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Thread: Water based paint systems

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    Default Water based paint systems

    Anyone here using one? I'm in the early phase of switching over, and would appreciate any thoughts, good or bad.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Nearly all of my bikes (and other bikes I've painted) are painted with Auto Air Colors and have been for the last five+ years.....

    It took some getting used to, but I like the stuff a lot. I have no experience with any of the PPG or other water based products, though.

    With respect to Auto Air:

    The good: Water Clean Up, Low Toxicity, No recoat or clear coat time frames, Inexpensive in the case of AAC, Clean tape lines, good adhesion, etc
    The Bad: More coats for full coverage, learning curve, works best when cured with heat between coats, doesn't sand well (of course you don't often sand base coat anyway), etc

    Dave
    Dave Anderson
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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson View Post
    Nearly all of my bikes (and other bikes I've painted) are painted with Auto Air Colors and have been for the last five+ years.....

    It took some getting used to, but I like the stuff a lot. I have no experience with any of the PPG or other water based products, though.

    With respect to Auto Air:

    The good: Water Clean Up, Low Toxicity, No recoat or clear coat time frames, Inexpensive in the case of AAC, Clean tape lines, good adhesion, etc
    The Bad: More coats for full coverage, learning curve, works best when cured with heat between coats, doesn't sand well (of course you don't often sand base coat anyway), etc

    Dave
    Thanks Dave.

    I've been checking out AAC, since they are just a few hours down the road in Granby CT, and seem to have a great training program/facility. A few of the hot rod/custom car guys that I've spoken to swear by their stuff, and recommend a heated make-up air system for the booth along with curing lamps. I'm wondering if a curing oven is a better route for frames, since they are more portable than an entire car.

    Gary

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Quote Originally Posted by GSmith View Post
    Thanks Dave.

    I'm wondering if a curing oven is a better route for frames, since they are more portable than an entire car.

    Gary
    Thats what I do. I have an oven that I used to cure AAC and to force dry primer & clear. It has a circulation fan as well and so its perfect for water based base coat. I spray a coat, throw it in the oven for a few minutes and then spray a couple of more coats. AAC goes on great on a warm frame. You put AAC on as dry as possible and it dries almost instantly when the frame is warm, etc. I also use a heat gun for spot work when doing detail work. You can not put AAC on wet on wet.

    Dave
    Dave Anderson
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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    I am looking to experiment with AAC - how much is needed to do one frame?

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    A painter I'm friends with is slowly making the transition over to water based systems. He seems to really really like it. He said (just like Dave) that there was a learning curve, but it squirts nicely.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    I used some Dupont water-based paint the other day (I only know this because the "salesperson" kept warning me how the color might not look like the original because oil vs. water). I don't know if it was because what I had been using before was just simply crappier paint, but it was super easy. I'm not a painter, so forgive my lack of technical explanation...but it got wet easily and didn't run once it was.
    Jared Jerome
    website.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    I use only airbrushes to paint all my frames so I use AutoAir waterbase, waterborne, and their newest Wicked colors. These are all made by Createx. Excellent products in my opinion. But I had to relearn how to spray paint when I made the switch. Hated the stuff in the beginning Went through some major diasters. Can't be spraying a lot of the AutoAir colors like solvent paints. But now, I can work the stuff quite well and I'll never go back to solvent base colors. Airbrush clean up is so much easier with AA colors.

    But! I still have to top coat with a Solvent Based Urethane Clear and I still use a solvent base Epoxy primer.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    What is the primary driver for larger users to switch over? Environmental regulations? Cost or ease of use?

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Here it is legislative...larger shops with greater output must make the switch. This is causing the job shops to begin to phase out the solvent based base coats and force many small users to adopt water bourne products.

    It is an expensive transition to make when you have 19 years worth of product on your shelf.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Mosley View Post
    I am looking to experiment with AAC - how much is needed to do one frame?
    Todd,

    A 4 oz. container of AAC is more than enough for a frame and fork. I can sometimes get two framesets out of a 4 oz. bottle, depending on the color.

    Dave
    Dave Anderson
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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    AutoAirs' Autoborne and Wicked paints are good for laying on single solid colors. Water based, good opaque coverage. They sort of spray like solvent based paints. More forgiving to spray than the AA semi-opaques, which in most case I have to lay on layer after layer . . . 4 to 7 light coats for good coverage.

    They all are easy water clean up. So nice!

    If I'm correct the AA Autoborne and Wicked paints are Waterborne colors. I think this is why they cover and flow well. The Orginal AA's are waterbased. Anyway, all excellent products and have good uses.

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Hi, for those using AAC, what kind of primer are you spraying it over, if any? Has anyone tried just the sealer? The instructions recommend "self-etching, DTM primer, epoxy or urethane sealer". It would be great to find something that I can shoot from an air brush as well, and comes in a size smaller than a gallon.

    Thanks,
    Jim
    Jim Nachlin | Flickr

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Jim,

    I use DTM epoxy primer. Pretty much every brand of paint has a good epoxy primer that will work and they generally can be had in quart size. Some can be sprayed with an air brush and some are too thick, at least without a lot of thinning. Your paint supplier should be able to point you in the right direction there. Its best to use a sandable primer and sand it out with 400 grit or so. AAC mechanically bonds (as opposed to chemically) to the substrate and so giving the primer some "teeth" by sanding is essential.

