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  1. #1

    How To: Body work, Painting, Color sanding

    Alright, because of popular request, I decided I'd do a writeup on bodywork. I originally wasn't planning on doing one, so there may not be as many pictures through the steps as may be nice, but I'll do the best I can.

    It's divided into 3 sections: bodywork, painting, and color sanding.

    The bodywork section can apply to any damaged area that is either fiberglass or metal. Front fenders and bumper covers aren't going to hold up well with body filler, but they are also much cheaper to replace, so I would suggest buying a new part, and skipping down the PAINT section of this, if you still want a little DYI in the repair.

    This is what I repaired:


    What you're going to need for the bodywork section is as follows:

    -a hammer and dolly (or dent puller, depending on the amount of access you have to the area)
    -Sand paper
    -I would suggest 60 grit for stripping the paint, and you're going to need at least 220 to smooth it out once it's done.
    -a flexible sanding plain (if working on a curved surface)
    -your choice of body filler (I used Bondo, since it's plenty respectable and cheap, but it does take a little more work)
    -plastic spreaders
    -a bucket for water
    -a piece of cardboard
    -*optional* a Dremel with sanding bits

    STEP 1:
    First, you need to get the shape of the area as good as you can with the hammer and dolly. Personally, i really didn't use the dolly much, partly because my dent was hard to get to..(Instead of a dolly, i actually used a large punch and hammer to get the contour of the body on the body line for the spoiler). Get it as close to the right shape as you can if access permits. I sprayed it black so you can see how uneven it was because of the limited access of the area.



    Closely examine the area that you just pounded out, and make sure there are no high spots.

    STEP 2:
    From the last step, some paint is probably chipping off from the change in body shape, so pick as much of that off as you can, and sand the rest off. Use the 60 grit paper to sand all of the paint off the damaged area and about 3-4 inches around the damage. For this, since mine was very uneven, i used a Dremel with a sanding bit to get into all the crevices and take off the paint faster.


    STEP 3:
    Now that you have all of the paint off, you can get ready for the body filler. Clean the area off from sanding dust and any other particles that are on the area. Get the cardboard piece out and open up your tub of body filler. Read the instructions on the tub, and don't use too much filler at a time, because the stuff dries fast, and once it starts drying, that's when the pock marks come in.

    Once you've followed the instructions and you have your mixture of body filler and hardener on that piece of cardboard, use the plastic spreaders to apply the filler over the bare area. If the filler starts to dry and starts pocking, STOP. Multiple coats of the filler is perfectly fine, and almost always necessary, so let this coat dry for a good 20 minutes, and try again. It's always better to put more filler on than you need, because you can sand down as much as you want to get the right shape, and on this, sanding moves pretty fast.

    STEP 4:
    Once you have the desired amount of body filler applied, you can start sanding it down. Use the 60 grit sand paper on the sanding plain to sand the area perfectly smooth and flush to the body, and let the filler 'fade' into the bare metal. this way you won't have any lines or uneven surfaces later on in paint.


    You can see that at the time I took these pictures, I had a couple high spots left, where you can see bare metal. I had to lightly pound these back in with the hammer and apply more filler to the areas.

    STEP 5:
    Now that your filler is smooth and flush to the body, and free of little holes and uneven surfaces, go fill your bucket up with some water, and use the 220 grit sand paper to wet sand the area, feathering the edges of the Bondo, and further blending it into the body. Get all the deep scratches from the 60 grit paper out so it's smooth to touch. Follow this with 400 grit paper to get rid of the scratches left from the 220, and then 800 grit, which will get it smooth enough for primer in our next section.


    NOW IT'S TIME FOR PAINT!

