Tag Archives: plastidip

  • How to Plasti Dip Your Car - Dipping a Mk3 VW Golf


    There's a time, place, and vehicle for a proper show-winning paint job. What happens when you have the itch to customize your car or give it a better finish then it currently has, but don't have the ability, tools, time or cash for a traditional repaint. Recently automotive enthusiasts have found a reversible way to customize and change the color of their vehicle without damaging the paint. This craze is called "dipping your car". What's involved when you dip your car? Well basically it's a plastic coating that when sprayed heavy enough, can be peeled off of the surface without damaging the paint underneath. The key is to lay enough coats that you create a tough, flexible "skin" over the vehicle. Plasti-Dip and other plastic coatings were originally known for coating the handles of tools, benches, outdoor public furniture and other oddball uses until someone discovered that you can obtain the plastic coatings in gallons and spray it through a household paint sprayer.

    We wanted to experience this craze for ourselves and one of our loyal local Eastwood customers "Sean H." offered up his customized 1997 "Mk3" VW Golf as a subject for dipping. Sean has owned this VW Golf since high school and after 8 years of daily driving, pizza delivery, and just general abuse, the original black paint paint on this car has seen better days. Sean also was a little bored with driving a black car and wanted something drastically different. It's like one of those makeover shows where the guys wife is an ultra-conservative, boring dresser and the hosts make her look like an A-lister party-girl and the husband goes nuts. It's not necessarily better, just different and a welcomed change. Since Sean has some sentimental attachment to this car, he didn't want to sell her. This is just a temporary new look to rekindle the love affair with his little VW Golf.

    Sean decided he really did want to go with a drastic makeover and he decided on White Plasti-Dip as his final color. As you can imagine changing from black to white is going to take a LOT of material to completely hide the black. Just like a traditional paint job Sean decided to use a "Mid-Coat" to speed up the process and require less coats of white. He chose Gun Metal Gray Plasti-Dip to lay down first over the original black paint. Most every base Plasti-Dip is dead flat and has almost zero gloss. This look isn't for everyone, Sean included. He decided to top coat the white with Plasti-Dip Glossifier to give the white finish a bit of a gloss. Follow along below as we show you the basics to dipping your car.

    As you can see the paint on this VW Golf has seen better days and this car gets driven a lot. Sean began by pulling the car into the shop and giving it a thorough cleaning. He finished up by wiping the entire car down with glass cleaner and began taping off the glass, emblems, and large parts of the car he didn't want to coat. The nice thing about plastic coatings and Plasti-Dip is that it DOES peel off, so you can be pretty quick about taping off the car. Areas that have definitive breaks from the body like headlights, taillights, etc. can be left untaped and you can simply puncture the coating where it connected between the body and that part and just tear it off. We suggest focusing on areas that have little to no gap from the body and things that are intricate like emblems and certain trim. Otherwise the tedious job of taping off a car for paint is much easier when dipping a car!

    Once the car was taped off Sean moved to preparing the Earlex Spray Station and the gun metal gray Plasti-Dip. Before pouring, Sean thoroughly mixed the dip. Once the first batch of paint was ready to spray Sean set his spray pattern and practiced his technique on a spare junk bumper rebar. From there Sean began laying his first coat of gray. Because of the dramatic color change he ended up laying 2 heavy coats of the gray to get enough coverage for the white to properly cover.

    With the black muted a bit with the gray Plasti-Dip Sean thoroughly cleaned the Earlex gun and moved on to mixing and spraying the white Plasti-Dip. In the end he laid six coats of white to get a high build that could be peeled off easily. Sean waited about 30-35 minutes between coats to allow for the dip to "flash". Once the car was all white you could really see why he decided to use the glossifier.

    After the white flashed on the car Sean cleaned the Earlex gun and mixed up the glossifier. The glossifier does shoot a bit differently than the colors and you will need to dial your gun back to avoid excessive output which will cause runs and sags. Once the paint gun was adjusted properly he applied three coats of the glossifier again allowing 30-35 minutes between coats. The final result gives the white almost a metallic or pearlescent effect to the gloss. Definitely better than chipping, fading original paint!

    With the car fully dipped everything could be untaped and the coating peeled off of the headlights, taillights, and other parts he didn't want the coating on. The best way to do this is to cut or poke a hole in an edge or corner of a part and peel the edge up as you go like you're removing a vinyl sticker. Any excess that isn't built up enough to peel off can be rubbed off using your fingers or a sponge. Remember it's easier to remove heavy "overspray" Plasti-Dip than just a light dust coat!

    Once the car was unmasked and the excess coating removed, Sean rolled the car outside to get a good look at it. The finish has a cool medium sheen with a metallic/pearl type look in some lights. Up close there is a light texture, but from a few feet away it really looks great and could almost be mistaken for a traditional respray! Sean plans to use the Black Aerosol Plasti-Dip to coat the side trim and some other parts to break up the amount of white on the car. That's one of the nice things about dipping a car is that you can just peel it off if you don't like it or peel a portion to add another color or customize the dip further. Now that the car is back on the road Sean has a new love affair for his car and he can be seen rocking it around town with pride like the day he first bought it!

