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Clear coat, vinyl, polish...? Help, advice please.

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MikeyDSlagle

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Finally getting the time and weather decent enough to finish up my level one build. I fly it next weekend, hopefully. Yes I am cutting it close. I live in Louisiana... 100% humidity and not raining. 90 degrees with a heat index of 118. And it must've rained everyday in August. I have had only a few days where I could actually work on the thing.

The clearcoat being used is Rustoleum Automotive Clearcoat and Rustoleum Acrylic Enamel Clear. Both Gloss, both rattlecans. I bought the Acrylic Enamel because I couldn't find the other one locally. I assumed maybe it changed. Doesn't matter. They are not going over one another.

Please no "Future floor wax" or "Pledge with Future" comments. I have a bottle, tried it on my 2.6" V2. That rocket is now down to primer and was the only one I have ever flown "naked" because the stuff is junk. Anything that can be stripped by using more of it... I don't need it. Anything that comes off while wet sanding, I don't need it. So I say again, don't mention the floor wax. I'm not attempting to fly my kitchen floor.

My last build, I polished it and then put on Stickershock vinyl. It turned out great. But this new build, I wanted to clearcoat it. It is mostly black and my experience with black is it shows scratches easily, hence the reason for clearcoat. I already have it painted and wet sanded to 2500. My payload section I applied the vinyl then shot it with three coats of clear. I wanted to see how it turns out before continuing onto the rest of the rocket. The can says wait a week before polishing. So... I can't wait a week, then polish to see how it looks. Then do the booster section. I simply don't have time before the launch. Sure I can fly it unfinished, but that is not my style. Other than the V2 mentioned above, thanks to the floor shine crap.

My nose cone is already polished. I am gonna fly it like that and see how the finish holds up. I can always un-polish it, clear coat, then re-polish. It doesn't have decals.

So the questions:
How much more...tedious or complicated is it to wet sand clearcoat OVER the vinyl? It seems to me it would complicate wet sanding a bit because the vinyl is, of course, slightly thicker than the tube, and that thickness would cause the vinyl to sand more than the surrounding areas. Maybe to the point the clear coat is gone at which point I would defeat the purpose of clearcoating over the vinyl;

Have I sanded too far? Should I have stopped at 600 or 1000 before clearcoat? I can go back up if I need to, just rather not. A friend who works at an auto body shop told me I can clearcoat after sanding to 2500, but he wouldn't recommend doing it after polishing, which is what I was thinking;

Am I just over-complicating things? Just go ahead and do the booster the same as the payload and just be careful when wet sanding so as not to get into the vinyl? This is what I am leaning toward. At least the thing will be consistent, even it I don't get that perfect finish.

The can says a week before polishing and before 1 hour but after 48 hours to recoat. At what point can I wet sand? Other times I've used clearcoat, the results were horrible. Wait a week to play it safe? I intend to do all my polishing and waxing on the 16th, the day before launch. So I would like to have it sanded beforehand.

I have seen some gorgeous rockets on here so maybe some of you experts can give some advice. All 2 cents is welcome of course. (as long as it doesn't involve floor polish).

Thanks folks.

Mikey D
 

sharkbait

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I have gone to 2000 then clear with enamels that didn't lay down as well as I would like. With lacquers I usually don't have to do anything before clear coating.

I run 3 light coats of clear, then a medium/heavy flood coat. Be a little careful wet sanding over the vinyl. You are correct in that it does protrude slightly higher than the surrounding clear coat but I am able to leave a layer of clear over the vinyl after wet sanding and you will not notice any different levels after polishing.

I use 2K clears and Duplicolor clears and have wet sanded those as early as 48hrs. No experience with Rusto clears, so would have to revert back to the manufacturers recommendatons for them.
 

dixontj93060

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I agree, just wet sand carefully around the vinyl edges.

Not to complicate things, but I believe Rustoleum 2X enamel clears have a faster dry time if that would help you achieve your goal.
 

hornet driver

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I agree, just wet sand carefully around the vinyl edges.

Not to complicate things, but I believe Rustoleum 2X enamel clears have a faster dry time if that would help you achieve your goal.
What he said except for the 2X. I don't care for it. I've never been able to get a smooth pattern with it--too thick? I would have stopped at 600, anything more doesn't leave much for the clear to grab. Clear can be brittle when fully cured. A long dry time is suggested for clear. It continues to shrink for a while exposing scratches that you might have missed. Depending on the surface --1500-2500 moist sand and then polish. Nathan might jump in here since he's the real expert at this stuff !!
 

dixontj93060

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What he said except for the 2X. I don't care for it. I've never been able to get a smooth pattern with it--too thick? I would have stopped at 600, anything more doesn't leave much for the clear to grab. Clear can be brittle when fully cured. A long dry time is suggested for clear. It continues to shrink for a while exposing scratches that you might have missed. Depending on the surface --1500-2500 moist sand and then polish. Nathan might jump in here since he's the real expert at this stuff !!
Actually Hornet Driver is correct, 2X isn't the best choice of clear coat. I only threw it out as a viable option given your tight timeline.
 