    PAINT


    You'll need:
    -primer
    -base coat (i used enamel) [unfortunately for this one, chances are your not going to get a close match unless your car is black. Even white, there are many shades of, and you won't be guaranteed a match. You can go to http://www.paintscratch.com and pick up an aerosol can of the factory colors to match your car]
    -clear coat(the same type as the base, enamel in my case) [I haven't checked the paintscratch website, but whatever kind of paint that is, get the same kind of clear coat, as the paints won't bond correctly if they are different types. (i.e. lacquer, enamel)]
    -Sand paper. [I bought an assortment of auto sand papers. You're going to need 400, 800, 1000, for this part]
    -a bucket for water
    -painters tape and some old newspapers (not pictured)
    -an (clean) old towel or rag



    STEP 1:
    First, your going to want to tape off everything where you don't want to paint. If your not going to paint the whole body panel, tape a good 3-5 inches from the repaired damage to allow for proper blending. Tape the newspapers around the area to cover more area, and take your time on this one to prevent more work later on. You're going to want to cover up a large area around the paint, because the over spray (from primer especially) can be pretty major.

    STEP 2:
    Now that everything is taped off, shake up your can of primer real good for about a minute, and test spray somewhere on the paper to make sure it's properly mixed and spraying correctly. If all is well, start spraying the area with the primer. If your not painting the whole panel, don't prime everything up to the tape, as you will be left with a line of paint when your done, so let the outer few inches be over spray, as we can work with that later. Don't cake it on, but with this, a little too much is still workable, but less is more. Let dry. (allow at least 30 minutes to be safe)

    STEP 3:
    Now your gonna want to go ahead and wet sand this first coat of primer down with the 400 grit and make it as smooth as possible. Towel dry it off.
    -If not painting the whole panel: don't worry about the over spray on this one as you don't want to take off the original clear coat around it.
    Now put another coat of primer on, and let that dry. (again, leave the outer inches for over spray)

    STEP 4:
    Once the second coat of primer is dry, wet sand this one down with 400 if necessary, and go on to 800 grit. Make sure when you are sanding, you're not stripping the paint, simply getting it smooth and flat as possible. the primer should be a solid color in the area you are repairing. Now get out the 1000 grit and lightly wet sand the primed area, this time lightly removing the over spray from the primer. Be sure you are only removing the over spray, and not actually sanding the original finish. Towel dry.

    STEP 5:
    Now it's time for your base coat! Shake this can up really good like you did with the primer and test it on the newspaper. If all looks good, put a very light coat of base on the primed area.
    -If not painting the whole panel: Again, and this goes for all of the painting, don't paint up to the tape, allow the outer couple inches for over spray.
    After this first coat, you are going to see primer through it. It's that light. Let that dry 5-10 minutes and add a new coat of base. This one can mostly cover up the primer and you can now check to see if your body work looks good. Check it from all angles and make sure it's flat and even. If it's not, sand it off and try again!

    Repeat step 5 with light to medium coats for at least 3 or 4 coats total.



    Allow your final base coat to dry a good 2-2.5 hours to an before messing with it.

    STEP 6:
    Now your going to want to wet sand this down with 1000 grit and get it completely smooth. Again, we are not trying to sand the paint off, so don't use too much pressure, just get it smooth. When you think you are done, use the towel to dry off, and make sure there are minimal low spots (shiny spots). Lightly wet sand the low spots (if any) until it's all dull.
    Wait another hour at least before clear coating.

    STEP 7:
    Now let's get that shine back shall we? After the base coat has dried for 3-5 hours, it's time for clear coat. Shake the can up and test it on the newspaper. Now start applying clear with a first coat of medium-light, and about 5-10 minutes apart, more coats with moderate thickness. Make sure your not dripping, but if you do, give it an hour to dry, and carefully wet sand that spot with 1000 grit until it's smooth again. Continue the coats for 4-5 total. (remember to leave the outside inches for over spray).


    Let this dry for a while, and peel off the tape and remove the newspaper. If it's nice outside, park it with the painted area facing the sun, this will help the paint cure faster.

    Before going at it to make it smooth and shiny and remove the over spray, your going to want to let it cure for a few days. In the very least, allow 3 full days drying time, but I would suggest 4 or 5.
    Last edited by TheGr8Schlotzky; 11-03-2009 at 10:20 PM.

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  3. #2
    COLOR SANDING


    Now that a few days have passed, it's time to make this part smooth and shiny as the rest of the car (or more so). This is called color sanding.


