Polishing clearcote question

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Polishing clearcote question

Post by BMW »

Hi Guys!

I am using Tamiya TS13 as my regular clear cote. It is in my hands particular for creating orange peel effects.
So, I have tried to learn to live with it, and to polish it out. But also here I have problems:
- If I wet sand the clear cote with 3000 grit Tamiya sanding sponge, and then use the Tamiya polishing compound, I end up with sub-hairline lines in the clearcote that wont go away.
- If I do NOT sand it, and just use the polish, I still can see the orange peel after polishing, as the polishing has not gone deep enough to remove it.

What should I do, do you think?
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by MarcoSaupe »

You could sand with even finer grain, e.g. Micromesh 4000 or 6000 (though it will take a while to polish that away) or, as I tend to do nowadays, after sanding away the orange peel, I add another wet layer of clear on top, and on a polished surface that usually will work pretty good, once you got the feel of how wet the layer should be.
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by PeteJ »

For getting rid of orange peel, you need to sand the surface flat. I know, "well dua!" but how you do it is important. Sandpaper and sanding sponges have too much flexibly to take the minimum amount of paint off. Nail buffers have a stiffer backing and will cut the bumps off with a minimum of paint removal. The trick is to use the finest grade you can get. Micro-mesh make some of the finest abrasives you can get. All the way to a 12000 grit. I have several grits that I use from 3000 to 12000.

Start with coursest and wet sand(a spray bottle with distilled water) the surface to get it close to flat. You can see the paint coming down as the scuff marks will look closer together until the surface has even scratch marks all over. As I get closer to flat, I start using progressively finer grits. When you get down to 12000 grit you will see the surface becoming glossy. Once there, I use a good polishing compound like Tamiya. They have three grades but I use the fine one the most. Now this is scary to most people but I use a Variable speed Dremel with the polishing wheel for the final polish. Then a light coat of wax will get rid of the final very fine scratches.

Ok, that is the how. Here is the where. Micro-surface owns the trademark "micro-mesh" though a lot of hobby stores sell it. I have found I get only what I want when I go directly to them. They are great people to deal with. Here is the website. https://micro-surface.com/ I suggest for your first order that you get a few of the "nail buffers" and figure out what grits you like best. After that, you can custom order handi-files in just the grits you will use.

You can get files with the same grit on both sides or different grits on each side. Personally, I prefer single grit because invariably one side will be used up before the other and I wind up with a lot of sticks with one side used up. I use them for both plastic and polishing machined aluminum parts. I don't know if they have a minimum for a custom order, but I use them enough that I order 50 in each grit each time. That may seem excessive, but they don't have a limited shelf life and buying in bulk is always cheaper. Hope this helps.
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by BMW »

Thanks guys!
That is some very good advice.
I have ordered a sample set of micro mesh pads (not from the official US channel, as I am in Europe) but I will try them out to see if I get better results with them.
Currently building:
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Renault R30 (since 2010)
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by Grypham »

PeteJ wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 12:00 pm Now this is scary to most people but I use a Variable speed Dremel with the polishing wheel for the final polish.
Some great tips PeteJ, and Thanks for the link. Could you elaborate on the Dremel method? I assume low speed, but exactly what type of of polishing wheel, and do you use it with any sort of compound?
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by PeteJ »

How do I describe the speed? I guess it is a lower medium speed. I want to feel the wheel "float" on the surface. I use a cloth polishing wheel. It looks like Dremel discontinued the one to use with a regular mandril and only sells in with the EZ mandrel. The item # is 423e. When you get it, you will wonder how the heck to use it. You need to "fluff" it up. I chuck them up and run them at high speed and run the tip of an Exacto blade lightly across it about 1/8" in. This will cause the wheel to puff up. By the way, do it outside. This causes thread to fly everywhere. Quite a mess. Once it is nice and fluffy, apply some polish to the model, wet the wheel with water and start polishing. I strongly urge you to use a scrap body to start with and practice. I've burned through more than one paint job learning just the right "touch". If I have some time later today, I will add a couple of photos to show the wheels.
By the way, the felt wheels with look tempting, but don't use them. They will burn through paint in a heartbeat.
Last edited by PeteJ on Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by Grypham »

Thank You for the detailed info!
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by JRobinsonUSAF »

Have you considered top coating with Pledge with Future Shine acrylic floor coating? It is self leveling so orange peel is not an issue, and it is very high gloss. Here’s an article on it.

https://www.jonbius.com/2021/03/19/airb ... ple-guide/
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by PeteJ »

PeteJ wrote: Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:45 am How do I describe the speed? I guess it is a lower medium speed. I want to feel the wheel "float" on the surface. I use a cloth polishing wheel. It looks like Dremel discontinued the one to use with a regular mandril and only sells in with the EZ mandrel. The item # is 423e. When you get it, you will wonder how the heck to use it. You need to "fluff" it up. I chuck them up and run them at high speed and run the tip of an Exacto blade lightly across it about 1/8" in. This will cause the wheel to puff up. By the way, do it outside. This causes thread to fly everywhere. Quite a mess. Once it is nice and fluffy, apply some polish to the model, wet the wheel with water and start polishing. I strongly urge you to use a scrap body to start with and practice. I've burned through more than one paint job learning just the right "touch". If I have some time later today, I will add a couple of photos to show the wheels.
By the way, the felt wheels with look tempting, but don't use them. They will burn through paint in a heartbeat.
Photo as promised. You can probably see the difference pretty easily. The shredding of the edge makes if very soft.
buffing wheel.jpg
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Re: Polishing clearcote question

Post by BMW »

An update:
I tried the micro-mesh pads, and they are brilliant. Much better quality than the Tamiya pads, and go all the up to 11. Or 12000 grit.
I have to work with them a bit, but it seems they are the way forward.

Like said, it is best to buy them in bulk. I bought a single set, and they wont last long. Maybe 6-8 models if I use them sparingly, and the set costs 20 odd USD/EUR/CHF so its quite dear.
Another important note, is that the edges of the pads are rather rough and can create large scratches. In the future, I will grind the edges down using a piece of sandpaper before using.
Currently building:
BMW F1.08 rebuild (since 2012)
Ferrari 640 (since 2020)
Renault R30 (since 2010)
Recently finished:
Lotus 79
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