DIY engine cover painting help!
i am on a strict budget so i decided to paint my engine cover with what had layin around. i had some automotive primer,2 cans of brilliant black crystal,and a few cans of clear(i got a bunch of paint round my garage haha) ok so i started out by scuffing up the cover with a scotch pad to make sure the primer would have better adhesion,i cleaned it and sprayed some coats of primer. i scuffed it a little bit with some 000 wool and cleaned it before painting.i spayed about 2 small cans in several light coats finished with a few semi-wet coats of the brilliant black. i sprayed some coats of clear and let it dry for 24 hrs. now my ? is how do i get that glassy look to finish the project. the clear is shiny but not perfectly glassy. do i wet sand or buff or ..............? im lost
Just out of curiosity, did you use an adhesion promoter prior to shooting your primer coats? If not, you MAY have some issues with flaking down the road... it doesn't always occur, but generally speaking, paint doesn't like to stick to plastic.
But that wasn't your question, sorry.
The technique I use is to lay down several "lighter" coats of clear, then follow-up with a "heavier" coat as a final. You have to be careful to not go so heavy as to create sags or runs, but if they do occur, they're easy enough to fix.
After the final coat of clear has had time to cure well, I go back an start color sanding, generally beginning with 1000 grit, wet/dry and moving up to 2000. This is where you get rid of any sags, runs and orange peel.
After color sanding, I use a heavier duty polishing compound to begin buffing, finishing up with a straight polish, then a glaze.
You used rattle cans, so the paint is "softer" than paint shot through a gun, which will have a hardener blended in. This just means the paint will never be as hard as gun shot paint.
Go slow with the sanding and buffing, you don't want to burn through... particularly on edges or on the corners. The paint is thinnest there and it real easy to go right through it.
In these areas, I almost always do them by hand... takes longer, but there's much less chance of ruining the paint job.
It sounds more difficult than it really is. Just don't get in a hurry, take your time and you'll end up with a great looking engine cover.
And remember, it's only paint... the worst that can happen is you'll have to begin over. It can always be sanded off and redone... sometimes, that's half the fun. I've shot my engine cover at least 4 times, learning and achieving a better result each time.
This is it's latest version... all done with rattle cans.
Obviously, I've done some molding work and I haven't finished color sanding and buffing yet, but it's close to being done.
Good luck and have fun with it.
BTW, refrain from using any wax on the new paint for a couple of months, at least. The paint is still not fully cured and solvents are off gassing. Waxing seals the solvents in and can cause the paint to remain uncured... the surface can become dull and no amount of polishing will ever bring a nice shine up.
I usually do 2000 wet sanding in between clear coats and the at the end I buff it. Here is an image of the last thing I did. Btw are you using engine paint? I try to use that as much as possible in the engine compartment.
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@ honu thanks btw what do you imply by color sanding.also do you use abuffer,hand polish or a powerball?
@Spawn no i didn't use enging paint. i was worried about that so after a long trip of non stop driving i got curious and popped the hood to see how hot the cover was. t was slightly warm but not hot. also the foam on the back has not melted or warped so i just went with it. id use it on other things in the bay. also that intake looks uber glassy.thanks for the tip!
Last edited by ia-turtleboy; 10-26-2011 at 11:40 PM.
Even the best of paint jobs will have some level of "orange peel", it's inevitable. Orange peel can have a sheen to it, bit you'll never get a glass-like finish without eliminating it. By color sanding, you're knocking down the uneven finish. Keep in mind though, even using the finest sandpaper will leave sanding scratches... obviously though, the finer the grit, the finer the scratches. That's the reason you progress to finer papers.
Moving on to polishing compounds, polishes and glazes, is really just continuing the sanding process with progressively finer abrasives, until the surface scratches are so fine as to be virtually invisible to the naked eye.
For someone inexperienced with polishing paint, I'd shy away from using a buffer. They are really best used by someone who knows how to use it. It's extremely easy to burn through clear and into the color coat with a buffer.
On smaller projects, like the engine cover, I used a buffing wheel attached to a drill motor set on it's slowest speed. Buffing and polishing is not something you want to do at high speeds... the friction generated will virtually melt the paint.
On my fuse box cover, after color sanding with 2000 grit, I was able to get a great gloss just using Turtle Wax Scratch Remover. It has a very fine abrasive in it, so the going is slower than using rubbing or polishing compound, but it's much safer. You will have a hard time taking too much off and causing burn through. I actually did most of it by hand... it took a while, but came out great.
My brother, who taught me all this, pointed out that using very conservative materials and techniques takes more time... but always less than having to strip the project and start all over again.
BTW, the method I use when sanding is to have a 5 gal bucket, half filled with clean water with a couple ounces of dish washing soap in it. The water keeps the paper clear of sanding debris and the soap acts as a lubricant to prevent the paper from sticking. Rinse the paper frequently and never let the surface of your project go dry. (And, if at any point, you see color in the sanding residue... STOP, don't sand that area any more...you've sanded through the clear)
The biggest advantage is that this method take less material off at a time, but you're not trying to set any speed records. Color sanding and polishing is a slow process and the less you remove with each pass, the less of an opportunity there is to make a mistake.
There are several other methods, some quicker than others, folks use when color sanding, I am very conservative and don't try to remove a lot of material at a time.
thanks. I'm actually a boat detailer so I've buffed about 20-40 large boats in my 2.5 years ive been working. I'm also familiar with wet sanding because I've had to wet sand a few boats. so at least im not clueless in those areas. also i do know that there's a huge difference in gel coat than clear coat. I appreciate all the help and thanks for all the tips and ill let you know how it turns out!
finally finished!thanks everybody:)
got it done and it doesn't look half bad. couldn't have come out this good with all the help you all gave me. the first 2 pics are of the cover after i layered all the clear coat.before any color sanding.
check out the reflections of the trees!
finally finished!thanks everybody:)
got it done and it doesn't look half bad. couldn't have come out this good without all the help you all gave me. the first 2 pics are of the cover after i layered all the clear coat.before any color sanding.
check out the reflections of the trees!
Just dropped back in on the tread... your cover came out great!
all those tips sure helped me out
Originally Posted by honu