Long time follower, first time poster. Apologies for any mistakes.
I've posted this on another biking forum in Sydney, Australia, but thought it would be more beneficial here.
Are you like me - too cheap to fork out $800 for a semi decent paint job? Or just wanted to change that ghey pastel colour scheme on ur bike without donating ur kidney?
I'm no expert when it comes to painting nor will I profess to be - I just want to leave this here for future references when i bodge up another paint job, and for anyone else considering painting using spray cans rather than an air compressor and an expensive gun with various funky nozzles.
I stress - these are NOT instructions. I'm not expecting anyone to follow them - make your own rules as you go. It's simply a guide of what I've found to work or not work consistently in the past. They might be different for you - if so, post up ur experiences ya fuggen tight arse.
I painted this old bike a few years ago with cans, and when it came to getting things around for another paint job this time around, I'd forgotten all the mistakes I'd previously made, and it was a frustrating exercise in remembering by making all those infuriating mistakes all over again...
So, if I can save anyone from making frustrating mistakes when u paint using spray cans, that’d be sweet. I hope some of this might be able to help.
Most of this info results from personal experience and from valuable time and knowledge from mates and from a few pro painters around the auto industrial areas of Ryde and Auburn. Thanks guys.
Getting an air compressor, gun, line and nozzles can be expensive, but if you manage to get one cheap, then good for you. Sure the results from a spray gun will be far superior to that of a spray can, fo sho niggah!! But if you've spent most of your hard-earned on sky rocketing petrol prices or blown it at the local bird sanctuary (beer garden), then spray cans aren't a bad alternative. Plus, you're bound to learn a new trick or two.
By this, I want to stress that people need to remember that, after all, it IS a SPRAY CAN JOB: it's NOT going to look like it just came out of the pay & spray auto salon (GTA anyone?), but if you pay meticulous attention to detail and procedures and minimize **** ups, than you CAN get pretty darn close (yes, i said "darn").
By this I mean you need to be PATIENT and PERSISTENT... really patient: for example, between coats of the same colour, you usually should wait about 15 to 20 minutes, and the longer the better (eg, an hour). If you cake the spray paint on, you end up with a very mottled orange-peel effect which you'll have to sand out and looks fuglier than that fat chick you dated back in high school.
Now, before you even think about shaking that a$$, along with your rattle can, consider several things:
1. Can I REALLY spray it?
It's a time consuming process, especially if you get **** ups, or you change ur mind halfway through...
Remove ALL the things you want to paint OFF YOUR BIKE. I've seen a few people attempting to paint things still on their bike, and the sad fact is that spray paint mist goes through every nook and cranny, and ends up inadvertently painting your bike. Also, u won't be able to paint the inside edges unless you take them off your bike ya ****en moron! ;P
Got all the right bits & boobs? Er, i mean, bobs.
Masking tape, newspaper
clean rags (freshly clean, you Jewbag tight arse!) – lint free
scalpel blades and handle
Prep wash or Wax and Grease remover (for acrylic only!) ~$20
Paint strip tape or painter's tape (or special painting masking tape - I got a brand called "Stylus" from a vinyl store in Auburn - about $3 for a 5mm roll. See pic below - yellow tape in my hand).
Mask and safety goggles (nerd it up, g33ky mofo's!!)
Cut and Polish
Fillers or Fibreglass repair kits
As a rough guide, for every full side fairing panel you'll need:
1 x can of primer or primer/filler (~ $15 - $20 per can)
1 x can of paint (~ $10 - $20 per can)
1 x can of top coat / clear coat (~ $10 to $15 per can)
You'll also need a sheet of Wet and Dry sand paper in each the following grades/grit:
2000 (super fine, aka Jessica Alba grade)
If you have dents / fibreglass to repair in your bodywork, you'll need the appropriate material to deal with that first, before even considering priming, obviously. I found that metal fillers or fibreglass fillers, although strong and durable, were very difficult to work with once set (hard to sand through). So if you have relatively small holes and crevices to repair or cover, use spot putty / auto body filler which are much easier to manipulate and work with. Just make sure you use them in thin layers at a time, and ensure you give it plenty of time to dry before building it up.
