Fun With Clearcoat

I spent most of the day clearcoating multiple sets of carbon fiber trim and decided to document a bit of the process to share on the blog.

These sets had already been shot with 2 coats of clearcoat last week.  After the clearcoat cures, they get wetsanded and are shot with clearcoat a second time.  This second round of clearcoat really makes oCarbon carbon fiber parts stand out.  It gives the pieces incredible depth and a great looking finish.  You can still see some of the wetsanding grit left on the parts, this is wiped up before the additional clearcoat is shot.

Between every session of clearcoat the spray gun is disassembled and cleaned.  A clean gun is essential to any paint finish.

Back together again.  The pressure regulator at the bottom tip allows for control of the amount of airflow into the gun.  Too much pressure and clearcoat will spray everywhere.   Too little and not enough clearcoat will be shot.

The clearcoat we use is a premium 3 part automotive clearcoat.  It consists of the clearcoat itself, a reducer, and a hardener.  Different types of reducers are added into the clearcoat depending on the temperature and humidity on the day the clear is being sprayed.  On a rainy day, when the temperature is lower and humidity is high, a different type of reducer would be used than on a normal sunny, summer afternoon.  The hardener is obviously added to facilitate the hardening of the clearcoat.

The clearcoat is mixed in a 4:1:1 ratio (clearcoat:reducer:hardener).  If you fill up the clearcoat to the 3rd level, you then fill the reducer up to the next 3rd level, and the hardener up to the final 3rd level.

Before mixing, the clearcoat is very cloudy.  It gets crystal clear after a few swirls with a mixer.

A B6/B7 shifter plate that has been wiped down and is ready for clearcoat.

After two thick coats of clear, the shifter has its traditional gloss look.

B5 hazard trim piece that gets the same treatment.

From time to time, little globs of clearcoat get shot out of the gun and end up on the surface on the part.  This is where wetsanding and polishing come into play.  All of these pieces will have their minor imperfections wetsanded smooth and then polished to a shine.

That’s all for now.  I’ll post more pictures as I finish spraying the rest of these sets and get ready for polishing.

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