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Learning to Paint at Home in My Spare Time

Funny how some projects get started. All I started out with was some blistered paint on the rear fenderwells that I wanted to patch. Too large of a tire, a change to Konis to replace very stiff KYBs, and the more progressive dampening allows the tires to make contact when hitting bumps in hard cornering. So, no problem - sand out and fair in the blisters, take the can of paint the previous owner gave me with the car to the paint shop, and have them match it. A little spraying, a little sanding, a little buffing, and I'm done, right? Ha!!

I am now the proud owner of a brand new 6 horse 33 gallon 9CFM @ 40 PSI air compressor, a really cool HVLP spray gun, and some air tools that were thrown in with the compressor. And blue fingernails. To make a long story short, I am now painting the whole damn car. Piece by piece. Fortunately for a first timer like me, I'm not changing the color, at least not much. What is going on now is truer to the original #325 Albert Blue that it was delivered with way back when.

Anyway, I'm down to just the doors and front fenders to paint. I'll take all four parts off to paint them. Funny, too, is that I just saw cnielson's thread about the seal between the fenders and body; pretty timely information. That part will have to wait a couple of weeks at this point, though. I have a track day with the Alfa club at Pacific Raceways in a week, and a PCA DE the week after that. Once those are behind me, I'll pull the doors and fenders and finish up. What a job. I never realized how much work this would turn into.




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Jeff
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Old 10-06-2005, 09:16 PM
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turbo dreaming
 
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Looks great. I wish I had the patience to do paint and body work.
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Old 10-06-2005, 09:19 PM
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painting
Jeff,
I am going to paint some Fiberglass fenders I bought , and a door. This will be my first time as well.
The whole car was painted in the spring.

Can you give me some tips, on the gun settings ete.
I will give it a try this Sunday , after I get back from my Rugby game.
How may coats did you do,

Are you going to wet sand?

What kind of polish do you use after the wet sand.?
I bought the same kind of gun.

thanks, looks great !!
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Old 10-06-2005, 09:53 PM
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Very cool Jeff! Man what a lot of work!! Can't wait to see it.
Old 10-06-2005, 10:09 PM
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Jeff is the only guy I know that can do a winter project in a WEEK!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-06-2005, 10:13 PM
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Yep, it's a slippery slope... but fun!

Wear surgical gloves to keep paint out of your nails. And I hope you're using appropriate beathing apparatus?
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Old 10-06-2005, 10:29 PM
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Turn off the heater and water heater pilot light. It will explode as vapors will be everywhere. I know someone personally who blew the garage because of this.

Oh, and put the wife's shoes inside. My garage was specked red ....I mean everywhere, after painting 2 cars in the garage.
Old 10-06-2005, 10:34 PM
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WOW, looks great, but shouldn't you be doing this in a completely dust free & concealed environment?
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Old 10-06-2005, 10:35 PM
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I made a booth using plastic. I then hosed down the floor, the booth, and everything to drastically reduce dust.

Both cars turned out pretty good and sold them for 300% profit.
Old 10-06-2005, 10:43 PM
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Way to go Jeff. It is a hell of a lot of work. Unfortunately I just started doing the same on my 951. I will take mechanical work over body work any day. Did I mention I HATE sanding/spraying/sanding/spraying.....!!!
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Old 10-07-2005, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by deoxford

Can you give me some tips,
start by buying those speed shop $17 auto body books.
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Old 10-07-2005, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WydRyd
, but shouldn't you be doing this in a completely dust free & concealed environment?
I fake the whole job in my driveway next to a busy street.
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Old 10-07-2005, 05:02 AM
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Knowing absolutely nothing about this going in Derek, the best thing I did was pull up a stool and pour myself a cup of coffee at the paint shop. I was there at a time that they were not busy, so they all were very happy to talk. They went over material choices, gun choices, prep work; the full meal deal.

The settings and needle sizes are specific to the gun and material combination. I ask them to give me a starting setting on the gun for the paint I was using. They also told me what to look for to determine if it's going on too dry, too wet, or whatever; and what to do about it. I could give you my settings, but for one I can't remember them, and for another, they wouldn't do you any good. All paint manufacturers supply that information; don't leave the paint shop without reading it first and understanding it. The guys there can translate it into English for you - unless you speak their lingo you will never understand it. Believe me, a little time spent with these folks is far more valuable than doing your own reseach and all of the reading you can do.

