What Kind Of Abrasives Are Needed For An Automotive Paint Job

Abrasion is used in every step of painting a car. First the original paint must be removed, then the bare metal of the car needs to be sanded down before primer is applied.

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  1. Car owners who enjoy DIY projects may one day tackle the job of painting a car, most often in the process of collision repair. Just as with any major project, careful preparation is the key to a smooth process and a pleasing result. To prepare a car for paint, it's important to use the right abrasives when cleaning and smoothing the surface to be painted.

    Purpose Of Abrasive Materials

    Abrasion is used in every step of painting a car. First the original paint must be removed, then the bare metal of the car needs to be sanded down before primer is applied. Then each layer of primer and paint must be smoothed and polished until the finish has a glossy shine.

    Types Of Tools

    Some of the tools most often employed are abrasive disks that attach to rotary sanding machines, belt sanders that cover a broader area, abrasive stones for polishing, and sandpaper that can be attached to a sanding tool or applied by hand. Most DIY and professional automotive painters use a variety of tools to access different parts of the car.

    Understanding Grit Size

    When choosing an abrasive material, it's important to understand how grit size is labeled. The coarsest grit will be identified with a low number, for example P40 (according to the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives) or simply 40 (according to the US Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute). The finest grit, like that used for final polishing, will have a high number, like P1500 or 1000.

    Choosing Grit Size

    To remove old paint, use a coarse grit, from 40 to 50 in size. To sand down bare metal, go with a medium grit, size 60 to 80. Use very fine grit, in the 150 to 220 range, to prepare metal for primer, and then sand that primer with 240 to 320-size grit before applying paint. Finally, use a super-fine grit in the range of 400 to 1000 to polish the final coat of paint. This final phase is called wet sanding or color sanding.

    When selecting abrasives and tools, make sure to get a wide range of sizes and styles that will accommodate all parts of the car and all phases of the job. To learn more about abrasives and other auto body supplies, visit ctisupply.com.
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