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Old 07-26-2004, 06:46 AM
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"Basic of Basics" Can I use "rattle can" paint on my car?

The following was graciously donated by MARTINSR.


There are many reasons why we would choose to us an aerosol or “rattle can”. The convince of a small container with no clean up, or the lack of a compressor, or the product needed commonly comes in an aerosol like spray adhesive. Now, I know that you are saying, “come on, what could I need to learn about rattle cans”. One of my job duties as a paint rep was doing the “defects” every month or so. I would go into the distribution center and find six or seven cases of aerosol cans among the assorted sandpaper and bondo that “didn’t work” for the customer. I say “defects” because there are very, very few actual defects, most were returned do to misuse. With about 99% of these aerosols only problem being that they were plugged up I figure there are a lot of people out there doing as I always did and some “basics” could be used.

First off, what makes the thing work? The aerosol can is simply a tank filled with compressed air that pushes out the product when you open the valve. In a 12oz aerosol can there is about 4oz of paint product, 2 or 3 ounces of solvent and the rest is the propellant (compressed air basically). The nozzle is hooked to the pickup tube that runs down to the bottom of the can into the product. If you were to turn the can upside down, the end of the pickup tube would be up at the bottom of the can in the propellant right? More on this following.

The propelent is at the top of the can pushing down on the paint product. When you push on the nozzle the valve is opened to release the pressure. The propellant pushes down on the paint product forcing it up the pickup tube, out the nozzle onto the surface being painted. About the only thing that can go wrong with this simple design is for the tube or nozzle to get clogged.

This is exactly what would happen to a huge majority of the aerosols in the defect department. There is a very simple procedure that will eliminate this.

First: Shake the can like it says in the instructions. Most say for two or more minutes. Look at a clock and shake it for two or more FULL minutes, not the 20 seconds we THINK is long enough.

Second: Turn the can upside down and give it a spray to clear the nozzle. Most of the time there should only be air at this point. You are now ready to spray.

Third: When you are done spraying, turn it upside down and clear the nozzle and pickup tube by spraying out all the paint that is in the tube and nozzle. Remember, the end of the tube is up in the propellant at the “bottom” of the can. It is like spraying air through a spray gun when you clean it.

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!

If you do this EVERY time you use the can, you WILL use it till it is empty and never throw away a can for being clogged again.

You can even save clogged cans with this method, I used to save cans in the defect department all the time.

Remember, there is very little actual paint in the can and it is very thin. You need to apply a number of thing coats to get good results. I have never did a mil thickness test on an aerosol but I would venture to guess it is somewhere .05 mils a coat. The average paint product shot out of a gun is about 1.5 mils (some etching primers are down to .05 all the way to high solids clears and primers giving 4 or 5).

So if you only apply a coat or two, you are not getting the mil thickness needed for good protection.

Advanced rattle can use: Aerosols you buy at the parts store are pretty limited. Limited to 1K (though there are some 2K aerosols now hitting the market). Limited to color or product you can get. But there are a few ways to use aerosol technology in your projects. You can move up to unlimited color, and product choice, even hardener!

One is to have cans “Custom filled”. This is a really neat process where the paint store puts the paint of your choice in an “empty” can (it already has the solvent and propellant in it). The “empty” can looks just like a normal aerosol, it simply has no paint product in it. The paint store employee puts this aerosol in a “press” like device. A funnel is install right into the top of the pickup tube where the nozzle fits. This funnel is actually a cylinder in which a piston is installed, after the cylinder is filled with paint product. The piston is pushed down with a manual handle or even air powered ram.

You then have an aerosol with any product you want, as long as it is compatible with the solvent in the can. They were limited to lacquer, synthetic enamel and enamel. There are now “universal” fillable cans that will take darn near anything. I have even seen a guy mix the hardener in with the enamel paint, rush home and paint with it before the paint “kicked”. Sounds crazy, but it worked.

Check with your local paint supplier, he may have one of these filler in the back hidden from view. The seldom make it well know that they have it being it is kind of a pain to use. Ask and you may be in luck. You may have to buy a pint of paint and then fill a few aerosols if you need a color mixed.

Another way is with a “Preval” system. I don’t know of any other brand names but there may be others. This is a glass jar with a removable, replaceable propellant can that screws on the top. The disposable propellant can has the pick up tube hanging off the bottom that goes down into the bottom of the glass jar into the paint product. The top has the nozzle just like a regular aerosol. I am sure you get the idea. Any paint product can be put in the jar and sprayed. This includes epoxies, or urethanes using hardener. Is that cool or what?

Some products may need some over reducing to get them out of the nozzle. Some may not work at all because of their high viscosity like polyester primer. But your range is much wider with these two advanced aerosol systems.

One of my street rod mentors who lived near me as a kid sprayed an entire “T” bucket hot rod with aerosols and showed the car! You can get good results, just give the preparation the same respect as you would spraying it with a gun.

VERY IMPORTANT

Just because you are “only” spraying with an aerosol doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect yourself, please do so.

