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Tag Archives: custom

  • Custom Paint Doesn't come from a Can! Eastwood Intermix System

    Truly restoring a car means that you have to follow the factory specs of what your car should have looked like when new. There isn't much room for creativity when building up your car in that manner. On the other hand custom cars leave the doors wide open for what you can do. Whether its a mild custom with just some things done to clean up the appearance of your vehicle or if it involves creating an entire new persona of your stocker. When it comes to painting a custom car you don't want to just go with a stock color that everyone else at the next show will have on their car. Custom Paint mixing can be a scary task and many factors can change the color or "formula" along the way. We decided to take away some of the complexity of picking and mixing a custom color for your ride.
  • How Air Compressors Work

    The concept behind the air compressor is a simple one and easily understandable to anyone who is into old cars and such. The reason the pump on the top of your compressor looks like a simplified motorcycle engine is because it basically is. The vast majority of compressors, from the tiny 12v tire inflator you stash in your trunk to the big 80 gallon shop unit, basically compress air with an air cooled piston engine. In fact, there are kits to turn air cooled VW bug motors into gas powered air compressors that could be mounted in the bed of a truck; two cylinders power it and two compress the air.

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    When the electric motor kicks in, the piston is drawn down the stroke of the cylinder. A simple spring-loaded one way valve opens allowing clean atmospheric air in, usually sucking thru some kind of air filter to keep out dirt and dust just like your car. The piston then moves up, compressing the air, and a 2nd valve opens to let the now pressurize air into the tank, or out into your tire in the case of a tire inflator or the one outside at the gas station. When a gauge signals that the tank has the correct pressure, the motor stops.

    Because air tools, spray guns and the like only allow the air out thru a restriction, the tank stays pressurized for a while. If an air hose were to break, the air would all come out pretty quick and return to atmospheric pressure in seconds. The CFM rating on a compressor indicates how many cubic feet of air per minute can leak out via the tool you are using before the pump would be unable to keep up with the demand at a given pressure.

    Multi-Stage and Screw Compressors

    There are variations on how air compressors work. There are multi stage reciprocating compressors, and nearly silent rotary screw compressors.

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    Two stage compressors typically have a v-twin looking head on top of the tank. The first cylinder works just like a single stage, but instead of feeding the tank, it feeds the intake on a second smaller cylinder, the second cylinder, then compresses it even more. There are also three piston versions that work the same way, as well as single stage multi-cylinder units for more air flow at lower pressures.

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    Rotary screw compressors work more like a Roots-type supercharger. Two rotors intermesh, forcing air into a smaller space along the length of the rotors, and finally out into the tank. Because of how they work, they produce more of a constant “whir” then the “chuga-chuga” of a reciprocating pump. This makes them popular for applications where noise is an issue. This type of compressor is also generally used in larger industrial application because of its increased efficiency and ability to deliver larger volumes of air at high pressure.

    Care and Maintenance

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    No matter how you compress the air, you have to deal with the physics of thermal dynamics and moisture. Squishing the air makes it hot, it’s an unavoidable by-product of compression, which is why some units have cooling fins on the supply line to the tank, or even a separate intercooler. All air has moisture in it too and compressing it results in condensation, which is why you need to drain the tank occasionally, and use an air dryer in applications like spraying paint. Just like an engine, compressors need to be lubricated, and if you are spraying paint, you need to strip the oil out of the airstream as well as the water. Luckily, most air dryers function this way already.

  • Why Powder Coating is Better Than Spray Paint

    For some unknown reason a lot of car guys are very hesitant to take the plunge into the world of powder coating. This means a lot of people are missing out on all the benefits powder coating has compared to other types of coatings. It seems like there is some fear of powder coating that is preventing car enthusiasts from buying the equipment and starting to coat on their own. You might be surprised to learn that in some cases it's actually cheaper to powder coat something than painting. The truth is that there are fewer tools and materials needed to powder coat compared to painting. For instance there are many more consumable materials needed when painting and thats not including the paint itself. If you were to compare the differences between painting or powder coating a part for your car, the first step would be to take it down to bare metal.

    From here the processes are different, and also vary in the time required to complete each.

    Painting:

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    If you're coating the part with a traditional 1K or 2K paint the piece must be sealed to prevent corrosion and rusting. Using epoxy primer, which can be applied directly to bare metal is the best option. Automotive paints generally shouldn't be applied directly to bare metal because there could be adhesion issues. If you're spraying the part with a 2K primer you will need the correct activator which means another cost associated with the job.

