First time DIY paint job

I am gearing up to do something for the first time. Well not really.  This will be a DIY paint job and I will be relearning some things as I go.  I have painted before, and I have painted with a sprayer, but I have never painted with automotive paints before.  When I was a diesel mechanic I did paint a couple of trailer undercarriages, but that was with a 1 step paint (thin the paint, dump it in the sprayer, and spray).  I would like to paint the fairings for my Yamaha r6 myself and to tell you the truth when I started doing the research on the subject I was lost. With a bit of digging, YouTube watching, and reading I was able to gather enough knowledge to get a start.  So this is my take on learning how to shoot paint from the beginners standpoint.

Labor isn’t cheep and neither are the materials and tools.  It takes tape, sandpaper, filters, and lots of other items to get started.  I see myself doing more than one project, so I can justify the cost that way.  My time is worth something to, but there is a hidden paycheck here “learning something new”.  Once knowledge is gained its hard for someone to take that from you.  You will have these skills for the rest of your life. I’m not going to be a professional after this but I will have a good understanding about what is involved, and will try to get the best results that I can with the resources I have.

I am no way affiliated with the products that I name, I don’t get paid to say their name (although I should).  These are the products that I use, I do my research and I try to get the most bang for my buck.

The project I am working on is some Armour Bodies race fairings for my Yamaha R6.  These have been fitted up to the bike and have been taken off and are ready to shoot.  Now being race fairings and they are probably going to be crashed within the first year of use, I am still going to do the best job I can.

Armour Bodies states that, “all that is needed is a light scuff and the fairings are ready to paint”. Even though Armour bodies makes a great fitting product, the fairings that I received needed a little work to get them to fit around my woodcraft case covers and of course the frame sliders.  There was also two spots that had little divots or blemishes in the primer finish or the fibreglass.  Some glazing or spot putty took care of this, its like primer in a tube and can be used to fill chips and small imperfections. After using the glazing putty, I needed to use 220 to smooth the filler and then 320 to take care of the 220 marks.  I found that after a light scuff (320 grit wet sanding) that  I had thin spots of primer and in some cases I actually went through the primer to the black layer of the fibreglass (gel-coat maybe?).

Step 2: After fit up was to wet sand all the body work with 320 grit sandpaper.

Step 3: Fill any imperfections in the surface with a glazing or spot putty, then sand again.

Now that the primer is so thin that I am hitting tiny spots of gel-coat or fibreglass, I’m going to give this another coat of primer.  The primer I am using is a 2k urethane primer (2k = 2 parts,  the primer and the activator to harden it up)  urethane paints are supposed to stay fairly flexible and should work great on this bodywork.

Before I start to shoot primer though, it was suggested by the paint guy behind the counter, that I use an adhesion promoter since I am putting primer on portions of bare fibreglass/gel-coat. I will also wipe down the panels with a wax and grease remover. I then wiped the panels down with a tac cloth.  The tac cloth will remove any lint or dust on the bodywork.

Step 4: Spray adhesion promoter according to the directions onto the bodywork, before the primer

Step 5: Prime the bodywork according to the instructions on the can.  Make sure to use the small filter that goes into the throat of the spray gun.

Step 6: Sand this coat of primer with 600 grit sandpaper, careful not to go through. Its extremely easy to sand through the primer at the high ridges or corners.  If you go through the primer, the piece will need adhesion promoter and need to be primed and sanded again. Hopefully this is the last time it needs to be sanded and using 600 grit sandpaper will help to prevent you from sanding through the primer.  All your after is to level it up a bit before paint.




Step 7: Tape off and paint.  I did three colors on my bodywork, and to tell you the truth I was scared to get started.  I had a lot of money wrapped up in materials alone and I didn’t want it to get messed up.  I did my research, asked questions at the desk at the automotive paint supply place ( Wheelers ) and asked my friends questions that actually went to school for auto-body.  The big thing is, take precautions such as blowing the panels off with compressed air, then wipe off the panels with wax and grease remover (your not just getting them wet your actually washing them), and use a “tack” cloth to wipe the panels down to remove dust and dirt (the panels might look clean, but they rarely are).  If you get dirt or runs, they need to be sanded down, and then those spots that were sanded need to be painted again.  Clear coat covers nothing, it only puts a protective layer on the paint to prevent scratches, adds an added layer that can be sanded and buffed out in case of a minor surface scratch, and adds a nice glossy almost wet looking appearance.




Now is the time to put on Decals or you could wait.  I preferred to wait.  Maybe I want different decals later down the road, or maybe I mess up the panel some how in the future.  I personally wanted a way to easily peal the sticker or decal, repair the panel, paint and reapply the decal.

Step 8:  So all the colors are laid down on my panels, and everything looks good, no runs, no dirt, and everything has at least 2 coats, at the most 4 coats.  Now its time to clear coat. Spray the clear coat on with a 70% overlap.

Setting the gun up to clear coat was the most nerve racking.  I couldnt
really see the pattern coming out of the spray gun, and I had to check
it by actually spraying a test panel.

If there is dust in the clear coat, fish eyes, or orange peal.  You may want to wet-sand and buff the clear coat.  Be careful not to sand through the clear.

Step 9: If needed, Wet-sand with 1500 then 2000 being careful not to go through the clear coat, stay away from sharp bend, or at least be careful when close to them.  The pressure from sanding is concentrated at a bend or edge and sanding through is more likely in these areas.  DO NOT SAND THROUGH THE CLEAR COAT!!!!!!

Step 10: Buff with a medium cutting compound and then a swirl remover, lastly wax the panel.



Riding motorcycles and wrenching since my preteen years, I have moved from motocross to street bikes. Being a teen back in those days it was tough to get me off of the bike. Now days even though I am very busy being a dad I still have my weekends and go to the track to race and on occasion will do a track day or two.

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