Paint and Body Fox Body Painting 101

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#1
Hey all, I'm Dave. I know, starting like an AA meeting right? Now you'all say,"Hi Dave".
Seriously though. I'm an automotive painter. I have been for a long time now, I started back in 1977 as a kid sanding new dodge vans with 600 wet/dry sandpaper so my brother could paint custom paint jobs on them(the seventies had a van craze going on back then, trick paint jobs, water beds inside).
I've got my own build thread going and a couple people seem interested in different areas of painting vehicles.
I was thinking that if enough people showed interest, I would spend the time to get a thread going on how to paint a vehicle.
Now this would be for those wanting to paint their own vehicles at home or in a rented booth. I could get more detailed for those with more experience as it would go on.
My experience:
I have been an ASE certified painter for a very long time.
If it matters, I'm a third level platinum certified paint tech with ICAR.
I have been certified by most of the major paint manufacturers in their individual systems (Sikkens, PPG Global, Nexa, DuPont, Sherwin Wiliams, etc....)
I've trained literally dozens of people from zero knowledge of painting to become painters over the years.
I spent 11 years in the army, what does this have to do with painting? They trained me not only to be proficient in the areas I was specializing in, but to also train others to become proficient in these areas. Glorified trainer that got to jump out of an airplane once in a while. A specialized meet and greeter, you might say....lol.
Anywho, if your interested, let me know.
This would take some time to work through the whole thing. Maybe I could focus on a topic each month.
Now, I could cover each subject as I would a new apprentice, if you want. This will take a while to get to info you might want.
During this process, if you have a question in a different area than what I'm covering, then just ask. I can PM you with any help I have to offer. I am still currently painting and have resources beyond myself. Though I have the experience of painting literally tens of thousands of cars.
I'm not trying to brag, I know, in the end, I'm just a carpainter. The army taught me what a true hero is, but I am good at what I do. I will deal with you honestly from real experience.
Sooooo, let me know what you think......What's in it for me?
I LOVE painting, I want you to love it too. Besides, all of you know stuff I don't and will probably need to know. I WILL be asking you for info in return.
 
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skyline247

Advanced Member
Jul 28, 2014
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#2
I don't really have a "need" for this info right now but I'd like to get a better understanding of the process and see what tips you have. I'm subscribing for your wisdom.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

stykthyn

I want to measure mine. It doesn't look that tall.
10 Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
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#3
I'll bite. I'm about to start cleaning and priming some pieces, inner fenders and the such. My dad has an aviation background and swears by self etching primer. The green stuff. I don't think that's the best product here. What do you recommend?
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#4
I'll bite. I'm about to start cleaning and priming some pieces, inner fenders and the such. My dad has an aviation background and swears by self etching primer. The green stuff. I don't think that's the best product here. What do you recommend?
A lot of the manufacturer's etch primer is green in color. It's main design is to promote adhesion between the metal surface and topcoats applied afterwards(including primer/filler).
It is a must on bare metal unless you use an epoxy based primer that will adhere to bare metal. If you don't use it, you'll regret that decision. The paint you spray on those areas with no etch will eventually peal from there.
It truly is a primer by definition. It is not a filler like I used on my engine bay. It's design is to promote bonding between the bare metal and the next layer of paint. It etches into the metal chemically, as well as physically. The next layers of paint bond to it.
All paint manufacturers offer an acid etch primer of some sort. Over a larger bare metal area(a stripped hood for example), a two part etch primer should be used. This offers a more durable product just as a hardened primer is more durable than a rattle can primer(a single part primer requiring no hardener, usually offered in spray cans).
So, my advice? Use two part if you can. When I block out the primer in my engine bay, if there are any small bare metal areas(by small, I mean half dollar size and smaller), I'll use the rattle can etch prior to sealing it when I put the color and clear coat over it all.
 

stykthyn

I want to measure mine. It doesn't look that tall.
10 Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
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#5
Is the two part primer a good rust inhibitor?
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
SN Certified Technician
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#6
Is the two part primer a good rust inhibitor?
By itself, yes and no. Same thing about bare metal, you need etch primer first.
Primer is somewhat porous, meaning it will allow other chemicals(including moisture) to bond/absorb into it. Yet, short term, one to two weeks, it won't break down and will prevent the advent of rust.
Given enough time on it's own, it will break down.
It isn't designed to provide a sealing property. Primer is generally designed for filling. It requires a topcoat designed to seal the surface, i.e.: single stage top layer, base coat/clear coat.
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#7
I will post the general area I'm covering like I do with my build thread in the title.

