Thread: 240ATL Special. Paint your car! Post your work!

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  1. #1 240ATL Special. Paint your car! Post your work! 
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I will not paint your car for you. Ask me any questions about how to do it, or what you should do in your situation, but don't ask me to do the work for you. I have. It's all here. Unless you are handicapped, your hands work as well as mine.

    I posted this once in the DIY section but I have had a few never pop up (they require moderator approval) so I am posting it here just in case. This took me forever.

    Okay. A lot of people have been asking how I get my spray paint to look so good. Originally I was not going to make a DIY but I've seen a few people try this unsuccessfully (and a few successfully) and I feel bad. So here we go.

    Difficulty: 4/5 (Why? It's not easy to get it perfect. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. Follow my directions and you'll be just fine)

    Materials Needed
    5" Electric Orbital Sander. $25 at Harbor Freight. I have one and it has never failed me. This will be a hook and loop (velcro) set up. So buy 5" hook and loop sandpaper.
    Sandpaper (180,250,400,600,1500,2000)
    Plenty of Rags
    Spray paint of your choice
    Paint Tape
    Chocolate Milk

    Step 1: Materials you will need and why.
    Look closely at the paint. Does it have a lot of nics and scratches? Is it smooth? Is ever body panel a different color?

    • Sandpaper: 180 to quickly remove all of the clear coat/paint. You don't want to paint over any peeling or imperfections. Sand them out with the 180. The 180 is going to put deep scratches in the surface so you will need to remove those with the 250. You will then remove the scratches made by the 250 with the 400. Most people stop at 400, but if you really want to take the extra time for perfection (which may or may not make a difference) go over it again with 600. A special note to add is if you use 600 I would suggest using regular primer, if you stopped at 400 use filler primer or spray that regular primer nice and thick.
    • Primer: I would suggest in almost every case using filler primer. It is more expensive but the can last much longer than a regular can of flat gray from Wal-Mart. Filler primer will fill in all those microscopic scratches so they don't show through the paint.
    • Paint: Almost any paint will do. I did an entire S13 in 97 cent gloss white from Wal-Mart. It looks spectacular. The great part is you can use this guide to paint only certain body pieces of your car and make them match the rest of the car. Auto parts stores sell a thing called Du-Pont Perfect Match. This stuff is great, but without wetsanding it will look like regular old spray paint with a similar color. Find your paint code and go to the Auto Parts store and look for it in the Pefect Match section. My Prelude is NH-503P Granada Black Pearl. I was lucky enough to find it. I often go in and buy them all and tell them to order more in.
    • Clearcoat? : What do we know about clearcoat? It is a preotective layer that shields the actual paint from potential damage. The problem I have had will clearcoat is that it always makes the finished product a few shades bighter. I haven't experimented with it much, but in every instance this happens. So what is the solution? Don't even use it. I spray my cars, wetsand them, buff them, wax them, and leave them be. Every time you buff them they are going to lose some paint, so paint thick. Don't complain, I am showing you how to get a showroom paint job for well under $100. Just keep it waxed and take care of the paint. The worst that could happen is you have to paint it again, boo-hoo.

    Step 2: Prep
    You've already determined what materials you need, now lets put them to work.

    Before you go on, I strongly suggest getting a 5" orbital electric sander. You will not be able to do this by hand. The paint will not last with insufficient prepping. I know this because I used to do it by hand, which is slave work. You need to remove all the original paint, and you are not going to be able to do that by hand. Here, I've already done all the work for you. Here. $25. Once of the best $25 you will ever spend. Go on ebay for your sandpaper. It's not bad. Make sure to buy 5" hook and loop sandpaper. Not the stick on bullcrap, that will not work.

    • Sand that clearcoat off: Stick that 180 git on your sander and go to town. This stuff is gonna tear through your paint real quick. Get all the old clearcoat off. get down the the paint/metal. Make sure there is nothing left of the clearcoat. Stick your 250 grit on there and sand away. You are sanding your scratches from the 180 grit away. Do this again with 400 and then finally with 600. Now you need a piece of 400 and you need to wetsand over what you just did (by hand). This will get off all the debris and will make the surface smooth as butter. Just keep the paper wet and go over everything for a few minutes. Clean off the surface when your are done with some moist rags and allow to dry.
    • Tape: For God sakes don't be impatient with this. Tape everything. Twice.

    Step 3: Prime
    This takes practice and it will hurt your fingers.

