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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a couple of Sharpe Fx1000 HVLP spray guns. I bought one off eBay with a 1.0 tip and had trouble with it. I was told the tip was too small so I bought a new one with a 1.4 tip. The tips on these smaller ones run bigger when compared to the full size guns. Turns out the gun off eBay had a part in backwards. I am trying to become a better tractor spray gun guy. I started spraying my small tractor trailer with the 1.4 tip and enamel paint. I had some runs. I am thinking the tip was to big. I sprayed some Rustoleum rusty primer with the 1.4 tip and it sprayed better. A little rough but no runs or sags. After spraying primer should I spray clear coat to make the primer smooth? After the primer dried I sprayed enamel paint using the 1.0 tip. I did not have any runs but seems to have a little orange peel. I have included pictures. I thinned the black enamel and primer with acetone. The orange paint I thinned with mineral spirits as recommended on the can. The orange tailgate came out looking real good without runs but it was flat the whole time. All the orange paint was painted without primer. I scuffed the factory paint and then sprayed so it was real smooth to start. The orange pieces have a mirror finish. I am not sure you can tell by the pictures.

Can anybody help me figure this out? I think the black paint is better but do I need to thin it more or do I need to clear coat the primer? This is all better than I can do with a rattle can. So my thinking now is to use the 1.4 tip for primer and the 1.0 tip for enamel. I am not sure how to get the primer smooth or end up with a smooth finish after using a primer.
 

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No on the clearcoat between primer and paint. If the primer is properly dry it can be sanded smooth if need be. Might need to air out some before spraying color after sanding.

Pay attention to dry and recoat times listed on the can.


Orange peel many times comes from spraying too thick of a paint... adding a touch more reducer/thinner will usually work better and flow out more. It of course can run easier so adjusting your speed of arm movement comes into play.

Painting takes a lot of practice to get it down.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
What grits would you recommend for sanding the primer smooth? Start with what grit and finish with what grit? I assume you mean wet sand so the paper does not clog or burn.

I think I will try sanding the black bottom pieces smooth and repainting it with more acetone in the mix to see if I can fix this. These are the bottom parts of the trailer so it does not matter what they look like. But it can be a good test. How long do you think I need to wait for the paint to dry before sanding?
 

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If it's heavily orange peeled I'd probably start with 320... Then 400/600. On primer you shouldn't need to go any further than 600 and may be able to even skip that. Your topcoat will bite into the surface better and several topcoats will fill the tiny scratches.

Check the dry times on the paint can... Rustoleum is enamel so it's probably more than 24 hours, depending on weather conditions before you can sand it... I've done dry sanding, but yeah it can clog the paper. Problem with wet sanding primer is it's porus so water can get right down to the metal. If it's rusty metal the water will soak into that. This can be dried but it might take some "baking".

A 100 watt incandescent (regular old lightbulb) In one of those metal clamp on lights can produce 150 degrees if close enough to the surface... sufficient enough heat to "bake" enamel if you need to. Setup several for a larger surface area. You can "bake" enamel this way to speed up dry time.


Rustoleum would use paint thinner or enamel reducer instead of acetone... Acetone could be drying too fast and could cause the orange peel because the paint can't flow out as it should.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am using the rustoleum professional and it states on the can to thin with acetone. I can try mineral spirits if you think it will be better. The primer is not the smoothest. It has a little roughness to it but I always thought primer is this way. Does the primer need to be glass smooth for the top coat to be glass smooth? Oh, the Rustoleum rusty primer states to use acetone also. I don't think the primer had the orange peal like the top coat. It could be the compounding of the primer and top coat. I can't figure this out.
 

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Okay... go with the can recommendation for solvent... If it says acetone that's what they want you to use. The only times I've used acetone in enamel was to speed up drying because of the temp in the shop was out of range, cold, and the car needed painted that day regardless. That wasn't rustoleum though, they certainly know their product better than I.

No, primer shouldn't be glass smooth. In reality it can't be, that's why it's porus. But it shouldn't be all bumpy or have sag marks either. It should be evenly smooth. 400 grit or even 600 which really isn't necessary but it would be fine to use, still leaves enough scratches for the topcoat to bite into.