Nathan

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...Nathan might jump in here since he's the real expert at this stuff...
I have very limited experience with vinyl decals. The only rocket that I used Stickershock decals on was my Porsche DX3. I didn't even attempt to wet sand directly over the decals; I just sanded around them and it looked fine.

Unfortunately, in my experience clear enamel DOES require about a week to cure before sanding and polishing. Back when I used enamel all the time I once tried to sand and polish after only two days. It initially looked perfect but then by the next day it got cloudy as the enamel continued to cure. Additional polishing after about a week brought back the high gloss.

That's one of the reasons that I have switched to lacquer; you can start sanding and polishing it the next day.

I agree with the OP; floor polish is for floors. If I wouldn't use it on my car then I wouldn't use it on my rockets.
 

dixontj93060

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I agree with the OP; floor polish is for floors. If I wouldn't use it on my car then I wouldn't use it on my rockets.
Nathan I have seen your posts and your rockets do look fabulous, but I believe you and the OP are missing the point on Future. Rockets take hard hits. More than likely they will need repairs. Future is used for convenience in maintenance. Instead of having to sand the clear coat and delicately feather in the top coat and clear on a repair, Future is removed in minutes from the whole rocket or a section thereof; repair and paint and then quickly reapply the Future--done. I'm able to completely fix non-structural damage on my rockets in 30 or 45 min. So with Future you won't get a mirror finish, but you get some shine, and some durability to minor hits and scratches while making major repairs much easier.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Thanks folks.
If clear enamels can be brittle when fully cured, then that kinda defeats the purpose of using clear, IMO. But now that it was mentioned, seems like my Wildman Sport does have a spot where the clear chipped off. It deployed early and, I think, the NC collided with the BT. Damaged the BT to the point I had to cut off nearly an inch to fix it.

I used 2x Rusto for my black. Seemed to work okay, but it wasn't clear either and I knew I would be sanding the crap out of it anyway. I have used Krylon Maxx before, took forever for that stuff to dry... FOREVER. LOL Was like sanding rubber.

So, I think maybe I should just sand back to 600 or 1000. Put on my vinyl and then clearcoat. That way at least the entire rocket will have the same look Wait 6 or 7 days - wet sand and then polish/wax next Friday before launch.

Here is my 4" Cowabunga "Wastelander", Mark has a picture of it up on Stickershock. Duplicolor paint. Wet sanded to 2500, then polished. Then vinyl. No clearcoat. Turned out nice for my first polishing job.

View attachment 300998 View attachment 300999

Thanks again for the input folks. I'll keep yaw posted on how it turns out and add pictures when all is said and done.

Mikey D
 

mccordmw

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I've shot Dupicolor Clear Effex clearcoat on my rocket to add a metallic sparkle to it and then used polishing compound / polish / wax. I only waited a couple hours before polishing that.

If the underlying paint is already smooth enough, you might not need to wet sand. Polishing shouldn't cause issues with your decals under clear coat.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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I always have problems with clear going on. I am usually too far or wrong angle or something and end up with a bit that is rough, or fuzzy, feeling. That will have to be dealt with for sure. Swirl remover may get it off. I will try that first.

As for following instructions on can, it says nothing about wet sanding, only polish/wax. So with my next day off being the 12th, I should be able to sand/polish or what not that day to get my verdict. Now this new can of clear I picked up, Rustoleum Acrylic Enamel Clear, says fully cured in 24 hours, recoat anytime. I just went and read it. That is helpful, gives me some breathing room. I will be able to sand/polish or what not in the evenings after work next week to see how it works.

I sure hope Santa brings me a big nice climate controlled shop for Christmas. 20x30 will work. I got the thumbs up for one, but all of sudden we need a new mattress (I agree there) and bedroom suit (not so much there). That's gonna set me back around 4500. :cry:

Mikey D
 

dixontj93060

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Good deal on the acrylic clear! I've never used it, but used to use Krylon acrylic clear and it was similar on cure and recoat.
 

Nathan

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Nathan I have seen your posts and your rockets do look fabulous, but I believe you and the OP are missing the point on Future. Rockets take hard hits. More than likely they will need repairs. Future is used for convenience in maintenance. Instead of having to sand the clear coat and delicately feather in the top coat and clear on a repair, Future is removed in minutes from the whole rocket or a section thereof; repair and paint and then quickly reapply the Future--done. I'm able to completely fix non-structural damage on my rockets in 30 or 45 min. So with Future you won't get a mirror finish, but you get some shine, and some durability to minor hits and scratches while making major repairs much easier.

