Criticize my first attempt!

Anything goes in the world of fiberglass and plastic

Settled In
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 7:44 pm

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:21 pm
As the title says, I'm looking for advice on my first paint project. :shocked: I had asked alot of questions last year which was helpful, but I'm just getting back around to post the pictures of the finished product. Project was fiberglass fenders and bedsides for an '88 Ford Ranger, they came with a gelcoat on them which I lightly sanded before using Tamco's DTA Epoxy primer. The primer went down fairly good, I ran into a couple spots where the primer wouldn't adhere to the fiberglass, it was like it had wax on it and everytime I'd spray primer the primer would just bead up and not stick to those areas. Probably a prep problem, I'm sure. I then went on to spray the basecoat, which was the original Ford colors from Tamco, I started getting excited now! It went on very easily and I was very happy with the results after getting the basecoat done. After that had cured overnight I sprayed the clearcoat, Tamco HC-2100 Glamour Coat, with a medium reducer. Temps were in the low 80's with a decent amount of humidity. I had a lot of orange peel to deal with after the clearcoat, and what I'm looking for here are some recommendations to get the primer, basecoat, and clear coat to lay down better on my future projects. I used the Harbor Freight purple gun (I know, I know, not the best by any means, but people had had good results with it so I thought I'd give it a try ) to spray all three, with two air filters and one air drier. I did have a lot of issues getting the gun setup correctly, I couldn't seem to get the pattern right, it never laid the paint, primer, or clear down like I believe it should, it was always very light and a little splattery, I couldn't get the nice oval pattern and solid coverage you're supposed to ( But I was learning by the seat of my pants, and I had no one other than the internet to ask questions from. ). I can't remember off the top of my head what I had my regulators set to for air pressure, at the gun or at the compressor, but any tips there would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you for taking the time to read, I'll try and attach pictures of the finished product. All I painted on the truck were the fenders and bedsides, the cab hasn't been done yet.
The finished product before the cut and buff. You can see some spots that didn't cover well, and the orange peel effect.

Settled In
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 7:44 pm

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:24 pm
Rough Spots, more places the primer didn't want to stick
I'm having issues trying to upload the rest of the pictures, it keeps saying my file is invalid, I'll try again later.

Top Contributor
Posts: 4361
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 7:10 pm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:49 pm
there are a lot of things that can cause O/P a couple are not enough air pressure and or a to small fluid tip. you might try and reduce the clear just a tad, an oz or two to a cup full. 80 deg. is probably the upper limit for your reducer maybe go up to the next reducer or mix the two. on your epoxy you need to wipe your fiberglass a couple times with wax and grease remover, wipe on wipe off then let it evaporate good and dry. some fiberglass has mold release on it and that will cause the problem. your picture of the front fender looks like it didn't get wiped off very good, fish eyes.
Jay D.
they say my name is Jay

Top Contributor
Posts: 3993
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 pm
Location: Pahrump NV.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:23 pm
Your wish "Criticize my first attempt!" No problem lol

Always "What did I do wrong?" :cry:

You didn't read and follow the Sticky's on the first page of the main forum or if you did you failed to clean properly. other than that looks like you were on your way to a nice job.

Typical Too much of a hurry to read and follow the details Now all that money down the drain and it has to be redone all over again. (More Criticism) (Sorry) (Not really)
Its a real shame 2 Paint and Clear aint cheap

Nothing wrong with the Harbor Freight Purple gun when used correctly its a good gun. When its used properly! I know several guys who have gotten clear to lay down like glass with it.
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

No Turning Back
Posts: 830
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:56 am
You asked for it.....

Nothing personal in the following, but I am being honest.

Oh dear! What a disaster.

I've had apprentices and trainees and one of the things I hammer in constantly is that when something goes wrong, don't keep going; stop and fix it because it will have an impact right through the job.

That's where you went wrong. When the fisheyes appeared you should have stopped and fixed the problem. Before you continued on and wasted not only all that effort but the cost of the paint as well.

Sure, I have a shop and the cost of time is a much bigger issue for me than it is for a DIYer but the DIYer still has to pay for his materials and probably a lot more than I do. He can't buy 20 litres of clear at a time and enjoy the quantity discounts that I get, but it doesn't matter, cost is cost and throwing money away is just plain dumb.

Worse, now you'll have to do the job again.

