Dummy Guide to Small Paint Projects - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Dummy Guide to Small Paint Projects

Hi everyone... I've fiddled with touch-up and small paint projects over the years and have failed many times. But I've learned from my mistakes and watching others and figured I'd share a guide that's easy to follow if you have small items to paint. I'll add a touch-up guide later.

Here's a minimal list of things you'll need
-Color matched base coat
-Quality clear coat
-2000 grit wet sandpaper (prefer 3M)
-lower grit paper, depending on the item's existing surface (500-1500 grit)
-simple school eraser
-liquid (can use water but I like using detail spray)
-a decent rubbing compound
-wax of your choice

For the touchup paint, I bought a set on Amazon for $24. It includes .5 oz of base and .5 oz of clear. It's pricey but goes a long way for touch up projects and was a perfect match for my V Star.

I recommend Meguiar's Ultimate Compound, not because it's the best but because it's the most forgiving for novices... and that applies to regular polishing and these little projects. It goes for around $10.

The wax I chose is Meguiar's Gold Class Carnuba Plus. Wax is a preference so go with what you know.

Remember, before using any of the liquid products listed, you need to shake them. For the paints, roll them between your hands to reduce bubbles. The compound and wax, just shake.

For this little project, I'll be painting a body plug that I picked up from Autozone. I'm cleaning up the back of the bike and am looking for something to cover that 1" squared hole where the plate wires were fed.

Here's the plug to start



2011 V Star 950
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Note, the plug has a slightly textured finish, so I hit it with 500 grit and then 1000 grit dry sanding. The school eraser I mentioned above is your sanding block, that is you will use it behind the sandpaper. Do not use your finger because it has play in it and will result in uneven sanding. You can use any small solid objects but I like the eraser because it's cheap, small, and will not scratch if you slip. Careful not to push too hard. Just even strokes to cover the area and smooth it out. The better job you do in this step, the easier the rest will be.

Once you have finished this step, wipe the piece off. Rubbing alcohol is a good method because it dries fast.

Sanded and ready to paint!

2011 V Star 950
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Next you are ready to paint.

Start with the base coat. For small projects, it's okay to use the included brush or other small brushes (not on touch up though). You are going for light, even coats! Do not let it pool up or drip. Use the brush to help smooth any bubbles. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be even. The base coat, shiny as it may be, is just to get the color down. The clear coat will do the rest. I recommend no less than 2 coats but up to 4 is reasonable depending on the item. Let each coat thoroughly dry before reapplying and I would let it sit for around 8 hours before moving onto the clear.

Once your base is done and you are happy with relative smoothness, proceed to the clear coat. The clear is a lot thinner than the base so it doesn't take much for each coat. Again, you are going for thin, even coats. Careful to avoid bubbles, pooling, or drips. If that happens you will have to sand it out. You are much better to do 3-4 light coats than trying to get it all in 1-2. Let the clear sit 8-12 hours and make sure it has cured before proceeding.

Here's the cap with 3 base coats and 4 clear coats.


Note in the reflection that there's some uneven areas but the entire piece is coated and relatively free of defects.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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So from a side view.. here's how your paint is layered

--^-----^------^--
Clear Coat
-----^-------^----
Base Coat
______________
Object Surface

At this stage you are not concerned with the object surface or the base coat. Your goal is to smooth out the highs in the clear coat so that you end up with a nice smooth surface. This is where the wet sanding comes in. Cut a small strip of the 2000 grit wet sandpaper. Yes, you can start with 1500 and progress to 2000, but it's really not necessary for this kind of stuff. Use your eraser as a backer. Wet the sandpaper before it touches the clear! You can use water but detailer spray works best imo. I use Optimum No Rinse but any similar product is sufficient. I like the spray because it is more forgiving and helps even the strokes. Remember to keep the sandpaper wet throughout the sanding.

The first pass, you will sand the entire area lightly and will end up with a hazy finish. Don't worry! Once dried, take a look at the surface and you will see shiny areas that are lower than the rest of the clearcoat. Your goal is to work down the surrounding areas or at the very least, blend them into those areas.

First pass. You can really see the uneven spots now.


Again, keep the sandpaper wet and work those areas little by little. The 2000 grit paper and the spray will help keep you from being too aggressive, but watch how much pressure you use.

This is after the 4th pass and what I want to see. The area should be uniformly hazy.

2011 V Star 950
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Now that we've smoothed our clear coat, we are ready to return the surface to being shiny.

We'll start with the rubbing compound. Again, there are other options but the Ultimate Compound doesn't cut very hard, which means it is forgiving. If you use a harder compound and don't pay attention or get a little overzealous with the rubbing, you can mess up the clear and will have to sand and redo it.



Don't forget to shake the bottle really well. Take a clean microfiber or similar cloth and put a small dab of compound on it. Take the compound and slowly work it into the surface. First use and up-and-down motion and then switch to a left-to-right motion. This will ensure proper coverage. Once you have worked the first dab into the paint, wipe the excess off with a clean part of the towel and inspect. The item will still be hazy, but a little less than before. This means you are doing it right!



With such a light product, you will end up doing 4-5 passes to get the surface shiny. For the sake of simplicity, we will only use compound to polish the clear. You could take it a step further with another polishing compound, but again - not necessary for this little project.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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You'll know when you are finished because the clear coat will shine beautifully. If you still have hazy spots, keep at it. Where ever you leave off is how it will look. The only remaining step is to protect the finish. No further polishing.

Now you are ready to move onto wax. Follow the directions for your product. Most waxes will have you apply thin coats and buff them off. I did 2 coats and this is the final result.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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I used to be very intimidated by automotive paint. Like I said above, I've had my fair share of screw ups. The worst was a touch up job I did on my old 350Z and ended up paying about $700 to get it professionally fixed. Lesson learned!

A few answers to questions I know you are wondering:

Yes, you need base and clear. The base is simply to coat the surface but the clear makes the magic possible and protects the paint.

Yes, you should get good quality sandpaper. You can buy small packs of 1500 or 2000 and it will last a long time if just using for touchup or small projects. Cheap sandpaper is not as consistent. Avoid creasing your sandpaper as well.

No, you should not dry sand the clearcoat. You want less friction to help accommodate your newbieness.

No, you don't need to wax but you should. After all this work, why not protect it?

Yes you can use cheaper touchup paint. However you need to make sure it's the correct color match. Unfortunately none of the off the shelf pens matched my V Star. Don't forget the clear.

I'll add others as I think of them or they are asked.

2011 V Star 950

Last edited by bofa; 04-11-2016 at 01:09 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 01:48 PM
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Thanks. That's a great write-up man. I am intimidated with painting and have some touch-up needed to my "Beast" that I will be attempting one day. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this thread for reference.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonysnek View Post
Thanks. That's a great write-up man. I am intimidated with painting and have some touch-up needed to my "Beast" that I will be attempting one day. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this thread for reference.
Thanks - hope it helps. I'm tempted to tackle something bigger eventually, but not sure what yet.

I'll post some tips for fixing chips in the next week or two. I fixed a bunch of stuff from the previous owner over the weekend but forgot to take pics. Unfortunately I added another chip mysel, but it gives me a chance to take pics this time.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-11-2016, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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So I was in the garage cutting the plug off the back of this thing, and of course dropped it. 4 more rounds of compound and 2 more coats of wax and back to normal.

I mentioned above I was using this to plug a hole. Here's the before and after now that I got it mounted.






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