What paint to use for aluminium?

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Starsky

Member
Hi there,
I'm new to this forum and have found some helpful advice and I apologise if this has been covered in the past but I'm in the UK and I want to know what spray paint I can use to paint aluminium?
I'm working on an Obi Wan lightsaber and need to spray the rear part black (I'm not getting into anodising), so can anyone advise as to what paint I can use on the aluminium? I've thought of a regular car spray paint but I don't want to waste money on buying the wrong thing.
Is there a primer that is suitable for getting the aluminium ready for a gloss or satin black and can any black paint be used on top of the primer?
I'm also going to be working on a resin E11 blaster soon, so I'll be using the same paint for that too, if it's compatible.
Thanks for your help.
 

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ReproMan

Well-Known Member
hammerite spray paint is designed for pretty much all types of metal and is hard wearing as its normally used outside on fire escapes, fences, bbq's etc even car brake callipers but someone into sabers may have a better idea
 

cannibal869

Active Member
There are various tutorials around the lightsaber forums also describing how to bake in the paint for more durability... personally though I really like powdercoating for lightsaber stuff.
 

greylocke

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I used to paint aluminum scope bases and rings with Krylon. I's wet sand it with 600 grit first and hit it with a light coat of primer, allow the primer to dry for 48 hours then hit it with 3 very light coats of krylon, wait 24 hours between coats
 
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Gigatron

Sr Member
Some autoparts stores carry Wheel Paint - designed to repaint the stock, steel rims. I've used it for that purpose, and let me tell you, it takes a beating.

I've also used BBQ, Engine, and High Heat paints and they are all durable, as well.

-Fred
 

pfillery

Active Member
I own a Landrover with an Aluminium body and I can say categorically that any paint CAN be used but shouldn't be used without the correct primer. A good etch primer is a must. Most paints can then be used over the top. It also helps if the Aluminium is not too shiny first. A light sand with a fine sandpaper before priming helps the primer key onto the metal. You can paint a higher quality paint directly on but with use or handling it will not last.
 

Leigh

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If you want to use an etch primer in a rattle can, Upol Acid 8 etch primer is widely available here in the UK from most car spares outlets .
HTH :)
 

Starsky

Member
Thanks for that info Leigh, I haven't heard of that paint so I'll keep an eye out for it.

Krylon sounds like a good paint but we don't have it here in the UK. Hammerite is usually a bit thick and I worry about it becoming a big splodge on my work, especially in-between the 'splines' of this particular piece, although I haven't used the spray Hammerite before.

I'll go for the etch primer and then I can use it on other projects.

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Leigh

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Dont put it on too thick, just a light coat.

Edit: ware a mask! its quite unpleasent to breath
 

Starsky

Member
I will wear mask (as I do for any spray job) and I'll be outside too. Checked it out on the net and the cheapest is £12. I was thinking of layering thin coats and building up the paint rather than steaming in and making a mess, especially because there are a lot of edges, etc. to cover.
 

Starsky

Member
Thanks for pointing that out for me. There are soooo many threads on here, I knew there'd be some that I missed.
 

JBReplicas

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I once painted a set of aluminium Boba Fett ears for one of my old helmets, I just used some fine wire wool to gently buff the surface, gave it a wipe with some cloth then airbrushed Model Masters Enamel straight on to it in 3 light coats, it worked a treat.
 

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Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
I once painted a set of aluminium Boba Fett ears for one of my old helmets, I just used some fine wire wool to gently buff the surface, gave it a wipe with some cloth then airbrushed Model Masters Enamel straight on to it in 3 light coats, it worked a treat.

Same here. I always use Model Master enamel and haven't had a problem. You just have to wipe everything down with alcohol to remove oil from handling.
 

Starsky

Member
Thanks for pointing that out Reproman about Krylon. I did look the other day but then I've just found it now online. I think I probably saw the word camouflage and ignored any other references.
 

Starsky

Member
Well I got my special primer paint and I've started spraying.
This is the part that I've started with (I still don't know what you call it).
I originally tried to use a gun blue on it, not realising that that won't work on aluminium, so I cleaned it up.

Then I took it into the garden and gave it a first coat but it went on too thick.

So I rubbed it down and added another coat (spraying even more thinly this time).

This was looking better, so I carried on, spraying very lightly and leaving things for a few minutes between coats.

There's a couple of slight blemishes, so I'll rub those out and look at putting the colour onto to it next. I'll be using a satin black.
 

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