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.
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  3. "Roy-ale with cheese" 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!
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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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