    • Priming: The objective of priming the car is to get the whole car one color, cover up imperfections and to create a good and even surface for you to paint on. Without primer, you can see imperfections through paint. Don't start out spraying too close. Start out by lightly dusting the surface with the paint. It doesn't need to go on thick yet. You have to get a light cover over the surface so it will accept the paint. If you skip this step you'll get cracks and spider webbing. Do 3 light coats. You should still be able to see the paint underneath but you need to have a good haze covering the whole surface. Spraying from a slight distance is perfect for this. Next few coats should be a little heavier. Spray thicker, but not too thick and not too close. You don't want drips. Just a warning though, you will have drips. Just try to keep your head when it happens. Don't try to fix it. Don't dab it out. Live with it. They are hardly noticeable when the job is done. Do more coats than you think you should, because we're going to have to sand this and we don't want to go all the way through. Once the whole surface is one solid color you will need to wetsand again, but I thought we were done with that? Nope. Yay.
    • Sanding the primer: First off, your primer needs to dry out. I would wait overnight before doing this. After enough time has passed for your primer to be reasonably dry, break out the 400 grit. It's time to get rid of that wonderful rough surface that comes from spray paint (you will know what I mean, water based paint creates dust and you will paint over the dust and it will look terrible and create a rough and textured surface, but that's just cause you're really bad at painting). Wetsand the whole surface with 400 grit until it's smooth. Keep the paper and surface thoroughly wet. Now wipe it off with a moist rag and allow it to dry.

    Step 4: Paint
    This is important to get right the first try.

    • Painting: Good news, this is easy. Just kidding. You should have a gloss color picked out for this. Gloss paint drips a lot worse than flat paint. So if you had problems with the flat paint dripping, you're going to have a hayday with this. If you're painting a car a lighter color, having a light helps. Paint lightly at first, just like you primed (YOU BETTER HAVE PRIMED IDIOTFACE). This will create a rough surface too. The paint will lay on wet and shiny so it's hard to see drips. Just do your best. I believe in you.
    • Waiting: Let it sit overnight again or maybe even a couple of days. Nobody said this would be a one day thing. That's the cost of low cost. Time and effort.

    Step 5: Magic
    This is what separates you from the rest of the idiots with crayons, spray paint, and even maaco jobs. Yes, I just said that. This will look better than a maaco job.

    • Wet Sanding: Let me briefly explain what wetsanding is going to accomplish. Right now your paint is rough to the touch. Just imagine your paint as a bunch of very tiny mountains and valleys. You need to get all the paint down to the deepest valleys to lose the texture it has. 1500 grit will tear through the mountains really fast. 1500 grit is dangerous. You can get in trouble with it before you know it. I suggest using it lightly and when you start getting where you need to be, switch to 2000 grit. Get your 1500 grit sand paper and put it in a bucket of water. Keep this bucket handy. Soak the paper for 30 minutes to an hour prior to starting this. Get a spray bottle and fill it with water. With these pieces of sand paper I always cut them in half, then fold them in half. Spray your surface down real quick and go to town with the sandpaper. Don't press down too hard. Let the sandpaper do most of the work. It's VERY important to keep the surface covered in water. The more you sand the easier it will be to keep water on the surface. You will need to wetsand until the sandpaper feels like it's doing nothing. dry it off. It's still going to look awful. So don't get your hopes up for this. Look closely at the surface and look for imperfections. (There WILL be imperfections). Wetsand them out. Dry it off again.
    • Polishing: This is it. Everything you've been working for comes down to this. Get some scratch and swirl remover and buff. If you don't have a buffer or don't know how to do this, get a MICROFIBER rag and dab the swirl remover on the surface of the rag. Apply pressure and do very fast circular motions against the surface. Do it for a full 10 seconds for each small area. Wipe it off. Shiny.

    Here are some pictures.

    240 (door and quarter panel) after gloss coat, before wetsand. This car was Red before.

    Again, this is after the gloss coat, and before the wet sand.

    This is after wet sand and polish.

    Just the front end

    Here is an Integra GS-R I did with Du-Pont Perfect Match NH-503p. $6 a can and it took two cans.




    After Buff

    Prelude (fender had no clear coat) before prep.

    After paint and wetsand.

    Yeah, I blatantly painted right over that pinstripe cause I'm hardcore.

    Wheel with just spray paint

    After wet sand and polish

    A lot of you probably wonder how this is possible. Wet sanding is one of the most important reasons. Real car paint is great and all, but in almost all cases you will end up with a think called orange peel. Do you know what the peel of an orange looks like?

    Every car has this. Almost every car anyway. With wet sanding you have the potential to remove this. That is why when you wet sand your spray paint it comes out looking better than regular car paint. Especially Maaco car paint. Their orange peel is really really bad.

    Any questions feel free to ask. Follow this and post your success!
    Last edited by Spinks; 01-04-2013 at 07:13 AM.

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