I'll give a basic overview of the steps in refinishing your car this weekend. I'll try to include as many pictures as I can to help you visualize the concepts I bring out. If you have ideas on how to improve what I'm doing, PLEASE bring them up. I have given thought pretty much to every every aspect of painting over the years as to why I'm doing what I'm doing, and try to think of ways to improve the procedures. I am open to new ideas, one thing I have learned is that I don't know everything. If you ask me, I will tell you exactly why I am doing what I'm doing.

Every step of the painting process is vital to a good paint job. If you take the short way on any step, you'll pay for it in different ways by not having as nice of a paint job as you could have had. Some mistakes can be a bigger pain in the butt than others. The mistakes made early on, if not corrected then, lead to a much more lengthy repair process to fix them.

I want to first address @RaggedGT. He asked how my masking machine works. Through showing him this, you'll get an idea about masking. I will give a more detailed view about masking later.

Ok raggedy, first: Here's my masking machine set up to use:
image.jpeg

As I mentioned in my build thread, it is a 3M machine. There are other masking machines out there, through trial and error I like theirs the best.

As you can see now, the 3/4" tape attaches to the paper along the side of the paper. You can adjust the overlap on the paper by adjusting the set screws on the side. It's simple, you pull out the desired length of the desired size of paper (6", 12", 18") and the tape comes off it's roll adhering to the side of the paper.

The red plastic device attached to the top with EZ Edger on it simply folds the edge of the tape roll on it, as it's name implies, it is for masking the edges of panels you are preparing to paint. The folded edge can be adjusted for different widths depending on the reason for it's use.

Here's an example of each:
image.jpeg

This is my 36" masking machine, it is also a 3M product. Their 36" machines are far superior to any other one that I have used over the years. I've had it for a couple decades now as well. It does what the mobile machine does, except for 36" paper.
It cost about the same as my mobile machine, roughly $350. I have no idea what they might cost now, could be more or less.:
image.jpeg

Just to show you the use of the different tapes and papers, I took a few pictures of my masking one of the cars I painted yesterday. It is an inifinit fx35 that was damaged down the left doors, 1/4, and rear bumper.

So, in this picture, I've masked the left 1/4 jamb using the folded tape, 2" tape, and 6" paper. The folded tape when used in this manner will give a soft paint edge in the jamb that isn't noticeable as it would be if you taped the jamb in a hard line fashion(meaning the tape edge wasn't folded and you will see exactly where the new paint stopped by the line left behind).
The folded tape allows a very small amount of overspray by it's edge preventing a hard line when used in this manner.
image.jpeg

The next couple of pictures of the vehicle show other areas I masked with the final one having it completely masked (at that stage of the process I have already shot a clear base on the panels, that's why it has a slight sheen to it):
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg

So raggedy, there you go. That's how it works and what I use it for. Hope this helped.
I will give a more detailed description later about masking a vehicle, including the different tapes and techniques I use during an average day.

Obviously I'll show the masking of my mustang here in a couple weeks! Yay me! Doby will finally be painted.
 

Boosted92LX

It's only an inch or two. What's the big deal?
SN Certified Technician
Dec 19, 2010
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#8
I will post the general area I'm covering like I do with my build thread in the title.

I'll give a basic overview of the steps in refinishing your car this weekend. I'll try to include as many pictures as I can to help you visualize the concepts I bring out. If you have ideas on how to improve what I'm doing, PLEASE bring them up. I have given thought pretty much to every every aspect of painting over the years as to why I'm doing what I'm doing, and try to think of ways to improve the procedures. I am open to new ideas, one thing I have learned is that I don't know everything. If you ask me, I will tell you exactly why I am doing what I'm doing.

Every step of the painting process is vital to a good paint job. If you take the short way on any step, you'll pay for it in different ways by not having as nice of a paint job as you could have had. Some mistakes can be a bigger pain in the butt than others. The mistakes made early on, if not corrected then, lead to a much more lengthy repair process to fix them.

I want to first address @RaggedGT. He asked how my masking machine works. Through showing him this, you'll get an idea about masking. I will give a more detailed view about masking later.

Ok raggedy, first: Here's my masking machine set up to use: View attachment 553147
As I mentioned in my build thread, it is a 3M machine. There are other masking machines out there, through trial and error I like theirs the best.

As you can see now, the 3/4" tape attaches to the paper along the side of the paper. You can adjust the overlap on the paper by adjusting the set screws on the side. It's simple, you pull out the desired length of the desired size of paper (6", 12", 18") and the tape comes off it's roll adhering to the side of the paper.

