Ok, it seems a lot of people are starting to look into doing their own body work lately, I’m guessing with the lack of money to throw about people are looking at ways of doing their painting. Here are a few tips before you start; 1. HAVE PATIENCE – you need to have patience especially for jobs such as sanding fillers back to shape etc. If you do not have patience forget about it. Painting is the easy part of the bodywork, if it’s not shaped correctly or sanding marks are showing then it will look like shite and you have just wasted your time, effort and money. 2. You can improvise on some tools – If you are doing this job only once or twice, why spend a fortune on the tools when you could just use that money for a professional to do the job. Some tools for e.g. sanding don’t buy a sanding block; just use a block of timber. Using a solid backing behind sandpaper when sanding back fillers/fibreglass or blocking down the panels saves A LOT of time. 3. Use the right tools for the job – although you can improvise on some tools, use common sense also. Don’t try to wedge a sanding block into a narrow space or curve etc. You get the idea. 4. Don’t try to fill large dents in 1 go – Trying this is just lunacy, try beat out the dent first, you don’t need panel hammers and dollies to do this, a block of timber and a light-ish hammer will do but take your time. Most of the time you will fill the dent and when you sand it down you will find there is a low spot. This has to be filled again when you are finished sanding, but make sure to blow off the area with an air line first to make sure you get rid of all dust from it, IT WILL SHOW UP LATER. 5. Make sure there is no open polish or cloths with polish on them in the shed you are painting in, it WILL cause reactions. PREPERATION Tools; 1. Sanding block – can be a block of timber or a proper bought one (your choice as long as size suits) 2. Sand paper – various grades such as 60, 120, 220, 320, 500 NOTE: for the 500 grade sandpaper, I suggest buying 500 sponge back. It can be bought from your auto factors or paint shop. 3. Fillers – Try getting “Upol Easy Sand” it will pay off when you are sanding it back. 4. Flicks – Get a packet, for the sake of €4-€5 or so. Ok first you need something to set your panel/bumper/sideskirt etc up on. I have used and still do from time to time a fold out clothes airer, it a little wobbly but you get used to it, just don’t go nuts on it. Sit your part on whatever you chose as a stand and rub it back with the 220 sandpaper to give the paint/fillers a key to stick to. When this is done use whatever hand you don’t write with and look away from the part, you will feel any slight marks on the panel. Any dents rub some more with the sandpaper to give it a good key for the fillers. Mix up your fillers, I suggest mixing this on some plastic as it will help minimise any air bubbles etc. Using the flick spread the fillers over the dented area, starting before it and finishing past the end of it. Let the fillers set and then start with the grade 60 sandpaper start to rub back the fillers to shape using a sanding block, make sure to leave enough on for the next grade of sandpaper as you want to sand out any sanding marks. Fill again, let set and rub back the fillers this time starting with the grade 220 and move onto 320 wet and dry, using wet. Once done let it dry off and rub it down using the sponge back grade 500 sandpaper. PREPERATION FOR PRIMING. Tools; 1. Panel wipe 2. Paper Towel 3. 500 grade sponge back sand paper or 600 wet and dry (use wet) Wash down the part using panel wipe (can be bought from any auto factors or paint shop.) Do this by applying to one clean piece of paper towel and immediately dry off using a dry clean piece of paper towel. Mix the primer with hardener (as per manufacturer’s specification) and add approx 20 – 30 % thinners. Set the pressure for the spray gun to approx 60 – 70 psi. PRIMING Tools; 1. Spray Gun 2. Primer (Primer Hardener & Thinners) Pour the mixed primer into the spray gun. Check on an old piece of card the spray from the gun is in an oval shape. (Just give it a dart of paint.) The gun should be kept aimed directly at the part to be painted at all times. When starting to spray, make sure the gun is past the end of the piece to ensure it does not spit any paint blobs onto the piece. The first coat will be a misting of paint, ensure to do all edges and corners first. Wait approx 2 mins, primer doesn’t take long to set. Next coat will be when the primer is half set and will be a half a coat starting with corners and edges again. Wait a few minutes again and apply the last coat, this should cover the whole piece and once again start with the edges and corners. Leave to set completely (few hours) PREPERATION FOR BASE COAT Tools; 1. 500 Grade Sponge back sandpaper or 600 wet and dry (use wet) 2. Panel wipe 3. Paper Towel No matter whether you are using water based or solvent based paint preparation is the same. Using the 500 sponge back sandpaper rub down the whole panel until completely smooth. Again use whichever hand you do not write with to check while looking away from the piece. Again rub down with panel wipe, I suggest even if you are using water based paint to use solvent based panel wipe, just let it dry off a little longer after you use the paper towel to dry it off. BASE COAT PAINTING Tools; 1. Spray Gun 2. Paint (Mixed to manufacturer’s specification) Clean out your gun, I suggest using a different gun than the priming gun for base coat no matter if its water based or solvent based. Using a filter, filter the mixed paint (mixed to manufacturer’s specification) in to the cup of the spray gun. Apply paint as before corners and edges first (DO NOT TRY TO APPLY IN ONE COAT), first coat a mist, second coat a half coat, third and final coat should cover the complete part. If you are using water based paint a heater is not required to set the paint, you just need to move the air around the part. LAQUERING Tools; 1. Spray gun 2. Lacquer (mixed to manufacturers specification) Clean out your priming gun thoroughly before use and ensure the filter is fitted to the spray gun (fits into the bottom of the paint cup). Mix your lacquer as per manufacturer’s specification, fill the cup on the spray gun. Paint as before, misting coat, half coat, complete coat, allowing time in between to dry a little (approx 5 mins if in a warm area, allow a few minutes more for a colder area) and again start with edges and corners. Leave to set over night. FINISHING Tools; 1. 200 grade wet and dry sandpaper (use wet) 2. Something to spray on water (can be a clean coke bottle with a small hole in the cap) 3. Buffer / Rags 4. Cutting compound 5. T-CUT 6. Polish 7. Elbow grease and lots of it You may notice like an orange peel effect on the paint, this will be removed now. Using 2000 wet and dry and paper, using it wet rub down the whole piece, you will now see parts of it turn like a faded colour, keep going till the whole part is like this but be careful not to sand through the lacquer. Using a fine cutting compound on a buffer (if you have one) with a buffing head, a rag will do but is more work. Wet the whole panel with water and buff it up, careful not to go too heavy on it and burn or move the paint. Next is to T-CUT the part, we all know how to do this, rub it on, let it haze and buff off with a clean rag. Then polish it up and you’re finished.