Tag Archives: how to

  • How to build a gas tank from scratch- Save Money and replace that Rusty Tank!

    Now that we're thawing out here in Eastwood country I've decided to get this old gal back on the road and I decided to tackle the mechanics. The problem with any "barn find" like this is that they normally have mechanically deteriorated just from sitting for so long. Normally people don't plan to park a vehicle for a long time, just until they get time to fix it up. This means all of the fluids are left in the vehicle and those fluids over time tend to break down and cause issues. The worst thing to do if you park a vehicle for a long period of time (more than 6-8 months in my opinion) is to leave fuel in the tank. Over time the fuel breaks down and turns back into it's original fossilized state. The temperature changes and the gas in the tank also promotes corrosion over time and the tank eventually rots out.  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • How to Choose the Right Sanding Block

    How to Choose the Right Sanding Block

    The sanding block gets its name because once upon a time it was just a block of wood with sandpaper stuck to it. The hard, flat block allowed you to sand to a much more uniform surface. Later, the heavy rubber style “alligator” or “vampire” sanding blocks were invented with teeth in them to grip a 1/4 strip of sand paper, but that compared to today that is still stone age technology. Now there are blocks of all shapes, sizes and materials, for use on different shaped panels, and make all of our lives easier.

    Sandpaper has come a long way too, but nothing much has changed about how you use it. It’s just formulated with different abrasives, glues and backing to cut faster, longer and not fall apart. There are also neat innovations like adhesive backs and hook and loop attachment. But even with the advances since the 1980s, it’s pretty much the same process Daniel used in Karate Kid, back and forth, back and forth, until you build up the muscle memory to defend yourself, or block sand a car. Remember, when sanding with a block use alternating, crisscross strokes, and always push the broader edge of the sanding block as the leading edge, not the narrow one.

    Sandpapers

    If you need more information of block sanding and body work, the Eastwood YouTube channel and Tech Library are full of helpful how to stuff. Kevin Tetz has done quite a few videos demonstrating exactly how to do body work and prep for paint. According to his expert opinion, any paper with a grit coarser than 220 is for shaping, and finer than 220 is for sanding.

    Shaping is what you do to grind down welds, smooth body filler, and remove tiny waves from the metal work. Often times you are staring with something like 36 or 40 grit to grind down patch panel seams or body filler. Gradually you get finer and use something like 200 grit to shape high build primer before applying a sealer, and starting to paint.

    Sanding is what you do to promote adhesion of the next coat of paint to an old coat that is beyond the time window where it will chemically bond. Sanding is also what you do to get rid of paint imperfections like orange peel and drips. You can and will use sanding blocks at both of these stages, but they are different types.

    Sanding Blocks

    Rigid - Typically when doing initial shaping you will be using a very coarse paper, and a hard block, or even some sort of power tool, depending on what you are shaping. No one needs an explanation of how to grind a welded seam of a patch panel down with an angle grinder. Once you are beyond that stage though, you likely will be using a rigid block.

    This block is really the least advanced and can still be a hunk of 2 x 4 cut the size of your hand with adhesive backed paper stuck to it. For more advanced options try the 2 handed Eastwood Contour Rigid Sanding Board (#31056 or #31057), Dura-Blocks (#31160 7 piece kit, or sold separately), or the Adjustable Flexible Sanders (#20326) with all their stiffening rods in place. You can even make your own blocks to fit in unusually contours, or tight spaces out of a piece of dowel, a paint stirrer stick, or anything handy.
    Shaped - If you are doing a repair on a surface that crosses over a body style line, or is a concave panel, you’ll want to find a shape that matches it as closely as possible. This helps you get an accurately shaped repair without a lot of artistry and free hand sculpting. This is where making your own sanding block is useful.

    Eastwood has lots of different types of these, including soft blocks that can be shaped to your will for sanding large contoured areas. Again Dura-Block makes a great kit (#20553) including round, and teardrop profile nearly rigid blocks, the Style Line Soft Sanders kits (#12555 or #19311) include different rigidity, and a wide range of profiles for most any part that needs sanding.

    Semi-Rigid – Semi-rigid blocks are prefect for fine shaping, contouring, and curved, crowned surfaces. Let’s face it we talk a lot about body panels being straight and flat, but even on a boxy Volvo, there are subtle curves stamped into every body panel. In order to properly smooth and shape these you need semi-rigid blocks after the initial shaping has been done.

