The Lazy Man's Paintbrush... Spray Paint

mindymogul

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So we've all had our fair share of experience with Spray Paint. Be it a $0.96 cheapo can from Walfart or $17.99 DupliColor Color Match from our favorite NAPA. But here's something that doesn't seem very discussed. What is the best most durable paint for a TRUE budget project? Of course enamel paint is the best option, and sandblasting is just beyond anything resembling "budget" but let's hear those tips and tricks to get the most out of those saved pennies/pence/euro.
 

anickode

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Thorough removal of old paint - a rust stripping wheel for a drill or angle grinder works great without taking off any metal.

RustOleum self etching primer - Stuff is amazing. IMO the best rattle can primer you can buy for clean steel

I prefer RustOleum Industrial spray paints. They seem to be a little more durabe, but you're more limited in color choice. Besides that, any decent quality spray enamel is a fine choice. The primer is far more important.

Whatever spray paint you use, apply several coats. The film thickness of rattle can paint is much lower than even sprayer-applied liquid paints, so building up a properly thick layer is important for durability.

Painting within the manufacturer's recommended temperature and humidity range is important too. Yes, it will dry in the cold, or on very muggy days, but it can prevent it from CURING properly.
 
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IMHO, if you have an air compressor, the best cheap paint coverage for the money and decent end result will be a cheap HVLP (High Velocity Low Pressure) type (HF has one for $15 and coupons often for less than $10 that works just fine for cheap) and primer and paint from your local farm products store like TSC. The paint they have for tractors and equipment is very durable, lays easy when thinned properly for the temp, humidity, etc and they are really reasonably priced. The colors tend to fade pretty quick if left in the sun all the time but if your looking to cover a decent area, quality, durability and a nice finish at a low cost that's what I suggest. You can add a clear coat that has good UV protection to help with the color fade. Just make sure to drain the water from your compressor tank before spraying and I would suggest looking into how to prevent water getting to your paint gun to prevent water ruining your work. So in short: Acetone for cleaning prep, HVLP for a versatile quality gun that's adjustable, farm equipment paint for cheap durability and coverage, knowledge and practice for the best results and always primer... Any primer is better than no primer at all and will always make things better and easier but never the other way around unless you spay too much so that it runs.



If your looking for techniques then my advice is: clean and prep your surface is key to quality, long lasting results. Primer is a must. Keep the right distance and spray pattern to prevent running. It's better to do multiple light coats than trying to do less coats of heavier lays. Wait for the last coat to loose its wetness and become tacky before shooting your next coat but for the best results you should avoud letting the previous coat dry completely. The layers bond and you have a better finished product if all the layers are bound together, i.e. you shoot the next coat when the last coat is still tacky but won't transfer to your finger when touched.


If you are just looking for a decent cheap paint job and you don't have an air compressor then I suggest taking your time on cleaning and prepping the surface, laying down a nice layer to primer and be ready to shoot your paint while primer is tacky since primer usually dries fast. And then do a very light and quick first coat, allow to become tacky and then follow up with a regular layer of paint. Prep is very cheap but leads to the best results in the end no matter how cheap or high dollar paint that you use. Primer is important to smooth out the small imperfections as well as become a layer that sticks well to the metal as well as a much better surface for paint to adhere to over just paint to metal. And then from there it is just being patient by laying down a light coat, let it become tacky and then add your heavier layers on top of that.


Those are my thoughts. Hope it helps.
 

mindymogul

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I still have all my backup tools from when I owned a body shop. If I feel like the project is worth it I usually go to town on blasting and painting using Axalta products. But not everyone has access to an air compressor, let alone even a $12.99 HF HVLP or little mini tank handheld sandblaster. I'm just trying to get the favorites of the more experienced for those who are trying to do a parent/child budget build and don't want their hard work chewed up after the 1st pass for those who are curious. I personally use the Duplicolor Ceramic Engine paint found at any auto parts store because after 3 coats it's basically indestructible. 2 coats primer, 3 coats base, and 3 coats clear. At that point it can handle bushes, light gravel, and trees pretty well and touching up the topcoat is fairly simple. Going to an auto body shop would at LEAST run you $350-$600 for just a basic style non-caged cart. My system is usually about $40-$80.
 
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I didn't know what the parameters were. It just said true budget build and tough durable paint. A $13 HF gun is pretty budget minded. Plus most have access to atleast a pancake compressor. But if not, just the farming rattle can paints are hard to beat for durability and price. They might start to fade in a few months but a few layers and they are very, very durable.


I will have to pick up your choice and give it a shot though!
 

gegcorp2012

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Last year (before go-kart projects) I used rattle cans and sprayed a car... well the top half.

This is Rustoleum or Krylon(?) satin black .
I tried a can of each and bought more of the brand that had the best pattern from the nozzle.


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BTW, the hoop house style "garage" makes an awesome paint booth.

Just got home and verified the paint was the 25% more sized cans of Krylon Rust Protector . I sprayed it direct to metal that was cleaned with 90% rubbing alcohol. I was planning to do the farm implement paint, but had issues with my old paint sprayer gasket, so I used rattle can to "temporarily" protect all that bare metal. That project has been baking all summer in the greenhouse. I made sure to hit the low spots and made a few "outline" passes around the edges to build up thickness on those areas.

The paint job has not been wet, so I cannot attest to the durability or rust resistance or what happens to 79 yo sheetmetal using rattle can one step color coat/primer, but was pleased with the results spraying the Krylon.
 

JTSpeedDemon

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IMO I'm in the Krylon camp. Admittedly I haven't fiddled around with many other brands at all, but I got the Colormaster(now Colormaxx) flat black 2 in 1 primer/paint and painted my build off kart with it. Wonderful stuff, no runs, drips, holds up like truck bed lining even without finishing clearcoat! Seriously, I ran it with no overcoat for a few months! Totally fine, although when I ran it up on the curb and bent stuff some paint flaked off, but that's expected. Eventually I want to change it to gloss black(getting kind of tired of the chalkboard feeling), but for durability and general quality, I recommend Krylon.
Also in my experience it dries super fast.

Oh, and one time my mom had me use some white Krylon to paint some rocks for a crafts project. The rocks were POWDERY, and the paint still stuck really well!
 
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IMO I'm in the Krylon camp. Admittedly I haven't fiddled around with many other brands at all, but I got the Colormaster(now Colormaxx) flat black 2 in 1 primer/paint and painted my build off kart with it. Wonderful stuff, no runs, drips, holds up like truck bed lining even without finishing clearcoat! Seriously, I ran it with no overcoat for a few months! Totally fine, although when I ran it up on the curb and bent stuff some paint flaked off, but that's expected. Eventually I want to change it to gloss black(getting kind of tired of the chalkboard feeling), but for durability and general quality, I recommend Krylon.
Also in my experience it dries super fast.

Oh, and one time my mom had me use some white Krylon to paint some rocks for a crafts project. The rocks were POWDERY, and the paint still stuck really well!


When I was young I thought that I wanted "Flat Black" paint formy bike. I got flat black and found it was "chalky" too. It turns out that what I was thinking flat black was, was actually semi gloss black or satin black. You might want to try those instead of gloss black. It's the dull dark black that isn't glossy that you see on things that people refer to flat black.
 

gegcorp2012

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@brianator - its a 1941 Ford business coupe. Looks similar to the Dodge depending on the angle you catch it at. My most overdue project at 17 yrs.

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