    Dave
    Dave Anderson
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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    What airbrushes are you all using and do you also spray primer and clear coat through it?

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    I use an airbrush for touch ups and graphics work, but for painting frames, I typically use an old school suction feed touch up gun (1.4 fluid tip) for primer, and a pair of DeVilbiss HVLP touch up guns for color and clear (1.0 and 1.2mm fluid tips, respectively). You can spray primer and clear and AAC through an air brush though and I know that James (flyingbalut) does it all of the time and so perhaps he can chime in on what he uses. Otherwise, when airbrushing primer and AAC I like to use the largest tip and needle size available. For example, I typically use a Paasche VLS with a #5 tip, etc. (Not the most hi tech brush out there, but its very reliable and gets the job done)

    Dave
    Last edited by Dave Anderson; 11-20-2013 at 11:43 PM. Reason: spelling
    Dave Anderson
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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Todd,

    Here is a paint post I put together that has a bunch of info...

    Groovy Cycleworks 330-988-0537: Paint, it's in the details...

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Rody View Post
    Todd,

    Here is a paint post I put together that has a bunch of info...

    Groovy Cycleworks 330-988-0537: Paint, it's in the details...
    I've read that a few times, actually. I've painted two frames. The first time I was using a Paasche type H using the largest tip. I didn't have problems with the primer and clear but the AAC Sparklescent colors were constantly clogging the tip, even when reduced. The second time I got a cheap Summit Racing mini spray gun with .8mm tip but but I sprayed it with way too wet and had a whole lot of overspray. I don't have a spray booth and I am just hanging plastic in a corner, but with the gun paint still went everywhere. With the airbrush it was very manageable. Painting is a lot harder than building the frames but I'm not expecting to pick up a spray gun and put out a pro job. What will be more forgiving - spray gun or airbrush? Is it possible to use an airbrush and AAC without constantly clogging the tips? Is it possible to use a mini spray gun but keep the overspray to a minimum? Would a .6mm tip spray gun be better? Would it be any different than .6mm tip airbrush? Are my results user error, low quality equipment, or both?

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Todd,

    It sounds like the issues you are facing are compounding each other;

    Equipment - A touch up gun with a .8 or 1.0mm tip will be the best choice when applying the heavier particulate paints, such as filler primers/metalics/ceramics. However, as you are experiencing, having a negative pressure space with adequate exhaust ventilation is necessary for the higher volume these will supply, otherwise you will be fogging yourself out. Turning down the pressure or fluid drop can help a bit, but there is a very small window between getting adequate flow out and having dry spray. As with many applications, having the proper tools make a large difference in both the end result and experience.

    It is possible to paint a bike with the lower volume an airbrush will produce, but it is painfully slow. If that is what is necessary, you will need to choose finishes that are within the parameters of your equipment...stay away from the heavy particulate bases, pearls, etc...

    Experience - as you have noted, painting is a separate skill set that in my opinion, is much harder to achieve a level of competency than fabrication. It is one that is not easily learned through online education or advise, but can quickly be absorbed through one on one instruction with visual and active participation. So often, the variables that affect your paint work (air cleanliness and pressure, ventilation, temperature and humidity, ect...) require on the fly adjustments that are only earned with time in the booth. I'd suggest taking a frame and using it as your test bed, painting it time and again. Be sure to record your adjustments/settings each time, what paints you used, amount of reducers/additives, and climate information to begin to build a data base on what works for you and the equipment you have. This will allow you to shorten the learning curve by analyzing the info for your unique situation and provide a shortened path to success.

    cheers,

    rody

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    Default Re: Water based paint systems

    Rody has hit this right on the head. Learning to paint means learning what works best with the equipment and material that you have, and, though better equipment is expensive, and yet still not a silver bullet, it can help. As you have found, painting is a challenge and the knowledge that goes into the whole realm of things that guys do with bicycles takes a lot of experience. Different materials react in different ways in different circumstances. Different colors, even, for example light vs dark, metallic vs solid, can take different techniques.

    AAC are a beast all their own as well. Guys that learn to paint with solvent based base coats usually do not like them because it takes a significantly different technique and they have challenges all their own, as you have found. However, once you figure it out, they work pretty well. Spraying a whole bike with an air brush and AAC is going to take a while and because of how quickly the stuff dries in the presence of moving air, tips clog pretty quick. I haven't been able to spray them with anything smaller than a #5 tip and needle and I have to clean off the tip often. In addition, with the guns that I have, I have found that it helps to bump the pressure. I run upwards of 60 psi when spraying AAC with an airbrush and I run 45 psi in my HVLP touch up gun with a 1.0 tip (as opposed to 30 psi for solvent based base coats). The trick is to put it on with very light coats. You want it to go on almost dry. Never wet (in the solvent paint sense) and never ever wet on wet. Although not a deal killer, it helps a lot to have a heat source to dry the paint between coats.

    As far as overspray goes....as Rody notes, without an exhausted air space, you're going to get overspray no matter what, even more so when running the higher pressure that I noted above. Using an airbrush will help, but unfortunately, I don't have experience with the type H and so I don't know what to tell you there. I have always used double action internal mix brushes. You might want to PM James (flyingbalut) and ask him for advice because I know that he uses AAC a lot and uses airbrushes for painting frames.

    Good luck! Once you figure it all out, painting is quite rewarding.

    Dave
    Last edited by Dave Anderson; 11-21-2013 at 10:57 AM.
    Dave Anderson
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