### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Whenever I spray paint my rocket, I end up with sections that feel rough, like sandpaper. Putting on a really thick coat seems to help, but then I end up with runs.
To fix it, I go over the rocket with super fine steel wool. It's then smooth, but no longer glossy. Putting on a clear coat won't help because it would end up feeling like sandpaper and I'd be right back where I was.
What am I doing wrong and how do I prevent paint that feels like sandpaper?

#### timbucktoo

##### Well-Known Member
Staff member
TRF Supporter
Global Mod
What’s the air temp when you’re painting? Too hot and paint can dry before it hits the surface leaving behind a gritty finish.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
What’s the air temp when you’re painting? Too hot and paint can dry before it hits the surface leaving behind a gritty finish.
That's one thing I've been considering. I've done some spray painting early, before it gets hot, but I've done some in late morning and early afternoon, when it's pretty warm. I'll try and restrict my painting to early morning and see if that helps. Late September and we are still getting temperatures in the high eighties. Even hit ninety a couple days ago. Very low humidity too.

#### ATJOE1972

##### Well-Known Member
Whenever I spray paint my rocket, I end up with sections that feel rough, like sandpaper. Putting on a really thick coat seems to help, but then I end up with runs.
To fix it, I go over the rocket with super fine steel wool. It's then smooth, but no longer glossy. Putting on a clear coat won't help because it would end up feeling like sandpaper and I'd be right back where I was.
What am I doing wrong and how do I prevent paint that feels like sandpaper?
Sounds like you might have a distance issue. Too far away from the rocket will cause a gritty finish. Too close will cause it to run. Temperature shouldn’t be an issue, I spray paint stuff from freezing temperatures to the nineties. However the mornings seem to work best with lower temperatures and wind. I would try practice painting on a cardboard box and get a feel for the paint and the finish you’re getting.

#### Nytrunner

##### Pop lugs, not drugs
That's one thing I've been considering. I've done some spray painting early, before it gets hot, but I've done some in late morning and early afternoon, when it's pretty warm. I'll try and restrict my painting to early morning and see if that helps. Late September and we are still getting temperatures in the high eighties. Even hit ninety a couple days ago. Very low humidity too.
Read the back of the can. If it lists temperature or humidity rainges to stsy within, obey them. ATJOE's advice about maintaining consistent distance is good also. IE, dont try and hold a rocket on a stick to paint. Set it or hang it somewhere and keep your can distance constant

#### samb

I agree with ATJOE1972’s distance diagnosis. Too far away gets you dry spray where the paint partially dries before hitting the surface. Even lifting the nozzle at the end of a pass can result in dry spray. Too close and you get sags and runs.
The only solution I know is practice on scraps to get the right speed and distance. It’s really kind of a feel thing. FWIW I’m about 6-8 inches away from the piece I’m painting. I wouldn’t try to fix a dry spray coat with more paint. I’d wait and sand the gritty surface smooth.

#### Nathan

##### ☢
TRF Supporter
ATJOE is probably right. Getting the perfect paint job with a spray can requires keeping the can at the right distance and keeping it moving at the right speed. I get the best results by spraying as heavy a coat as possible without causing runs or sags. First coats can be lighter but final coat needs to be heavier.

You can also get the rough coat problem you described if the paint needs to be thinned but that's not an option with a spray can.

Attached is a picture of my Loc Onyx that was painted with Duplicolor Perfect Match Lacquer from a spray can.

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#### samb

We mere mortals are all chasing that perfect Nathan paint job.

#### dr wogz

##### Fly caster
All mentioned my initial thoughts..

I will add that distance & speed are key. I can see people spraying their object, but rotating their body at their hips, therefore spraining an arc: Too far-just right-too close-just right-too far.. Star the spray before the object, and end the spray after the object, as you move thru the motion

Also: long, smooth, even strokes. I see people "colour" with a can.. Colouring like you do with markers or pencil crayons to fill an area. half-hazardly shaking your hand as you paint to try & cover as much area as possible in one stroke. No! Long smooth even strokes. Rotate the object for the next pass, Repeat..