    A great tool for this is the Adjustable Flexible Sanders (#20326) with the removable rods, because you can start with them full hard for flatter areas, then make them less rigid as needed. To make short work of large areas try the 2 handed Eastwood Contour Flexible Board Sander (#31007). Then there are the palm sized Semi-Rigid Sanding Blocks (#34046) for smaller detail areas.

    Flexible – The final shaping you do, and most of the block sanding of paint imperfections, is going to be done with more flexible blocks. It just makes sense. The softer and more flexible a block is the less aggressive it is going to cut into the surface of what you are sanding.
    The Adjustable Flexible Sanders (#20326) with no rods in them are good for this, if you are doing a large area at once. Otherwise the Flexible Sanding Blocks (#34055) are great, or even the softer side of the Semi-Rigid Sanding Blocks (#34046) is it’s a relatively flat panel you are shaping.

    Block Sanding Paint

    Funny that many people when they think about block sanding are thinking about this step. Block sanding paint happens after the paint and primer are all done and you are just fixing the final imperfections and getting the mirror smooth gloss. This type of block sanding doesn’t really need all the various blocks at all. A simple semi-rigid, or flexible pad is really all you need. For larger flat areas even the old fashioned rubber palm block will work. Or use the more modern version of that old stand by the 6” Flexibility Palm Sander (#31171)
    .
    Hopefully this little run down of sanding blocks and their proper use has helped you out. Of course if you have any questions you can find answers in our tech library, our online restoration forums, or our help line. The Eastwood YouTube channel is also full of helpful videos showing how to use the products we sell, and how to do just about anything when it comes to body work.

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  • How To Paint & Set Up Your Spray Gun With Kevin Tetz

    How To Paint & Set Up Your Spray Gun
    With Kevin Tetz

    In September of 2013 Kevin Tetz from the Paintucation DVDs did a live stream and demonstration at Eastwood HQ in Pottstown, PA. If you missed it you can watch the whole thing on YouTube as Part 1 and Part 2, or just read our handy summary here covering all the topics he talked about including the live questions and answers.

    HowToPaint 1

    Compressor requirements
    A question that comes up a lot on the Eastwood forums and tech lines is “how big of a compressor do I need to paint a car?” Can you paint a car with a 2hp 15 gallon home compressor? Yes. Should you? No because you aren’t going to have enough air, or the clean dry air you need to atomize the paint for a proper glossy finish. A 2 stage, 60 gallon tank compressor with a 3.5hp motor should be considered a good starting point if you are planning on painting cars, preferably with a cast iron cylinder. And you need to go out of your way to be sure you have clean dry air. A larger tank and 2 stage pump means the compressor doesn’t have to run as often, and the air can cool down. Compressing air makes it hot, and the moisture gets trapped in it. Letting it sit in the tank lets it cool and the water sinks to the bottom.

    Air Supply Plumbing
    A lot of guys who have a good sized compressor, and an expensive high quality desiccant filtration and air drying system still complain about bad quality, moist air. One of the reasons for this is having the filter and water trap too close to the compressor. You need at least 20 feet, and preferably 50 feet so the air can cool and dry after being compressed. If you have a small shop it’s not feasible to just run 50 feet of pipe in a straight line from the compressor to the pain booth, but you can cheat.
    The trick is to run 10 feet of pipe vertically, up and down, up and down, until you have 50 feet of pipe in about 5 feet of space. On this diagram A is the compressor (in the rafters), B is your desiccant filter (also up high), and C is a drain valve at the lowest point in the plumbing.

    HowToPaint 2

    By cheating it vertically you create low spots where the water will naturally collect, and by putting the filter up high you are helping it do its job of separating it from the air. The best way to plumb the shop is with a “halo” style system. Run a loop of large diameter pipe around the perimeter of the shop, up to 2 inches, with 3/4 inch pipes dropping down to work areas where you need them. The pipe then becomes a secondary air storage tank, increasing your supply of air. Then if you slope the whole system downward, with a drain at the lowest part of the drop, and your regulator slightly above it, gravity will help you dry the air.

    HowToPaint 3

    Fast Pipe Shop Plumbing
    Modular air line systems, like the Fast Pipe system from Eastwood, make is very easy to plumb your entire shop with air. With its easy to cut tubing, easy to connect fittings, and aluminum construction is promises much cleaner air than the old black iron threaded tubing that was formerly the industry standard. Black iron and rust inside, and tiny flakes of iron or rust can find their way into the paint. These new systems use aluminum tubes, coated inside and out, to resist corrosion and deliver cleaner air. These systems were originally created for hospitals and the medical industry, so you know they provide pure air.

