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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Painting the Gas Tank - Part 4

The next step in my lace panel paint job was to fog the edges of the lace panels.  The purpose of fogging the edges is to make the pinstripes more distinct and make the lace look even better.

While testing this on my scrap metal, I freehanded the fogging effect with the spray can.  However, I wasn't going to risk that technique with my tank and fender.  The narrow "racing stripe" lace is way too thin to try it.  Instead, I dusted off my old airbrush for the first time in many years.

Concerned with paint compatibility, I decided to use the the same black spray paint I will be using on my tank & fender in my airbrush.  How?  Giving credit where credit is due, I used a method I found detailed here.  I duct taped a straw to a can of Dupli-Color Gloss Black spray paint.

Then I shook it up and gently sprayed some down the straw and right into the airbrushes paint cup.  This method worked great!  What's so weird is how the propellant makes the paint bubble like it's carbonated or something.

After the paint settled down and stopped bubbling, I just followed the pinstripes, careful to try to get an even "fog" on the inside of the pinstripe.  The outside didn't matter since that will all be sprayed black soon.

I was really happy with the results, but you won't get the full effect until a little later.

Come back later for Part 5...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Painting the Gas Tank - Part 3

With the pinstriping complete, my next step was the lace panels.

The materials I used were Scotch Blue Painters Tape, some printer paper to mask overspray, Krylon Easy-Tack, and Dupli-Color Gloss Black Acrylic Enamel.

The fender was up first.  I started off applying masking tape right down the center of the pinstripes and tucking paper under to mask the rest of the fender.

Then I cut a piece of lace and applied a few coats of Easy-Tack and pressed it down against the fender.

After practicing on some scrap metal, I learned a decent technique to spray the lace.  The key is to be to right distance from the lace and spray from a consistent angle to get the crispest possible pattern.  Here is it right after pulling up the lace.

Then I pulled off the masking tape carefully and my pinstriping remained perfectly in place.

I repeated the process with the top of the tank.  Here you can see the two lined up.

Then I did both sides of the tank following a similar process.

I narrowly avoided a small disaster.  I only stuck the lace on the side with the Easy-Tack and once I started spraying black, the lace got heavier and started to pull away from the tank.  Luckily, I had done enough where the pattern was not ruined.  It wasn't quite as crisp in along some edges as I would have liked but it was good enough and I'll be fogging the edges anyway so that will cover it up.  I used tape (in addition to Easy-Tack) to hold the lace in place on the other side and that worked great.

While I was at it, I painted the circular saw blade that I plan to use as an air cleaner cover too.  I painted it red, laid down two rings of pinstriping tape, and painted it black.  The red will look deeper after the transparent red coat later.

Even more to come in Part 4...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Painting the Gas Tank - Part 2

After letting the red basecoat dry for about a week, I wet sanded it with 800 grit sandpaper.  Then I wiped it down so I had a nice smooth surface for laying down my pinstripes.  Once the painting is done, the stripes will remain red.  There will also be some red in the lace but the rest will be black.

I bought the tape from Eastwood.  It's 1/8" Blue Fine Line Tape from Norton Automotive.  I bought some 1/4" tape too but found it was too wide for the style I was after.  Again, I was glad I messed around on scrap metal first to learn that.

My goal is to have a large lace panel on each side of the gas tank and then a lace "racing stripe" of sorts running down the tank and fender.

Here's how I laid down the tape:

The toughest parts were making parallel lines, doing the circle around the gas cap, and getting the panel on each side of the tank to be as symmetrical as possible.  It was tedious - a lot of laying the tape down, pulling it up, laying it down again, etc.  It's a good thing I was using quality tape.

The only think that didn't work well was the tight radius in the side panels.  On both sides, the tape began to buckle in the same corner.

Not wanting to redo both panels after getting them just where I wanted, I cut the tape and added a new section with a larger radius.  That seemed to hold.

More to come in Part 3...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Painting the Gas Tank - Part 1

In previous posts, I covered how I sealed, prepped, and primed the new 3.3 gallon tank I bought for my Sportster.  I also stripped and primed my previously chopped rear fender.

Now it's on to the fun (and scary) part - painting them.  Again, the style I am going for is lace panels and the colors are red and black.

Initially, I went ahead and painted the rear fender gloss black and the tank got a basecoat of Dupli-Color Metalcast silver.  Here's the tank in silver.  Note that all the Bondo work around the gas cap is done and turned out great.

