DIY automotive painting.

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Jan 20, 2004
I've been trying to get the stuff to start doing some body work at home. I realize I'll probably never have show quality paint, but I have two older vehicles in need of rust repair(yes I know) that would obviously cost more then they are worth. My daily driver has faded cracked paint with rattle can touch ups anyway. My other car has good paint, with typical rust areas(bottom of doors fenders, around wheel moldings, ect). I have a decent compressor(30 gallon), and a paint gun(not sure on quality) DA, and other tools, but need some direction on materials before I start anything. What's a good source for paint and prep materials to do some practice work. What's the best bet for a do-it-yourselfer? thanks, -T
The most common error in home car body work is not preparing the surface. You have to take a few steps backwards to be able to go forwards. Most people don't want to dig out and 'create' more damage, when repairing rust. There is usually a lot more bad area than the surface rust indicates. So don't patch things [ visually good for a few months], but really make sure you are on solid material.
The most important item is the air supply-for you. Nothing less than a supplied air positive-pressure respirator is a "must" when spraying highly toxic materials like isocyanates, the hardener in polyurethane clearcoats and in many primers. An air purifying respirator will not provide adequate protection. Chemical resistant gloves and paint suits prevent skin contact with chemicals. Choose gloves and clothing that offer protection from the variety of chemicals in paints and coatings. For gloves, nitrile or butyl rubber make the grade, latex does not. You doubt? Do a search on isocyanates and then tell me if you want to risk it with cheap or non-existent protection.
there used to be someone in my neighborhood where i grew up that would paint cars using rust-oleum cans. I dont know all the work he put into prep or anything like that but they did not look as bad as I would have thought. not too bad at all. he usually used white paint though too not sure how much that had to do with it.
Prep. prep. prep. Like mechtech sez. I have done many restorations and painted all kindsa stuff. HVLP guns are more efficient at getting paint to the work surface with less air consumption. Always use a dryer or good quality water filter in the air supply lines. Always cover every bit of yourself. For a daily driver, PPG Omni or Martin-Seynours auto paints are very good. Be sure to keep all your materials from primer to final clearcoat in the same mfg family to avoid compatibility issues. Exception - for any airbrushing, effects, etc. I use Auto-Air colors (water based) on a scuffed color coat. These can be covered with catalyzed clearcoat with no problem. Your choice to use a basecoat/clearcoat or go with a catalyzed enamel followed by a clearcoat if you want. You will typically buy the color, some reducer and/or catalyst, and a hardener depending on the paint brand and what type of paint. I recommend that you start with lots of internet reading! Also, most auto paint shops have a shelf of cans of wrong mix colors, not picked up, etc, that you can buy at a discount. Be prepared - automotive paint and materials are not cheap. Did I mention prep? [Wink]
Michael is right on, take the mask thing serious. Guy I know has some major health issues just from one car restoration. Sprayed a lot of dp90 and dp40 in a homegrown paintbooth without much protection. It not just having the right mask, you need to be fitted for it. This involves wearing one while a partner "tests" you with a chemical smoke cartridge. Beard or any facial hair, forget it, you won't pass.
Your best bet is to find a local place, because they mix the paints to the final color. You can't order Parchment Red for a 91 GM over the internet, for example. The shop uses the color code and then mixes the tints to get the final color. Ask at a local paint/body shop - unless they are complete jerks, most will tell you who they order from. The larger ones will also be mixing their own paint as well. Also, if you use a local auto paint store (some of the larger NAPA stores can do this too) they can give advice to you as well.
Take it from a professional painter who paints in his home garage. 1) Get your paint from the "House of Color" in Missouri. They get the not exactly EPA approved stuff. 2) Paint is expensive, use one of the turbo guns, not a compressor based gun. It is WAY easier to paint without runs and way cheaper because you use 1/3 the paint. 3) 3M products are universally good and cost effective. If you find something a lot cheaper, it will not work. 4) You need to control dust. A curtain hung around the car will work
Look in the Yellow Pages for auto body and paint supplies. Here in CA the air pollution regs limit the types of materials they sell, but as long as you are not a "professional", it is still legal to work wtihout a spray booth. I used to spray arcylic enamels, but they required a good amount of practice to do right. I understand today's urethane clearcoat systems are much eaisier to spray and get good results.
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