Daily Archives: August 7, 2012

A premium blend

Now that the dent has been repaired on this Nissan Altima, the only thing left is paint.

The first photo shows the car masked off, to protect the parts of the car that are not going to be painted from overspray, and the base coat applied. Notice how much of the car is  painted for the golf ball side dimple. Because the of location of the dent, the paint had to be be blended across the trunk, down the back, and around both rear quarter panels.

The base coat, white pearl in this case, is blended into all adjacent panels so the eye can’t see any changes in color. Nearly everyone has seen a car where, for example, the fender color doesn’t match the door color. This shift in color happens because it is extremely difficult to perfectly match colors. No matter how careful you mix the paint, a spot-on color match is more luck than skill.

Blending the old paint into the new prevents the human eye from being able to detect any slight shifts in color because the hard edge, the fender and door in the example above, is eliminated. It is an old technique that has been around for nearly forever, but it works just as well now as it did back when someone first realized that it works.

The second photo shows what happens after the clear coat is applied to the car. Where in the first photo the paint appears a bit flat and lifeless, in the second photo the paint has some pop because clear coat not only protects the paint, it also provides all the gloss and depth.

This is the last of three cars painted today so it will have to sit in the booth overnight to dry. Tomorrow all the badges and emblems will go back on and this car will be ready to return to it’s owner … with the dimple removed. As good as dimples look on a white golf ball, they are not so attractive on a white car.

The problem has been handled

Today we gave the area behind the door handle, and a bit more for blending purposes, a quick coating of paint. We confined the repair to just the area with the failing paint as a way to keep the cost down for the customer.

It looks pretty good for what amounts to little more than a professionally done touch-up job.

Finished?

Yesterday we painted the fender edges and the inside of the door on the mighty Ford Expedition. Today we pulled it into the booth to finish the job.

The first picture shows the truck taped up so the paint lands only where we want it to. The front door and fender obviously have to be painted, but the rear door will be partially painted as well as that is where the paint will be blended.

The second photo is the truck with the sealer applied. The Urethane sealer seals the surfaces under it, provides a consistent color for the paint, and promotes adhesion. The sealer comes in one of seven grays … from nearly white to almost black. Each paint color specifies one of these seven grays to provide the proper color match. This sealer is toward the lighter end of the grays.

In the third photo the base coat has been applied. This is the actual color part of the paint, but notice that is very flat looking. That is because the base coat is flat … the luster comes from the clear coat that will be applied later.

Where the sealer was applied only to the replacement sheet metal, the base coat is blended into the rear door. The human eye is very good at detecting tiny changes in color, but only if the two colors are clearly defined. If the base coat were applied in the same manner as the sealer, unless the new paint was a perfect color match to the old, the eye would be able to tell where the paint changed from old to new. But by blending the colors, feathering the new color into the old, any slight variations in the color are indistinguishable to the eye. A handy technique when painting hard to match colors like this gold.

The fourth and final photo shows the Expedition after the clear coat has dried, the truck pulled out of the booth, and unmasked. Notice how the clear coat has brought the shine up from near nothing to a deep, rich gloss. The truck hasn’t been to clean-up yet, and I still need to put the pinstripe on the car, but I think I will let the paint dry a little more before we start putting things on the fresh paint.

Technically, I suppose, this truck isn’t really finished. But ten minutes worth of striping and good wash is all that stands between where it is now and being ready for delivery. But is almost finished, and that still isn’t bad for two days work.

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