After messing around with painting lace panels on scrap metal (see this post).  I felt that Dupli-Color Metal Specks Retro Red would be a better basecoat for the transparent Metalcast Red that will come later.  I also decided to go a different direction with the fender and incorporate some lace.  To ensure it would match the tank, I roughed up the black paint I had sprayed and covered it in silver too.

I then went ahead and sprayed a few coats of Retro Red.  I didn't bother getting the underside of the tank since that will eventually need to be sprayed black.  The sides and top is where the lace will go and therefore where the red is most important.

At this point, I let the paint dry for a week to ensure it was cured and ready for masking.  The drying time was probably overkill but the weather has been poor and I'm trying to avoid rework so it wasn't a big deal to wait.

More to come in Part 2...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Testing Lace Panel Painting Techniques

A while back, I decided that I was going to paint my new gas tank myself and the style I wanted was lace panels using the colors red & black.  I have been collecting photos from blogs and websites as inspiration as well as how-tos from various forums.

I painted and airbrushed a lot in high school but that was a long time ago.  Knowing I'm rusty and I've never attempted a lace panel, I didn't want my new tank to be my first attempt.  I wisely bought a piece of sheet metal to practice on.

After priming the sheet metal, I sprayed Dupli-Color Metalcast Ground Coat (Silver) on one side and Dupli-Color Metal Specks Retro Red on the other side.  Both have a glitter to them (too fine to be a true "flake").  The red covers a lot more evenly in my opinion.  It's also smoother - you can almost feel the glitter in the silver.

I used some cheap 1/4" tape from the hardware store to lay out some rough lines (I have much better tape for use on the tank).  Before you comment, I did not take a lot of care trying to make them look good - I was more concerned with the painting process.  However, I did learn it's going to be tricky to lay straight lines and smooth curves.

I covered two of the teardrops with blue painters tape.

I used a knife to cut out the teardrops.  Some of the paint peeled up when I removed the blue tape so I'll have to be really careful when doing this on the gas tank.

I cut some lace for each teardrop.  I taped one down and I used Krylon Easy Tack spray adhesive for the other.

Then I sprayed Dupli-Color Gloss Black Acrylic Enamel over the lace.

This is what it looked like after removing the lace.  It's difficult to tell from the photo but the lace where I used the spray adhesive turned out much better and the adhesive didn't leave any residue that I could tell.  However, I made the mistake of not spraying from one consistent angle and I lost some detail in both teardrops.

I free-handed fogging the edges.  Again, I wasn't trying too hard here.  I may use an airbrush for this step on the tank.  We'll see.

Then I removed all the tape.  Again, more paint peeled up.  I might not have done a great job prepping the sheet metal.  I didn't put much time into it as it was just a test piece anyway.

For the other teardrops, I tried two different styles of lace.  I am 90% sure that I'll be going with the flowers but I think the honeycomb lace would look amazing on the right bike.  Honestly, I like both.

I free-handed both fogging the edges and painting around the teardrops while leaving the green striping tape in place.  This is much closer to what I'll be doing on the tank but I think I'll go with 1/8" tape, not 1/4".  1/4" is a little thick.

Then I sprayed some Dupli-Color Metalcast Red Anodized paint over the whole thing.  It's a transparent red.  It looks sloppy because I was trying to conserve paint.

The picture above doesn't do it justice.  This is what it looks like with some light on it:

I messed around with the other side of the sheet metal too and I think it looks even better when the same process is followed over the Metal Specks Retro Red (instead of the silver) so I'm going to go that route for the tank.  It produces a slightly darker, deeper red that I prefer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tank Paint Prep

I've been slowly making progress on my gas tank.  After sealing the inside, I got to work on surface prep for paint.

I used Dupli-Color Grease & Wax Remover first.  Once dry, I used wire to suspend the tank from the ceiling over an old flannel sheet I use to protect my garage floor from overspray.  I also covered the openings on the tank with tape.

I applied a few coats of Dupli-Color Self-Etching Primer.  It's a dark green.

After that, I used Dupli-Color Filler Primer, which is a light gray.  It's a high build primer so it helped fill in light scratches and imperfections quite well.

The weld around the gas cap bung bothered me as it was a high ridge.  The gas cap that comes with the tank is a pop-up so it will not cover this area.

I decided to Bondo it with the goal of making it smooth.

It took quite a few rounds of sand, apply heavy coats of filler primer, sand, apply heavy coats of filler primer, sand, etc.

The last pic above was close to done but not quite.  I was nervous at first (not surprising how sloppy it looked when I started) but I was really happy with the end result.
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