The red plastic device attached to the top with EZ Edger on it simply folds the edge of the tape roll on it, as it's name implies, it is for masking the edges of panels you are preparing to paint. The folded edge can be adjusted for different widths depending on the reason for it's use.

Here's an example of each: View attachment 553148
This is my 36" masking machine, it is also a 3M product. Their 36" machines are far superior to any other one that I have used over the years. I've had it for a couple decades now as well. It does what the mobile machine does, except for 36" paper.
It cost about the same as my mobile machine, roughly $350. I have no idea what they might cost now, could be more or less.: View attachment 553149
Just to show you the use of the different tapes and papers, I took a few pictures of my masking one of the cars I painted yesterday. It is an inifinit fx35 that was damaged down the left doors, 1/4, and rear bumper.

So, in this picture, I've masked the left 1/4 jamb using the folded tape, 2" tape, and 6" paper. The folded tape when used in this manner will give a soft paint edge in the jamb that isn't noticeable as it would be if you taped the jamb in a hard line fashion(meaning the tape edge wasn't folded and you will see exactly where the new paint stopped by the line left behind).
The folded tape allows a very small amount of overspray by it's edge preventing a hard line when used in this manner.
View attachment 553150
The next couple of pictures of the vehicle show other areas I masked with the final one having it completely masked (at that stage of the process I have already shot a clear base on the panels, that's why it has a slight sheen to it): View attachment 553151 View attachment 553152 View attachment 553153
So raggedy, there you go. That's how it works and what I use it for. Hope this helped.
I will give a more detailed description later about masking a vehicle, including the different tapes and techniques I use during an average day.

Obviously I'll show the masking of my mustang here in a couple weeks! Yay me! Doby will finally be painted.
Neat machine! I've never seen one before, but i can absolutely see how it would speed the job up. The folded edge technique is cool too. I saw it used once on powerblock tv. They did a quick how-to on spot repair and used that in 3 steps, increasing the size of the spot to feather out the edge of the clear. Never tried it, but filed it back just in case.

Cool thread man! I'm in!

Oh, and thanks for serving! :flag:
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#11
Just a picture of masking fenders for underneath the hood. Nissan Maxima, front end and left side repair. This is the right fender, I duplicated the masking on the left side as well. Underneath the hood I use two strips of two inch tape. I used the folded tape for the edge and six inch paper.
image.jpg
image.jpg
 

LILCBRA

10 Year Member
Dec 6, 2005
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#12
Thanks for the info Dave! I've worked with an industrial painter in the past and picked up some tricks, but definitely could use some more! I've never attempted painting my own car yet, but have successfully painted small parts like motorcycle fenders. I guess my questions would start with what guns and nozzles would you recommend for what is being sprayed? I used an old cheap cup gun on the small stuff but imagine if I get into painting a full car, I would want something better. And I agree this topic should be stickied! It could be done like the technical troubleshooting section with links to the different threads as Dave is proposing to do. That way, people could skip whatever section they have done or know about and dive right into where they have questions. This topic is a valued resource for many and many thanks to Dave for sharing his experience!!! It is very much appreciated!!!
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#13
Thanks for the info Dave! I've worked with an industrial painter in the past and picked up some tricks, but definitely could use some more! I've never attempted painting my own car yet, but have successfully painted small parts like motorcycle fenders. I guess my questions would start with what guns and nozzles would you recommend for what is being sprayed? I used an old cheap cup gun on the small stuff but imagine if I get into painting a full car, I would want something better. And I agree this topic should be stickied! It could be done like the technical troubleshooting section with links to the different threads as Dave is proposing to do. That way, people could skip whatever section they have done or know about and dive right into where they have questions. This topic is a valued resource for many and many thanks to Dave for sharing his experience!!! It is very much appreciated!!!
My primary paint guns are Iwata's with 1.3 tips. A 1.4 tip is good too, but for me it would be used for spraying clear or single stage paint(something of thicker viscosity) only, possibly a solid base coat as well(Reds, whites, yellows, blacks). Normally for me, a 1.4 tip would send too much material to the panel with pearl coats or metallics. In other words, I would have to work harder to keep the paint from mottling.

You don't have to spend as much money on a new gun as I have, Iwata's run in the mid 600s. A two hundred dollar gun can produce excellent results, it just won't be as durable as mine are. But they still would paint lots of cars before they would begin to degrade of any consequence.

I strongly suggest not using something like a Harbor Freight gun for the main paint job on your car. Too cheap of a price and it won't treat you nice. $10 hooker or a $650 one? Both will do what you want, but one will leave you smiling without lingering effects They are fine for primer though.

