Wet-Sanding & Polishing
Today I worked on wet-sanding and polishing; starting with the blue areas. The paint straight from the gun leaves a finish that is shiny, but has the texture of an orange peel. The goal of wet sanding is to level off all the peaks of this orange peel texture so that the paint is flat. First 500grit is used, then 800grit, then 1500grit; the panels are kept wet and rinsed frequently to avoid dust build-up that could scratch the paint. It’s critical that the surface is not sanded below the lowest low spot of the orange peel texture, otherwise primer could be exposed and repainting would be required. Luckily the low spots, being untouched by the sanding block, are visible fairly readily as slightly darker spots. After the sanding is completed the paint is flat, but dull looking from the very fine sand scratches. Polishing with rubbing compound and a rotary buffer brings the shine back. The passenger side of the bus is mostly complete; I’ll likely get the driver side complete by the bus’s first long trip, but I’m unsure about the front/back/white areas.
Engine Compartment Painted
Since the engine is out I repainted the engine compartment this weekend; didn’t get pictures of the finished product but I’m sure it will be in-view in some other picture at some point.
Today was a miscellaneous day: the brake lights and horn were connected, I finally painted the rear hatch and installed the rear windshield, I washed several months worth of dust/grime off of it, I made a few more interior panels, and I began looking into the stalling problem.
All of the hours of sanding on the lower body finally paid off today. Thunderstorms in the area all day prevented me from painting outside; so I moved everything in the garage to the back wall, covered with drop cloths, and painted inside. The only casualty was the garage floor which is being resurfaced in the near future anyways. This worked out better anyhow since the color coat stayed sticky for a long time (compared to primer), if it were painted outside any passing bugs/dust would have stuck. Overall it came out well, you can easily see reflections in the pictures, but it will require wet-sanding & polishing to get rid of the orange peel texture.
After the paint was complete there was no longer anything stopping me from mounting the bumpers and lights, so I got them on right away. It’s nice that these parts are finally going on the bus since they had been taking up a lot of storage/counter space.
The last round of sanding only broke through the primer lightly in a few spots, so tonight I added one more coat of primer that will be wetsanded with 400grit; blue paint should go on this weekend!
More High Build Primer
No photos since the bus doesn’t look any different. After several rounds of priming/sanding it is becoming much flatter though and should be ready for blue paint soon.
Miscellaneous Parts Painted
Seat Frames Blasted
Tonight the seat frame repair welds were ground down and the frames were media blasted in preparation for paint.
High Build Primer
The bus and many small parts got a coat of high build primer tonight and last night. I was even able to get started with block sanding. The bus has very long flat panels so I’m primarily using a flat sanding block that’s about 18″ long, this is doing a great job of knocking down high spots that I’m not currently able to see or feel, but that would easily show up on the shiny top coat. The sanded surface can be ‘read’ while sanding: low spots stay shiny since they’re not touched by the sandpaper, and high spots are the first to have their texture disappear since they make first contact with the paper. Several more iterations of priming/sanding will be needed to get it as smooth as glass.