#### AfterBurners

##### Well-Known Member
Talk to Nathan he has it down

#### OverTheTop

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Someone posted a video recently of a guy using rattle cans on car panels. Results were amazing. I can't seem to locate it.

#### SCooke123

##### Well-Known Member
Yea I think mainly distance from your rocket and the speed you are moving the spraycan are your culprits! Practice helps a lot - the more you spray the better you will get.
If you do get a sandpaper type finish, sandpaper is your friend - just smooth out the finish and apply the next coat.

Also don't get discouraged! Even seasoned painters get a screw-up every now and then!

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
ATJOE is probably right. Getting the perfect paint job with a spray can requires keeping the can at the right distance and keeping it moving at the right speed. I get the best results by spraying as heavy a coat as possible without causing runs or sags. First coats can be lighter but final coat needs to be heavier.

You can also get the rough coat problem you described if the paint needs to be thinned but that's not an option with a spray can.

Attached is a picture of my Loc Onyx that was painted with Duplicolor Perfect Match Lacquer from a spray can.
Holy crap! Mine definitely don't look like that. My truck's paint doesn't even look that good.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Read the back of the can. If it lists temperature or humidity rainges to stsy within, obey them. ATJOE's advice about maintaining consistent distance is good also. IE, dont try and hold a rocket on a stick to paint. Set it or hang it somewhere and keep your can distance constant
You mean I'm not the only one that paints their rocket by putting it on a stick and holding it with one hand while spraying with the other?
OK, I'll come up with a better rig.

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I'll watch temp, but distance (and speed) seems to be the issue.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
ATJOE is probably right. Getting the perfect paint job with a spray can requires keeping the can at the right distance and keeping it moving at the right speed. I get the best results by spraying as heavy a coat as possible without causing runs or sags. First coats can be lighter but final coat needs to be heavier.

You can also get the rough coat problem you described if the paint needs to be thinned but that's not an option with a spray can.

Attached is a picture of my Loc Onyx that was painted with Duplicolor Perfect Match Lacquer from a spray can.
That red paint Job has to be an air sprayer.......if not...Wow.

#### dr wogz

##### Fly caster
I've done a few on a stick, stick in one hand, can in the other. But I do pay attention to speed & distance.. It does take practice! And, some paints are easier to work with than others..

I typically will clamp said stick (or broom handle for HPR!) to the end of my pic-nik table, and then spray that. Spray-rotate-spray-rotate-spray-rotate-spray-rotate...

oh, and about every 5th or 7th pass, I'll give the can a bit of a shake & spray (away from the object) & wipe the nozzle.

oh, and do keep the can vertical. some try to paint by eventually turning the can completely upside down to get "into" an area.. (It starts out vertical: nozzle on top, and eventually they are painting with e can at a 45° angle. Rotate the object, not the can!

##### I don't do spirals
TRF Supporter
Don't over-think it - shake can for twice the recommended time & watch the distance from what you are spraying. Rough finish means you are too far away, simple as that.

#### Philip Tiberius D.

##### Old Fashioned 2.5oz Rye/H2O 8 drops Orange Bitters
In my experieince the Duplicolor/automotive rattle cans (lacquer) provide a much higher quality finish than the rattle can enamels like Rustoleum and Krylon, but are of course more expensive. Think "several thin coats" instead of one thick coat. The clearcoat with the automotive paint also helps get that nice gloss. After the lacquer dries for a few days I also find that polishing/buffing (light pressure) with a clean, dry, piece of polarfleece material helps too.
Tamiya and Testors both make killer Lacquer paint which I have used and put down some great finishes for me (but ). DupliColor is another great Lacquer I’ve had luck with.

#### Banzai88

##### Lvl 1,Wallet....Destroyed
The flip side of lacquer that no one has mentioned yet is that it's significantly less durable than enamels by itself. That's why I top coat with 2K, which has that durability and can be repeatedly polished like a car, if necessary.

#### Nytrunner

##### Pop lugs, not drugs
2K is nasty for breathing or skin. Not a good beginners paint