Speaking of primer, you could go up to a 1.7 tip depending on what type of primer you will be spraying. The larger the tip, the more orange peel in your primer though. You waste time blocking out the peel instead of the bodywork. With primer especially, you don't want to go too small. Too small won't flow out the material if you are primering a large area, you'll have a lot of dry areas that aren't providing the coverage you would desire for the primers intended purpose. I did primer my engine bay with my Sata mini jet with a 1.0 tip, but it was a smaller area. A 1.4-1.5 tip is ideal for most primer/fillers though to me.
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
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#14
I will be going about this in a more orderly fashion this weekend.
An indexing type thing would be a really good idea. I could add to specific areas more info as people ask questions that wouldn't be cluttered In with another area.
I'll talk to @Noobz347 and get his advice.
 

CarMichael Angelo

I don't like your attitude, let me fix that.
SN Certified Technician
Nov 29, 1999
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#16
I will be going about this in a more orderly fashion this weekend.
An indexing type thing would be a really good idea. I could add to specific areas more info as people ask questions that wouldn't be cluttered In with another area.
I'll talk to @Noobz347 and get his advice.
Go to the very first page of my thread. I'll tell ya how to make that happen. I will tell you, it's a lot of work, and a lot to maintain.
 

CarMichael Angelo

I don't like your attitude, let me fix that.
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#17
Oh, btw, though I said you don't have to spend as much as I did on my guns, but if you can, do it. The extra money makes getting the paint to lay out nice a whole lot easier.
It's your thread, so I won't derail it too bad,..... but damn...... 200.00 is a cheap gun?

Stop being such a prima donna.

Anybody reading this is gonna attempt this process once in every proverbial blue moon. Having to spend 1000+ dollars on sanders and spray guns plus another 1000.00 on expendables, ( sand paper, masking tapes, body fillers) and materials (Primers/sealers/paints, reducers, hardeners, and thinners) will be looking at the proverbial " why in the hell am I doing this again?" After spending that much. If the stuff to do it yourself for a once in 5-10 year paint job costs more than what it would cost to do a "prep and farm it out" special, most are gonna bail.

I think I'd want to know what I could get away with price wise, while still getting the best results, all while keeping a close eye on the bottom line.

It's not my intention to rain on your parade,... I think this is a good thing. I just want to make sure the words budget and do it yourself go hand in hand, and are relevant here.
 
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Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
SN Certified Technician
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Depends Where My Wife Buries the Parts
#18
It's your thread, so I won't derail it too bad,..... but damn...... 200.00 is a cheap gun?

Stop being such a prima donna.

Anybody reading this is gonna attempt this process once in every proverbial blue moon. Having to spend 1000+ dollars on sanders and spray guns plus another 1000.00 on expendables, ( sand paper, masking tapes, body fillers) and materials (Primers/sealers/paints, reducers, hardeners, and thinners) will be looking at the proverbial " why in the hell am I doing this again?" After spending that much. If the stuff to do it yourself for a once in 5-10 year paint job costs more than what it would cost to do a "prep and farm it out" special, most are gonna bail.

I think I'd want to know what I could get away with price wise, while still getting the best results, all while keeping a close eye on the bottom line.
Hey, get whatever you want. A paint job can be made to look good even with the cheap crap. Just takes more effort.
You need to understand this is what I do there Mikey, so sometimes what I do may be a little more extensive than the average guy. I haven't given much thought to what I would need to do just one paint job.
I'll give that some thought though.
We can be adults about this, can't we Mr Poopy Pants?
 

Gearbanger 101

Straight Outta Locash
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Aug 10, 2002
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#19
Hey, get whatever you want. A paint job can be made to look good even with the cheap crap. Just takes more effort.
You need to understand this is what I do there Mikey, so sometimes what I do may be a little more extensive than the average guy. I haven't given much thought to what I would need to do just one paint job.
I'll give that some thought though.
We can be adults about this, can't we Mr Poopy Pants?
Don't be too put off by Mike, Dave. He likes to be the center of attention regarding custom and extensive projects and write ups" and his "tact" function malfunctions once and a while.

He's probably just ruffling his alpha feathers a little. :D
 

Davedacarpainter

I think I've messed my pants
SN Certified Technician
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Depends Where My Wife Buries the Parts
#20
Don't be too put off by Mike, Dave. He likes to be the center of attention regarding custom and extensive projects and write ups" and his "tact" function malfunctions once and a while.

He's probably just ruffling his alpha feathers a little. :D
He didn't, I understand Mike now. Besides,, he gave me a chance to quote from The Naked Gun movie! Lol