Proper planning is the key to the success of any project. Proper preparation requires having the right materials, tools, abrasives and a clean area to spray.
The first step in preparation is to remove the surface of all contaminants such as dirt, grease and waxes.
Even when the surface is to be sanded, it is best to remove any film on the surface as sanding a dirty surface will further push contaminants into the surface. Use a cleaner or degreaser with a mild solvent base that dries fast.
Next the surface should be thoroughly sanded or scuffed. It is necessary to evaluate the surface. If the existing coating is an O.E.M. finish in good condition, it may be prepared by dry D/A sanding, wet sanding or scuffing.
If the existing coating is in poor condition, stripping down to the bare substrate is recommended. Use liquid strippers, aggressive sanding, media blasting, etc.
Bare metal should be cleaned of any contaminants and oils, then coated with self-etching primer.
Use standard automotive grade primers. Auto Air Colors work over any automotive filler primer. After automotive primer has been applied, prepare surface by scuffing or sanding thoroughly eliminating all surface imperfections. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Once the surface has been thoroughly sanded or scuffed, the next step is the application of Auto Air Base Coat Sealer.
Fiberglass should be scrubbed thoroughly, washed and dried. Repair and fill any deep scratches, dents and surface imperfections prior to painting. Machine sand, hand sand, wet sand or scuff with a 3-M Red or Gray Scotch-Brite Scuff Pad®.
When working with bare or exposed metal, an automotive primer must be used before application of Auto Air Colors. Auto Air Colors are waterbased and may corrode exposed metal. Auto Air Colors work over any automotive primer.
Once the surface has been thoroughly sanded or scuffed, the next step is the application of Auto Air Base Coat Sealer White or Dark. Apply first two coats lightly as a tact or acclimation coat. Heat or dry between coats. Build up color on third and possibly fourth coat (if needed) coat. The surface is then ready for the application of colors.
To ensure colors are free of any contaminants, pass Auto Air Colors through a filter prior to spraying.
Auto Air Colors are manufactured with great care and pride, as a part of its quality control process, we employ multiple filtration steps to ensure the colors are free of contaminants. However, small bits of hardened paint may be on the caps, especially once the caps on the Auto Air Colors bottles have been opened and the colors are exposed to fresh air. These hardened bits of paint may be mixed with the rest of the paint when the bottle is shaken. These hardened bits will create imperfections when sprayed. Although such occurrences are not common, it is best to pass the colors through a fine mesh paint filter or screen prior to use. Another way colors may be properly filtered is to cut out a small area from the filter screen, unscrew cap from bottle, place the cut screen over the bottle’s opening and screw the cap back onto the bottle’s top.
Make sure the air source is free of contaminates, especially oil.
The old adage that oil and water do not mix is true when working with the Auto Air Colors. Oil or oil vapor in the airline will work against the Auto Air Colors and cause a "fish eye" effect that is especially noticeable when the clear coat is applied.
Apply colors in lightly layered coats, allowing coat to dry prior to the application of the next coat.
Working in lightly layered coats is important to ensuring successful results. A light coat of a water-based paint is much thinner than a light coat of urethane paint. This is the most important thing to remember in having success with the Auto Air Colors; WORK IN EXTREMELY LIGHT COATS. Do not try to get total coverage from one coat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q - Will paint jobs done with Auto Air Colors last?
A – Yes. Auto Air Colors are lightfast, permanent and durable. Auto Air Colors create a hard film forming polymer which has greater impact resistance than a urethane making it less likely to chip, crack or flake.
Q - How can Auto Air Colors be used and on what type of surface?
A – Auto Air Colors are base coat automotive paints designed for use on cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, etc. When cleared with a urethane clear coat, colors are durable and long lasting. Auto Air Colors can be used for the entire vehicle or for graphics applied onto the finish. The colors work on metal, aluminum, fiberglass, carbon, plastics and other non-porous surfaces. The colors may be applied onto prepared urethane and lacquer finishes as well.
Q - What are the most important things to know when working with Auto Air Colors?
A – Most important is working in light coats. Being waterbased, excess water is evaporated from the Auto Air Colors as they dry. Working in light coats ensures that all the excess water is wicked from the paint and that the colors will thoroughly dry. It is also important to make sure the air source is free of any oil contaminates. Oil and water do not mix and this will cause a “fish eye” effect, especially when the clear is applied. The heat curing process is also important, mentioned further the next Q&A.
Q - What are Auto Air Colors made of?
A – Auto Air Colors are made up of an advanced waterbased, non-toxic poly-mer designed specifically for automotive applications. Actual automotive pigments, the same used by the vehicle manufacturers are than thoroughly homogenized using a special mixing process which allows for a clean brilliant color.
Q - What is unique about the Auto Air Colors?
A – Auto Air Colors will cross-link when cured with heat or air, similar to a urethane catalyzing. The application of heat to the color when they are drying or soon after they have dried creates a reaction inside the colors in which the individual acrylic polymer strands link up with one another to create a strong, uniform mesh that is “bomb proof”.
Q – What type of clears are compatible with Auto Air Colors?
A – Any urethane or polyurethane clear work excellent. Auto Air Colors are porous which means the clear will absorb into the paint creating a death grip. Urethane clears love Auto Air Colors and will not delaminate nor peel.
Q - How does the heat cure process work and is it always necessary?
A – The heat curing process is recommended, but not always necessary. We recommend that the colors be cured with heat prior to masking or clear coating. Simply exposing the colors to heat for a short duration while they are drying or soon after they have dried will work. The heat source may come from a heat gun, heat lamp or leaving the colors in the sun on a hot day (unless it is a humid environment, more on this below). The heat does not have to be excessive. Heating the colors so that they are warm and dry to the touch will work well. Drying time depends, but for a square foot area dried with a heat gun, heat curing time should be around a half minute.
The heat causes the binder to cross-link, which means it has set and is cured. Although this step may be skipped and the product still performs well when masked and cleared, we do not recommend it as the binder is intended for the cross-linking process. Also, the use of a heat gun or lamp does speed up the drying time as the waterbased dry slower than urethanes without air of a heat source.
Q - How does climate or shop conditions affect the Auto Air Colors?
A - Auto Air Colors are best used in a dry and warm environment. The more humid or colder the environment, the more the drying time will be slowed. In especially humid conditions, the use of a heat gun or lamp is strongly recommended to speed up the drying time and ensure all the excess water is evaporated from the paint. Also, in a humid environment, even after the colors have dried, the porous nature of the colors will allow moisture to build on the colors. This may affect the ability of a low-tack masking film to stay on the colors around the edges. To counter this, use a higher tack masking film. The Auto Air Colors have a strong bond to the surface they are applied to and work well with high tack masking film. Re-exposing the colors to heat prior to masking or clearing in a humid environment is also a good idea to ensure there is no vapor lock.