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Enamel lettering directly onto bare aluminum dump truck.

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Clint Voris, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Clint Voris

    Clint Voris New Member

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    Oct 21, 2015
    Hi everyone.

    I have a potential client who runs a tree trimming service. He has a bare aluminum panel truck, and wants very simple lettering on it.
    I'm old school, so anything I produce will be enamel and brush. How long will 1Shot last on bare aluminum? (I'm in Indiana, no salt air.)
    I'm assuming it would be best to have him get the panels coated by an auto body shop. He may not want the cost of that prep work.
    If I end up lettering straight onto bare aluminum, how should I prepare the aluminum? Just a simple scrubbing with soapy water and finish with alchohol? Vinegar?
    I know this job is going to be fraught with all sorts of problems. :) I just can't turn down easy money, giving a client what he wants.
    Thanks in advance for your input. PS: He doesnt want vinyl, and he would rather not have a plywood panel bolted to the side. See attached pix of said truck.
    [​IMG]
    -Clint
    Ft Wayne IN.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    If it's new, we just used to wash it down with vinegar and then letter it. It won't last as long as some other material which would have some tooth to it, but he just has to know he is making a mistake. Bolting a panel to it will last much longer. You could coat it with some special primers, but then, that will show wherever the lettering doesn't hit.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I haven't done this in a while but there were two ways we'd do it back when.
    The first is a Gino said, wash with a mild acid (vinegar will do) and letter.
    For a little more money, letter first with an aluminum primer then letter with top coat.
    Now since this is now a modern day sign world I would probably go the primer route using a mask.
    Cut the mask with a slight outline. Pull the inside first, apply & prime, pull the outside line, lay down the topcoat, then pull the rest of the mask.
     
  4. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    BARE ALUMINUM..........will not hold paint for long. year tops......then it will peel off. i just did 3 of these........BUT THEY WERE PAINTED. i would not paint direct to it. those horizontal panes are 14-15" by 120" long. if he dont want to paint the box, which would be the best thing to do by a professional body shop. THEN YOU PAINT the lettering on it.
    option 1. go to a place that sell gutters.......they have white alum on a roll 14"wide..........its like .024-.028. few pop rivits to the side of the box. letter on it,
     

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  5. Karen Souza

    Karen Souza Premium Subscriber

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    Purchase a commercial acid prep...you mix so many parts acid with water. This is the only GOOD way
    to open the pores in the aluminum. Still do some aluminum tanks w/ paint so I know it works, but your
    customer has to realize they cant kill it with a power washer!
    Here's my routine for aluminum surfaces:
    Clean with
    1. Water
    2. Some sort of prepsol to clean off oily stuff
    3. Rubbing alcohol
    4. Acid prep - make sure you rinse REALLY well with water.

    Try an inconspicuous area first when you mix up the strength of the
    acid wash. not enough and water will still bead up. Too much and you'll
    "milk" out the shiny finish. Guys HATE that!!
    If you have the option of a pattern or know exactly where your painting, scuffing with a grey scotchbrite
    pad is a good thing.
    Bare aluminum prefers to have an aluminum oxide primer under it but when your lettering you really don't
    have that option....this is the next best thing.....lotta work, but better than it chipping off!
    Hope it helps!
    Karen
     
  6. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Karen does some beautiful commercial trucks, I would take her advice.
     
  7. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    first off you are planning on using one shot. that in itself is crap. its will fade before it chips off. BUT if you must I would wipe truck down with acid solution from auto paint store, come back with alcohol wupe and start lettering.

    might i suggest vinyl on this!
     
  8. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    why not just use real genuine primer for aluminum?
    All the research and development has been done.
    Its what the professional painters use. It is a demanded to be used on aircraft.
    Avoid all the home brew concoctions that are hit or miss.

    Real primer for aluminum lasts decades when used under a good top coat of paint. And it not expensive.
     
  9. player

    player Major Contributor

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    How about cleaning with vinegar or what cleans and preps best, then cover with a top quality wrap clear laminate like Oracal 290 gloss. Then letter on the clear.
     
  10. The Hobbyist

    The Hobbyist Member

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    Perhaps I am missing something. Why not just cut stencils and spray paint the lettering directly onto the aluminum?
     
  11. player

    player Major Contributor

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    It's hard to get paint to stick to aluminum
     
  12. The Hobbyist

    The Hobbyist Member

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    Will primer stick to aluminum? Won't paint stick to primer?

    Commercial airlines are made out of aluminum. They are all painted, and subjected to freezing temperatures and 600 mph winds, hail, heat, UV light at high altitudes ... Perhaps we should find out how they do it! :rock-n-roll:
     
  13. player

    player Major Contributor

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    They use really toxic chemicals and processes. Acid baths,, degreasers, chemical etching primers etc. Another technique is using electricity in a process called anodizing.

    There can be very specialized equipment and safety protocols that cost big bucks.

    I used to do decals for Boing. I was shown a completely dry plane wing that was freshly painted 1/2 hour earlier. The guy said the paint was so hard you could put big rivets on the wing and dance on them with work boots and not scuff the finish 1/2 hour after it was painted.
     
  14. Jwalk

    Jwalk Premium Subscriber

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    Its simple, etch, prime, paint. Always remember the three p's prep prep prep.
     
  15. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    I posted above what is used. Primer just for aluminum. There are plenty of brands around that all work.

    Perhaps people could stop guessing on what to use and get the right product for the job. This is not rocket science. Just go down and purchase a rattle can for ten bux and be done with it.

    For example.. Rust-Oleum has a good one. It etches the metal and protects it from corrosion. Then paint over it.
     
  16. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    For cripes sake, the guy is a hand painter. He doesn't want to invest in prepping and painting an entire dump truck...... he wants to letter it. Who in their right mind would primer and paint a stencil then pawn it off as a finished job ?? Are you folks that stupid ?? Ya tell him (the customer) the down side of his wants or just do the best ya can. Noone is gonna invest 100's of dollars to do a $250 job........ let alone the 1,000s some of you are implying. Ya need some common sense to do certain things and evidently no one's come prepared.
     
  17. player

    player Major Contributor

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    Oh, so that's why I drool and screw everything up...
     
  18. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    What Gino said

    I would just do this. As Gino said. "Bolting a panel to it will last much longer."
     
  19. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Most likely..............:smile:
     
  20. Sidney

    Sidney Merchant Member

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    You would be surprised how long 1Shot will last with out any additional surface scoring etc. The only real concern is the amount of abuse or contact from material being loaded/unloaded. I have done a few hundred vehicles which include aluminum, non aluminum, boats, motorcycles etc. 1shot is definitely the choice!!
     
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