Automotive Paint Finish - Pearl Orange
The color I am using is a pearl orange used on the 2004 Lamborghini called Arancio Borealis. As you can see from the photo the paint is ATX brand automotive paint from Sherwin Williams. The thing to remember about automotive paint is that it is extremely toxic so safety measures must be followed including a high quality breathing mask and proper clothing to cover your skin. I’m using a SATA brand mask with replaceable filter cartridges and it works quite well at providing clean air to breathe.
Here you can see my base of operations. The plastic bucket is my catch station where used paint filters and stir sticks will be placed. It also doubles as a place to put my spray gun between coats. The spray gun is a gravity feed HVLP sprayer from Sharpe called the Finex FX1000. While you can get spray guns at Harbor Freight I wanted one that would last and allow me to rebuild and get accessory parts for. The FX1000 fit the bill and came with a 1.0mm spray tip.
The FX1000 is what they call a touch-up gun and doesn't flow the same as a full sized spray gun. In fact the paint specs suggest a larger spray tip which just isn’t available for the FX1000. It took awhile to figure out but I got it to lay down the colors quite well.
Automotive finishes also require mixing your own paint. Most solid or metal flake finish colors can be sprayed using a color and catalyst combo which is then thinned with reducer. Spraying a pearl is a little more complex and requires what they call a tri-stage paint finish.
Mixing paint is beyond the scope of this project but a three part paint finish consists of a solid basecoat which is usually white or tinted to match the finished color. A midcoat which contains the primary paint color and any particles it may have. For instance the Arancio Borealis has the pearl mixed in with the midcoat making it extremely easy to spray. The final coat is a clear that bonds everything together and protects it from the environment.
As you can imagine spraying tri stage paint is also quite stressful giving you 3x the opportunity to introduce errors into your project.