I have a small Aluminum box (4x4x8") with electronics inside that I
want to give it a nice finish. I tried with water based latex paint and
acrylic oil based paint. I found the even though the oil has stronger
smell, it gives a smoother furniture looking surface. The latex stays
sticky and rough.
Should I go with oil for better look and feel?
How can I paint it with a professional smooth finish? What are the
rules I need to follow?
I used primer and have brush, roller. Only simple equipment.
Can I bake the paint to give it better look?
I "do up" several kinds of metal boxes for the nephews make them GI or
"camo" and their names. I spray a f ew very thin coats of Krylon until I
get good coverage. If the can describes some kind of pre-coat (wipe with
rag soaked in vinegar might have been one) I do that, too. Names and other
USMC or Navy insignia I add with arts and crafts acrylics (two ounce
bottles) and when that dries I use Krylon's matte finish (couple of thin
coats) as finish.
Nothing I've tried so far beats the Krylon (or an oil based spray paint)
for smooth even coverage. But once that's done I've been able to use just
about any paint around next. And I always like a finish because different
kinds of paint have different levels of gloss and the matte evens
Agreed. Etching is essential with aluminum. Follow that with a sandable
primer and put a couple of good heavy coats on. Lightly sand it down with
500 grit sandpaper to make it ready for your finish coat. Use simple spray
bombs from your local hardware store. The etching primer may be something
you have to buy from an automotive paint supply store and it's quite
expensive. Expect to pay around $10 for a spray can of it. Use it lightly,
but evenly and fully on the bare aluminum. The sandable primer is
definitely available at any hardware store and is only a few bucks.
This is definitely worth considering. Powder coats do require the same
primer preparations though, so they will not save you the above steps.
If you decide to spray paint it, do a google search in this group for past
posts that give a lot of helpful advice on getting a good finish with a
I put on "clearn metal primer" . I don't know if it is the acid etch
prime you talking about. It spray on a thin layer of white stuff.
Is it true that I have to stick with oil based paint for good smooth
surface? and I have to use a sprayer? Water based Latex paint seems not
smooth enough. It is soft and sticky too.
Also, I need to get a spayer to spray on the paint, instead of a little
you want to read the label. you're looking for acid etching primer,
latex is too thick, too soft, and won't level out to what you're looking
for. it's best with a sprayer, not rolled on.
There is air sprayer and airless sprayer? What is the difference? Which
one is better? Sorry for the newbie question.
Would you recommend some good sprayer for a small job on bare Aluminum?
for doing 1, rattle cans would be best.
for doing a bunch of small boxes, i would probably use an airbrush. that
would do a good job shooting your camo patterns too.
for doing thousands, an airless sprayer.
the cost goes up in that order too.
btw: you don't want to breath in that etching primer. use a good mask
designed for vapors. buy that in cans.
hi I tried this a few years ago. I found the best place to ask is an auto
paint supply company (here in the Washington/Baltimore area that mattos).
there are special primers for aluminum. the car paint looks great when
sprayed on with a though away sprayer(also sold at mattos).
Find a marine chandlery in your area, they will have what you need.
1) You need to etch the surface.
2) Apply zinc chromate primer (yellow color)
3) Apply finish coat.
Having done this a few times, I certainly would check out powder coatings.
There are shops that can/will do small jobs, especially if you are willing
Use paint remover to remove everything down to the bare
metal. Then spray with cans of red or gray undercoat and
final color of automotive paint. Krylon is a good brand and
dries almost instantly with little smell. If you want to
get technical you can get enamels or lacquers, and while the
former are more chip resistant for cars, lacquers would be
better for your project.
And no, you can't bake any paint that you put on with a
roller, beside wouldn't that ruin the electronics inside?
No. Spray on several wet coats. Just shy of running or sagging. Imagine
yourself stretching clear plastic over your project. You want your spray to
go on that way. Watch your spray pattern as you apply and make sure your
passes blend in together. Again, a lot of stuff has been written up on this
in the group. Do a google search for it and you'll find a wealth of
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