newbie painting question

What kind of paint do people use to paint machines?

I'm building a CNC lathe out of girders - well, box section at least - and I guess they should be painted, even though my workshop is fairly rust-free.

Last time I painted a bit of raw steel I use lead primer, and I guess that's a no-no nowadays. Which is why it's a newbie question :)

-- Peter Fairbrother

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Peter Fairbrother
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I found floor paint to be quite good in the past, but use hammerite smooth in spray cans now, together with their primer. You can use the brush on variety, but it tends to flash off very quickly, making it difficult to get a smooth finish...



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Depends what sort of finish you're after. Hammerite (smoothrite or hammer = finish) is quick and easy, especially if you use the aerosol cans. If you = want a Rolls Royce finish you need to spend time on preparation, and a coat= or two of spray filler followed by some rubbing down with wet and dry pape= r (used wet) is the best way to cover any minor surface imperfections. If t= he surface has any really rough areas, use car body filler first.

Not as easy to use as Hammerite because it dries slowly, but I find Tracto= l agricultural paint and matching primer gives a superb hard-wearing oil-re= sistant gloss finish.


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I'd second that - the brush on variety is difficult to get really good coverage with; too little on the brush and the result is streaky, too much and it runs on vertical surfaces. The spray cans are much easier to use.

Regards, Tony

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Tony Jeffree

I don't know if Rustoleum brand is available on your side of the water but if it is you will find that it makes a good paint for machine tools. I use the primer first and then the grey color for the machines. Though the brush on stuff takes a while to really dry here in the Seattle area once it does the coating is thick and durable. Like others have said the Hammerite spray stuff is good too. Easy to apply. Lots more expensive per square foot coverage though. Eric

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or the imperfections (it will fill welds etc) I then follow up with brushin= g red primer, this is cheap, dries in 1/2 and hour and flats well with wet = and dry paper (used wet with soap).After 2-3 coats I flat with 500 paper an= d follow on with brushing enamel which is thinned to ensure fast and smooth= drying, 2 coats of this and then flat with 100 paper and a final thinned c= oat and it will shine like a baby's bottom.=20 The spray can route is also great but expensive on big jobs. As always get the metal clean first, I use a pressure washer on old machine= s with Gunk to get the worst off followed by wet and dry with soap and fina= lly washing down with white spirit. Peter Colman

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Anyone know what results I'm likely to get with Hammerite Smooth plus their thinners (or xylene, which seems to be the bulk of their own-brand) in an HVLP spraygun? I've "oversprayed" a brush coat with the thinners in the past and it re-flows the surface a bit and gives a glossier finish, was thinking about spraying it - would definitely be cheaper than the aerosol cans!

Dave H. (the other one)

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It works fairly well. I've not used an HVLP spray gun, but I did spray a set of Westbury light mill castings with Hammerite smooth thinned down with cellulose thinners (about 1:1 mix) using one of the Badger spray guns (not an airbrush!). Castings were previously prepared with car body filler.

This worked and I was pleased with the results, but the spray gun was not very satisfactory because the hammerite skins over very quickly which clogs the gun. The compressor I used (a small GAST oilless unit with no reservoir) was also more suited to airbrush work!

However, it was my first attempt at spraying and results were significantly better than using a brush (and much cheaper than using Hammerite spray cans!)


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Alan Bain

"Alan Bain" wrote>

Thanks Alan, sounds like it's worth a try - a nearby paint supply shop will do xylene at way less per litre / gallon than hammerite branded, so it should be cost-effective - and having excess thinners gives me a chance to get the £1 spraygun clean again afterwards - £1, got to love carboot sales, although I had to replace the missing syphon tube... I wonder if it was that cheap because it didn't work, with no syphon...?

Dave H. (the other one)

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