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  1. jrschmd's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
    Minnesota, USA
    Jan 11, 2011, 4:03 PM - How do you paint Aluminum? #1

    Hello I'm working on a lightsaber and having problems with getting the paint to stick to the aluminum. I've sanded it, washed it and primed it first but still it flakes of easily. I know powder coating is the best option but I don't have that option available. Thanks for the help.
  2. "Roy-ale with cheese" RPF Premium Member jasonw2112's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2010
    Jan 11, 2011, 4:18 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #2

    Well after cleaning the surface, you want to use an etch primer. This will bite into the bare metal, and give your following coats of paint something to stick to. I could tell you about special cleaners and such for the aluminum, but for your application a spray can etch primer should work fine.
    (shameless plug!) if you can find a Dupont automotive sales supplier, I would suggest part# A-4119S Self etching primer black.
    you can get it in green as well, but the black dries to a satin black finish, and it's high quality stuff! Upol puts out a self etching primer as well, that works good. But they will cost you about $20.00 bucks a can.

    Oh, and if it's cold where your painting, forget it! wait for warmer weather!
  3. RPF Premium Member vader1974's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2001
    Flower Mound, TX
    Jan 11, 2011, 4:20 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #3

    I have always used a automotive paints with a good "self etching" primer. Aluminum is funny stuff. It does not like to be chromed either.

  4. franz bolo's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2005
    Jan 11, 2011, 4:34 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #4

    I used duplicolor black on a sword blade and it stuck really well. I didn't use a primer since it was mainly for shading.

  5. Member Since
    Nov 2010
    MPK, CA
    Jan 11, 2011, 5:06 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #5

    perhaps this link will help you?

    Part Painting and Baking Tutorial

    Personally, I discovered powdercoating my parts and will *never* go back to regular painting of lightsaber parts... Powdercoating actually isn't all that hard, but unfortunately it does require probably around $100 to get started (say about $50 for an oven and $50 for the gun)... But it's SOOOO much nicer, stays on better, and is more durable. Plus there's very little wait time for stuff to dry...

    If you don't have a PC system, perhaps you can find someone who's near you who does? (kinda like how the happiest days you own a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it - better to have a friend with a boat you can use).

  6. jrschmd's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
    Minnesota, USA
    Jan 11, 2011, 9:33 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #6

    Thank you for all the help.
  7. modelcitizen's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2008
    Pacific NW
    Jan 11, 2011, 11:09 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #7

    try not to roll the freshly painted item in a heavily used catbox before baking...mmmm...cookies
  8. sawduster's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
    Jan 11, 2011, 11:37 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #8

    We've used a automotive primer called veriprime, it's a self etching primer.

    You can chrome aluminum, I had the aluminum windshield frame of my MGB chromed over ten years ago and still looks great.
  9. Flamboyantly gaseous RPF Premium Member ARKM's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2010
    Terrebonne, OR U.S.A.
    Jan 12, 2011, 1:13 PM - Re: How do you paint Aluminum? #9

    The tut that cannibal869 posted is the way to go. I have spray painted many custom machined aluminum lightsaber hilts. Primer, enamel based paints and baking the parts in an oven after painting is the key to making the paint stick.

    I use regular Krylon primer (spray can) for my saber hilts and it works great. I have no idea if it is an "etching" primer or not.
    Last edited by ARKM; Jan 12, 2011 at 5:14 PM.

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