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My Factory Five Build



I already raved about the acuspray system from 3M.. and here’s a picture of my well used gun- but I’m going to talk some more about it.
When you buy it, it comes with a “standard” size cup.. That’s really cool when you’re painting a whole car at once (and they even make a large cup if you really know what you’re doing).. but when you’re a novice and you’re only painting small sections at a time (or you’re doing minor touchup), the mini cup is the way to go.


You may have to buy the liners and lids in a pack of 25, but they’re only about a buck a piece so you can just throw them away after each use.. and while we’re on that topic.. let me for a digress for a second and talk about the “disposable tips” for the acuspray gun. You can buy them by the pack of 4 for about $20.. so $5 a tip- and me being somewhat thrifty decided I wanted to re-use them.. which you can do IF AND ONLY IF you use a clean jar of acetone to clean them out after each use. I made the mistake of cleaning out my clearcoat tip in the jar that I had just used to clean out the primer tip—and didn’t even realize I was spraying micro specs of primer with the clear coat. It wasn’t until I started wet sanding the clear that I found the specs and had to sand down through the fresh clear and re-apply to get rid of them. So- better to be smart than cheap. Keep your cleaning solutions separate.
Anyway- back to the cup sizes.. Painting cup sizes are like bra cup sizes. You want the right size cup to do the job. To little and you can't fit all your stuff inside, and too big and you waste product sloshing on the walls..... And since we went there.. Ladies, PLEASE get your mammograms.. Tatas are a terrible thing to waste! SAVE THE TATAS!

Also, while we’re on the topic of spray guns, use an inline oil/moisture filter on your gun. It doesn’t matter if you have one on your compressor too- just to be sure, use one on the gun.. the last thing you want mixing with paint is oil, unless you like dealing with fish-eyes in your paint.



DA Sander- maybe the same tool you used for sanding the metal, primer and basecoat, but the sand paper here is the key. 3M has an amazing line of wet/dry sand papers called trizact. It comes in many grits, but for finishing you’ll want 1000, 1500, 3000, and 5000, plus an interface pad. Don’t take my word for it, CHIP FOOSE INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO using trizact- and if you don’t know who Chip Foose it.. well shame on you. You probably shouldn’t be working on your car until you go watch a few old seasons of overhaulin’.
So, the 1000grit is for bad cases of orange peel, then move to the 1500grit for the basic flattening, then add the soft interface pad with 3000grit to smooth out any DA marks, and finally finish off with the 5000grit. Of course you don’t need the 3000 and 5000, but you’re going to spend much more time compounding if you bypass these.






Compounding is next- any while there are tons of choices out there (I own most of them), my go to guy at the paint shop said use Meguires #85 for everything. You don’t need anything else… I promise you. So far, he’s been pretty dang accurate.



DA Polisher - The next step is to use a fine cutting compound to polish up any leftover sanding marks (which are few if you used 5000grit). For this I HIGHLY recommend the DA polisher FIRST. You can get most all of your compounding done with this tool- and it’s HARDER (not impossible though) to burn through the clear using a DA. Keep the speed low (3-4 range) and work the compound in small sections making sure to wipe it before it dries with a microfiber towel (FREE from HF). For the initial cutting on the DA you’ll want an orange foam cutting pad, convoluted style works best, but even the basic flat ones are a good start.



Small Buffer - This little gem is my favorite new tool- for just $37 I wasn’t sure I needed it, but after burning through the clear and having to do some minor paint fixes I just don’t like using the polisher on any tight area. You can get a small DA to do the same thing, but honestly for the tight areas you want the higher RPMs and very close control of what you’re buffing. The DA moves around a lot (which is why it’s safer) making it hard to see exactly where you’re working and if you’re unintentionally buffing an area where you can burn through. Again, use the orange convoluted pad with this tool to start with, then you can move to the black for finishing.






Large Buffer - Not my favorite tool by any means, but it has it’s place. Big open areas (like the hood, trunk, roof) you’ll find this tool is your friend because those areas have to be mirror-like because everyone sees them. The DA will leave small marks that can be difficult to buff out without getting a little higher RPM (1500) which puts some heat on the clear and helps to flow into the tiny cracks. Just BE CAREFUL.. make sure to tape off any transitions, edges or areas you suspect the clear could be thin- if you burn through the clear you’ll be right through the paint before you realize it. Because you’re using this mostly for finishing you’ll start with the black convoluted foam pad, and then you can move to a wool bonnet for final polishing.. again BE CAREFUL.. you WILL burn through if you’re not paying attention.


OK—So I’ve warned about being careful.. YES, for GOOD REASON.. I did it not once, not twice, but 4 times while finishing and learned a few other very valuable lessons I want to share about fixing your boo boos.

1) Clear isn’t cured for MONTHS.. it may be cured enough to do anything you want to it- but that doesn’t include painting. Paint is a solvent (and you add reducer to it, which is a solvent)- so if you try to “touchup” any area that has clear coat on it with a nice wet layer of paint you will lift the clear coat, and get alligator skin looking paint. (picture). If this happens, all is not lost.. wet sand it back down to the primer and feather it into the clear and paint it again.. but this time do it VERY DRY.. I hold the trigger on my gun part way so it only is spraying air, and then do a quick pass with just a hint more pressure, and then immediately go back and forth over it with just air to dry it out before the solvent can lift any clear. It will take 5-10 passes like this to achieve what you would normally do in one pass. After you have two “normal” coats on it, you can do slightly wetter coats. Because this method is dry you will end up with orange peel in the base color, so you’ll need to wetsand the base color and then do 1-2 more coats. It’s time consuming, but the end product is worth it.

2) Clear it all!. If at all possible when you’re done touching up an area with paint, plan on re-clear coating the entire panel. If you have a hard body edge that you can feather the clear into go for it, but the extra time finishing it later isn’t worth it.. Take the time and get all the clear nice and dull (600 grit wetsand) and then reclear the whole panel. You’ll thank me later. If you can’t re-do the entire panel, then feather it out as best you can and plan on using that 1000grit trizact on the edges to get it nice and smooth.

3) Overspray sucks- When you’re doing the initial painting you think more about the overspray and mask everything, but when you’re touching up it’s easy to think that your work is contained.. It’s NOT.. just trust me, it’s NOT. Mask off everything again – even if it’s just a tarp or blanket over the flat surfaces. Clear coat will stay atomized in the air and settle on to areas you thought were done, leaving a matte finish that you’ll have to wetsand or compound off later.

When it's all done.. the juice is worth the squeeze.. Here's my finished product.






















Just to the left of the GT logo is where the picture of the alligator paint was taken.. not too bad after repaint, re-clear and buffing, If I do say so myself.

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