Painting the cylinder 2 colors (between the fins)- advice please!

Discussion in 'Painting, Welding, Bending and Gas Tanks' started by Fletch, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Fletch

    Fletch Member

    Here's a picture of where I'm at with my tedious masking tape job :sweatdrop: That took my a few hours to do believe it or not!

    I plan to spray paint between the fins first, but my question is: What is the best way to tape or cover up inside the fins when I go to spray them? There's got to be an easier way than cutting thin little strips pf masking tape?

    Do they make a special tape in a pre-cut thin width that I can buy for between the fins?

    I could use some advice from anyone who paints or has done 2 colors on the cylinder before.


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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

  2. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    Wow... I can't believe you masked all that off. I have done a good bit of prep work myself.... I wouldnt doubt it took you a few hours.

    They make different sizes of blue painters tape. Get the really thin one and you should just be able to fit it right in.

    Can I make a suggestion??? Just paint the inside and leave the fins.

    Also... Did you prep the surface with a sand blaster before you taped? Did you get high heat paint???

    If you neglected those two things the paint will eventually chip off and look like cr@p... Leaving the whole thing basically for nothing.

    Surface prep is everything with paint.
  3. Fletch

    Fletch Member

    I didn't prep the surface because I don't have a blaster and I figured it was too difficult to get in there by hand with an abrasive pad or something.

    I like your idea about just painting the inside on a silver engine, but mine is black. This is a new cylinder for it, and I'm going with a black/yellow, bee/wasp/hornet/whatever :D theme.

    I am using engine enamel yes. Do you know if they make a hand paint version? That way I could brush it on.

    If this tu-tone proved to be too much of a hassle I was just going to go with solid yellow on the cylinder (black everywhere else).

    I was also thinking about painting yellow stripes on my black expansion chamber exhaust to look like a wasp. I tried the two color thing on a gas tank with just spray paint (don't have an airbrush) and the edges of the two colors where the masking tape was didn't come out even and straight. Maybe if I use a different tape, or a stencil material or some kind I could avoid those uneven edges. I was thinking that a wasp doesn't have perfectly straight yellow bands anyway, so it might actually look ok?

    There's only so much I know how to do with 2 cans of spray paint :D

    Thanks for the tip on the painting tape. Where would be the best place to find it- Frazee?

    Here's a pic of how I'd like the exhaust to look. The wasp doesn't have perfectly round stripes. There's a pattern.

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  4. Dave C

    Dave C Member

    It would be easiest to paint the whole thing yellow then something like BBQ paint or header paint and paint the fin edges. I think it was Ace I saw it at. I have seen both in small, non-spray cans like around 8 oz or so. Then use a foam tipped brush from the Dollar store.

    Blasting does a real good job of surface prep but a chemical cleaner like carb or brake cleaner will do a good job, too.
  5. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    ***** Surface prep is 80% of getting a good paint job*******
    Anyone can spray paint something, but it takes someone who knows what they're doing to make it stick, last a very long time AND look good.

    #1A. If this was a bare non painted cylinder, wash the cylinder down 2-3 times with laquer thinner to remove all oil and let it air dry. Be absolutly positive that there are no puddles of laquer thinner hiding anywhere, you can use compressed air to blow any hiding laquer thinner off.
    Even oil from your fingers on the surface will cause paint not to stick. A brand new, never ran cylinder will have a thin layer of machine oil on it, and this will definitly cause the paint not to stick.

    #1B. If this was a factory painted black cylinder, then you should have roughened up the black paint by sandblasting all of the black paint off, or by using a scotch-brite pad or sandpaper to give the old paint some "teeth" for the new paint to grab on to. Then wash the cylinder with laquer thinner 2-3 times and let it air dry. Be absolutly positive that there is no puddles of laquer thinner hiding anywhere, you can use compressed air to blow any hiding laquer thinner off.

    #2. Use a good, hi-temp automotive engine enamel that will stand up to the heat. (like hi-temp header paint, or hi-temp engine enamel)

    #3. I would have painted the entire cylinder, the color that you want the fins to be, no masking when spraying the first color (which would end up being the fin color).

    #4. After the first color is completey dry (at least 24 hours in at least 65 degrees)THEN I would have masked off the fins, leaving only the inner jug exposed and sprayed the second color. (the color that you want the innner jug to be).

    #5. Let the second color dry for 10-15 minutes or so, and then remove the masking tape while the second color is still soft or tacky, not wet. Doing this will allow the tape to cut the edge of the paint, and not cause it to crack the paint and give you jagged edges where the 2 colors meet. If the second color is too dry, the tape will want to break the edges of the paint.

    #6. You should use a good masking tape made for painting. The blue 3m painters tape that you can get at wal mart works really good, even tho it is for interior house painting. If this tape is applied and pressed down firmly on all edges, it will give you a clean line between the 2 colors. This tape will also not let paint bleed under it and ruin your first color IF all the edges are pressed down firmly (Double check this right before you spray the paint.
    Normal tan masking tape will allow paint to bleed under the edges, and sometimes the paint will actually bleed through the tan masking tape itself.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  6. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    I can tell you right now, that no yellow paint out of a spray can will stay on the exhaust for very long. the heat from the exhaust will eventually burn the paint off.
    when you get a black exhaust pipe, that paint is baked on over bare steel. Even it eventually will start to burn off.
    The only paint out of a spray can that I have ever seen stay on an exhaust is hi-temp bbq grill paint (only available in flat black), I painted the exhaust manisfolds on my 55 pontiac with this paint about 5 years ago, and they still look like new.
    There is a company that makes paint specifically made for exhaust manifolds (the Eastwood company) and you brush it on. It's only available in a silver/gray color as far as I know, and it is very expensive.
    Once you put that stuff on, it will never come off.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  7. Fletch

    Fletch Member

    Thanks for saving me some wasted time on the exhaust!

    I decided to paint the whole thing yellow, and taking the masking tape off was a *****! :shout:

    Never again will I make the mistake of using regular masking tape. I had to scrape it off with a screw driver. I used carb cleaner and scraped it with an exacto knife, tried to get in between the fins with sand paper glued to a piece of a paint stir stick. Then I messed up the paint job and it started running. I immediately went for the carb cleaner hoping it would just rinse all the paint off. No luck. ... I had to repeat the same process again only I couldn't get all the paint off. Oh well... It will last however long it lasts.

    Dave, I like your idea about painting just the edges with a sponge. I have the same engine enamel in black. Could I just spray some into a small container and apply it with a sponge after the yellow dries, then cover it with clear coat?
  8. Fletch

    Fletch Member

    Thanks for the tip Dave, it came out pretty good. I just dprayed some of the black engine paint into a tray and used a sponge for the edges. I probably went overboard with the amount of yellow paint I used because it didn't want to stick in some areas- probably because of the bad prep job after I got making tape adhesive stuck all over the place.

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  9. I have some experience in custom automotive painting. I don't know if this would be a better way, but it may come out cleaner.
    I would paint your fins first. Make that your base color
    Then I believe I've seen some liquid masking tape. I would use a little paint brush and paint the fins with it, very light so it doesn't bleed to the bottom of the "U" of the fins. Then paint that bottom your second color.
    Think that would work?