stoned on solvents

munrof at munrof at
Sat Dec 29 11:28:15 EST 2001


What Dennis said plus, plus, plus. I can't teach you how to paint by email, but I can give you a few tips.

As well as numerous small repairs and touch-ups, I've painted 4 complete cars with excellent results over the years, 3 of my own and a neighbour's truck for the use of his garage as a paint shop. I use a 2 HP compressor, a Binks gun for shooting topcoat and a Chinese DeVilbiss knockoff gun for shooting primer.
I learned all I needed to know from two books - one put out by Pittsburgh on their auto paints and the other put out by Dupont on their auto paints. These are the books they supply free to the pros that use their paint products and they detail application, pressures, and troubleshooting tips for each product. I'd suggest you choose a mainstream paint supplier for your paint and get their "how-to" book.

You need to be aware of several items.
The first is SAFETY. The good modern auto paints are extremely toxic and will make you very sick if you don't wear a good mask. A supplied air system is best, but a properly fitted double cartridge respirator is OK if you have lots of ventilation. Don't even think about painting without adequate protection.
The second is material quality. You may think auto paint is expensive at $200-400/gallon or so, but the labour in a good repaint is tremendous. It doesn't pay to use anything less than the best materials, particularly if you want the job to last. The best materials are generaly the most toxic, so see the point above.
The third is preparation. As Dennis mentioned, preparation is key. The primer coats are actually the most important coats, as they determine how long the paint will last and how good it looks. Proper metal prep and stabilization and primer sanding will pay off big time.
The topcoat is the easiest and most enjoyable part of the process. The prep is done and you get to see the final result as you go.
Some other points:
You need a good water and oil removal system on your compressor. Painting takes a lot of air, and a small compressor runs hard to keep up. The air heats up and holds more water, which can condense in the hose. Water spitting out on your clearcoat pass can run your entire day. I wear a water trap/regulator on my belt connected to the gun with a short 4 foot hose as well as have a water/oil trap system at the compressor.
You need a good paint gun with full adustability of pattern shape and paint volume. You need to clean your gun as soon as you are done painting - dried paint in the jets is very difficult to remove and the gun may never spray right again.
Set up your gun before each spray session by checking pattern, volume, and air pressure on a piece of cardboard (don't use the walls unless you and your SO are into modern art).
The key to even application is to keep the gun perpendicular to the surface at all times and at the same distance from the surface. Gun speed across the surface must be the same at all times. Leave the fancy dusting passes and blowing off runs to the pros - they have their place, but not on your first job.
You need a good shop with good ventilation and air control. Air should be extracted at floor level to keep the air ( and paint overspray) moving down. Dust control is paramount. Be aware that the solvent overspray can make an explosive mix - don't blow yourself up with a furnace and inadequate ventilation. Having said that, I've never painted a car in an adequate shop.

Just a few tips I learned over the years. To tell you the truth, I hate painting and I doubt if I would do a full repaint myself again. The only reason I got into it in the first place was that the paint shops won't take the time required to do a job that lasts. I might do all the prep work and primer myself but I'd prefer to get a properly equipped shop to shoot the topcoats.

Good luck, Mike. You can do a good repaint yourself at home if you are willing to take the extra care necessary.


Fred Munro
'94 S4

> From: DGraber460 at
> Date: 2001/12/29 Sat AM 01:43:20 EST
> To: armanmik at
> CC: quattro at
> Subject: Re: stoned on solvents
> --
> [ Picked text/plain from multipart/alternative ]
> I have tried to paint 2 cars. One was moderately successful, the other was a
> .. well shall we say not so successful.
> It's a lot harder than it looks. It takes expensive equipment, and more
> expertise than you expect. Details that as a novice wouldn't seem to matter,
> can be crucial. Inexpensive knockoff equipment will betray you in the end.
> The 3 things to remember are 1 preparation 2 preparation 3 preparation! The
> _slighest_ imperfection in the surface will be magnified 10 fold in the paint.
> Then if you get all that perfect, _any_ lint or dust present during the shoot
> will negate all your prep work.
> I figured the car wasn't that great, and getting it all on color would be an
> improvement (it wasn't an Audi). I was wrong!
> Flawed good paint is better than overall crappy paint.
> Good luck.
> Dennis

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