Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spraying Clear

Now that the color is all sprayed, I'm getting right into spraying the clear. Once finishing the last color coat, I'm just letting it sit long enough to clean out the spray gun and tack rag the car again, and then start spraying clear.

I was surprised being outside the booth how murky the plastic has become since I built it a few days ago, from all the paint over-spray and dust. I can't imagine how they keep permanent booths clean:

I got right down to spraying the clear. I used the same techniques as before, and was far more careful with my hose this time. It was even harder with the clear to see where I'd just sprayed and where I hadn't. I had every light available going, and still had a hard time seeing. For lights, I had my 4 bulb fluorescent, the two standard ceiling fluorecents from the garage, a 1x500w halogen work-light, a 1x250 halogen work-light, a 2x300 halogen work-light, 4 floor lamps with 100w bulbs, and a hanging lamp with sixteen 60w bulbs (seen in pic above). I really wish I had about 10 of the  2x500 halogen work-lights. I wonder if Home Depot rents work-lights. Anyway, here is me spraying some clear on the car. You can see how glassy and reflective it is when wet:

The clear-coat I am spraying is ACME Finish 1 Ulimate Overall Clearcoat (FC720, 1 gallon, $79), which is mixed four parts to one part of ACME Finish 1 Medium Hardener (FH612, 1 quart $33). 

It took just under 48 oz to do the whole car and the rain rails, then just over 16 oz. to do all of the other parts (bumpers, mirrors, spoiler, bumper corners, gas cap). It took about 1 hour to spray the first coat, plus another half hour right before spraying to gently tack rag off the dust from the parts getting sprayed.

I repeated the whole process over as soon as I was done, by which time everything was hand slick. It took another 1.5 hours for the second thick coat. I ended up left with about a quarter of the clear I bought.

I sprayed all of the clear very thick. I knew that any runs or sags would easily be sanded down and buffed, and wanted nice thick coverage that I can eventually rub down (ie, sand and buff to a perfect gloss) There were several spots where I couldn't see what had already been painted, particularly on the long passes on the side of the car and trying to get good coverage on the door-handle-recesses. But I was totally fine with the runs. We'll see how hard they are to deal with later on.

Here are some pictures of the car in all its wet and shiny splendor:

It looks here like I just sprayed the hood, but these pictures were taken an hour after I finished painting and the paint was already hand slick:

Even the plastic parts look fantastic and shimmery:

This is the section of the front spoiler that I repaired a while back. It looks brand new with the paint all done:

Here are some views of the side of the car. I'm really pleased with how clean the body line turned out after taking off the side strips way back when:

The sunroof looks great now that it is glossy instead of matte:

I kept being super careful not to touch the hood for fear of smearing the wet clearcoat, even after it was dried. It just looks like the clear is still as wet as when I sprayed it:

I can even see myself in the paint, reflected. If you zoom in on this picture you can really see the orange peel that keeps this paint from being perfectly mirror-like. That will get fixed later with the rub-out.

I'm happy to finally be done with all this painting. (Until next week when I have to come back and paint the door jambs and hood edges.)

Final self-portrait, for the record.

Time spent today: 5 hours (1hr. tack ragging and paint prep; 3 hrs spraying clear; 1 hr. gun clean-up)
Total money today:  $112 ($79 clear, $33 hardener)

Spraying color (part 2)

Today, I went to buy 3 more quarts (Or 3 pints, that are mixed up to be 3 quarts; $165) of paint today. I got back to the car and carefully scanned every inch of the car with a bright light and was bummed to find a serious paint defect. In a few spots the paint had started to wrinkle/crack. The wrinkles were so small that you almost couldn't see them unless your face was inches from the car, but I was worried all the paint would just fall of the car. You can see here in the picture that it looks like a bunch of lint all in one spot.

