I have a few minutes in between epoxy coats, so I will go through the thread addressing anything I skipped the first time.
I use Wypall 05790 towels for wax and grease remover. I attached a picture of them and the box for reference. These are large, white, disposable towels. I used a different model in the past (wypall x60 if my memory is correct), but made the switch to these due to their durability. While the x60 is also lint free, it is fairly thin and rips easy (like a paper towel). These have the consistency of a shop rag: thick and durable. I buy these by the crate now as they also double as shop rags. It is actually cheaper and easier for me to use these disposable rags vs washable ones. Many mechanic shops are going to the disposable rags for this reason. I am still around 70% mechanical to 30% body work.
There is a bit of confusion early in this thread (tech69 and painted jester) regarding my waterborne wax and grease remover. I am still using all solvent based material, including basecoat. I have never shot waterborne base in my life. The waterborne I am referring to is the wax and grease remover, in comparison to solvent based wax and grease which I have used on every job up until this one.
I have never used or needed fish eye eliminator. Despite my less than ideal conditions, I take all of the precautions to ensure everything is clean, including my air lines and compressor inlet. I change air compressors every 5-10 years due to upgrades and service life. When my compressor goes down, everything shuts down. New compressors keep the impacts happy in the shop and the guns oil free in the booth. I am currently running a T30 ingersoll, which I am very happy with. However, I am nearing its capacity. I am currently eyeballing the new 10hp screw type quincy compressors with integrated refrigerated drier. Guess I am ranting a bit, but I love air, especially dry air.
Sabotage isn't likely. It is just me with one part time helper and this is his truck! He doesn't do any of the paint work, just mechanical.
Silicone on the handles is a possibility. While I have never sprayed any (and it doesn't look like any has been done), that is a possibility. Someone could have gotten crazy with it at some point. However, if this was the case, wouldn't the primer have flaked off the original paint instead of the base flaking from the primer? I don't really see this being the cause for this reason.
I am not intentionally ignoring Brian's recommendations on "follow the tech sheets", nor am I trying to be a junior chemist. I follow them to a T outside of the activating the basecoat. I trust Barry's advice on the activator. Before I activate a new basecoat with the SPI clear activator, I have always shot a test panel. It has always turned out great.
When it comes down to it, I am no different than anyone else here. While I do paint about 1-2 cars a year, I paint out of my 2 car detached garage with some box fans and a prayer. I have no training or knowledge outside of waking up one day and think "maybe I could do that". I started researching online and found hotrodders body forum. Reading all of the many posts here, I finally got the nerve to try it. This is my third year painting cars. Next year I am going to build an actual booth and start bodywork for real. I have never painted a car for a profit. All of the ones I have done have been friends or family up to this point. I hope to change that next year and I owe it all to the people here. Shine, DBM, Brian, Barry, crashtech, hell, the list can go on and on. I have been a diesel mechanic and welder for quite a few years now but have always wanted to excel in painting, and that just might happen. While I may not be painting cars all of the time, I do have a contract on industrial machinery (including farm tractors, assembly line equipment, metal fab equipment) starting next year. I am a bit excited as these will all be airbrushed, flakes, pearls, all custom work!
Tech69: There were 3 flies in the booth. All are in the roof
Widetrack comments on flashing could always be a contributor. It was my concern shooting that day considering the colder temperatures and the fact I only had slow reducer. I do not make it a habit of touching the paint in between coats due to skin oils and such, but the base lost its gloss in about 1o minutes and I waiting 30 between coats. I am fairly, but not completely, confident that it had flashed. I painted just the other day at 61 degrees for the basecoat using the same setup as I did here without failure.
I did not use a sealer, and actually, I have never used a sealer. I always prime and block before basing. If I blow through the primer then I always reprime as the body is not ready. I have read that there is an adhesion benefit to sealer, but I don't understand how. Anyone care to explain the benefits of a sealer if the body is already one solid color?
Coming from the mechanical side (and managing new mechanics...), I understand the know-it-all attitude. It doesn't matter the age, it is all in the mentality. We all can't know everything. Just as tech69 does, I smile and nod to stay on their good side for when I could use their help, but don't think much of them otherwise. As time goes on, I need their help less and less, which makes me much happier. Holier than thou attitude doesn't sit well with me. As I slowly become the experienced one at my 9-5 job, I make a special attempt to be extra nice and helpful as I got thrown into the pit of *******s when I first started out, and that doesn't help anyone.
For my 9-5 job (diesel mechanic), there is no set apprenticeship time. You work with a more experienced person until they feel you are ready to go on your own. Then you start with the simplest jobs and slowly work your way up. I had a quite a few years previous experience and was set on my own in 6 months (the minimum time). When I became lead tech and did the training/evaluations myself, it was a true nightmare. I remember one guy in particular. He was twice my age and threw one hell of a fit his first day. He was too good to be in 3rd shift. Then the other employees were out to get him (they were not). When the work was beneath him and he started refusing jobs, we had a real nice clash and a refresher on what it takes to stay employed. The guy completely went off the handle, started threatening everyone on the shift. Called security to escort him out, but before they got there, he informed everyone that he was going to kill me. I got my 3/4 bar out of my toolbox and he took off like a little girl. He never even came back to pick up his toolbox. I didn't get much work done that night. My nerves were shot for the whole week. It doesn't matter what field you are in or how old you are, self-entitled *******s are everywhere.
Hope you all have a good attention span! I will have the test done in a week or so. I am slowing down a bit as I get older.