How to paint MDF to a mirror finish worklog

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  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Right, as promised, pics of my progress....

    First off, my case after filling. The reason for so much filler is that this is my first ever stick so I used really cheap pine, just by way of an experiment really.
    As such it was full of dents, gouges and scratches...

    sticksand11024.jpg

    sticksand21024.jpg

    A close up of one corner, so you can see how much of a mess it really is!!!

    sticksand31024.jpg

    Same corner, sanded

    sticksand41024.jpg

    I used 180 at first, mainly due to the fact that there really was SO MUCH filler. It was a bit heavy duty really but 400 wasn't quite tough enough for this stage.
    I know nothing of woodwork so don't even know if it exists, but I'd guess a happy medium for this stage would be about 300...

    Lastly, a general view of the frame post sanding, just so you can see how much an hour and a half of sanding cleans it right up!!

    sticksand51024.jpg

    It's currently upside down in the garage and will be overnight so that the glue that'll hold the CP panel in place can set.

    I've rubbed it down with white spirit and tomorrow will be the filler primer, and if I'm up aerly enough, I might even get the first coat of paint on before work!!

    Big big thanks to Digital and other contributors to this thread, you guys are the only reason I've managed what I've done so far. :)
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Ok, so I've started to paint today and it's mixed fortunes really...

    This is the paint I'm using, as advised by Digital I'm sticking to all the same brand paints..

    stickpainting001large.jpg

    One of my problems with painting, was that obviously I'm painting the top, the sides AND the bottom, meaning I'd need to hang the case somewhere to dry.
    I don't have enough space for that so I made a little drying platform for it....

    The screws in the corners:-

    stickpainting002large.jpg

    Are positioned so that the large ugly bits of wood inside the case that the base will screw into, will sit directly onto them

    stickpainting003large.jpg

    Leaving the base free to dry and meaning I don't need to hang anything :)

    Here's a pic of the case after about three coats of filler primer, a 10 minute wait and another 3 coats...

    stickpainting004large.jpg

    And here is a bit of an issue I ran into....

    stickpainting005large.jpg

    Basically, because I've never held a spray can before, my technique is atrocious!!
    I must have sprayed too much in one area and as such the primer ran.
    I wiped the run off and went over the now clean(ish) area again with another couple of coats and I'll just cross my fingers that it can all be fixed in the sanding :sweat:
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    Remember, light, even coats. And don't have the can too close to the surface. 10-12" away should do the trick. Remember, you won't get even coverage on your first coat. It takes a at least 3-4 before the coverage starts to even up.

    As for fixing that spot, just let it dry and sand it down and repaint. 180 or 220 grit should do the trick
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Cheers Spenzalii, I've sanded so we'll see how it goes :sweat:

    Just putting my second coat of filler primer on today....

    I'm after some advice.

    I had a good result on a test piece of wood when I used plain grey primer. I then re-read the worklog here and realised I wanted filler-primer, so I got that instead.

    Would there be any issue in putting the grey filler, on top of the filler primer before eventually getting to put the paint on???

    Cheers :)
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    Shouldn't be an issue. You're painting wood, not MDF, right? The filler primer is useful on MDF as it helps fill in the pores in the board. It's not as necessary for actual wood (if teh paint sticks instead of soaking into teh wood, you know you're good).
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Right, I think I'm going to have to admit defeat on this one.....

    My problem is I chose cheap pine to work with as it was my first time working with wood and didn't think it'd b e worth wasting decent wood....
    I was wrong!!! As above you can see I filled and sanded and 'thought' I had all the imperfections out. No it has black gloss on it, it's quite obviously has a LOT of imperfections still there, and I'm pretty sure these will only be magnified by a coat of laquer and a buffing.

    I'm going to leave it as it is, it's still passable and my next stick witll be made purely of MDF (as this guide was aimed at MDF in the first place!! so wish me luck :tup:
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Just for those who were interested, or better still, those in the know who can offer advise....

    This is how my wood ended up looking....

    stickpainting018.jpg

    stickpainting019large.jpg

    It's not like I'm going to bin it or anything, frankly, bearing in mind it's the very first wood work I've ever done I'm actually very pleased with it, but I think next time I need better harder wood, more diligent filling and more diligent sanding.

    Fingers crossed my next box will be much improved :)


    Two last pics, still awaiting the buttons and stick I have on order, plus need to get my art printed, but here it is....

    stickpainting020.jpg

    stickpaintinglarge.jpg

    As you can see, despite the paint not being anywhere near of a standard to go for the 'mirror finish', it still looks ok.

    Thanks loads for you thread Digital, it's been invaluable :tup:
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    Not bad, really. You could still shine it up a bit of you wish. It looks like some dust and dirt got in the paint.

    As you already know, paint has a way of showing up imperfections. You could sand down some of those high spots (like that corner in the picture), or even put a thin (and I mean thin) coat of joint filer/spacke, etc sand it smooth and even, then hit it with another coat of black. It's a lot of work, to be sure, but it can be done.