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Old 12-02-2004, 08:28 PM
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Cool spray can car painting

I read the last message, and they are right, don't take spray cans lightly, they can be just as dangerous as the spray paints that the professionals use. Now as for painting your car with spraycans, yes it can be done. I myself did that on a 1948 Desoto, this is a club coupe not a family sedan like the one the cunningham's drove on "Happy Days", but still a big car just the same. After sanding the car down I used napa primer, about 10 to 15 cans on it. That was good enough for the first year, then the second year came and I wanted to change the color, so I shot it with 10 cans of satin black krylon "rust tough" and it didn't turn out too bad. I got to playing with it and found out I could wet sand and buff it out, so I did the whole car. Last year I sanded the whole thing down, did some minor body work and sprayed it with krylon "rust tough" gloss black, about 20 cans, let it stand for three days, wet sand it with 800 to 1500 grit then use 3m perfect-it III rubbing compound, and boy what a shine. The best thing about it is that you can wax it if you want. Before I forget the reason I use krylon rust tough paint is because it has a wide angle spray nozzle-(very important). So good luck doing your car.
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Old 07-26-2005, 10:49 PM
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I understand you can use rattle can but I have a question. If you use rattle can how do u take care of the over spray when painting. Is it the wet sanding that buffs that out so you have a good finish. I'm asking because I don't have a compressor and I was thinking about painting my truck with rattle.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:37 AM
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spraycan basics

well the first thing to do is mask off or cover anything you don't want to get paint on ,I use old newspapers, table cloths, bed sheets, and good masking tape. I see no problem in painting your truck. If it is apart then it should be no problem, but if it is still together then you need to make sure that all your glass areas are well covered and protected from overspray, also make sure your in a well ventilated area like a garage or building of some sort, and that you run a fan. well that's all for now, good luck with your project.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:59 AM
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tried it once

DO NOT use a rattle can in hot weather. The overspray dries in the air and falls like little tar balls all over everything. It was a friggin mess. I took the car to a cheap slop and glop shop and had it resprayed for 200 bucks.

If I was to try it again. I would do it outside (breeze may blow the overspray away from vehicle) and I would wait for a cool day (paint will take longer to dry and get a smoother finish).
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Old 07-31-2005, 08:47 AM
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spray job

He's right, hot or hot and humid weather may not be good for this, that's why I said to do it in a garage or other ventilated building of sort. I did mine in my garage at home in the evening with a fan, set on low, about 15-20 feet behind me just to take the fumes out. It was also the middle of march when I did it, so the air is not quite as hot like it is in june or july.I hope this helps, thanks for writing
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Old 08-03-2005, 05:59 PM
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thanks guys that helps I have my truck taken apart so should be no problem but we'll see
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Old 11-26-2005, 09:00 PM
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:22 AM
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having that info was cool. but i cant imagine people painting their cars with it. those may be good for minor repairs but you heard the opinions of themselves( kirk) that method sucks. i can be good for a detail, a suspension part or something small but for a whole car it will plainly look like ****.

show us the pics of the desoto painted. why whould you invest 15 cans of primer plus 15 color then had to have the car painted every year. the cost goes way higher than renting a compressor, paints(somewhere between 200 to 350 kirker or nason) and buying a couple of average guns.

i guess the bucket the guy painted was a rat rod.
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:47 AM
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I've got some pretty good results with $2.00 SEARS spray-paint. It always stays glossy. And there is some wild-colors. They used to have Lime Green, and Pink. Now all i can find is baby-blue.

Maybe if you was building a T-bucket or something, it would be a pretty good idea until you actually had it painted later. Or if you was doing a "Rat" build...

-GF
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:55 PM
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I've painted entire panels with spray paint before with great results, Use a decent paint, make sure you prep REALLY good then spray it down. Start moving your hand before you start spraying and stop spraying before you stop moving. I do 4 or 5 mist coats which will make it rough and bumpy looking followed by 3 or 4 heavier coats, do it in a shaded area where there are NO bugs. I done the trunk lid, fender, bumpers, door on my 80 tbird, Drove it for two years, and its been parked outside for a couple years now and it still looks as good as the day I did it aside from a few chips in the paint due to it being cheap spray paint in the first place.

If you cant paint in the first place then its going to turn out like crap but good results can be had with good technique.

You can also get handles that clip on to the top of the can so its easier/more comfortable to use.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:24 AM
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Ive never painted anything but individual parts with a spray can, but I have done small touch up on the bottom part of a fender. If you are near a major paint supplier, like my supplier Fender Mender in Altoona, Pa. can put any color you can get a code number from a chip into a spray can and it does have that wide spray nozzle. The paint was a great match. I don't know where you can get them offhand, but Ive seen those pressurized spray bottles that you unscrew the cap and pump them to pressurize. They do a nice job on small parts, and might work a little better than the can.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:21 PM
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good idea!...

theres a guy about 1/2 hour from me who fills custom rattle cans. any idea what this costs? would he use paint you brought or just what they carry? one of the guys there is kinda mean so id rather not call to ask him haha. thanks guys!

~Jason
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:14 PM
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???...

anyone?

~Jason
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www.myspace.com/516drum
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:30 PM
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Wow, there is a guy there that is mean? I say avoid him or tell the owner why you havn't been buy to give them money for products.

It has been a few years but I remember them being about eight dollars a can PLUS the paint. So, you buy a pint of paint and then they can put that into a few aerosol cans for you.

I have to say, things have moved up in the aerosol can business. There are now 2K urethane clears and epoxy and filler primers in aerosol cans!


Brian
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