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Perfect Paint Job: What It Takes to Achieve a ‘No-Buffer’ in an Auto Body Shop

tagsBasalt Felt

Advanced Materials Guide

January 2021

Crash 2020



The holy grail of the paint shop is dust-free paint work-no buffering. Moreover, we do not rely on hope and prayer to achieve this goal.

Carl Wilson has been working in painting for nearly 30 years and has received formal training from General Motors Training Center, ASE, I-CAR, and various product and color courses. He is currently working as a trainer/consultant for Hi-Line distributors in Oahu, Hawaii. You can reach him through the following ways

The holy grail of the painting factory is a job, so clean, we call it "no buffer". Some people may say that color matching is the biggest challenge, but I think correct color matching will reduce the variables that may go wrong, of course, there will be fewer variables that we seem to have no control over. No, paint work without dust-without buffer-is the Holy Grail, and we cannot achieve it by hope and prayer.

So, how do we achieve it? What can we control, what can we only hope to control? We will start with addressing common and predictable sources of dirt, and sum it up with “acts of God” (due to lack of better wording), some of which are not even considered “dirt” but require polishing and/or renewal paint. The issue of recourse.

Of course, vehicles may be a dirty source of pollution, but now there are fewer and fewer, because more and more painters are spraying parts from cars. Even the hybrid panels are removed in some stores, which usually allows us to load two "cars" on the booth at the same time-if the hybrid panels are still on the vehicle, this is impossible. However, the hybrid board or the repaired panel removed from the vehicle for refurbishment purposes can still bring many nuances of the vehicle itself to our booth, so there are two basic principles:

Plastic parts such as bumper covers present unique challenges because of static electricity generated when cleaning and wiping parts. When the humidity is low, this is a greater challenge, but it is always a factor to be solved. There are several kinds of antistatic wipes and solvents that can solve this problem, but it is still necessary to generate a certain degree of static electricity in the plastic by wiping. I know that the only way to eliminate this situation is to use an anti-static gun. These tools can eliminate positive and negative ions, which not only help us solve the dust problem caused by static electricity, but also help realize metal behavior, and metal behavior may also be affected by static electricity.

Even a well-maintained booth can produce dirty paint jobs, and it’s incredible that old neglected "holes" can also produce clean paint jobs. What gives? We need to determine whether the dirty paint job has suddenly appeared, or is this booth always producing dirty work? If the booth always produces dirty work, I will doubt the painter's habit, but I will always blame the booth.

Make sure you have the required conditions, for example, clean the filter-all. Floor filters and ceiling filters are obvious filters, but your booth may have repairable pressurized filters or even pre-filters at the entrance. We also know that we usually want the cabin pressure to be slightly positive when spraying-is your booth automatically adjusted or manually adjusted? Since the filter is loaded with dust (intake) or overspray (exhaust), and the CFM (cubic feet per minute) is blocked, this adjustment needs to be changed.

We will also look for the intrusion of dirt in the joints and joints of the internal compartment walls. These spaces draw air into the cabin through the walls instead of through the air intake filter. In this case, the black funnel-shaped dirt can be seen. It is often noticed for the first time after pressure washing and painting the booth cabin.

Evidence of a spray booth that was not properly sealed and sucked in unfiltered air during the paint cycle.

Another source of dust/dirt in the cabin is to keep the car doors open when the stall is not running. Any dust floating in the paint shop near the open door of the downward spray booth is attracted by magic to the ceiling filters, which are electrostatically charged due to the friction of the air flowing through them. It will stay there until the booth is reopened, and then it may fall into turbulence until it is sucked away by the exhaust filter, or it finds a home in a painter or vehicle – sometimes before we start painting, sometimes filming in a damp place . Whenever the door of the lower shelter is opened (only when loading/unloading vehicles), the shelter should be in operation; this prevents dust from sticking to the ceiling filter and can also be sucked out through the exhaust filter. In any case, it is not a bad idea to wipe the wall after loading the vehicle with old tack. This not only traps dust on the wall, but also prevents excessive spraying on the wall.

Cleaning the floor regularly, whether it is every job or at least once a day, should become a regular standard operating procedure. I will leave it to you to determine the schedule and determine whether a wet hose flush is required, or whether it makes more sense to perform a broom or broom within your air quality/water runoff jurisdiction. If you want to clean dry floors, you may want to look at a floor paint-sticky spray or an increasingly common floor mat. Either one can collect dust.

When using the air pipeline to check, there are two things to pay attention to: the pipeline itself and the conveyed air. The air quality test can determine whether the delivered air is clean. If this is not the case, there are some filtering effects that are particularly effective. Consider the terminal's three-stage filter system. If you are using water-based paint or the attached air respirator, you usually do not doubt the air supply, because they all require Class D breathable air.

Flexible point of use The air line itself may be a problem caused by its age, high baking temperature, driving on it, or simply because it is cheap and has an internal failure. Once the aviation line fails, the only thing you can do is to replace it. Evidence of this failure is that we see tiny black spots in light colors.