That makes sense. Except that when my rockets take hard hits they often get chipped right down to the bare fiberglass (like when my new purple DX3 got dragged across the gravel parking lot on its first flight last month) and then just replacing the clear finish doesn't do the trick.
 

samb

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Nathan I have seen your posts and your rockets do look fabulous, but I believe you and the OP are missing the point on Future. Rockets take hard hits. More than likely they will need repairs. Future is used for convenience in maintenance. Instead of having to sand the clear coat and delicately feather in the top coat and clear on a repair, Future is removed in minutes from the whole rocket or a section thereof; repair and paint and then quickly reapply the Future--done. I'm able to completely fix non-structural damage on my rockets in 30 or 45 min. So with Future you won't get a mirror finish, but you get some shine, and some durability to minor hits and scratches while making major repairs much easier.
Absolutely correct ! (IMHO :blush:) I use Future to protect decals and paint from dirt and light range rash. Any additional shine I get from it is cream gravy. I've never sanded Future, wet or dry.
 
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MikeyDSlagle

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Nathan I pretty much used your thread about painting your Minie Magg as instructions to paint my Cowabunga and following along those lines for this one. I resanded to 1000 grit, can't seem to find my 600. Then applied my decals. The decals looked like garbage! No there weren't Stickershock, they were some from my Cricut. Looked like a poor masking and painting job, I know first hand what that looks like. I am better at fades than crisp lines. The lettering on the payload looked top notch, but the booster had more graphics and I guess when modifying it in Photoshop, I missed a few things. They came off and into the trash. So the booster got 3 coats of clear, only decal was to mark my CP. I'll do the rest of decals after polishing. Have to reevaluate my file and see what I missed. Probably redesign my graphics a bit.

So if I polish too early, it will haze up on me and I will have to polish some more. No matter. I got all the clear sprayed. I can wet sand the booster during the week and catch up with the payload next week.

From what I understand, lacquers don't offer as wide a range of colors as enamels. Is that the case? I may try lacquers on my next project if I can find the colors.
 

mccordmw

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Lacquers come in a lot of colors, but maybe not as many as enamels. For smaller jobs, I like the shiny effect Testors metallics have. You have 20 colors to choose from right there.

http://www.testors.com/product-catalog/testors-brands/testors/lacquer-paint/lacquer-sprays

For enamels, I love the Duplicolor line; especially my new favorite the metalcast line. Not many colors, but they are deep and gorgeous. Some day, I want to splurge and try some from Alsa.
 

Zeus-cat

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2X Rusto is supposed to be used when the humidity is 65% or less. I made a joke about it not being OK to use in Ohio at the last rocket club. Half the people turned to look at me with shocked expressions. Then I said I said it is only supposed to be used when the humidity is 65% or less. Got a few laughs.
 

sharkbait

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Try some SprayMax 2K Glamour Gloss clear.
little expensive yes
lots of nasty VOC's yes

This two part rattle can clear provides the best protection by far compared to anything else I've seen or tried. It lays down nice and polishes up beautifully. I've had it overtop of both enamels and lacquers without issue.
 

dixontj93060

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2X Rusto is supposed to be used when the humidity is 65% or less. I made a joke about it not being OK to use in Ohio at the last rocket club. Half the people turned to look at me with shocked expressions. Then I said I said it is only supposed to be used when the humidity is 65% or less. Got a few laughs.
Yep, that never happens in Indiana either.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Testors has always been too high priced for me for such a small can. For model cars or small rockets its fine, but not for larger rockets. But yes, good selection of colors.

And you're right on the SprayMax, it is quite expensive.

We do see 65%, but that is usually when the temps are way the heck up there. Normally you can just drink our air. LOL Right now 88% humidity, about the time I get started at work it will be 99%. So about 2 or 3 hours a day, 2 days a week in September I can use 2X Rusto. HA.

I have 2 HVLP guns and a compressor. They are just buried in my shed. Also have 2 airbrushes that I can't quite get the hang of. I need a dryer for my compressor still and to find a reliable source for inexpensive auto paints so I can start trying it that way.

Thanks for the input folks. Will see what this week brings.
 

tomsteve

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That makes sense. Except that when my rockets take hard hits they often get chipped right down to the bare fiberglass (like when my new purple DX3 got dragged across the gravel parking lot on its first flight last month) and then just replacing the clear finish doesn't do the trick.
what grit to ya sand the fiberglass with?
 

tomsteve

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I have very limited experience with vinyl decals. The only rocket that I used Stickershock decals on was my Porsche DX3. I didn't even attempt to wet sand directly over the decals; I just sanded around them and it looked fine.