    Refrigeration systems
    If you have an air aftercooler, do you still need 50 feet of air line? - No. Professional refrigeration systems typically are plumbed in right after the compressor, and before the tank. The air comes out, hot and wet, and gets super cooled before getting to the tank. A moisture separator is built into it and takes the water out as it cools. These systems are expensive though, and most home hobbyists aren’t going to have them, it’s more of a professional body shop set up. What has been done by some guys, with some degree of success, is to build your own out of an old kitchen refrigerator. Make several coils of copper tubing that fit in the freezer compartment. Make a hole in the side of the freezer for the tubing to go through, and back out. Hook the line from the compressor, to the freezer, then back to the compressor tank. Now not only do you have a way to cool the air, you can keep beer and lunch in the refrigerator part.

    Air Hoses
    Because you need enough air volume, as well as pressure, it’s important to use a big enough hose. Never use an air hose smaller than 3/8 inch diameter, and 20-25 feet maximum between the hard line and the gun. With too long of a hose you are going to have a dramatic air pressure drop between the regulator at the wall and your gun. Use a good flexible air hose too, so you don’t get tangled, or end up having to move awkwardly while trying to spray.

    Air Fittings
    It’s also important to use full sized 3/8 inch inside diameter air fittings on the gun and hose. Using 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch fittings or hoses can dramatically affect the spray coming out of your gun. With the same settings, same gun, same paint the fan pattern can be up to 4 inches smaller top to bottom, just with the wrong fitting.

    Humidity and Time of Day
    When you are painting, you often can’t plan what the weather is going to be like. Summers can be hot and humid and ruin a paint job, even with the best set up and technique. Use the time of day to your advantage. Typically mornings are the coolest, least humid, and most bug free time of day. Get all your set up done the night before and wake up with the sun to shoot first thing in the AM.

    Spray Guns
    There is no need to think you have to spend a bundle to get a spray gun that will give you quality results. Learning the proper techniques and using them is more important than spending hundreds of dollars on a spray gun. Kevin Tetz’s 68 Mustang show car “Jaded” was not only painted with all Eastwood paints and primers, he shot it with the Eastwood Concours Pro and Evolution spray guns. On the floor at the SEMA car show, with other professionally built cars and even Riddler award winners, the paint on “Jaded” was just as good.

    Technique Dos and Don’ts

    A common mistake people make is in being lazy, or reaching too far ahead of themselves, and not keeping the spray gun perfectly perpendicular to the surface being painted.

    HowToPaint 5

    WRONG
    When the spray nozzle is not held 90 degrees from the surface, the spray pattern causes one end to get too much paint, and one end to get too little.

    HowToPaint 7

    WRONG
    Hold the gun just right and you get an even spray with perfect edges on your fan pattern.

    HowToPaint 6

    RIGHT
    A good way to practice this technique is to just tape a cheap 4” paint brush to the end of the gun. Practice keeping the brush just off the surface, and perfectly aligned.

    HowToPaint 8

    Another mistake people make when they start painting is standing in one spot and just swinging their arm across the panel. This results in a curved arc of paint, not a straight line.

    HowToPaint 4

    WRONG
    Kevin pulls an assistant out of the audience, and teaches him the correct way to work his way across the panel. Standing with your feet slightly apart, hold your arm straight, and move side to side at the hips, so the gun follows a straight line across the panel. Done correctly the gun will follow the tape on the box, or the black arrow, from one side to the other.

    HowToPaint 9

    RIGHT
    In order to maintain the correct straight line, you may have to bend your wrist a little at either end of your pass. But with enough practice it will become second nature, and you’ll do it instinctually. Another thing you can practice with the paint brush taped to the gun is your overlap. Proper overlap is typically about 50% from pass to pass. With the paint brush/spray gun practice tool you can move along the cardboard practice panel just like you were painting. Since the brush is about 1/2 the size of the fan pattern, you want to move the width of the brush with each pass.

    On Gun Regulators
    Small air pressure regulators are available and often used between the gun and the air hose. But before committing to using it like that, make sure it doesn’t cause you to hold your hand at an unnatural position.

