I am getting a little better at spraying clear

JC Daniel

Active Member
I am only a hobby painter and have not sprayed but only 10 complete jobs, I have struggled to spray Euro and Uv clears without runs and orange peel. I sprayed Euro a couple days ago on my friends 86 Monte Carlo and only got one small 2 inch run but still have peel, I spray with an Iwata LPH 400 1.4 and am learning to like it better as I spray more with it. How can I get the finish more slick than I have been? I see you guys post jobs you have sprayed off the gun and my mouth waters looking at the finish. Granted I know I will need a lot more experience to get better but I would love to have some comments to point out some possible fix for my dilemma. Settings for Euro and UV are 3 turns out on fluid, Fan 90% open and 30 psi air pressure with the trigger pulled at the regulator on the gun. Bear with me guys I just want to get better!
 

texasking

Active Member
Getting a slick finish is always a work in progress. Only spraying occasionally makes it harder. Spraying consistently slick finishes takes lots of practice and as conditions change, so will technique, settings, activator and reducer adjustments. When I was spraying 8 cars a day with the same clear, hardener, and reducer year round in 2 heated downdraft booths, it was easy to get consistently flawless finishes. Now spraying in less than ideal conditions with temperature swings of 50 degrees and inconsistent humidity levels, a lot more adjustment is needed, and the consistency is much harder. In these conditions experience is the only saving grace. Don't get caught up thinking there is a magical setting on your gun, because it may not be magical for all conditions. Technique adjustment is much more critical, and that only comes from practice.
 
I suggest you lower the PSI to 26, keep the gun about 4" from the surface, move slow (12" per second) and use a 50% overlap.
Don't go back over an area you already sprayed no matter how much it begs you to give it one more shot.

My Iwata LPH 400 seems to spray base best at 22-23 psi and clear in the 26-27 psi range. I don't use reducer in clear except on the last coat.
 

serjik911

Active Member
You got an A+grade clear
You got A grade gun
You got great support here from experienced guys like Chris and Barry.
Now it's time, patience and diligence. Persistence. I spray around a gallon of euro daily, it took around 2 weeks of regular spray to get at the point where I like my clear coat job.
 
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sprint_9

Rookie
Getting a slick finish is always a work in progress. Only spraying occasionally makes it harder. Spraying consistently slick finishes takes lots of practice and as conditions change, so will technique, settings, activator and reducer adjustments. When I was spraying 8 cars a day with the same clear, hardener, and reducer year round in 2 heated downdraft booths, it was easy to get consistently flawless finishes. Now spraying in less than ideal conditions with temperature swings of 50 degrees and inconsistent humidity levels, a lot more adjustment is needed, and the consistency is much harder. In these conditions experience is the only saving grace. Don't get caught up thinking there is a magical setting on your gun, because it may not be magical for all conditions. Technique adjustment is much more critical, and that only comes from practice.
This right here I can really relate to, I absolutely struggled adjusting for the reasons you described.

I dont have alot of experience and sprayed a low volume with long intervals between sessions. The way weather affects things is really fascinating. You can still be in the temp range for your reducer or activator, but a big swing in temp or humidity from one end to the other really affects things.
 

JC Daniel

Active Member
Appreciate all the comments guys, I am always wanting to be better at whatever I am doing and right now I am in the final stages of this car. If I can get the car to look good after flow coating, nibbing, and Buffing I will post a picture for you guys to ponder at.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
Two of the most important things are overlap and speed of your passes. More overlap and faster speed. For high solids clears you want to have around 75% overlap. Having more overlap means you also pick up the speed of your passes. Watch the clear "fill in" as you are spraying. You want to see it fill in and no more. That is the most important thing. Your pass speed revolves around the clear filling in. I wish I could describe it better but that is the best way I can describe it. The gloss and "laying out" come in the moments after. Looking for gloss and slickness as you are spraying is not what you should do. Concentrate on seeing the clear fill. Adjust your speed to accomplish that. If you can start to see the clearing filling in then you are on your way to being able to shoot it slick. A run tells you that you need to speed up, orange peel means slow down or increase your overlap.
More overlap is key to getting a slick finish. Consistent passes are key. Closer you are to perfect with your pass consistency the better the finish. Draw imaginary lines in your head through the panel(s). Follow those lines like a robot. Don't allow yourself to follow body lines or not spray in straight line passes. That is important.

Think about it this way. You know how sometimes if you have a small part that you clear how it's easier to get it slick? Even if you have been struggling when clearing other stuff. That's because without realizing it you are overlapping more than when you are painting something larger.
Adjust your gun so that it sprays wet. Compensate for this by increasing your speed. It's much easier to spray clear fast (pass speed) than it is going slower. "Wet" is a relative term though and doesn't mean exactly that. I want a nice full pattern and no more. For the Sata 5000 RP (1.3) that means about 1 1/2 -1 3/4 turns out. Never ever spray "tack" coats or dry coats. If your first coat is dry you have no chance of getting a decent finish without buffing.