The photos are a little bit deceiving. The car is dry, so all of the stuff around it is back around it. Everything was outside in the driveway while painting. Lacking an environmental booth, the garage had to do. I swept and blew it out before every painting operation. I then hosed down the floor and the ceiling, and just about everything in between. Let the ceiling pretty much dry so it won't drip, close the doors, and let her rip. Latex gloves and a resperator are mandatory, of course.

The blue fingernails are from all of the wet sanding. I would put about five coats on and sand it with 400 the next day, then five more coats. The next day that gets sanded with 1000, 1500, and 2000. After that I'm polishing it with some 3M brand compound the paint shop guys recommended. Again, follow their advice. Different paints are treated differently once they dry.

As far as vapors and overspray, they are pretty minimal with the HVLP "high volume low pressure" gun. Nozzle pressure is only 8 psi. The blue under the car is from sanding, not from the gun. There is a solvent smell of course, but no more than if you brushed it on. They told me HVLP was actually some EPA thing to reduce airborne volatiles and ensure more material gets on the intedned surface. The happy side effect is garage painting is much more viable with one than an old style cup gun.

Even with all the effort put into cleaning the garage, wetting it down, and all of that, it is still no "clean room". Some dust will find its way onto your paint. The wet sanding at the end pretty much takes care of all of that, but it's a step the pros get to skip by being both better painters and having a clean room. Make no mistake, it's a hell of a lot more work when you are not very good at it. Lots of paint and lots of sanding can kind of make up for that, but did I mention it's a lot of work?

Anyway, like I said, it's going back together this weekend. The doors and front fenders will have to wait until I get through the next two track days. I need a break anyway. As an aside to that, I'm re-assembling because I disassembled, obviously. That seems by far the most effective way to paint - take the car appart. Other than the "greenhouse" every part should be painted individually. It's a lot of work to take it all appart, but you will be glad you did. The painting is so much easier that way.
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Old 10-07-2005, 06:50 AM
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What kind of paint. single stage urethane? what brand also? Please tell me what outside temp and what temp reducer worked for you.

thanks,
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Old 10-07-2005, 12:28 PM
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That's the problem with this forum - someone posts pictures - you say to your self - hey, I can do that... before you know it you are elbow deep in something like this yealling fuuuuuuu k
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Old 10-07-2005, 12:44 PM
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Painting, I can do. Body work.... not so much.

I do a good bit of industrial painting (small stuff, and no body work involved) and consider myself a "skilled" paint slinger. You know... no runs, fisheyes, or similar problems that some novices encounter. (cleanliness and surface prep is key!)

I've tackled bigger projects such as a pickup, a Fiat spider, and a couple of Harleys. I decided during those projects that body work must be where the shops really make their money. I think it must actually be as much artistry as it is craftsmanship. In other words, my body work skills are nonexistant.

It looks, from the thread so far, that y'all have a good handle on the projects. My biggest suggestions are the same as Fishcop and the others: proper ventilation, NO sources of ignition, and a proper respirator. And I mean a respirator - not a "dust mask".

And wear it even when sanding. Look how much sanding dust is under the car... and think about how much can be inhaled.

And HVLP is the ONLY way to go these days for spraying - better flow control and less paint waste, less overspray, less airborne volatiles, etc. Especially if you got one of those trick units that have their own air blower - they are the best.



Painted in the driveway!
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Old 10-07-2005, 01:18 PM
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Jeff, thanks for the help!!
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Old 10-07-2005, 01:34 PM
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Cashflyer, nice job on the Fiat. I've had a dozen or so of them. I noticed you didn't take the door handles off. Wimp. Nothing like contorting your body to reach inaccessible 6mm nuts that will be forever seized to the fragile pot metal stud of the handle.
Old 10-07-2005, 01:39 PM
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My $.02. I am only saying this because I painted my own front valance. But if I was to paint again, I would strip the car and bring it to a place like Maaco (no affiliation). Here's why: If you add the cost of paint, primer, materials like masks, sanding paper, cleaning agents etc. painting cars yourself is very expensive. This is assuming that you have the compressor and the HVLP gun. Now if you add your labor plus all the cussing because of mistakes and expecially the clean-up after everything is done, - is it really worth it ?
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Old 10-07-2005, 02:50 PM
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Damn you! Damn you all! Now you have me thinking I can do it!

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Old 10-07-2005, 03:09 PM
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