    Ok so now that you went out to buy more activator and sprayed the piece with primer, you then have to apply a top coat. Not only will you need the paint, you will also need the reducer and activator if you are using a 2K top coat. Just when you think you're finally done you realize there is still one more step, applying clear coat. The clear coat requires its own activator as well, that's more money out of pocket if you don't already have it. At this point you think you may have spent too much time and way too much money, but the end result does look great.

    With Powder Coating you first make the investment in a powder gun and oven. From there all that is needed is to buy the powder itself. Pretty much any electric oven will work (just don't use one you cook food with!). No special activators, reducers, or other chemicals are needed (other than PRE, to clean the bare metal).  Prepping a metal object to paint or powder coat is a similar process, the only difference is that any non-metal pieces must be removed since they will not be able to withstand the heat needed to cure the powder.

     

    Lets see how they match up.Paintvpowder

    When comparing paint and powder, durability is always #1 on the list. Before we compare the two we first have to mention the different types of paint. Generally speaking, 1K paints in an aerosol can are worlds apart from the paint on your car. Most 1K aerosols paints are usually enamel paint. The down side to enamel paints are that they never fully dry, they just harden when exposed to air. Additionally they will break down and essentially melt if they come in contact with a solvent.  The paint on your car is known as a 2K catalyzed paint. This means that before the paint is applied an activator is mixed into the paint. The catalyzed paint will actually change its chemical make up and cure, making it resistant to solvents. While a catalyzed paint is much stronger than aerosol paints it still does not compare to powder.

     

     

     

    Density

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    Once powder fully cures it's much harder than traditional paint, making it much more scratch and chip resistant. There's a reason almost all high-end custom cars have powder-coated frames!  A powder coated part that is exposed to extreme conditions is less likely to chip off and peel like paint would.

     

    Flexibility

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    Powder isn’t just harder than paint, it's also extremely flexible. We've tested the flexibility of powder by applying it to tin foil, crumbling it up, and flattening it back out. The results were incredible, none of the powder had flaked off! Try doing that same test with spray paint, more will end up on the floor than the foil!

    Thickness

    One of the visibly noticeable differences between powder and paint is the actual material thickness. A functional coat of powder can be up to 10X thicker than paint. This means that there is a greater protection between the outside world and the bare metal.

     

    Corrosion Resistance

    When prepped and applied correctly, powder does an incredible job of preventing corrosion because of how strong it is.  When a painted surface is scratched it is much more likely to go down to bare metal.  At that point corrosion will begin and start to spread.  Since powder is so much harder than paint the chance that a scratch will reach bare metal is very unlikely, making it the perfect coating for chassis and suspension parts.

     

     Ease of Cleaning Up

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    If you've spray painted before, you'll know how awful overspray can be. No matter how much you prepare, it seems to get everywhere. Cleaning up overspray can be very difficult because it requires the use of harsh chemicals. In its raw form, cleaning up powder is no different than cleaning up sugar and flour spilled in the kitchen. Simply sweeping it up or using a vacuum is all that will be needed.

     

    Reclaiming/Reusing Powder

    2K paint must be used once it is mixed, powder does not require any additives. This means you can use it at you own leisure. Powder under normal circumstances does not dry out or cure even when it's left out.

    If you really want to be frugal, powder that doesn't stick to your part can be reclaimed and reused by sweeping it up and sifting. Just make sure you use a very fine screen to sift so that there are no other contaminants in the powder. This may be very tricky to do at home, but with some care it can be done.

    Eco Friendly Application

    Traditional paint guns atomize the liquid paint into the air while a powder coating gun uses air to propel the powder towards the part. As the powder is leaving the gun a slight charge is added to the powder. The powder sticks to the grounded part because the powder has a slight charge when it leaves the gun and it's then attracted to the grounded part.

    Unlike liquid paints that are sprayed, there aren't any may health threats to being in the same room without a mask on. Powder coating does not even require the use of a typical carbon filter mask, just a simple dust mask to keep from directly inhaling the powder when spraying. Because powder is heavier than atomized paint, overspray will fall on the ground right around the part and won't float in the air for extended periods of time.
    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

  • DIY Removable Exhaust Hangers

    Adding a new exhaust system to your ride but don't want to use the cheap parts store hangers and clamps?

    Lets face it we all know how horrible they are,  aside from just looking tacky, they almost never last.  The U-bolt clamps are just as bad, you better hope you have them exactly where you want them because chances are, once you tighten them down they are sure to be rusted shut in a few weeks.

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    Here is a way to make your own custom exhaust hanger using one of those cheapo parts store hangers.  Its simple, cheap, and even allows the whole system to be easily removed.