Unfortunately, in my experience clear enamel DOES require about a week to cure before sanding and polishing. Back when I used enamel all the time I once tried to sand and polish after only two days. It initially looked perfect but then by the next day it got cloudy as the enamel continued to cure. Additional polishing after about a week brought back the high gloss.
iffen ya use an enamel again, what you could try is wetsand then let it sit in the sun for a day before polishing. the wetsanding opens up the surface for the trapped solvents to escape. putting it in the sun for a day speeds it up.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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iffen ya use an enamel again, what you could try is wetsand then let it sit in the sun for a day before polishing. the wetsanding opens up the surface for the trapped solvents to escape. putting it in the sun for a day speeds it up.
I fiberglassed a speaker box once and had a guy paint it for me. He told me to set it in the sun for a bit then wet sand it, forgot all about that. Maybe I should try that. Too bad I'm at work.
 

tomsteve

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I fiberglassed a speaker box once and had a guy paint it for me. He told me to set it in the sun for a bit then wet sand it, forgot all about that. Maybe I should try that. Too bad I'm at work.
i usually let vehicles and motorcycle tins sit in the sun for a day. next day wetsand then let it sit in the sun for a day, then a day later buff. when i just wetsanded then right to buffing, id have the vehicle or tins back in about a month as it dulled- the clear shrunk more as it offgassed.
no problems,tho following that procedure,tho.
then a glazing compound at theyre purdy.
 

mccordmw

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I've been wet sanding less and less lately. I've found I get great results in less time by using Meguire's rubbing compound with an electric palm buffer. I guess you'd need to wet sand the last layer if the other ones underneath weren't really smooth? Other than that, I'm not too educated on why you'd wet sand vs. using compound with a buffer.

For big rockets, a palm buffer saves my shoulder days of aches. Don't get old...
 

MikeyDSlagle

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I've been wet sanding less and less lately. I've found I get great results in less time by using Meguire's rubbing compound with an electric palm buffer. I guess you'd need to wet sand the last layer if the other ones underneath weren't really smooth? Other than that, I'm not too educated on why you'd wet sand vs. using compound with a buffer.

For big rockets, a palm buffer saves my shoulder days of aches. Don't get old...
Not having a buffer comes to mind....lol I have an 8" or 10" Waxmaster but that is a bit big. I eyed them at Lowes yesterday so one is definitely on my list. Air or electric? Random orbital or just orbital?
 

mccordmw

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MikeyDSlagle

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My days off got moved around, gotta love having a schedule that depends on the Department of the Army. But that landed me with today and tomorrow. I decided to go ahead and rush the finishing. If it hazes on me, I will buff it really good Friday night. I have to "adult" most of today and tomorrow. LOL That is one downside of being and adult...being an adult. And I use "adult" loosely.

I skipped the decals on the booster altogether for now. I will try to redesign them and cut them when I feel like it. I am wanting to see the finished product and get my flight profile figured out. I am thinking about sending up my RRC2+ for eject at apogee with motor backup. I built the sled with full dual deploy with redundancy in mind, but that is a bit complicated for my first electronic deployment. And dual deploy may tangle on me. Wouldn't want that to happen on my cert flight. I will use my Partizon for a dual deployment test bed, I have another one of those if something goes wrong. I will just have to get a chance to get the A/V bay and sled built.

I tried using swirl remover without wet sanding. But with my awesome skills at spraying clear, that didn't cut it. I went back and wet sanded to 2500 again. Then the swirl remover, polish and wax by hand. There are some blemishes and imperfections just from me getting tired of wet sanding. There are a few runs in the clear on the fins, but at arms length the aren't that noticeable.

So here is the booster section. The CP is marked with the "oxidizer" symbol, I forgot to peel out the center. Oh well.

View attachment 301299

For the Payload section, no fins in the way so I was able to use my Waxmaster random orbital. I WILL be investing in a small orbital palm buffer. This was so much faster. You can tell the difference inside the lettering where I didn't wet sand.

View attachment 301298

And the final rocket sans graphics. They will come later.

View attachment 301297

Planned flight is Saturday on a AT 38/240 H123W. With electronic payload it should hit about 1500 feet. I have the 38/360 case as well, but that will wait for DD.

Thanks for looking folks. Hopefully I will have some flight pics. I'll see if I can't talk bayourat into snapping some for me.

Mikey D
 

samb

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I realize we're our own worst critics but those pictures sure are pretty. Good luck with the cert flight.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Thanks samb. Yep it turned out pretty good, and that payload section is super slippery.
 

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