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Thread: Part Painting and Baking Tutorial

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    Post Part Painting and Baking Tutorial

    Due to popular demand (and my inability to find one) I've put together a baking tutorial. The basic reason for baking parts is to set the paint permanently and to bond it to the aluminum parts to get a very strong and super chip resistant paint job. Do NOT bake PVC - it WILL melt.

    All temperatures and times are recommended. The times and temps are what works for me and this hobby, as with most hobbies (and baking ^_^), are all about experimentation. One thing that is NOT a recommendation is to practice good safety – use eye protection, don't spray with your mouth open, and do everything in a well ventilated area. It's also recommended to use a drop-cloth or box or sheeting or something. And don't do it in a windy area. I have a box that I use – the excess paint swirls around in it and settles fairly well, giving my parts just a tiny bit of texture with every coat. I also use a metal rod to spin the parts on. That way I can get to every side however I need to.

    As for which paints to use, I've found that i like Krylon. It sprays evenly and works well for me. I'm sure other brands work just as well for others. I don't recommend using high temp paints though - those are resistant to heat for a reason and will be resistant to baking and won't give you that clean, chip resistant finish unless you let it dry normally. Good for painting something like your car engine or your gas grill, but I would stay away from it for this purpose. As for other paint delivery systems like airbrushes and powder coat guns, the same principals apply. Those areas just have a more specialized touch.

    Plan out your colors/layers in advance. Experiment, but have at least a plan on what colors you want to use at first. For this tutorial, I'll be doing a few different colors/layers and I'll be using basic spray paint. I don't mean this to take away from Tim's PC business, but to give those that want to try their hand at doing it themselves. Getting good solid even coats with spray paint is very difficult, so if you want a professional or non weathered hilt, just skip this and order some powder coating from Tim. I semi-intentionally messed up a part in the making of this tutorial for 2 reasons – to see how it would look for weathering and to show you how easy putting too thick of a coat too quickly on can mess up a smooth finish.

    Once you have your paints selected (and a primer), mask off the areas you don't want painted. It's a personal preference that I screw parts together like in the pictures during painting – I don't feel like masking EVERYTHING. That's why I only have one part masked off. Be sure to use a painter's tape too – it doesn't leave residue and is easy to take off after you finish baking.


    Here are the parts I'm painting screwed together. Don't tighten them too much, but just enough to keep paint from getting between them.


    Since we're using spray-paint (mostly acrylic, but my green and clear cans seem to be an enamel of some sort), it's important to use primer so the other paint has something it can stick to. Spray several LIGHT coats from several angles to get in all the cracks. This picture is after 2 coats – note how you can still see blue tape in the vents and silver in several spots. Steady, even and light is the way to go. Use enough to cover the parts, but not cake the parts. 4-6 light coats should be enough most of the time.


    Here's the parts with the primer finished. Note the even coats and no bits left uncovered. Be sure to use a fast drying primer too – it just makes it go that much quicker.


    While the primer is drying I get my pan ready and oven preheated. I like to set it to about 250 degrees, and i've been told 200 degrees is a good temperature as well. There are a few ways you can go about baking the parts I've found. One way is to get a small toaster oven and use the small pan and some foil or wax paper that they come with. That way you have a dedicated paint baking oven and don't have to worry about your real oven smelling of paint. I don't have a toaster oven, so conventional oven it is. A couple notes on what you should and should not bake your parts on. Do NOT use your good pans. Someone will kill you. I have an older pan that started to rust so I use it. Another good choice is to just go out and get a few aluminum baking pans. Either way, you should try to use something with a high wall on it, in case your parts get knocked over and start rolling around. You do NOT want paint inside your oven... Cookies are good, but when they have a faint burnt paint taste to them, they aren't.


    The first color I'm using is ultra-flat black. I try to put the darker colors on first when I'm layering colors like this so that they stand out more and don't overpower the upper coats. With this paint, since it's a fast drying ultra-flat, I'm treating it just like my primer – thin even coats in every angle I can. Enough to cover the primer, but not drown it. Some people wet-sandpaper their parts every 3-4 coats or so to get the layers to bond better or something, but I don't. I use a box and let the paint fumes and excess paint settle in a fine dusting for that.