    HowToPaint10

    HowToPaint11

    It may seem okay now, but think about how it’s going to feel after you spray the 3 coats of base coat and 3 coats of clear all the way around the car. A better solution may be to use a regulator on the gun, and at the wall, then adjust the one on the wall until you get the pressure reading you want at the gun. Now you can take it off, and the gun is much easier to maneuver.

    Practice Paint
    For the sake of practice it’s best to use something completely non-toxic, and paint something free and disposable. Today Kevin is painting a cardboard box using water based craft paint you can pick up anywhere. This makes cleanup super easy, and you don’t need to wear a respirator to spray it.
    Open up the fluid control valve on the gun all the way and spray an example. If the spray pattern is not roughly football shaped, adjust the fan pattern control until it is. The dot at the top is wrong, the shape below it is correct.

    HowToPaint12

    A peanut shaped spray pattern usually means the air pressure is too high, and the air horns are pinching in the edges.

    HowToPaint13

    A banana shaped pattern typically means one of the air horns is clogged, the one the curve is bending towards.

    HowToPaint14

    A teardrop shaped pattern means your nozzle itself is partially clogged, or has some sort of dirt caught in it.

    HowToPaint15

    Cleaning a New Spray Gun
    New spray guns are not ready to paint. Typically they are coated inside and out with an anti-corrosion chemical that needs to be cleaned off in order to get the best results. Since you don’t know exactly what they use, its best to just clean the gun like you would after using it. If you don’t clean it you can have problems ranging from dirt in the paint, to chemical incompatibility.

    Leap Frogging a Car
    You may not realize this, but it is important to start painting the car in the proper place, and work around it in the right order for best results. The order Kevin likes to use, which he calls “Leap frogging” or the push-pull method, is this: start at the edge of the roof and work toward the middle, from the other side start at the middle and work toward the edge, down the sailpanel, other sail panel, across the rear decklid and trunk, quarter panel, back to the other side quarter panel, door, other side door, fender, other side fender, hood, front of the car and done. This method means the edge of the paint is as wet as possible when you overlap it.

    If you start in the middle of the roof and paint to the edge, you let that edge dry for several extra minutes before overlapping it and painting the other side of the roof. Then you have to apply the overlap extra wet to make up for the drying that has occurred. This is especially important since the roof of the car gets some of the worse that weather and nature can throw at it over the years, so you want it to be extra tough. Many pros do start in the middle and work toward the edge, but until you are a pro, Kevin suggests his method.

    Finding the Wet Edge
    How do you find the wet edge, when spraying the 2nd coat? Or spraying paint over a similar colored primer/sealer? Or when spraying clear? – Well, there is no trick, or easy way to do it. You just have to find the right angle, and look for the reflection of the shop lights, or sun if you are outside. You may have to move back and forth and up and down till you find it, but just keep at it until you find the light.

    HowToPaint16

    This is one of the reasons why you ought to be wearing eye protection when painting. With eye protection you can get your face right up close to the body as you spray and see the reflections. Even if you just wear a cheap pair of safety goggles and throw them away afterwards, they will keep the bounce back paint out of your eyes. Modern urethanes cure by the isocyanates reacting to moisture in the air. If it gets into your eyes, or other mucus membranes, it will start to harden and cure, and you don’t want that.

    Painting Fast
    How is it that guys on reality TV shows can paint so fast? Is the film speeded up? – No, it’s not sped up. They are just good and have the techniques down. The first thing to consider is if you have enough air, and at the right pressure. If that checks out, then the most important aspect is having the gun in the sweet spot distance from the panel. Get the distance right and you can sweep back and forth almost unbelievably quick and get good coverage and perfect flow out. Also make sure you have a big enough tip on the gun, so you are getting good flow.

    Spraying Primer
    What size tip do you use for spraying primer? – It depends. Primer surfacer, which is viscous and high build is going to need a big tip – a 1.8 or 2.0. Polyester high build need a big fat tip like a 2.0 or larger. Other primers can be sprayed with anything bigger than a 1.6.

    Sealers
    Why use a sealer? – The point of using a sealer is to have a continuous color coat to apply your top coat to. If the primer coat is already a solid color, and close to the color you are applying, you can eliminate the sealer coat. On the other hand, if you have a spotty primer coat, spraying 1 coat of sealer will mean eliminating several coats of top coat in order to get good coverage. Anytime you can eliminate a coat of paint and the solvents in it, you should.

