, but I haven't had any problems keeping it that simple.

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #8 on: Apr 12, 2012, 03:52 AM »
No problems here either. Maybe there are a few...unnecessary steps for many of us, and imho our buckets turn out fine any which way we do it.

But my problem is keeping the paint on and from being scratched off around the rim. I hate that! Maybe from rubbing against my metal plates... I'm wondering if a sheb load of clear coats would help protect the paint...

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #9 on: Apr 12, 2012, 04:03 AM »
It most likely is just wear from rubbing against the other plates. I know I have to touch up the edges of my stuff periodically, even where I wouldn't think it would be getting worn. (For instance, I paint the actual edges of my plates black to shadow them and even though they don't get much rubbing I still have to repaint the black at least a couple of times a year.)

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #10 on: Apr 12, 2012, 04:06 AM »
You also need to pay attention to your environment while painting.
I got a new DSB-I Enforcer Monday and I've started painting it.  The weather has gone haywire and it's caused some substantial problems, to the point where I'll probably have to completely repaint.
First, we've had some sudden and incredibly strong winds.  On a perfectly peaceful afternoon I added a layer of paint and came inside to let it dry.  A wind came up and caught the helmet and it toppled over which, of course, ruined the paint.
Next, a lot (a LOT) of pollen has adhered itself to my wet paint, which makes it look bumpy.  I've also had to deal with grass clippings and leaves being carried by the wind and sticking to my wet paint.
The temperature has fluctuated from 30 degrees to 80 degrees through the day.  I've painted in the evenings when it's at around 50 degrees or lower, and the paint isn't adhering properly and peels off, especially when I'm applying weathering.
Humidity can cause your paint to wrinkle and crack.  And right now I'm trying to paint it inside a ventilated shed even though it's 31 degrees outside.  I have a portable heater going in the shed that keeps it at around 60 degrees, but when I open the door and the cold air hits the paint, it has caused it to crackle

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #11 on: Apr 12, 2012, 04:09 AM »
I honestly didn't have trouble with humidity but the temperature was perfect. Even got a few water drops on things and it didn't effect anything. *shrugs* Maybe it's NorCal weather lol  ;D

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Jark'osa Hauza


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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #12 on: Apr 16, 2012, 08:36 AM »
You also need to pay attention to your environment while painting.

You're absolutely right!  Here in Florida, the humidity gets high very frequently.  My friend Ni'ka painted her helmet in high humidity on a stormy day (not rainy), and it wrinkled up.  She had to sand it all off and do it again.  And I feel you on the wind... I had this happen to several pieces of my armor.  Also had grass & random debris flying onto it was the paint dried.

I did my topcoat in the garage and had no issues with the wind.  It would come up under the garage door a little bit, but not enough to cause any problems.

The finish wrinkle mentioned above is likely the result of not shaking the paint up frequently enough. Metallics are notorious for separating QUICKLY inside the can. I shake vigorously about every third or fourth stroke of painting.

That makes sense.  I was painting both chest pieces (side by side) without shaking much.  I shook a lot more with the other pieces.  I was not sure if it was too thick of primer, too thick of paint, the direct sunlight coming down that time of day, or something else.  I'll make sure to shake the paint every few strokes when painting the rest of my gear.

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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #13 on: Apr 16, 2012, 11:44 AM »
Thanks for posting this!  Will be a huge help when I start painting!

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Jark'osa Hauza


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Re: General Info for Spray Painting
« Reply #14 on: Apr 16, 2012, 12:07 PM »
Thanks for posting this!  Will be a huge help when I start painting!

Glad it could help!  That's why I posted this up, to help people like me.  Like previous posters said - everyones techniques are different, and not all these steps are necessarily needed.  They do reduce the risk of problems down the line though.  Primarily with oil, debris, and environment.

I went from HATING painting to being able to tolerate it now lol.  I still hate spray primer because it is less consistent in how it sprays than the paint is (it's much thicker).  At least with the Rustoleum Self Etching and Plastic Primers..

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