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Painting and airbrushing question

Discussion in 'Hand Made Signs' started by CES020, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    I have a general question. I have some old panels from Harley's that someone gave me years ago when I first got my airbrush. I've toyed around with a few of them over the years and I've got the itch to play around with them some more. They don't go on anything, they are just for me to learn various things.

    I have a general question. I'm using House of Kolor paints. I've got basecoats and clear coat. If I wanted to do something like paint the base a color, then mask it off and put detail on it, from what the HOK site says, I should paint the base coat, then put the intermediate (I forget the exact name of it) clear coat on, which will keep the adhesives from any tape from damaging the actual base coat. Then I spray the additional layers on top of that. I get that part of it. However, let's say I have 2-4 different detailed things, how do I get the paint all smooth once it's all done.

    For simplistic sake, let's say I put a pen stripe detail on it. Do I just clear over that "X" number of times and then wet sand the clear until it's smooth, then buff it out, or maybe put another clear on it once it's smooth?

    My plan is :

    1) Prime with HOK epoxy primer (I think it's epoxy primer from what I recall)

    2) spray with base coat

    3) spray intermediate clear coat to allow for graphics

    4) mask and paint additional details

    5) clear coat

    6) clear coat

    7) clear coat

    8) clear coat.....you get the point

    I'd like to do a high gloss black as the base coat.

    Any tips or suggestions?

    I guess this fits too- if I were to do some gold leafing, would I treat it the same as if I had just done step #4? Just clear over it like normal?

  2. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

    Oct 21, 2004
    Reno, TX
    When I was a striper at IronHorse motorcycle factory, they were taping off graphics on raw paint without the "inter coat clear". The marks from tape that did show up (not much) disappeared beneath clear coat.
  3. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    After you get done with step 5 clear coat ....sand after step 6 sand ...after step 7 sand etc the grit 400. 600. 1000 etc. wet
  4. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Arlo, I'd do that, but I'd like to have some little buffer in there in case I don't like what I do. Having that clear in there will let me sand my attempts off :) I hope :)

    Yes, I planned on wet sanding between coats.

    Is that how you get it all flat, just keep building up the clear and sanding, then eventually, the clear is thicker than the striping, and it'll all lay flat then?

    And how many coats of clear is "enough"?
  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    You want to limit the total mil thickness to 12 or less. Anything more and you are asking for film failure. Most painters will do their striping/detailing then "bury" everything in clear so the surface is glass smooth.
    If you want to limit your mil thickness you can do what is called a reverse out job. This is where you do all your paint tricks, mask them then paint your base. PITA but it limits the amount of clear you need to achieve the smooth surface you want.

    A glass smooth optically perfect paint job is all in the prep. Not to diminish the skill of some painters, but without flawless body prep you are behind before you start.

    I've been using 3000 grit for my last wet sand stage. Why? Work smarter not harder. It is much easier to swing a Hutchin's WaterBug or my Astro with interface pad than my Flex variable speed buffer.

    I use Wizards Turbo-Cut with waffle pads. Yellow to cut, gray to finish. Follow that with Mist 'n' Shine and microfiber cloths. Smokin'!
  6. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama

    Dont you dare touch that with 400 or 600! unless its really jacked up and you cleared over a yellow jacket or something, its too harsh 1000 or 1500 will suffice

    and using a high solids clear will deter all those clearcoats. when I was airbrushed we also just did work on the 1st basecoat with no clear
  7. Bozz282

    Bozz282 New Member

    Oct 15, 2012
    The intercoat clear is basically a clear basecoat. I have used it to seal in airbrushed artwork as a 'safety net'.

    As others have said, the real 'finish' comes with your clearcoat / colour sanding.
  8. all_things_art

    all_things_art Member

    Jan 2, 2006
    nova scotia
  9. Atomic DNA

    Atomic DNA Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    Western KY
    I am going to answer this in a basic format as all paint manufacturers have different application variances.

    Step 1. Prime and wait a few hours (overnight even)

    Step 2. Wet sand or dry sand the primer with 400 or 600 grit. Rinse and Preclean with wax and grease remover.

    Step 3. Paint your base color. If you are using PBC or metallics and you are going to be working on top of this type of paint, a clear (intercoat SG100 or a catalyzed 2k) is recommended. The clear will act as a safety barrier so you will not disturb the metallics or pearls in the base. If you mess up for some reason, you can simply wipe off your mistake without getting into your base. I generally use a 2k clear and let it dry 24 hours and come back and block everything down with 600 grit. I'm not a fan of intercoat clear. I would like to add that most paint manufacturers have a 24 hour adhesion window of clear to base application. If you pass this window, you will need to rely on mechanical adhesion (physical sand scratches) to make your clear adhere. That means sanding everything again.

    Step 4. Once the clear is dried fully and sanded, it is now time for your stripes/graphics. When you are finished, you are ready for your finish clear. As stated above, a high solids clear is recommended. A reputable high solids clear will run between 300 to 500 per gallon including catalyst. Reducer may be used to reduce the viscosity but is up to you. Also when striping, it may be a wise choice to add a few drops of the catalyst that you are using in your clear to your pinstripe paint.

    Step 5. Clear is generally applied in 3 sessions with each coat flashing 15 to 20 min apart.

    Step 6. Allow to dry for 24 hours and you may choose to wet sand and polish. If you decide to go this route, here are the general steps:

    A. Sand with 1500 and then 2000 to 2500 grit.

    B. Using a variable speed polisher, use a wool pad with 3M buffing compound to remove all of the sanding scratches. You will want to polish until you don't see any haze or scratches. I usually keep my speed at 1k rpm.

    C. Using a dark polish pad, use the swirl mark remover. I will use this at about 1,200 rpm.

    D. Last step especially for dark colored base is the ultrafina polish. Use the proper blue pad for this.

    I want to add that this is a general way of painting. For instance, When I do a show quality base/clear, my cut and polish process is different. I will start with 800g and progress to 1000, 1200, 1500 and 2000. I will then use a DA with 3000. Same polishing methods are the same, though.

    There are tons of videos on Youtube that may help you as well. Remember, not all painters are consistent across the board. You have to be part artist/part chemical engineer/part gambler. The only way to know is to try.
  10. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Awesome! That's to everyone for taking the time to write so much. I appreciate the help. It'll take me a while, as this isn't any hurry, but as I progress, I'll post a few photos. I'm still at the stage where I'm trying to figure out what I want it to look like. Once I figure that out, I'll start the process.

    Thanks again to everyone. I do appreciate it. I've learned quite a bit.

    I will also add that I have a very nice paint gun (not the airbrush), but I think it was $800-900. It sprays silky smooth, so if I'm lucky, I can pull this off and have it look like something.

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