The amazing staff out at the Sherwin Williams Automotive store, which is just down the street, listened to my concerns and Beth came over to check out the paint and troubleshoot. She gave me some tips and we figured it is the etch primer messing the color up. So, I had to wet-sand those area down, and reapply more color. If it goes bad again, I get to strip the whole area and start from scratch. Yikes.

I sanded and sprayed, and after some waiting... it turned out fine. (Bullet dodged!) I'll repeat, make sure you cover any etch primer with regular primer before spraying sealer or color. This applies to 2k etch, or spray-can etch, though my paint only lifted where the 2k had been recently sanded. The spray can etch didn't appear to cause any problems.

Next up was inspection time. I continued examining the car, and sanded any sags. There were also a lot of dust spots, whee dust or lint landed in wet paint and caused a tiny raised bump in the paint. I shaved these off with a sharp razor blade. I was pretty upset to find a pretty big ding where I must have let the hose hit the side of the car. It was low enough that it wasn't too noticeable, but I spent a bunch of time sanding it out. Once all these spots were ready and clean, I spot painted everything I had wet-sanded earlier. This took 1.5 hours.

Once all the spot painting was done and hand-slick, it was time to prep for painting the car. There was a TON of orange dust that had settled over everything in the garage since I hadn't left the fans running after I finished painting before. There was enough that I decided to use a clean dry microfiber towel to pick up the majority of the dust doing the whole car twice. Then I tack ragged the whole car twice. This took about 30 minutes.

Finally I was ready to paint. I mixed up the rest of the first quart (6th overall), and put one more coat over all the parts (bumpers, spoiler, gas cap, mirrors, rain rails), and then painted the car roof and pillars. It really takes some good light to be able to see the difference between new glossy paint and the exact same color of previously cured matte paint. I had lots of light and wish I had more lights. I really should have borrowed about 4 more shop lights to light things up.

Then another round of tack rags over the whole car. The next quart of paint (7th overall), covered the hood and sides of the car with a slightly lighter coat than I sprayed before. This was the 4th coat on these parts, and so I was just concerned with evening out the banding on the hood and evening out the repair spots.

Then more tack ragging. The last quart of paint (8th overall) gave me a nice thick third coat on all of the parts:

This time, I made sure to paint the rain rails first so I wouldn't forget them again. They turned out really nice and my hanging system really worked well:

I was also able to spray a fifth light coat on the hood. I was really struggling getting rid of banding at the center of the hood where it is hard to reach to. I was getting too much overlap, or not enough. So on this last coat, I rigged up a wood clamp to my booth frame and held onto it to lean/hang myself over the front of the car and painted strokes from side to side (where previously I painted strokes front to back), starting at the windshield and working towards the front of the hood. It helped and the banding was gone:

It took three quarts to get everything painted satisfactorily. I made sure the three heavy coats on the parts matched the four coats on the body of the car. Everything looked great. I had even gotten rid of the banding on the roof of the car. (you can't see the metallic very well once the paint has flashed dry, and I can't get a good angle to highlight the color.)

Here you can really see the color and metallic are amazing. This isn't far off from the original color I was trying to achieve, discussed here:

I do still have a slight flaw from where the dumb air hose hit the paint down by my driver-side rocker panel. Sanding it out and repainting it gave me uniform color, but I didn't sand enough, so some of the ribbed texture from my hose is still there:

Total time spent:7 hours (1 hr: sand and prep; 5 hrs: spray color; 1 hr booth and gun clean-up)
Total money spent: $165

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spraying Color (part 1)

The paint I'll be spraying on my 1983 Porsche 944 is the Barrett Jackson's Planet Color Cinnamon Pearl (PCFP14, $41 per pint filled quart). This is nice because it comes in a quart can that is half filled (one pint) with paint. You just have to measure out the 1:1 ratio with the reducer/hardener and pour it and mix it in the color's paint can. Less mixing cups, less mess. I used the  RHF75 stabilizer/hardener from Sherwin Williams, ($28 per quart) This means my cost per quart of ready-to-spray paint was $55.