     

    What You'll Need:

    - Universal Exhaust Hanger with an open, pivoting end. (It must be this style, you'll see why later)

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    - 1.25 " X 1.25" piece of 1/8" steel

    - 5/16" or 3/8" Thread bolt about 1" long, lock washer, and hex nut.

    - High Temp Paint (to prevent rust)

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     Process:

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    First you will need to cut the end of the exhaust hanger, with a Cut off Wheel, along the line drawn. This piece can be thrown out.

     

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    After the end is cut off you will be left with a tab sticking straight down.

     

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    Clamp the square tab to the hanger with enough room to drill a hole big enough for the bolt you are using, in my case it was a 3/8" hole.  Mark the center of where you want the hole to be and use a Center Punch to indent the metal so the drill bit doesn't wander.

     

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    With the two pieces clamped, use a Step Bit to drill a through both pieces so the hole will remain in line.  Pass the bolt through and tighten by hand so the tab remains square. Step bits make easy work of drilling large diameter holes, an essential tool when doing any type of metal fabrication.

     

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    Using jack stands or wire position your muffler or exhaust pipe in the location you want it to sit under the car.  It is a good idea to determine where you want to mount the hanger to the body or frame of the car first, to insure the hanger is long enough to reach the pipe. (As an example I am using a piece of exhaust tube on a work bench and the hanger suspended from a piece of metal in a vice)

     

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    With the hanger mounted under the car, align your exhaust pipe exactly where you want it to hang.

     

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    Tack weld the tab to the exhaust pipe or muffler.  Remove the supports holding up the exhaust and check the positioning.

     

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    If is where you want it, finish the weld along the tab. Allow the metal to cool off before unbolting the hanger.

     

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    Once it is cool to the touch, remove the bolt.  Creating this custom exhaust hanger will cost about the same as using those tacky U-Bolts, and it makes exhaust removal a breeze.  All that is left to do is a quick coat of High Temp Exhaust Paint and you'll have a simple rust free solution to mounting your exhaust system.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

  • DIY Custom Spoiler End Plates

    Car enthusiasts are always looking for a way to have their car stand out from the crowd but buying off the shelf parts will only go so far.  There is a good chance that someone else out there wive the same combination of parts.  The best way to give your car a one of a kind look without fully custom fabricating is to buy something off the shelf and modify it your self.

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    Thats exactly what I did with this aftermarket spoiler that a friend put on his Sentra SE-R.  Of course this look isn't for everyone but there is one flaw that is more than apparent.  The endplates that this spoiler came with do not fit the rest of the part, and they had to go.  Sure there are numerous companies that sell "custom" end plates that you can easily swap out, but again anyone can buy those same ones, what's unique about that.

     

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    After some brainstorming we came up with a design that he liked and sketched it out on a piece of 14 GA Aluminum.

     

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    With one edge of the metal clamped down on the edge of a bench, I used my Air Body Saw to cut out the first plate.  I used the first, cut piece to trace the second one, so I would have two exact pieces.

     

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    The tricky part was determining the bolt hole locations. With the old end plates mounted we held up one of the new ones to its respective side and traced the old endplate onto the new one with permanent marker.  We then unmounted it and marked off the bolt holes with the old plate lined up to where it was previously traced.

     

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    I determined the correct hole size my test fitting different size drill bits into the old plate until I found the one that fit the best.  I then used a small drill bit as a pilot hole and then drilled the new plate to the proper size.

    To get the holes in the same place on both pieces I matched up the first plate to the second and used a marker to trace the holes.  I drilled these out the same as the first.

     

     

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    With both plates drilled I wanted to test fit them on the car to make sure the holes were in the correct spot and that both were matching.

     

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    Since the edges were still rough I used an 80 Grit Flap Disc on an Angle Grinder to smooth out any minor imperfections in the cut and round off the edges.

    I then went over both sides of the plates with 400 Grit sand paper to create a level surface to paint on.  The sand paper also helps the paint adhere to the metal because it leaves small scratches allowing the paint to also have a mechanical bond with the metal.  After both sides were completely sanded all it takes is a quick wipe down with PRE Painting Prep and they are ready to be primed and painted.

     

    Spoiler 7

    Before applying color I sprayed the end plates with EW Self Etching Primer with will create a better bond to the metal than just the paint would by itself.  For color I used EW 2K Satin Black Aerospray, this two part catalyzed aerosol spray paint is like having real automotive paint in a spray can.  Once it hardens it creates a much more durable finish that will not be affected by solvents like a normal spray paint would.

     

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    After they have been mounted on the car the difference is drastic,  the shape of these fit the spoiler to now have a consistent look.  No one else will have these endplates making his car truly one of a kind.  With the right tools and a little creativity you can fabricate parts for your ride so it'll stand out from the rest.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

     

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