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Thread: Where to begin with spraying motorcycles?

  1. #1
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    Default Where to begin with spraying motorcycles?

    Hello everyone,

    I'm happy to have found this forum - I am only posting because I can't access the how-to section. I've tried looking around for this online, but most of the tutorials are aimed at the 'home gamers' who want to respray their bikes with rattle cans.

    I have a small home business out of my garage restoring and servicing vintage motorcycles. I want to expand into painting and detailing next year. I'm pretty good with polishing aluminum, and I have a very small sandblasting cabinet with a 60 gallon air compressor. I'd like to be able to offer restoration paint jobs on old motorcycles (using original factory codes and graphics). Reproduction vinyl is available online, but I don't know where to start with the actual painting technique. Of course, I am going to practice on a few gas tanks that I purchase myself before charging anyone for this.

    I'm not planning on doing frames, just gas tanks (which are often steel), fenders (sometimes steel, sometimes plastic) and side panels (I think these are only ever plastic). The thing is, is that I don't even know where to start. I looked for local courses nearby, but they specifically focus on automotive and are part of a one or two-year program. So, to me that isn't really relevant.

    So, question(s) 1:

    The Booth

    Is it necessary to have a booth for these small items?
    Does it have to be heated?
    Can I build one myself or must I buy it?

    The Gun

    I know I'll also need a very good HVLP gun, which I am happy to spend several hundred dollars on. I just don't know what size to buy or what to look for in this item. I know my air compressor will definitely be able to keep up, but I don't know what filters, regulators etc., are required.

    Dry Times

    I live in the Pacific North West, which is often quite humid and rainy. I work out of a garage but it is not well insulated or heated. How do I safely heat the booth?



    I've found sources online which sell reproduction factory paint, so that part of the equation is at least taken care of. Yes, it's quite expensive, but it is what it is.

    My knowledge here is very limited, so I am sure I have missed a lot of other things. If there is a textbook, or comprehensive guide out there (that isn't just trying to sell me unnecessary products) I would very much appreciate your recommendations.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, looking forward to your responses.

  2. #2
    Administrator TAZ's Avatar TAZ is a Level 1 Supporter


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    Default

    Hi Welcome

    The Booth

    Is it necessary to have a booth for these small items?
    >>>>You "should" have a spray booth, or unless you have a nice wide open area and your neighbors are not close.


    Does it have to be heated?
    >No you do not need heat

    Can I build one myself or must I buy it?
    >>>Down here FL it has to be by code so I had to pay $18K for one. You might be lucky and you might be able to do a home built one

    The Gun

    I know I'll also need a very good HVLP gun, which I am happy to spend several hundred dollars on. I just don't know what size to buy or what to look for in this item. I know my air compressor will definitely be able to keep up, but I don't know what filters, regulators etc., are required.

    >>>You can buy a medium grade gun for a few hundred bucks. You can even buy a cheaper gun if you don't plan on using it much
    I use an Iwata LPH 400 for my basecoat
    This is the gun...

    Iwata IWA5660 1.3MM LPH400-134LVX Gun


    I also use one for my clearcoat but with a 1.4 setup
    For you I would recommend a 1.3 setup. That gun will last you for YEARS

    I also use have SATAS but prefer Iwata due mainly to their handles and the way they atomize

    Dry Times

    I live in the Pacific North West, which is often quite humid and rainy. I work out of a garage but it is not well insulated or heated. How do I safely heat the booth?

    >>>I spray in a booth, then transfer the parts to a little heat room after about an hour of drying in the booth. You can do this, but I've left the parts in the booth even after 3-4 days of raining straight without any issues

    I hope this helps :)
    Last edited by TAZ; 12-27-2018 at 08:05 PM.
    TAZ

  3. #3
    Administrator TAZ's Avatar TAZ is a Level 1 Supporter


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    Default

    To add to your questions, if your air compressor is questionable, moisture levels and possibly some dirt may be an issue coming through the line

    The 'filter ball' is a must have. I have a Ingersol Rand 80 gal compressor and I use these on my spray guns

    You can get a 2 pack fairly cheap on Amazon. I normally change them out after about a month of use
    Disposable Spray Gun Filter, 2-Pack
    TAZ

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    Default

    Thank you for your recommendstions, Taz.

    My biggest concern was with the booth and gun, so I'll read up about what a 1.3 setup is.

    I think I'm going to more or less dive into this and refine the process as I go along.

    I'm going to build a small spray booth that is big enough to hang a gas tank in the center and walk around. Ill probably use something like a canvas/plastic sheet made rigid with pine edges. I might build a fan in at the top (or bottom?) for extraction.

    I tried to paint a tank once before and it went really well up until the base coat. The primer was wonderful, but I think the paint was way too thick, and it just went South from there. Ended up sanding it to bare metal again and haven't touched it since. However, I believe a good process is as follows:

    1) Strip and sand to bare metal
    1a) Apply bodyfiller, seal any holes
    2) Sand to medium grit (110)
    3) Several coats of primer
    4) Sand to fine grit (220)
    5) Several coats of color
    6) Sand to fine grit
    7) Apply vinyl graphics
    8) Several coats of clear

    There is so much conflicting information online, that's why I just want to get stuck in and figure out my own process. Do my steps seem ok?

  5. #5
    Administrator TAZ's Avatar TAZ is a Level 1 Supporter


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    I just put some notes and tips ...

    1) Strip and sand to bare metal ---wear gloves, don't touch bare metal

    1a) Apply bodyfiller, seal any holes
    2) Sand to medium grit (110)
    3) Several coats of primer
    4) Sand to fine grit (220) <<<<- I'd change this to 320. 220 is kind of course, but would be okay for solid colors
    5) Several coats of color - approx 3 medium coats should do it
    6) Sand to fine grit - Do NOT sand the basecoat. This is not made to sand.
    7) Apply vinyl graphics
    8) Several coats of clear - spray this directly over the base

    I normally clearcoat, resand with about 600 and wetsand with 1000, THEN I add the tape graphics, then reclear again
    TAZ

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