Finally! After 164 hours of prep, the moment of truth has arrived. Since the car had only been sitting in the near dust free environment since praying the sealer, and not exposed to wax or grease, there is no need to clean again. I just had to dust off the car using a tack rag. There was a surprising amount of dust from dry over-spray that was floating around the booth and landed on the flat surfaces of the car. The tack rag made quick work of it, but turned pretty black in the process. Here you can see the first coat in the middle of application. The roof and hood and pillars are done, but I haven't made the long pass down the side yet:

The color went on smooth and easy, and it looked like root-beer after the first coat. The metallic was nearly transparent and the black showed through wherever there wasn't light reflecting off the paint. Here you can see the rear of the car, where the fender is lit it looks orange, while lower down the bottom of the car doesn't catch the light and looks black still:

Because the paint goes on so thin, there is pretty noticeable banding where my overlaps weren't perfect. I'm 6'2" and it was a tough stretch to lift a full spray gun out over this massive hood from the side.

Here's a better angle on the hood. (I still haven't painted the driver's side of the car yet.) I was originally thinking of spraying some gold pearl over the finished paint, and it would probably turn out about this stripey.

This is the front of the car after the second coat, after letting the paint flash dry. I paint pretty slow, so the car was hand-slick by the time I was done with the first coat of the car and all the parts. The banding is still there, but is less substantial after this second coat. You can really see the color starting to come out.

This is the side-mirror after just one coat. I like this picture because you can really see how smooth the texture of this paint is with the light reflecting the way it is. Very glassy, though it dries to a matte finish in just 20 minutes or so.

I had a few spots where I put the paint on a little too thick and the paint sagged. Here you can see I've wet-sanded with a stiff block and 600 grit through the sag until it was all smooth again, even if it looks bad. You can just make out the line of the drip; It is the wavy lighter-orange line in the middle of the darker spot on the body line. I'll spot-paint over just this area again before the next coat.

Here you can see the sunroof has some slight banding as well, but is starting to get good coverage. This photo was taken after the paint here had flashed dry and it already looks very matte.

Here is a panorama of stitched together photos of the Porsche in the booth. This is after the 3rd coat to the whole car. You can just make out the slightest hint of banding in the center of the hood by the windshield.

I started out with 5 quarts of paint, after mixing, at a total cost of $275. Here is how much paint it took:
Quart 1: Roof, pillars, hood, passenger side
Quart 2: Driver side, tail, all parts (spoiler, bumpers, mirrors, gas cap)
Quart 3: Roof, pillars, hood, driver side,
Quart 4: Passenger side, tail, roof, pillars
Quart 5: Hood, both sides, and tail

I had just enough for 3 full coats to the car, but stopped painting all the other parts after the first coat realizing I wouldn't have enough paint for everything. I will have to pick up some more tomorrow to put two more coats on the parts, and maybe one more coat on the hood to cover up the last evidence of banding.

One big mistake I made was painting today when the temperature was pretty cool outside (50'ish). I had a heater on in the garage to keep the temperature at 70 degrees, but didn't want to vent the air out of the warm booth to outside the garage, because this would have required pulling more cold air into the garage from outside. I instead decided to keep the garage shut, and just vent the air out of my booth, to the closed garage, and keep it recirculating since all the garage air was nice and warm.

There were two things I didn't forsee. One, everything in the garage got a nice orange mist of dried paint dust on it. Some of it which had vented to the garage blew back in through the fans and made a fine layer of dust on the surfaces I was painting, which required extra tack ragging before spraying each new panel or part. Here you can see the fans and filters coated in paint dust recirculated back from outside the booth:

The other thing that caught me by surprise was my raging headache by the end of my painting session. There was no outlet for the fumes from the spray and they build up enough to saturate my organic vapor filter mask and the atmosphere without my mask was eye-watering. I had to open up the garage for a full day to air out the fumes before I could go back inside again, and I had to buy new filters for my mask.

Mental note: next time, vent to the outside of the garage, regardless of temperature.