So, you may need to get a fibreglass kit (middle, ~ $25 from Bunnings) or auto body filler (right, “Spot putty” ~ $16 from Super Cheap Auto) plus the required tools to shape it (various sized and grade files, wooden rasps, shaving files, etc) before the priming begins...
The raceglass I bought had holes cut in them from the previous owner having placed a turbo and nitrous system in his 954 WTF (see above pic, lower right panel)
These were mended with fibreglass (very easy to do), and re-shaped / contoured using fibreglass resin (Tip: After shaping down any fibreglass work, if you still have any small defects or holes use body filler and not fibreglass resin... the hours i lost trying to plug tiny holes with fibreglass resin was many an unnecessity... Auto body filler is just so much easier to work with it's not funny)
Got ur work area set up?
Got the neighbours car (or, more importantly, your own bike) covered from spray off shoots? (I learnt the hard way...). Anyone in the house allergic to inhalants? Pets have respiratory conditions? If so, set up everything in a garage, and make sure everything that you don't want "accidentally" painted is covered and sealed.
This sounds obvious, but you tend to forget (or, at least I do) when you start painting - that spray paint is a very fine mist of paint that is pushed out with the gush of expelled air - this means that when you spray and walk away, the paint filled air that moves around you can move the paint particles to where ever you go and what ever air you move... you get my drift. It DOES end up in places you haven't sealed. So make sure you've got a good working area.
Also, when you're tidying up your working area, and before you start spraying, dust the floor, then grab a spray water bottle and set the nozzle to fine mist. Lay down sheets of newspaper on the floor where you'll be spraying, then lightly wet mist this newspaper. This prevents dust and **** rising up and getting in to your paint job when the spray from the can disturbs the air and kicks up **** from the ground.
Make sure you have a good dust mask - goggles wouldn't go a stray. You'd be surprised how many times I've been hit in the eye with paint, and it fuggen stings like hot searing metal on flesh (yes Chopper, I know - I need to harden da **** up, obviously)
Some people paint with the panels flat on a surface like a low table. This is okay, but the problem is that spray cans rely on them being straight vertical - if you tilt a spray can horizontally (especially if it's less than 1/2 full) you start getting inconsistent splutters, which can **** up your up-to-now perfect spray job).
I've found it so much easier to hang your work from a ladder with a pole attached (see above pic, left) or a beam (above pic, right). This way, your can is always upright (ie, more consistent spray pattern) and you're free to move around your work and aren't necessarily limited by the table or whatever you're resting it on. Not to mention more comfortable to work with - your spraying at eye level or there abouts, not crouching down or bending over. And I've found that it's a lot more secure/stable than a low lying table where you or your trusty pet can knock it over easily.
The rusty old foldable/collapsable clothes hangar also works ok, but on windy days it has fallen down, along with the paint job...
2. Have I selected the right colour?
This sounds like a stooopid question, but you’d be surprised how different the colour looks in the shop as compared to your bike, especially when you're trying to match a colour on another part of the bike. Some stores can identify a colour code for you if you take the part in, or better still, some stores can colour match accordingly. The auto store in Top Ryde does this and gives you your selected colour in a can. A bit more costly than the pre-made ones though, obviously.
3. Acrylic VS Enamel?
In a nut shell, Acrylics are water based (doesn't dissolve in petrol, turps, etc), and enamels are oil based (ie, dissolves in oils, petrol, turps, etc). Simple. So in other words, if you're painting anything related to your bike, select an acrylic SYSTEM - they're far easier to work with, and won't spoil your hard work art job every time you spill a drop when filling up at your favourite service station.
PLEASE NOTE that the two (acrylic and enamel) DO NOT MIX!!! Eg; if you sprayed acrylic and go over it with enamel clear, they'll react and **** everything up. Choose a system and stick to it throughout your whole paint job. That means sticking to one type (acrylic or enamel) from the base primer/filler to base colour, coat colour, decal colour, and all the way through to the clear coat.