Sometimes, oversprayed deposits and debris can crust in the last five feet of the air path and fall into the paint job at untimely times (for example, when you stretch on the hood). To avoid this, use an old flat-tipped cloth (reserved for this) to wipe the end of the air line.

I will include the air line coupler and the regulator mounted on the spray gun when considering the spray gun. Any air leakage from this area may blow debris from the spray gun itself or the painter's sleeve. It is not uncommon for air joints to wear out over time and start to leak due to improper fit with the joints.

The painter's general housework habits play a decisive role in his level of effort to complete a clean paint job. Also, pay attention to the open "birdbath" gun cleaning tank on the left side of the bench. This can be a violation anywhere and is certainly not the best way to clean the spray gun.

The spray gun itself may be dirty on the outside (obviously), or dirty on the inside (not so obvious). We can determine the internal cleanliness of the spray gun through some detective work: Is the spray gun placed in the spray gun cleaning machine or in an open "bird bath" for cleaning? Is the state of the cleaning solvent pristine or completely dirty? Has the spray gun started to spray poorly, for example under metal control? If the dirty solvent enters the air passage of the spray gun and is not flushed out with fresh thinner immediately, a thin film will be left behind. Over time, this film will gradually accumulate until the air passage is restricted and the air pressure rises, which is similar to placing a thumb on a water pipe to increase the rate of water flowing out. The increase in speed will remove part of the accumulated dirt film and deposit it into your paint job.

It can be said that our painter is "preparing for the operation"? Will he clean himself seriously before putting on a clean paint suit? Is the painter's head covered with anything to prevent dust or hair from leaving him and sticking to the wet paint film? Some personal protective equipment (PPE) can act as both a protective layer for painters and as an isolation layer for vehicles. Therefore, it may not be a good idea to wear paint overalls and walk around dusty preparation work areas.

The painter put on spray socks to protect his head from being oversprayed when painting... but then when he polished it in the shop, he put it on between the sealant and the color coat.

There are some painters there, they like the effect of the assistant team preparing for work, so that they can simply paint. However, most painters are at least doing some preparatory work of their own. Was the painter clean and tidy at the beginning and began to pollute the work in the workplace with bad habits? Does the painter take off his paint coat between paintings, or does he "spend too much time"? You may be surprised at how often this happens.

The body shop is usually a very dirty place. The usual lack of housekeeping and cleaning services often exacerbates this situation. Regular cleaning and tidying up will help. Air flow and filtration will reduce the amount of dust floating in the air, and collecting dust during sanding will also help. A good choice is a vacuum sander with a dust bag, or integrate the friction station into one of the grinding stations in the design to make them an independent dust management system. First of all, from the perspective of painting and breathing, you will benefit a lot from eliminating dust in the air first, just reduce its processing range.

Although it is not catastrophic (well, it may be catastrophic for the painter), but some situations are unpredictable, so the painter cannot avoid it. For example, small animals. Bugs, and flies. Although usually we know when they arrive at the booth and can take steps to remove them, in some cases we have done our best and they still appear suddenly, usually when the temperature rises after the baking cycle is reached . After finishing painting, the moth seems to be particularly good at hiding it somewhere in the landing gear of the vehicle and displaying its appearance. This is more common in shops that have bays or only open their doors due to weather and early sunset. Moths are naturally attracted to shops with lights, and sometimes they are lined up in a straight line during the preparation process and then brought into the booth, which is unknown to anyone. It's hard to believe the damage moths can cause. If you have ever seen moths have fallen on a newly cleaned panel, then you know what I'm talking about. The moth landed, or more accurately, hit and stuck. Then, it struggled, trying to break free from the sticky transparency, and all the struggles removed the "wing dust" from the moth. A one-inch-long moth can leave 12-inch-long wing dust, which is most noticeable in dark conditions. That is repainting.

Such a large moth will undoubtedly fly into your new paint to correct the damage.

If a fly lands on a freshly painted panel, it is likely to find him after the baking cycle. Moreover, his legs and wings are very slender, and it is difficult to completely remove them whether it is on the feet or back. This is usually repainting.

When painting in the tropics, I have seen lizards walking on a fresh wooden board. Well, I haven't actually seen the lizard do this, it's just his trajectory as he walks up and down the panel during the baking cycle. According to the position and color of these tracks on the vehicle, after drying, you can use catalytic transparent agent, sand and polishing agent to smooth the footsteps, and you can save it from repainting. I suspect that most stores do not have this challenge.

Perhaps the worst act of God that I have witnessed happened when I was young. The stall is on an open stall with a solid roof. One rainy night after finishing a big job, I went home. When I returned the next morning, I found that the roof of the car had begun to seep into the booth and then into the vehicle. Leaking water is impacted and splashed, causing water droplets to deposit on most areas of the vehicle. I'm sure that most of us have already seen the effect of water on fresh paint. Despite hope and prayer, it was an inevitable repainting because I tried to "preserve" it by cutting.

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