Total time spent: 5 hours (1 hr: tack and prep; 3 hrs: painting; 1 hr: cleanup)
Total money spent: $275

Primer Sealer

Time to spray some paint. Now is a good time to remind you that if you have any showing etch primer on your car, put some regular primer over it or it can jack up your paint. I didn't interpret this from the Product Data Sheet correctly and it caused some minor problems which should have been major problems.
I had toyed with the idea of spraying my color directly over the 2k filler primer, but decided to follow direction instead. The specs call to have orange painted over a dark undercoat. This means I first have to paint the car black. There is an extra cost for extra paint, but the plus is that the black primer sealer locks in all the bad stuff from earlier paint, and OEM factory paint, and gives a dark background for the color to luminesce over. This also lets you spray less color to get your desired results, which should save cost in the long run. (ie, one coat black + 3 coats orange is cheaper than 0 coats black + 5 coats orange.)
My paint shop recommended using the Dimension 2K Acrylic Urethane Sealer in the color of black (DS695, $29 per quart).

This requires a hardener (DH658, $12 per cup). This is mixed 4:1, or one quart sealer to 1 cup of hardener.

I bought two of each, just in case. (add $82 to sealer cost)

I used compressed air to dust off the car, then went over the whole thing with wax and grease remover, then used a tack rag after getting my paint mixed and right before spraying.

I started spraying it on, and it is pretty thin, but was a very deep inky black. Spraying a medium coat, I was able to get full coverage with nothing showing through from the lower coats. See the previous post on dealing with orange-peel because I started with a bad fan spray pattern.
Here you can see the top of the car and you can make out the orange-peel very clearly.

Here you can see the whole car and how well this covers up all the previous inconsistencies in the color of previous coats. I also ran all around the car while the paint was wet and shiny to see if there were any noticeable dents or dings. The wet black is like a mirror, and I was very happy with my body work. There is one dip just behind the sunroof I could feel but didn't repair that was visible. And on tiny spot along the ridge of the driver side body line that was a bit flat, but acceptable.

Here you can see the texture of the orange-peel is gone now that I've fixed my spray pattern.

I haven't seen a Porsche 944 in black and was really impressed. I had half a mind to just stop painting and keep the car black. In this next pic, you can just see in a reflection some shiny-ness difference where I had left some exposed bondo on the rear fender, and there were a few spots where it was more matte over the spray-can etch-primer. But it looked great. 

Here you can see some of the parts I sprayed.

These mirrors were the last thing I sprayed and you can see how glassy and smooth this paint layed down. Much better than the orange-peel from the beginning.

Bumpers and spoiler. I decided to put the bumpers up on boxes. You can balance them on their edges, or on the mounting posts, but every time I did this earlier in the project, they were always getting tipped over and falling down. It isn't worth the risk of screwing up brand new paint.

You can see I've got the spoiler on saw-horses. I also have a board under it so I can get all sides of the front lip that would otherwise be resting on the sawhorses. 

Using my first Quart+Cup of Sealer, I was able to almost paint the whole main car body. I could have stretched it out and done the whole body (but not the parts and bumpers), but my gun was sputtering on the last 5% of the car, and I wanted it to look good. I broke open the second quart, and only needed about half of it to finish the back of the car and all parts and bumpers. This leaves me a half quart to spray the door jambs and edges of the sunroof, headlights and hood later on.

This has to flash dry for 30 mins which is enough time for me to mix up the color paint, which will be the next post!

In retrospect, I really wish that I would have left the small space between the door and quarter-panel window unmasked. After applying primer-sealer, I should have painted that spot with the black trim paint, and let it dry, then masked it off. Instead I waited until color was all done, and then had to go back and carefully mask the color off. It would have been easier to have just done it now.

Total time spent: 2 hours (0.5 hr prep, 1.5 painting.)
Total money spent: $82 (2k sealer and hardener - 2.5 quarts total mixed)