Making a "dust free" environment for paiting?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Skaught, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Skaught

    Skaught Sr Member

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    I want to give my styrene AT-AT helmet a nice gloss paint job, but I don't want little particles showing up in the finish. What's the best way to make a dust-free environment to paint and dry in?

    Scott
     
  2. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    What size environment are we talking about? Do you want something room sized or something just larger than the item to be painted?

    Without building a custom 'clean room', you may be limited to putting a box over the item as it dries. You could build a box out of plexi with small holes along the botton for ventilation.

    -Fred
     
  3. synasp

    synasp Sr Member

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    You can also put up a lot of plastic (thinner than tarp, but the same effect). They sell rolls large enough to cover your hourse at your local hardware store. I forget how expensive it is, but it's the idea that counts--large sheets of plastic.

    Cheap, effective, temporary. Good luck. Post progress..
     
  4. RedTwoX

    RedTwoX Sr Member

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    I think you are making this way harder than it needs to be. Just paint it. Then wet sand and polish any imperfections that turn up. Trying to make an effective, dust-free environment is going to take a lot more time and effort than wet sanding and polishing will.
     
  5. Stormtrooper

    Stormtrooper Well-Known Member

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    I think really the easiest and most effective solution is to spray it in a relatively-dust free environment, and simply place a large cardboard box over it when drying...
    punch a couple of holes in the box to aid ventilation (obviously make sure it's dust-free before you begin painting the helmet) :)

    Cheers,
    John
     
  6. Lukes Roommate

    Lukes Roommate Well-Known Member

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    If need be, you could check into "borrowing" an automotive shop's paint room.
    Maybe if you ask reaaally nice. ;)
     
  7. Lynn TXP 0369

    Lynn TXP 0369 Sr Member

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    Totally agree..

    Rub it down with the automotive tack cloths designed to remove dust and particals, and wet sand in between coats if needed, followed by a good wet sand then polish to remove any last particals. Just like an auto body shop would do.

    No need to make a dust free enviroment to paint it in.

    Lynn
     
  8. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    Auto paint shops (good ones anyway) have specialized drying rooms that are heated, ventilated and filtered to keep dust out of the paint. Why sand and paint something a dozen times when you can just keep the dust off of it to begin with. Do you think they paint your car and park in the parking lot to dry?

    Building a plexi box takes no more than a few hours, and if built to the right size, can be used for dozens of projects. Sounds a lot easier than spraying, sanding and polishing over and over again.

    -Fred
     
  9. RedTwoX

    RedTwoX Sr Member

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    Okay, you have a box. What is going to make it a dust free environment? As you pointed out, the autobody painters have special ventilation and filters to achieve that.
     
  10. Skaught

    Skaught Sr Member

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    Thanks for all the angles. I'll probably go the "cover while it dries" route.

    I just finished painting some shelves I built outside. That was fun. Nothing like leaves, bugs and rain mixed in to your paint job.

    Scott
     
  11. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    Easy, a couple of holes around the bottom, one of those furnace filters cut to size and a computer fan wired to a 9 volt battery. Cost should be less than $15 not including the plexi (might add another $15-$20 depending on how much you get).

    -Fred
     
  12. WebChief

    WebChief Sr Member

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    I have a question to add onto this thread...its sort of a hijack but not really... think of it as an add-on to Scott's question.

    When wet sanding the piece do you mean the actual paint coat or the primer? If you mean the actual paint then how do you prevent it from just sanding away and scuffing the paint itself? I've never understood this part of the process. Also, when you say polish it, what exactly do you mean? Something like Novus polish or do you mean something like Turtle Wax or floor polish?

    I had a stormtrooper helmet that I got... it was a badly painted AP bucket. I ended up having to sand it down and repaint the entire bucket. I couldn't keep the nice shiney plastic that the AP has. I used that Krylon gloss white for plastics but it just never quite looks right. Its not all that shiny.

    Please help.
     
  13. Gigatron

    Gigatron Sr Member

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    You should wetsand after every paint layer, starting with the primer. The smoother the base, the smoother the final finish. The sand paper used for wet sanding is such a fine grit, you'd really have to be doing something wrong in order to get down to the next paint level.

    If it isn't possible to sand the piece under running water (which is the highly reccomended way to do it. I'll explain more in a bit), then keep two large bucket of water nearby. One bucket to wash off your sand paper in, and the other to pour on to the piece your sanding (or dunk the piece in if it's small enough)

    Now here's why. The running water will do the following: keep paint from building up on the paper, wash the sanded off paint (which can act as a micro abbrasive) from the piece and act as a lubricant to keep the friction of the sand paper from creating a burn in the piece. Sand lightly and frequently.

    After you wetsand a piece and allow it to dry, go over it with a swirl remover compund like Novus plastic polish. Then spray your next layer of paint and do the whole thing over again. When you've put down enough layers of paint to make you happy and have done all your final sanding and polishing, put down your layers of clear coat.

    If done correctly, the finish will look like glass.

    -Fred
     
  14. imaginager

    imaginager Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I also highly recommend wet sanding. If you've never done it before, Gigatron's instructions are excellent and a well worthwhile step. In my opinion, you will never approach the smooth finish of wet sanding with just paint alone. I had never done this before about 2 years ago and the first time I tried it I was amazed at the difference. Also, it sounds a lot harder and more time-consuming than it actually is.

    Nice instructions, Gigatron. :thumbsup

    Allan
     
  15. pnerves

    pnerves New Member

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    Building a paint booth is easy peasy- just use 1x2 to build a box- any size you want. Cover it with plastic sheeting- meantioned above. Buy yourself a cheap fan, and a couple of air filters (the big flat ones for your house.) Cut a couple of holes in the plastic- tape a filter in one hole, and put the fan- blowing out- in another (on opposite sides of the box). I also got some cheapo clamp lights with high watt bulbs for light and heat in mine. If you want to get really creative, you can build your wood box with hinges, and the whole thing can be stored. I've painted 2 scooters in mine with great results.
     
  16. Jimbo890

    Jimbo890 Well-Known Member

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    Building your own spraybooth is pretty easy, but be carefull. Much of the fumes paint reducers and thinners give off are highly combustible, and the spark from an electirc motor running your vent fan could cause an explosion. Do a google search for 'build a small spray booth' and you will see some of the dangers. Also, if just a filter is being used, then you need to wear a respirator, as the fumes will pass through the filter and get you.

    The booth, at least the ones you buy, are basic boxes with a lid, some sort of light, and a fan to draw air down through a filter. The filters are special in the sense, they not only get the dust particles, but also eliminate the fumes, even if you are venting outside.

    Be careful.
     
  17. Jedirick

    Jedirick Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just make sure to poke the holes in the box BEFORE you put it over the helmet. :D
     
  18. Darth Kahnt

    Darth Kahnt Sr Member

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    How much do these spray booths typically cost to buy? How much to make one on your own? Where would I be able to get one?
     
  19. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    Couldn't agree more.
     

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