And don't get discouraged if you can't do super slick no buff finishes right away. Like everything it takes practice and time. Don't do like many do, and turn off your brain when you are working. Always be analyzing and thinking about what you are doing and what the effect of it is. It took me several years before I could consistently get very slick, no buff finishes. Once you learn it though, like riding a bike it never goes away.:)
 
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I have only used a Sata 2000 and compared to the Iwata you have to move faster with the Sata. The LPH400 1.4 quickly became my favorite clear gun but I think that is more because it suits my style of spraying - slow and steady.

Maybe I'll try the 75% over lap while using the Tekna Copper 1.3 the next time around.

Chris is right on seeing the clear fill in as you spray. Once you "see" it you will know what it is and you can dial your spraying speed to keep it consistent.
 

ksungela

Member
I'm an avid reader of the forum and have only painted 6 cars over 5 years, but all with UC, 3 using an LPH400, 3 using a Sata 5000 RP. For me, not much correlation between the two guns and slickness of finish. My technique has improved based on the suggestions of Shine, Jim C, Chris H, and others. For me, I think the keys are spray gun speed and overlap as Chris explained above, laying down light (THIN) coats so the clear can more easily flatten out on its own, and using very slow activator and/or retarder so the clear has longer to lay itself flat. My last car was the slickest finish so far.
 

JC Daniel

Active Member
I really appreciate the help and comments more than you guys know, I am a jack of all trades and strive to get better at them all. I wish painting was as easy as making custom knives, I have made knives for 15 years and have really got a lot faster over time so I know that it will take a good while to get better at paint and body work. I am like anybody else, I see some custom paint work and say why can't I do that? I am OCD at whatever I am working on, I drive my friend up the wall sometimes because I am so picky with my work. Oh well I am what I am by the Grace of God and am not going to complain!
 

Machspeed

Member
This is a great thread! I'm not there yet, but when I do get there, it will be my first. Thus, I read a lot. Reading through some of these threads regarding difficulties spraying clear makes a guy like me a bit nervous....LOL! But, encouraging to me is reading the struggling posts of others whom have overcome through the direction of the very active members here. Chris, your commentary is awesome. Thank you!
 

rdransman

Member
This is a great thread! I'm not there yet, but when I do get there, it will be my first. Thus, I read a lot. Reading through some of these threads regarding difficulties spraying clear makes a guy like me a bit nervous....LOL! But, encouraging to me is reading the struggling posts of others whom have overcome through the direction of the very active members here. Chris, your commentary is awesome. Thank you!
Don't be too nervous. The SPI clears are very forgiving, and if you get a little peel or unevenness - or even a few runs - it sands and buffs easily. This isn't very comforting to the production refinisher, but the hobbyist like me has been known to take advantage of it. :)
 

Barry

Paint Fanatic
Staff member
I really appreciate the help and comments more than you guys know, I am a jack of all trades and strive to get better at them all. I wish painting was as easy as making custom knives, I have made knives for 15 years and have really got a lot faster over time so I know that it will take a good while to get better at paint and body work. I am like anybody else, I see some custom paint work and say why can't I do that? I am OCD at whatever I am working on, I drive my friend up the wall sometimes because I am so picky with my work. Oh well, I am what I am by the Grace of God and am not going to complain!
How bout pictures of the knives you make? That takes some talent!
 

JC Daniel

Active Member
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The chopper is made from 1/4 x 2 80crv2 carbon steel with a 10 inch blade, I acid bathed it and gave it a timble in river stones for the forced patina and worn effect. The Bowie is the same steel with 10 inch blade but high polished for the customers order. Both kniives are handled with Micarta. I free hand grind the blades on a 8-10 inch wheel and do my own leather work, The Bowie sheath has a Rattlesnake inlay which I harvested and tanned myself. These knives sell between 400.00 to 500.00 each depending on what materials are used. Thanks for inviting me to share
 

JC Daniel

Active Member
I am a very humble and giving man as God wants me to be, I have 2 drop point hunter style knives made and 2 upswept skinners that I just finished. I am going to post one of the small skinners on facebook next week sometime to be given away, I go by Craig Daniel on FB if any of you guys want a solid friend and get in on a chance at winning a custom knife for free just send me a friend request .
 

Machspeed

Member
WOW, that is incredible work!!! I appreciate the skill and artistry in your work.... phenomenal!!! How long does it take you to make just the knife? I'm gonna friend ya, just in hopes that I can see more of your work. Thanks for sharing!

We need to see you on "Forged In Fire"! If you can handle putting out a less than perfect knife in so much as quailing your quest for perfection, think you could win it! Again, awesome work!!!
 
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