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Painting metal surfaces

Discussion in 'Paints' started by Anesthesia, Jul 16, 2021.


  1. Anesthesia

    Anesthesia Young Tutorling

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    Hi folks,

    As mentioned in my introduction I'm looking for some advice on paints, particularly those suitable for metal (mild steel). The end application is for a lamp, so even though it won't be handled often I would like to know it will hold up to small knocks or for cleaning and won't flake over time.

    Prior to getting the airbrush I had tested out various brush-on paints such as Hammerite and Rustins water-based enamel, but I wanted to achieve a better finish so thought I'd try an airbrush. I'm comfortable with the hardware and really enjoy using it, but I'm looking for some guidance on the paints that are available. I understand the basic concept of primers/base coats/clear coats but lost when it comes to solvent/water/enamel/acrylic etc.

    I have done a few small tests with Zero paints etch primer and base coat and am very pleased with the finish. However, as I'm getting on in the years and have become more aware of age-related health concerns, I would ideally like to find if there are water based alternatives that could achieve a similar finish.

    I'm not quite sure how to get around the etch primer required for adhesion though. Is there anything available that is safer to work with?
  2. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA QuickDraw and very happy #nobrushleftbehind Staff Member Admin SuperMod

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    Is the lamp outside or inside...? If inside then a good surface preparation and you can probably get away without an etch primer. Unfortunately my recommendations for any common materials won't be any help as I'm in New Zealand however the airbrush isn't the right tool for the job... typically primer pigment is too large to get through the airbrush nozzle. In addition, the airbrush doesn't do large "flat" surfaces very well. For that you need something that will form a fan. A small touch up spray gun (check if the compressor has the capacity for running a touch up gun) may be the better animal. The airbrush is the king of small, delicate and fades! :)
  3. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Staff Member Mod Very Likeable!

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    Createx Autobourne Sealers over an etch primer, Wicked Colours for base and their UVLS Clears would be a great Waterbased option for this project.
    They have a YouTube channel with a ton of tech videos showing all of these projects in use.


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  4. Anesthesia

    Anesthesia Young Tutorling

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    Thanks both.

    I did do some research into the Autoborne range and felt that his may be the best choice for my needs.

    The lamps are interior lamps. They are made from mild steel pipe fittings, each piece approx 20-30mm. Each part will be painted separately and certain areas will be masked/paint free. This is the reason I settled for the Sparmax GP-50 brush for both ease of use and wider coverage. All parts are cleaned and degreased prior to painting - they are new and not upcycled/reclaimed, so are free of rust and corrosion.

    Would any of the Createx paints provide suitable adhesion (Autoborne sealer?) or do I have no choice but to use a solvent based etch primer?
  5. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Staff Member Mod Very Likeable!

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    If it’s internal use, my guess would be that the Autobourne sealer will do just fine. Using an aerosol etch primer would make things certain, but if it was me I would sand the metal with 600 grit and lay the Autobourne straight on top. That doesn’t mean I’m right of course lol, but my guess is that it will be fine.


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    markjthomson likes this.
  6. twood

    twood Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    I just found this. He talks about trans. sealer, but would be same for the colored. Hope it helps
    JackEb, markjthomson and SiRoxx like this.

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