    For this your going to need the following:
    -1500, 2000 and 2500 grit wet/dry sandpaper
    -a sanding block (i used a foam sanding block, and it worked perfectly)
    -that bucket for water, or a hose
    -a clean towel
    -rubbing compound (I used turtle wax)
    -polishing compound (also turtle wax)
    -swirl remover ( I used Meguiars)
    -polish (optional[I used Nu Finish])
    -your choice of wax (I used Mothers cleaner wax)
    -(optional) a buffer



    Note: I've found this step works best outside in the sun, but a well lit area should work too.

    STEP 1:
    Start by washing your car, or at least the area your going to be color sanding. Make sure it is as clean as possible, and towel dry the area.

    STEP 2:
    This is where you'll be removing the over spray and orange peel. Use your sanding block to lightly sand down the area with 1500 grit, making sure the area is always wet. I've found it works best when water is constantly running over the area, so i had a hose in one hand and sandpaper in the other. Be very careful and don't push too hard. Let the sand paper do the work, as you don't want to cut through the clear coat.

    STEP 3:
    When you think everything is level and smooth, towel dry the area, and use the sun to reflect on the area and search for low spots (shiny spots). These represent orange peel or unevenness in the paint. If you see any of these, go at those spots again with the 1500 grit until they are dull like the rest of the area.

    STEP 4:
    Once there are no low spots left, move up to 2000 grit. Again, keep the area wet all the time and let the sand paper do the work. Go over the whole area with the 2000 grit, and you should notice a difference in the feel of the paper. It should start grabbing less and go over smoother.

    STEP 5:
    Repeat STEP 4 with 2500 grit.

    STEP 6:
    Now that your done sanding, towel dry the area and check in the light for any deep scratches that you may need to sand out. If you see any, use the 2000 to remove them and go back up to 2500.

    STEP 7:
    Once the area is clear from scratches, it's time to go at it with rubbing compound. Rubbing compound is a cutting agent that can burn through your paint if your not careful. I won't recommend you to use a buffer for this step unless you have experience with a buffer and know it's proper uses. If you are going to use a buffer, apply the rubbing compound and begin buffing with medium-light pressure. If your not using a random orbital buffer, be extra careful to not stay in one place too long, as you may actually melt the paint and ruin your finish. Keep the buffer moving, and when you think your done, use a terry cloth to buff off the compound.

    It should look dull, but not nearly as dull as it was after sanding.

    STEP 8:
    Now it's time for polishing compound. This is also a cutting agent, but not as much as the rubbing compound, so it is safer to use with a buffer, but still not necessary. Repeat STEP 7 with the polishing compound. Keep in mind it's not going to be mirror shiny just yet. Here is a picture of how mine looked after this step:



    STEP 9:
    I did this one by hand, partly because I like the added control of doing it by hand, and partly because I got tired of changing the buffing bonnets. This is swirl remover. I used Meguiars swirl remover on the area, and I found this was by far the most effective step in the process at shining the area. Apply it just like you would wax.

    STEP 10:
    This one doesn't seem to be completely necessary, but I wanted my paint to really shine, so at this point I applied a polish (Nu Finish) that increased the shine a little bit more.

    STEP 11:
    Apply your choice of wax. Here is my finished product:


    STEP 12:
    Stand back and admire your work!

  4. #3
    I tried to make it as complete as I could. There were a couple pictures i was unable to add, but i will keep trying. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reply with them! hope this helps!

  5. #4
    eBay aDdict™ blindeyed's Avatar
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    Canadian postwhore Epro's Avatar
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    Someone should sticky this
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    Eltie Juan 95Birdman's Avatar
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    For real. This has been needed for TOO long. You typed it out well, very descriptive and illustrative. A+
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    eBay aDdict™ blindeyed's Avatar
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    I got a question though concerning the paint. This Acrylic Enamel paint your using.. What the difference between it and Acrylic Lacquer paint? Is one better than the other? Is the Enamel paint flexible enough to be used on a bumper?
    - Jason
    1995 Pontiac Firebird || FQuick

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    this is a great write up...last year i painted an entire car(pontiac sunfire) the same way..i probably shouldnt have because i took autobody in highschool and my teacher despised rattle cans but as long as you take your time you can get some nice results...and yes, prepping is everything..good job bro

