So the deadline is coming up for the metal art project which meant it was time to get to the painting. By this time all the fabrication has been done, the support bracket that will hold the structure has been installed, and what remains are the painting, clear coating, and installation.
This project was going to allow me to give my homemade collapsible paint booth a try for the very first time. So early Saturday morning I trekked into the garage and set the booth up. My original plan was to hang the booth from the ceiling and create a series of brackets that will allow 1 person to easily, and quickly, set up the booth. This is still my plan and I even have most of the brackets fabricated however the current metal project got in the way and I have yet to install the ceiling brackets. Even with the paint booth collapsed and resting against the wall I was able to set it up on my own in about 40 minutes. I am pretty happy with that.
During the previous few months I had spent time collecting the supplies and equipment required to complete my first HVLP spray job. I researched a HVLP gun to the best of my abilities. Researching any type of equipment that one has no experience using is always a difficult thing. To help relieve some of my confusion I decided I would talk to a bodyman I know from the premier body shop located in the city. This particular shop deals with all the factory repairs on the Porches and BMWs in the city. Well it turns out that I was able to purchase a used Iwata W-400 gun off the head painter for a decent price. From what I read about the gun, and Iwata in general, is that they are well respected guns that perform very well.
Next it was onto the paint. I needed primer, base coat, and clear coat. I headed over to a local automotive paint supplier and talked with them for awhile before deciding on using a Nason line of products. I wanted to ensure that I got something that was easy to spray as opposed to good for the environment. I stayed away from the ultra low VOC water based paints and went with something a bit more “old school”
So with the gun and the paint collected I continued to make the collection complete and got a hold of paint strainers, gun wash, mixing cups, along with all the other odds and ends required. Not sure if was missing anything however time will tell.
So with all my panels prepped it was time to start laying down some paint. I was really unsure if the airflow going through the booth was going to be excessive and therefore end up blowing my paint mist everywhere I didn’t want it. I was also unsure as to how well the booth was going to filter the overspray. I decided to use the base of the sun project as the guinea pig since the finish would all be hidden therefore some failure would still be acceptable. Well I am pleased to say that the booth worked out fantastic. The airflow may be a little strong however it really didn’t affect the spraying at all. The flow was enough that I had absolutely no mist to contend with while painting. The cross flow was great. My exhaust filter was now shaded grey indicating that it was obviously doing some of the filtering. When exiting the booth there was a very slight haze visible in the garage but not much. I wasn’t expecting the booth to catch everything and I would say the amount that finds its way into the shop is well within my expectations.
So with the booth passing its initial field test it was time to start cranking out the work. I spent two solid days plus an evening getting through all the art pieces. The painting went well however far from perfect. I took some time setting up the HVLP gun but still need lots of practice. The clear coat that was laid on all the rays had flaws such as the occasional run as well as some dry spray but in the end it didn’t affect the purpose the rays need to serve.
So as things sit all the rays have been reassembled and laid, protected, inside the paint booth. Onto the final stage which will include installation. I am unsure exactly how I am going to hoist the project up into its final resting home against a wall 10 feet in the air however I’ll problem solve that when the time comes. I guess that would be now.