    Now just to be contrary and to see what kind of messed up effect I can get I'm redoing the choke and pommel (probably won't ever use that pommel... it has 4 coats of primer in various layers and has been baked 6-7 times now...). I unscrew the other parts carefully, so as to not disturb the dry yet still setting paint. A note on unscrewing the parts when using spray-paint - if you wait until the paint dries completely (normally a couple hours) the paint will likely chip. Once it's dry to the touch, be careful and unscrew it then. It'll be just solid enough to touch, but will come apart without chipping or cracking. I then take a piece of wax paper and squeze the parts in it to see if I can get some of the paint to shift or peel. That was easy to do, too. I then put another layer of primer on it to replace the primer that peeled, then when that dried, used a nice green to contrast the black.


    And here the parts are, in their pan ready to be baked! I left the pommel on the choke because that green paint takes forever to dry and it'll be easier in the long run to just remove it with a strap wrench than try and remove it from the choke anytime in the next 48 hours... Note that I left the painter's tape on – we're not baking these parts hot enough to burn it off, so it's fine.


    Put your parts in your oven on the lowest rack carefully, set your timer for an hour, and wait. (yes I have a stove/oven timer on my phone)


    Let the parts cool completely, and it's on to the second round of paint. Again I put the parts together again because I'm lazy and don't want to mask everything. I'm using a stainless steel paint that has issues – it sprays the sparkly bits and some of the paint itself and the clear suspension part so I tend to get a nifty metallic clear coat most of the time. Luckily it did it for me here and I got black and green steel. 2 light coats and I'm done with that.


    After that I put it into the oven for another hour, this time separating ALL the parts. Once it's done, repeat with clear (which also seems to take forever to dry). This particular set of parts was baked twice during the actual painting and twice during the clear coating. Enjoy! ^_^

    EDIT:: One note I forgot to mention. The glossy paints take a while to dry, but if you let them dry just enough to handle but not enough to fully set (like clear coat) they seem to really even out and form a nice, solid, smooth coating. The part I had taped and had all the paint on was hard to remove for this reason, so if you intend to put several layers of clear coat on you might want to re-mask areas that get painted. ^_^

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    Last edited by equinox13; 12-02-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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  2. #2

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    Thank you for the excellent tutorial, Equinox!

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    I will be using some of these tips! Thanks alot!

    Just my two cents, before you prime, I recommend you sand the bare metal with 180 grit sandpaper, the primer sticks better IMO.
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    One little tip...you can bake the clear before it is dry so that it "flows" (evens out perfectly). Other than that, very nice tut Equinox
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    Equinox..... I'm watching you.. (Thats the highest metaclourine count of any jedi we've tested so far!)

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    thanks LDM! i added a note about that at the bottom. ^_^

    oh and everyone else, thanks as well! /hugs! ^_^
    Now known as Azmaria Dei
    i really need "meow on clash" mya! =^_^=

    duel - to fight someone 1 on 1
    dual - 2 of something in line with each other

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    btw, with regards to baking PVC
    It releases two particular chemicals, hydrogen and chlorine.
    Making HCl in your oven...
    =bad

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  8. #8

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    Let me be the first to say (no really, just move my post up ahead of all those others!), thanks for taking the time to put this together. It's very helpful. I look forward to peer-pressuring you into more productions of similarly excellent quality!

  9. #9

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    Excellent tutorial! If you're finding the paint starting to chip while unscrewing the parts, you might try running a razor knife along the seam first. It should help eliminate that issue.

    I definitely agree on NOT using the good pans. I did that once, and was very lucky nothing got on them. I'm not gonna risk that again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgdve View Post
    Equinox..... I'm watching you.. (Thats the highest metaclourine count of any jedi we've tested so far!)
    The word is midichlorians (or midi-chlorians), look it up.


    Back on topic, nice tutorial.
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