In fact, choose a SYSTEM AND BRAND - I've used different branded enamels against each other and had reactions which ****ed everything up. So try and head to your local auto spray or parts dealer and find a product range with the colour selection as well as the primer and clear coats you’re after, then stick to it.
If you're about to try different brands on top of each other, test spray something else first to check for compatibility.
Acrylic is a lot more forgiving in this regard, unlike enamels which tend to react even across brands. Hence I would strongly recommend using acrylic paints for most motorbike/automotive applications.
A steady hand helps, but if you're as twitchy as a suicide bomber catching the bus, practice makes perfect. Grab an old piece of plastic or small bucket and hit it! If it looks ****, try and work out where you went wrong. Once ur happy with the way it turns out, then hit your bike fairing. Hey, better to bodge up a test run than to **** up your actual paint job, right?
Aim to hold the nozzle about 20 to 30 cm away from the surface, and move your whole hand / can (not) over the surface to be painted. Don’t just twist the wrist - ur not riding a bike now! Move the can up & down / closer & away as needed to follow the contour of the surface while you spray along without speeding up or down.
Move the can in a consistent and smooth movement - not too slow but not too fast (ie, you'll only learn by actually doing it). Don't change speeds during your pass.
I've found it easier to spray across the long axis of a surface rather than across it / up and down.
Aim to overlap the previous stroke by about a third to a half its width.
At sharp changes of direction (edges/corners, folds or deflections) just continue to paint each flat surface as "separate", and aim to finish a section off at a time. If you aim to spray directly at the corner or edge, you'll end up with heavy builds which look sh!t house.
Avoid heavy build ups!!! Generally if it looks wet, then it's too thick a coat. Ideally, just spray a light mist, wait 20 minutes or so, then another, wait another 20 minutes, and so forth.
A "light coat" consists of 2 to 3 light quick runs across a surface. For example (pic above) if you're painting a primed surface, a light coat should still allow you to see the underlying colour of the primer through your newly painted layer and NOT mask the underlying colour in one hit. If you do end up masking the underlying colour in one hit and it "looks wet", then your layers are too chunky and I hope you like orange peels, cos you'll get lots of it
I'll go in to a step by step process further below, but here are some quick tips that I've found that'll help your paint job look a whole lot better:
* ALWAYS shake the cans upside down for AT LEAST 2 minutes after the ball starts rattling. I learnt the hard way, when i only shook it for half a minute - the result: large blobs of hard and stringy paint that shot out and made it look like the disgraced face of a cum-jizzed pornstar bitch, and ****ed the job up. Answer: SHAKE DA ****EN CAN YA LAZY HOMO - at least 2 minutes. 5 min's even better.
* Reshake the can every minute or so (shake it every time you've cleaned the nozzle, every 5 sprays or so)
* "Test card" - ALWAYS test spray on to a piece of large card board to check the consistency of the spray that comes out of the nozzle. Keep it nearby to your spray area, and hit it EVERY TIME just BEFORE you start spraying your bike part. Also, the very first spray usually has a tendency to spit out large chunky blobs that just **** up your paint job. So to avoid having to wait until the **** up dries, sanding it back, re priming it and re sanding the priming job in an attempt to hit it again, always hit the practice or test card before hitting your actual job.
* Start & finish spraying each stroke away from the actual surface being painted. In other words, the start and finish of each push of the nozzle should be away off the fairings. This is because the start and end of each push can have large blobs of paint that looks fuggen fuggly. Fuggen oath. Fugg.
Best way to describe it is to fade in to the object being painted, and similarly, fade out.
* After about 5 sprays, clean your nozzle on a rag. Else, you'll get large overhanging drops on the nozzle that just leads to further chunky blobs being spat at your work of art. It's tedious, but if you keep this up, your results will look much better for it.
* Even & consistently LIGHT strokes
* Avoid spraying in the sun. Once you've finished hitting it, then move it in to the sun.
* Avoid spraying on cold, damp days. Like trying to get it on with the missus on cold days, it just doesn't work and it's just not worth it.
* SERIOUSLY wait about 20 - 30 minutes between coats, and about 2 to 3 days between colour/clear coat layers. SRSLY! CAPSLCK FTW
Part 2 to follow...