  11. #10
    Dont Tread On Me nzballer05's Avatar
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    Very well done. Im sure alot of people will benefit from this
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  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by blindeyed View Post
    I got a question though concerning the paint. This Acrylic Enamel paint your using.. What the difference between it and Acrylic Lacquer paint? Is one better than the other? Is the Enamel paint flexible enough to be used on a bumper?
    Enamel and Lacquer are the two big different type of paint. Enamel is a bit thicker, and tends to cure a little softer. Lacquer is thinner, so it runs easier and shows more blemishes from the sanding process. Lacquer, when applied with a good lacquer primer bonds extremely well to plastic, and dries pretty hard.

    Because enamel doesn't dry as hard, I would think enamel would hold up better with the bumper flexing, but on the other hand, lacquer bonds better to plastic, so I would think it would stay on better, but might crack easier.

    It seems to me, when getting a paint job done, enamel is the cheaper job. Lacquers tend to be able to give off more of a shine when properly handled, but as you can see, enamels can shine just as well.

  13. #12
    eBay aDdict™ blindeyed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGr8Schlotzky View Post
    Enamel and Acrylic are the two big different type of paint. Enamel is a bit thicker, and tends to cure a little softer. Lacquer is thinner, so it runs easier and shows more blemishes from the sanding process. Lacquer, when applied with a good lacquer primer bonds extremely well to plastic, and dries pretty hard.

    Because enamel doesn't dry as hard, I would think enamel would hold up better with the bumper flexing, but on the other hand, lacquer bonds better to plastic, so I would think it would stay on better, but might crack easier.

    It seems to me, when getting a paint job done, enamel is the cheaper job. Lacquers tend to be able to give off more of a shine when properly handled, but as you can see, enamels can shine just as well.
    Oh that was my mistake there.. I meant just what the difference was between Enamel and Lacquer. But now I'm confused... I have a can of silver "Acrylic Enamel" Duplic-color spray paint in front of me. Can there be a mixture of the 2? How well do you think this paint would work?
    - Jason
    1995 Pontiac Firebird || FQuick

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by blindeyed View Post
    Oh that was my mistake there.. I meant just what the difference was between Enamel and Lacquer. But now I'm confused... I have a can of silver "Acrylic Enamel" Duplic-color spray paint in front of me. Can there be a mixture of the 2? How well do you think this paint would work?
    sorry, my mistake, i mean Enamel and Lacquer.. Edited.

    Acrylic seems to dry a lot harder and chip easier. I'm not sure how an acrylic enamel paint would act. I assume it would just dry faster and be less flexible. I guess it would probably act more like lacquer.

    After a quick google search, it seems that acrylic enamel is a paint that bonds well to bare metal, and doesn't require a primer, but in other aspects acts like a lacquer. From what i've been reading, I think a straight enamel or lacquer paint would work better on a plastic bumper. I don't have much experience with the different types of paint on bumpers, but i did some touch up on my bumper as well during this project, and used the enamel. We'll see how that holds up. I would assume enamel would be better suited for a bumper since it seems to be more flexible, and any flexing in the bumper risks spider cracking, which would seem to be more prone with a lacquer paint.

  15. #14
    eBay aDdict™ blindeyed's Avatar
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    That's the exact info I was looking for! I've got a front bumper and some side skirts that I'm going to give a shot at trying to paint myself. But first tomorrow I gotta head out to a junkyard to pick up a new drivers side mirror assembly since I'm apparently accident prone. I'm gonna give it a shot on that first before I try out the bumper and skirts. Can't thank ya enough man!

    If you or anyone else is wondering why I'm crazy enough to try to paint all this with rattle cans.. then it's because my paint job is already screwed up to the point to where I just don't think I could make it look any worse...
    - Jason
    1995 Pontiac Firebird || FQuick

  16. #15
    Well, hey, you can see by my results that it can look good if you put the time into it! Just make sure your paint matches. There are many shades of white. I'd imagine the GM Arctic white would be an easier color to match, but i've never compared a rattle can white to an f-bod. Hopefully it will work out for you.

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