    For application over bare metal, after media blasting for instance, Kevin recommends epoxy sealer. Not only does it protect really well, and goes on easily, and can be coated over for up to a week afterwards without having to sand.

    Soda Blasting
    What has to be done to remove the coating left after soda blasting a car? – It is very important to use a cleaner after soda blasting to remove the thin layer of sodium left on the metal. The film will actually inhibit rust for a short period of time, but it has to be removed completely before any primer or paint goes on. Eastwood’s After Blast is a good way to clean and etch the metal between blasting and paint.
    Of course do to the nature of this unscripted, live streaming demonstration, Kevin touched on a ton of topics. For more in depth explanation of paint and body matters the Paintucation DVDs are a great place to start, or the many other videos Eastwood and Kevin have done over the past few years now on YouTube.

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  • The Black Art of TIG Welding Aluminum- Crash Course Edition

    Tig Welding can be a black art if you start on your own with no direction. All too often we see first time TIG Welders struggle with the basics and this can lead to frustration and a long learning process. TIG welding aluminum can be more difficult than steel; even with a simplified TIG welder like the Eastwood TIG 200 AC/DC. Aluminum tends to be less forgiving and there are some simple steps you can take before, during, and after the weld that can help you successfully weld aluminum. I decided to throw together a few common mistakes and corrections for beginners when learning the "black art" of TIG welding aluminum.  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Snapshot of the Future of Metal Fabrication

    Snapshot of the Future of Metal Fabrication
    By: Monica Gomez

    Anyone who wants to know where career possibilities exist, as well as where their current job is going, would benefit from paying attention to industry forecasts; the industry of metal fabrication is no exception. The metal product industry has been going through quite a bit of change over the last decade, reinventing itself quite a bit after significant changes occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, which reduced the number of mass production assembly plants nationwide. Today’s industry is often managed by smaller outfits that operate with far more nimble programs and functions, that take on quite a bit more of custom work, and that are spread out in far more places geographically. Let’s take a look forward to see where the industry might be headed.
    Recycled Metal

    One of the first big trends that appeared (and that continues to grow) is the use of recycled metal. Where recycled metal was once may be 10 or 20 percent of supply, today it makes up more than half of the material used, up to 60 percent. That means there are jobs and careers on both sides of the recycling picture, from sourcing material to be recycled to those consuming it and recreating used metal into new products and constructs.

    At some point this figure will likely increase more, but the general demand for metal still far outpaces what is available from recycled sources. So there will continue to be some portion of new virgin metal supply provided. That said, understanding how to source, work with, and manipulate recycled metal is here to stay, especially as companies find themselves sourcing from farther and farther away for new raw supply.
    Steel

    In terms of actual product manufacturing, steel is still a hot commodity and has a healthy demand. This is expected to continue going forward because nothing has been produced so far that would replace the function and purpose of steel on a broad scale. Granted, there have been some interesting inventions with carbon fiber, aluminum and other materials, but steel remains the main building product for infrastructure strength and framework. In fact, steel has been booming in architectural design due to desire for a neo-modern appearance. Naked interiors of rooms and building showing the structural framework have been very popular in new building lobbies, restaurants and more.
    3D Printing & Technology

    On the production process side of metal manufacturing, technology is king. Knowing the various tools, software, types of systems applied, and how new tools are being invented for automated assembly is key. Those seeking to reinvent their career or start a new one in metal manufacturing will be well served to become as much of a related tech guru as possible. Computers and robot assembly have already established themselves as the replacement for hand labor in large facilities. These same tools are now starting to make inroads to medium and smaller facilities because the cost of the technology is coming down, making it far more affordable. 3D printing allows users to expand the realm of possibilities and could also potentially cut costs and manufacturing time, writes weldingschool.com. 3D printing trends mean there will be a growing demand for those who know how to run and operate such equipment and software.
    Worldly Knowledge

    Finally, the metal fabrication world and related markets are becoming more and more global. Having knowledge of other languages and cultures will go a long way for anyone looking to not just be in fabrication, but manage it from an international customer perspective. This includes remote quality control, sales, manufacturing training, multi-vendor supply system management, and more. The ability to work with different people in different time zones will become more and more important, especially as much of communication is changing to a round-the-clock status in terms of working with people and exchanging information.

    So, metal fabrication isn't going anywhere. Instead, the industry is healthy and will continue to see demand in the future, but it will require far more technical knowledge with a heavy reliance on technology for accuracy and engineering.

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