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How I Spent My summer Vacation


GEdwardJones
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Yesterday (2.21.2004) I finally started the refin of my nephew's helmet . This is that story... (mostly because I couldn't find the original thread). If you're wondering why I'm posting infor about helmet painting on Project GUITAR. It's because I used the same techniques that I read about here to paint it, so there :D

So first off, there's my nephew's passenger helmet. It's an HJC, it's a good helmet, but since he sold the yellow bike he bought it with and bought a red bike he felt the need for change. He was just going to go to Home Depot and buy some rattle cans, then he remembered., "Hey, D and George are good at painting and design and stuff." So he asked and we said yes.

Compressor = $100

Gravity Feed Spray guy = $80

PPG Automotive Polyurethane Paints, reducers, hardeners, etc. = $200

Off to a good start, no?

First thing was to get rid of some of the clear coat. It's all waxy and shiny and makes a horrible base (or at least that's what the Monster Garage book said).

small_helmet.jpg

If you look, you can see teh scratches from the sanding on the gray parts. I was trying not to sand through the clear coat, just rough it up a little, but I wasn't entirely successful.

sant_thru.jpg

You can see down by the logo, that used to be yellow. for the most part, that was it for sand through.

So yesterday I had to work (again) so my wife sat down with some 3M blue tape and an X-Acto knife and went to work with the taping

all_taped_up.jpg

Bless her, she's an angel.

I managed to stop working at 4:00, instead of the 1:00 I originally had been lead to believe, so it was time to go out to the shed. Yon, the guy who owned the house before my wife bought it, built furniture as a hobby and had a fully powered work shed built in the back yard. Mostly, however, we just use it to store the lawnmower. So it was time to open up the shed.

Here's D and Mojo scouting the Perimeter.

shed.jpg

So we open up the shed and...it's not as bad as we thought it'd be (It had gotten overgrown with Ivy last year and we just had it cleaned off, we hadn't opened it in like 6 months. It looks like a Cat had lived in there for a little while, but other wise it was good.

inside_shed.jpg

The shed's a bit dusty so we did a little cleaning. Also I had to break in my compressor, which took 15 minutes. Which, in retrospect, wasn't horrible. D had noticed that our Sheltie, Tiggy, had a major case of PooButt (anyone who's ever owned a long haired animal can relate to this) so it was off to trying to get a puppy to stay still in the tub while we yanked as his asshairs. That, my friends, is fun. Especially when he breaks free and gets brown water all over your face....

Anyway, 15 minutes passed, we mixed up 6ml of primer (which didn't seem like a whole lot, but I didn't want to waste it if I didn't have to, that stuff cost $50 a pint) and test sprayed an old headboard in the shed to get a feel for the gun.

Next up, the helmet. The first coat was medium-light. There was still a LOT of the original graphic showing through after I finished. Coat 2 (or, as I call it 1.5) was applied 5 minutes later and was basically just enough to make the primer opaque.

primed_first.jpg

While painting I did the overlapping layers thing, which becomes harder and harder as the coats get more and more opaque, so I continued on as best I could. I think, for the most part, I did a good job.

You might be wondering what the base is. It's a 1 gallon bottle of PineSol. It actually fits almost pefectly inside the helmet and lifts the helmet off the drop cloth so I can get a clean shot at the bottom.

I let that dry for 10 minutes (until the primer was slightly tacky, this stuff dries really fast) and put on another, pretty wet coat.

primed_second.jpg

Which is where it stands today. There is a little orange peel to the primer from the fact that 1. I don't know what I'm doing, 2. I have a cheap gun and 3. the shed is a tad dusty. Today I'm going to sand the primer to get it nice and smooth, then lay down a coat or 6 of color. I hope to be finished with all the color by the end of the day, but that may be a little optimistic.

Also I realized that althought the shed is pretty well ventilated, it didn'tmater, because the air didn't move yesteday, there was NO wind of any kind, so I'm going to put one of the three box fans we have out there facing out the door to stimulate some airflow..

I also realized that cleaning the paint gun's cannister is a pain in the behind. How do you get the mineral spirits to stay in something that has a hole in both ends? oy

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I also realized that cleaning the paint gun's cannister is a pain in the behind. How do you get the mineral spirits to stay in something that has a hole in both ends? oy

You don't need to leave the solvent in the gun, though you can if you plan on painting the next day. You can just hang the gun, leaving the cup on it, and fill it with a bit of solvent. It shouldn't leak out, otherwise you have a really cheap gun.

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You don't need to leave the solvent in the gun, though you can if you plan on painting the next day. You can just hang the gun, leaving the cup on it, and fill it with a bit of solvent. It shouldn't leak out, otherwise you have a really cheap gun.

Thought about that, didn't know for sure.

The problem was when cleaning I was trying to get all traces of primer out of the cannister before I put the colors in (a little ****, I know), but it was hard as all hell trying to get that cannister clean (everything else pretty much wiped right off with a dose of mineral spirits.

I'll leave the spirits in tonight and see if that cleans it up for tomorrow.

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The problem was when cleaning I was trying to get all traces of primer out of the cannister before I put the colors in (a little ****, I know)

Not really ****, you don't want any particals of primer to contaminate the colors, this is why some people use separate guns for primer, colors, and clears.

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Not really ****, you don't want any particals of primer to contaminate the colors, this is why some people use separate guns for primer, colors, and clears.

Yeah, I thought about that. I'm not at a place in my life where I need a seperate gun for each paint. I'm just going with "clean the one I have as best I can and pray for the best" :D

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And the thick plottens.

So I was trying to spray the colors today. Since a long, time ago I read an article in, I believe, BMX Plus! where they did a shop tour of the Bell factory (which made all of the helmets for GT BMX) that at bell the entire helmet is painted every color on the helmet. So, GT helmets were blue with white, yellow and black pinstripes and red letters so the helmet was painted one color, taped off then painted another. All that is to explain why I painted the entire helmet black, when the black was just going to be a racing stripe.

anyway, so I put on the sweat pants that got shrunk in the wash and the T-shirt that I got from making a donation to a charity at Mardi Gras last year, but was WAY too fat to wear before losing about 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks (now I'm only too fat to wear it) and headed out to the shed for some painting.

painting_1.jpg

I put a coat or two of black on (I'm pretty sure this picture was taken after the first wet coat)

black_coat_1a.jpg

Then I noticed what I had feared during coat three. Yes a little bit of primer had mixed with the black and was spitting out.

*sigh*

So I stopped the painting and started the heavy duty cleanup of the gun (which is out in the shed soaking right now.

But 20 minutes ago my sister-in-law called. My nephew's best friend totalled his bike (the one with 15 years of riding experience). His new bike that he's only payed two payments on. The one that he just spent $3K customizing and just got back last night. The one that I'm painting the helmet on. So, you know, no rush anymore.

Which I guess works out, 'cos it's supposed to rain every night for the rest of the week anyway.

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Well, here's the thing. My wife's brother-in-law is a volunteer fireman/former EMT and, as I semi-jokingly call him, the owner of Enola, PA. So he has a police scanner in the bedroom and he still chips in whenever there's a need. So he heard a call for a LifeFlight helicopter for a motorcycle wreck in Carlisle, which he knew was where Jason was. So he and my sister-in-law were already breaking several traffic laws by the time they received the call from my nephew and heard that the LifeFlight call was cancelled.

Nobody was seriously injured (the friend had a minor sprain thanks to landing in a snow drift), but Jason is pretty devastated.

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