Surface prep is 90% of a good paint job... Primer is part of surface prep.

I know paint costs money but you should practice on anything you can get your hands on to get your technique down. Watch some youtube videos but don't take them as gospel... Just to watch other guys techniques and pickup some pointers.


Just noticed you're in Texas... how hot is it where you are spraying? Are you within recommendations? could be it's too hot right now causing the paint to dry too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
It is hot but we are having a cool front so it is in the low 90s. I am in central Texas. Mornings are cooler plus I am in the shade. If it hits a 100+ I don't paint. I have been waiting for a few weeks to paint as it has been to hot. It only cooled off this week. I don't know how long it will last. I am not sure what about the limits on paint in regards to temperature.

I found an old hot rod site on the internet and they recommend 1 part paint to 1/2 part acetone for Rustoleum rusty primer and black. They seem to use Rustoleum professional black on their frames and under bodies. I only used 10% to 15% acetone. Maybe I should use more.
 

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I found an old hot rod site on the internet and they recommend 1 part paint to 1/2 part acetone for Rustoleum rusty primer and black. They seem to use Rustoleum professional black on their frames and under bodies. I only used 10% to 15% acetone. Maybe I should use more.
This would make sense... Like I said earlier, it will be more prone to runs and sags when it's thinner so it comes down to your technique. Just don't try to get it done all in one coat. but pay attention to re-coat timing... Some paints will have something like "re-coat within 2 hours or after 48 hours" If you re-coat after 10 hours the paint will wrinkle... Then you have another problem to deal with. There may be more info on rustoleum's website than they have on the can too.


Proper temperature range would also be on the paint can...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ok. I have wet sanded the black down. You can see the primer through the black.

I mixed up Rustoleum professional black with 1 part paint to 1/2 part acetone and sprayed with my Graco FX1000 HVLP 1.0 tip gun. I am not sure what the percentage is. As you can see in the picture it now has a mirror finish. I can see myself. It is much better. The first one I sprayed has some sags as I was moving to slow. I think this is more operator error than a paint problem. So what I have come away with your help is I need to use more acetone in my mix. I also figured out I don't need a giant tip except for spraying primer. I was to told to spray heavy enamel you need a big tip. I think this is wrong you need to add more thinner to what ever you are using for thinner.


Now I need to learn to spray better. No more rattle cans for me. It is so much cheaper to buy a quart can vs a bunch of rattle cans plus it looks better.
 

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Good deal...
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I need to repaint my little garden dump trailer to match my power king tractor. So Amazon quit carrying my Flambeau Red paint. I have ordered Van Sickle Tractor Paint in Flambeau red with hardener. Any ideas on how to mix this stuff. I have never used hardener before. They say to use naphtha for mixing. They say acetone is too hot and don't use it. I plan to repaint all the orange paint so it will match. This way I can fix all the runs. I had run out of flambeau red paint.


Has anybody used the Van Sickle tractor paint?

I guess I am going to switch to Van Sickle Flambeau red paint for tractor paint since it is hard to find the paint color Flambeau red any more. My Tractor Supply does not carry it any more. And my Case dealer can not get it either.
 

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I've never used that brand but have used hardener in enamel paints of various brands. A few words of caution...

Do not, under any circumstance breathe the fumes, or let anyone else do so... It will harden in your lungs and not come out. It's also very toxic on top of that. Best sprayed outside and watchout for drifting paint.

Also, don't slack off cleaning your paint gun as soon as you are done, or you will end up throwing the gun away. Once it hardens there's no softening it again. This goes for other cleanup too, such as overspray and drips.


Other than that follow manufacturers instructions to the letter, only mix enough for the job and don't pour leftovers back into the can, or use the stir stick for the mix in the unmixed can. Instructions should also tell you the amount of working time you have once it's mixed, and recoat timing. Treat it like it's epoxy, in a sense it is. It's a chemical reaction, not solvent evaporation, that causes the paint to harden.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Do I need to use less naphtha since I am using a hardener? I was thinking of starting with 5-1-1. Can I still use mineral spirits for cleanup before the hardener kicks in?

I ordered a 3M face mask.

Van Sickle said to mix the hardener in the paint before you thin it.
 