On the subject of cheap guns, you would be shocked at how many I've thrown in the bin. Even Devilbiss Starting Line I've chucked. I understand that the guys at home have to work within a budget but if you bite the bullet and decide to do it yourself, with a spray gun, then at least get something half decent. You invest a lot of money in materials and more in time that a cheap gun really is a false economy. For $200 you can get a Devilbiss FLG5, not FLG4, that is a quality gun and sprays well enough to make even an amateur look good. I have one, and use it regularly. As an amateur you don't need a top of the line gun, but something like the FLG5 would have gone a long way to saving you its cost on wasted materials on this project alone.

Maybe you think that the finish on that job is acceptable but I don't. Apart from the uneven basecoat that you can see from half a paddock away the orange peel is awful and the fisheyes... well, I've already had my say on that.

As for not bothering to remember what settings you used, how would you duplicate them if the job turned out really well? In fact how would you avoid duplicating them and ending up with the same awful result as you have now? Lesson. Practice first and record all your settings once you have fine tuned to get a good result. Use a regulator on your gun, but not inline filters. Do use wall mount filters and if the humidity is high drain your compressor between coats if you have to.

There is masses of good information on this forum and more readily had just for the asking. There have been people, with zero previous experience in painting, take careful note of what's here and ask endless questions before going away and putting the knowledge gained into their project with results that even I would be proud to call my own.

Here is a shot of a job we've been doing over the last couple of weeks. Full exterior respray including tub off. Admittedly cleared with a Prolite and T110 cap but this kind of finish is possible with the FLG5 if you follow the correct procedures. It will take you a bit longer and a bit more effort than it takes me, but you aren't doing it for a living. Nevertheless, you can do it and take pride in a job well done.

2018-06-27 16.00.14-1.jpg

Settled In
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 7:44 pm

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:55 pm
That's it, I quit! I can't take all the criticism! :cry:

Just kidding, thanks for the replies. Looking back, I was so excited to start on the project I was in too much of a hurry ( obvious to all of you, not so obvious to me at the time ). I was happy with the job at the time just looking at it as a raw starting point for something I'd never attempted before and with no personal help. I'm not happy with it now that I've completed a second project and see there are many things I did wrong, most of which you guys have already pointed out.

On my second project I discovered that using Duplicolor wax and grease remover left me with alot of fisheyes, which was the same cleaner I used on The Ranger's panels. This time I stopped, wiped the panels down, and started over. On the advice of someone else I used Acetone instead to clean the panels, and to my surprise it worked great on a bare metal panel, I had excellent results.

I realized I was holding the gun too far away on the Ranger project, and was using too much pressure through the gun. I was basically dusting the panels I was painting and clearing instead of putting down solid wet coats, and I was leaving alot of dry spray all over the panels. I didn't put anywhere near enough clear on either. On my second project I began making nice, even coats with the gun held closer to the panel and making sure I was holding the gun straight next to whatever I was painting. My pressures were around 25-28 PSI for the most part.

So now that I know some of what I did wrong, what are the best ways to go about removing the paint from these panels, getting the fisheyes out, etc.? I'm concerned because these are fiberglass panels, and I'm extremely nervous about using a DA sander ( like I used to prep my second project ) because I'm afraid of burning through the paint and digging grooves into the fiberglass that will be clearly visible in the paint afterwards.

Also, I'd post a pic of my second project, but it won't upload them, it keeps telling me it's an invalid file?

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 4552
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:32 pm
Okay, I'm going to throw a few things out there. I've been in the chemical stripping business for 38 years now and I'll say first and foremost the "safest" thing you can strip fiberglass with is sandpaper. Using a moderately coarse paper like 80 to 100 on a DA or random orbit (tighter pattern= slower removal but less digging) sander should get you down quite nicely. Second choice is razor blades. Guys do Vettes like this all the time. Older paints layered themselves and you can get "sheets" kind of peeling back. I did this on an old teak deck hatch from a battleship once. There are also fiberglass strippers like Kleen Strip's Fiberglass Stripper (NOT THE AIRCRAFT VERSION). A "safer" way to use them is to try and limit their action to the upper topcoats, neutralize, dry, and then sand off the remaining coats.
On the fisheye issue. Just taking a guess but that could be "mold release" that wasn't thoroughly cleaned off the bare fiberglass to begin with. Every successive paint coat surface tension is disrupted as paint is piled on...... Get your stripping done., use both a regular degreaser and a water based degreaser and get some sunlight/heat on the part for awhile before moving on.
Can't help you on the pic, thing.... try sending Chris a PM about it......
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... We can restore the irreplaceable!

Return to Fiberglass and Plastic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests