Re: Spray painting track fairings
The paint isnt the issue.... If I may, the biggest part of getting a really nice finish has little to do with the actual paint itself, at least for the most part. Really, the best finishes are done by the pros with the right equipment, but if you want to rattle can it, you can get good results. ITS ALL IN THE PREP!!!!! You may need to do a lot of mudwork, sanding, sanding, and more sanding. Then, wet sanding...tack rags... Also, you need to have a makeshift paint booth for best results, as this will help keep the dust and shit out.
Basically, get the fairings smooth first, with body filler and sanding... you dont need to wet sand the primer right away. If your fairings are crappy, you may want to consider a high build primer. I do three to four light coats of primer, making sure they are dry. Then, do a quick sand and rinse. once they are dry and dust free, I like to hit them with a primer sealer. You want to pick a primer color that isnt super dark if you plan to use lighter colors, or you'll need more paint to cover it. I usually use light gray primer.
Once you have them primed and sealed properly, I give them another quick sand, down to say 320 to 400 grit. You dont want too smooth or the paint wont grip as well IMO. Now, I bring them into my homemade paint booth, rinse them and let them dry. Once they are dry and you have your downdraft going, hit them with a tack rag to get ALL dust off them. Also, you dont want to get your fingerprints or ANY contaminant one the surfaces you intend to paint or you'll get orange peel. Once you are sure the fairings are dry and dust free, you can start applying your base paint coat. You should avoid the temptation to get tons of paint on there and do a one coat finish!!!!!!! You want light even coats, making sure to let the paint dry between coats. If you have a proper setup in your booth, you wont have to do much work, if any, between coats. I try to do 3 to 4 light coats. Make sure that it is dry before you add another coat, or it will orange peel. I suggest three days before you add another color layer or try to tape, just to be sure.
Once you have finished your first color, you will likely need to do some finish sanding to smooth the surface due to the less than optimum spray nozzle. Lightly wet sand with high grit paper (1000+) to remove the minor imperfections once the paint has dried, then rinse. You can now tape off everything that is not part of your second color, and make sure you do a good job on your tape edges or it will bleed!!!!!!! Also, anything you miss is likely to get paint, so tape it off completely!!! Once you are sure you have done a good job taping, you can fire up the downdraft, tack rag the area to be painted (YOU DIDNT TOUCH THESE AREAS DID YOU!!!!), and hit it with the paint, just as you did before, a few light, even, patient coats. It is important you go light, especially around taped edges, for two reasons. First, too much paint on the tape may case the tape to contract slightly as it dries, allowing subsequent coats to bleed under. Second, it will leave a defined edge on the painted edge that will be a bitch to sand off without damaging the base coat. KEEP IT LIGHT and BE PATIENT!!!!!!! Once you are SURE the paint is dried, you can remove the tape and admire your work. Lightly wet sand with high grit (1000+) as you did on the base color to remove any imperfections and smooth any tape lines. Work slowly and carefully. Once thats done, completely rinse and let dry again.
Any subsequent colors are applied just like the second layer. Take your time, work carefully, and use light coats. Keep it clean and you should be able to avoid orange peel.
Once you have your colors done, you can add a few layers of clear to make them really pop. Before I clear, I make sure to exhaustively check for imperfections and dirt. I like to go up to 1500 grit wet sand on the color base before I do the clear. Once thats been done, back to the downdraft with the tack rag and hit with the clear, again with light even coats. Let the coats dry completely between coats. Once you have a few coats, you should be good to give it the final wet sandings, going up to as high a grit as you can find. The higher the grit, the smoother the finish will be. Once you have gotten them smoothed, they should look pretty damn good at this point, so just hit them with some good wax and slap them on.
This should take you quite some time if you want high quality results. You can knock them out in less than a week if you dont mind orange peel and not the smoothest finish...