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Your thinner (naphtha in this case) to paint ratio should stay the same with or without hardener... at least with the paints I've used.
 

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It would usually be all coats... You aren't trying to make a hard shell over a soft interior. Primer wouldn't typically have hardener in it though, I'm speaking of finish coats.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So if I use hardener in all coats does that mean I need a new mixing cup every time? What if I am mixing 3 small cups all within a couple of hours? Can I use the same cup and stir stick? I hope I am not asking too many questions. I have never used hardener.
 

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Each paint brand will be a little different. Either in the instructions on the hardener, or the paint itself "when used with hardener" it will give a working time. That's the time you have before that mixed paint begins to cure. Everything needs to be cleaned up and done by that time or you're not going to get it cleaned up... so gun, drips, overspray etc.

If that working time says 4 hours, and you will be spraying 3 small cups in a couple of hours you could feasibly mix all 3 cups at once and be fine. If working time is an hour then it would be 3 separate batches. Things like stir sticks and mixing cups would be seen as disposable unless they are made from materials that can be cleaned like your gun... That uses more thinner though, so you have to weigh the costs involved and your time spent cleaning stuff.

A mixing cup and stick that had paint + hardener mixed in it "an hour ago" (for example) that paint residue has an hour head start in setting up. If this is close to your maximum working time you could end up with globs of partially hardened material trying to clog your gun and ruin your finish. The exact timing really depends on manufacturers specifications. If it's unclear from reading the labels they should have more detailed info on their website. See if they have a PDF file with detailed instructions about using their paint with their hardener.

I mentioned earlier not to use your mixing stir stick in the untreated (no hardener) paint can. I knew a guy that missed this rule and even though the amount of hardener that remained on the stick was nowhere near what you would use in a mix, it hardened 3/4 of a gallon of good fresh paint sealed in the can within a few days... It was more like jelly, not really "hard" but wouldn't thin down. He had to toss the whole mess. That was automotive acrylic enamel in a custom color... Pricey stuff.

So, yeah using a clean stick and mixing cup can get pretty important.
 

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When I painted the door and fender for my truck, using paint from the OMNI line (I would have tried to use a water-based paint like GM specifies, but you need a proper paint booth for that), the base coat (which is the color) didn't use a hardener, but the clearcoat did. I could mix up a single batch of the basecoat, and it would be good for doing all the coats (I did 3), the clearcoat had to be mixed separately and the gun cleaned between each coat.

Initially I was cleaning and re-using the measuring paint cup (I redid the fender 5 times and the door 3 times, I was just learning how to paint and it took awhile to get it looking nice), but the last couple of times I just used and then tossed them, as they were just a $1 each and it takes a bunch of time and cleaner to get them really clean, and if you don't get it right, you ruin a batch of generally expensive paint.

It makes no sense to skimp on the cheap stuff, if you are buying expensive paint and are trying to get a good result. You might as well just spray-bomb it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Well I finally got around painting on my tractor trailer today. I received the tractor Van Sickle paint in Flambeau Red. It requires V&M naphtha thinner. They say to mix 8 to 1. I tried 5 to 1. So I made a bunch of mixing cups. My wife has a lot of the clear party cups. So I measured out 1 oz water and marked the cup with a marker. Then measured out 5 oz and marked that on top. So I can pour in the naphtha first and then the paint. I made about 6 measuring cups. I chickened out on the hardener. I will try it on the last coat. Too many things to figure out right now.

I sprayed the trailer without any runs. I do have a couple of places under it where when I raised up on the gun I see a little orange peel. So I think my paint mixture could be adjusted a little. It was kind of hot when I sprayed under a big shade tree. I did not paint until about noon. Some how my compressor was out of adjustment since last time. I have a gauge at the gun which I try to set open with 25 pounds of pressure when wide open on the gun. I was thinking using 25 lbs instead of 29 the mixture would stay a little wetter so I used 25 pounds.

So my question is if I want the mixture a little wetter do I add more paint or more naphtha? The paint is drying too fast. I need a little more time for the paint to level. And when I add the hardener what effect will it have? Am I going to need to make an adjustment?

I forgot to add on the can of paint it says to use a tip size of 1.3 to 1.5 so I used a 1.4 tip size rather than my 1.0 tip.
 
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