November 15, 2012

Parts painting booth

Whether you restore an entire car - or are rebuilding a carb, lawnmower, old tools or furniture - at some point you'll have some painting to do. From a few bolts to a bunch of parts from an assembly, you'll want to have a dedicated spot to paint them - and there's a variety of reasons to do so.

Firstly, you want the parts to remain clean for painting. There's nothing worse than meticulously preparing them only to have dust and dirt particles in the finished product. Next to keeping the parts clean, it's nice to keep you shop clean as well. Painting creates overspray, which ruins floors, tools, as well as other parts and projects close by (and sometimes far away!).

Something I've noticed many home (and even professional) restorers ignore are painting and baking temperatures. Higher temperatures are critical to proper painting and curing. Paint flows better, dries faster and flashes-off more completely when above "room" temperature. Most importantly is that the parts, paint and ambient air is at least 20C/72F, but by raising the temperatures even further - into the mid 30'sC (100-120F) -  you'll get far superior results: better flow, gloss and durability.

My current projects are not at the stage where I need a dedicated parts booth, so to save space I have it disassembled and stored in the corner of the shop.  Since I like to do things right, I decided to take the 10 minutes it would take to put together the pieces from the stored parts. The added heat in a cool shop,the ability to contain the overspray and keep the parts clean was worth it. You can see I also warmed the paint by setting it in front of the space heater for about 10 minutes.

Everything was first coated with an etching primer to maximize adhesion, then a mist coat of paint was followed with 3 heavier coats for coverage and flow. To some they are "just" headlight pots, but everything in the E-tek shop gets the same top-end  treatment!

After all was painted I covered it up with a thick sheet to maintain the temperatures and keep out any dust while the parts cured overnight.

Next up were the oil cooler lines from the transmission. A reducer was used to get the Ford lines to fit the aftermarket rad:

You may recall that the lines where cut in our last 'episode". Here I bolted them up to mark the cuts, then cut them to size and connected them temporarily (for run up) with 3/8 inch rubber hose. Permanent hydraulic hoses with crimped fittings will be made up with the AC fittings.

Lastly today I ran the positive wire up through the floor and hooked up a side-post battery.
 Being sealed it won't require a vent, but will be "boxed" before going to the upholster shop.