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  • Perfectly Powder Coated Wheels- 10 Tips to Make Your Wheels Look Great

    It's a known fact that a set of wheels can make or break a car. We've seen some of the biggest "junkers" become legendary with a nice set of wheels and a ride height adjustment. The opposite can happen when you have a nicely restored vehicle that has dirty, beat-up, or badly finished wheels. It can ruin the overall appearance of the car or truck. We're here to show you how to make your rolling stock look as good as your ride with these 10 tips to powder coated wheel perfection.

    1. Preparation Is Key!- Powder Coating, like traditional paint, requires a clean, dry surface for the best results. We suggest to media blast your wheels down to bare metal for the best powder adhesion. Powder coating is a "high-build" coating that will fill the texture left by media blasting. Eastwood offers DIY Media Blasting Kits that make it a pretty affordable option. The other option is to remove the finish chemically or mechanically. Both methods can be quite messy and time consuming, but they do the job. Once the wheels are free of any old coatings, wash them down with a solvent like PRE or After Blast to remove any grease, dirt, or grime. At this point we'd suggest wearing clean rubber gloves. The oil from your skin can transfer to the surface and actually cause imperfections in the powder during curing. Remember, the cleaner the better!

    Removing Paint From Wheels Chemically

    2. Pre-Bake Wheels- The wheels on your vehicle are subjected to some of the harshest conditions on your vehicle. They see extreme temps, brake dust, grease, grime, salt, and anything in between. No matter how often you cleaned the wheels (especially cast wheels), they'll still have some residue or contaminants baked into the metal. Those contaminants can release when the wheel is heated up. If that happens when baking and curing your powder, it could cause popping, bubbling, or even a fisheye effect in your cured powder. We suggest to bake your wheels at 350-400 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour to assure that you have released and baked out the years of contaminants in the metal. This way when you apply the powder and cure it at a similar temperature, those contaminants would have already been released.

    Pre-Baking Wheels

    3. Assure you have a good ground connection- Grounding your wheels to the powder coating gun is very important. Most wheels have some tight corners and crevices that can be difficult to get the powder into. The static charge that is created by grounding the wheels and charging the powder is what helps the powder cling into every crevice. Without a good ground the powder won't stick in these spots and you'll get an uneven finish. We've had luck by running thin metal wire around or through each wheel and then connecting the ground to the metal rack the wheels sit on for coating and curing. This allows you an easy spot to clamp your ground clamp to the rack or even the wire under the rack.

    4. Hot-Flock you wheels- "Hot-Flocking' is a procedure where you preheat the part and immediately coat the wheel. The hot wheel will help the powder "stick" to the surface easier as the powder may begin to melt as soon as it hits the surface. This technique takes some practice to perfect. You will need to be quick with laying the powder down so the part doesn't cool too much. Also be mindful to avoid laying too much powder during this method as you can get "runs" or "clumps" of powder that will collect in one spot.

    5. Use High Temperature Masking Tape- Use this high temp tape to mask off lug holes, hub bores, and any other areas that have a tight tolerance and could cause issues when refitting the wheels. You can also use this tape to mask off portions of the wheels to apply a second coat of powder for a custom application.

    6. Apply Clear Coat Powder- Use your choice of clear powder to add an extra layer of protection to your wheels and make cleaning brake dust and road grime off easier (high metallic and textured powders especially hold dirt and grime!). Additionally our high gloss clear powders really give your finish a "deep" "wet" look.

    Gloss Clear Powder over Wheel Sparkle Silver Powder

    7. Protect the inside of the wheels- One of the nice things about powder coating is that it helps seals the metal and keep your wheels from corroding. We have found a good practice while powder coating your wheels is to apply a layer of powder on the inside barrels of the wheels to protect them from corrosion. The inner barrels or hoop see the harshest conditions. You can make the coating as basic as satin black powder or go full custom and use an eye catching Translucent or Candy Powder.

    Custom Powder Coated Wheels

    8.Remove anything that shouldn't be coated- If you don't want it coated or it can't handle the heat, you must remove it before starting the process. This includes valve stems, sealing rings, trim pieces, lug covers, hubcaps or center caps, etc.

    9. Use metal or high temperature filler on damaged wheels- Have a wheel with some "curbing" or damage? Use an all metal filler like Lab-Metal to fill and sand imperfections smooth. Powder Coating can have some filling properties, but heavy scratches or gouges need to be filled. Alternatively you could use an AC/DC Tig Welder to weld and fill major damage.

    10. Use a Quality Powder Gun- As mentioned earlier, powder coating wheels can be difficult with all of the crevices and tight areas you need to coat. Not all powder coating guns are created equal and you need to make sure you use a gun that has the ability to switch to a lower voltage that allows the powder to cling to those hard to reach areas. Our Dual Voltage Powder Coating Gun is one example of an adjustable voltage gun.

    If you follow these tips and take your time, you can make your wheels look as good as the rest of your ride and last just as long too!

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