    But, if you want to leave well enough alone you could do that too....
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • watermelonwatermelon Joined: Posts: 8
    great write up, will have go at it once i get some free time
  • theBAYsicstheBAYsics '93 til infinity Joined: Posts: 646
    i will be following this guide shortly. question, the only filler primer i can find comes in gray. will this affect the outcome of my finish if i am going for a mirror white?
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    anyone know how to get rid of the area where you glue the pieces together. tried using spackle to fill it and then sanded it as smooth as i could but it's always a thin line.

    kind of like how he got his to the right.
    stickpainting019large.jpg
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    can i use shamwows instead of standard terry clothes? there's a street vendor near where i live that sells them cheap.
  • hikarutilmitthikarutilmitt Joined: Posts: 101
    I wouldn't recommend them. Shamwows are incredible for soaking up liquids but things like paint... not so much.
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    Shamwow? LOL. Just get terry cloths man they are very cheap.
  • TG SeraphTG Seraph Joined: Posts: 6
    Wow, this is good stuff for reference. Thanks! I'll be using some of the advice from this thread to make my next stick.
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    If I were to spray MDF as per this guide, could my Mrs then paint something artisticy on top and if so, could she use any old paint or would it need to be something specific??

    Cheers :)
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    If I were to spray MDF as per this guide, could my Mrs then paint something artisticy on top and if so, could she use any old paint or would it need to be something specific??

    Cheers :)

    The only suggestion I'd have is to sprat your artsy touches after the last sanded coat of base paint and before the clearcoat goes on. That way the shine can be ratained and your art can be protected as well. When I added the stripes to the side of my box it was after I sanded and cleaned the last base coat and before the clear. With enough coats I could sand and polish the clear without affecting the stripes.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    The only suggestion I'd have is to sprat your artsy touches after the last sanded coat of base paint and before the clearcoat goes on. That way the shine can be ratained and your art can be protected as well. When I added the stripes to the side of my box it was after I sanded and cleaned the last base coat and before the clear. With enough coats I could sand and polish the clear without affecting the stripes.

    Cheers dude, My bad because I didn't explain....

    She's going to paint with a brush. Any ideas?
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    What kind of paint? Acrylic? Water based? Either way, I think the same suggestion would apply. Depending on the level of detail, you MIGHT be able to lightly sand with 1500 or 2000 grit paperto smooth it out a little, but if it may smudge the details or you're worried about sanding it off, just hit it with the clearcoat with the rest of the case.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    k, i want to make sure before i start, is this can of "glidden gripper white primer/sealer" ok? how about these spray cans of "rust-oleum specialty lacquer" for black & clear coats?

    Photo_112409_002.jpg

    Photo_112409_001.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    The black lacquer and clearcoat are the EXACT thing I used on mine, so you're good on that. My only worry on that primer is it looks like it needs to be brushed/rolled on. If you haven't bought it yet, grab some rustoleum primer, which will be just fine. If you already bought the paint, I recommend using a foam roller and danding it down very well.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    The black lacquer and clearcoat are the EXACT thing I used on mine, so you're good on that. My only worry on that primer is it looks like it needs to be brushed/rolled on. If you haven't bought it yet, grab some rustoleum primer, which will be just fine. If you already bought the paint, I recommend using a foam roller and danding it down very well.

    thanks! i've since returned the brush-on primer and got 2 cans of the rustoleum filler primer (tho autozone only had it in red). if i need more primer, i'll probably go to another autozone so i can get it in grey.
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    One can should do the trick. Since you're painting it black the red primer really shouldn't matter
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    One can should do the trick. Since you're painting it black the red primer really shouldn't matter

    alright! :)

    so i applied the first layer of primer. i think i missed filling some edges w/wood filler, as it seems there's some darkening around the rounded edges (which started out pretty rough no matter how much i sanded). i'll post pics when i get to the camera (likely after work)

    after i sand this first layer, it's ok to apply wood filler on the edges that seem roughed up before putting second layer of primer, right?

    also, since i'm working on two cases simultaneously (one happ, one sanwa, both DIY mdf cases ordered from qcfgaming) it turns out i NEED two cans of primer, as the first layer pretty much finished off an entire can on both cases. i have 4 cans of black and 2 cans of clear waiting for second primer layer to be applied & dried+sanded.
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    Definitely post the pics. Not too sure what that 'darkening' means. The biggest reason to seal the edges is so the paint doesn't soak into the MDF like a sponge. You can add more if you need it, but make sure you sand it as smooth and level to the original surface as you can. If not, it WILL show once you hit it with the black, if it doesn't show with the primer to begin with.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • theBAYsicstheBAYsics '93 til infinity Joined: Posts: 646
    thank you for this guide!

    took me a little over 3 weeks to do this due to a busy schedule and horrible weather but i am very pleased with the final outcome. heres a shot of the results.

    m7a89.jpg

    now just waiting a month before i can wax it.
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    thank you for this guide!

    took me a little over 3 weeks to do this due to a busy schedule and horrible weather but i am very pleased with the final outcome. heres a shot of the results.

    http://i47.tinypic.com/m7a89.jpg

    now just waiting a month before i can wax it.

    that white looks NICE. awesome job on that. i'm still on waiting for the second color coat to dry b4 wetsanding & clear coat.
  • bencao74bencao74 http://www.ArcadeForge.de Joined: Posts: 904
    Hey, thanks for this tutorial. Here's my result, the redrum case ;) :

    CIMG1398.JPG

    it was fun, here're some more pics

    I've used wetsanding up to 2000er grit
    Arcade Building Blog, lots of Tutorial, Pics, Vidz
    http://www.zurborg.info
    http://www.arcadeforge.de
  • speedsterharryspeedsterharry Joined: Posts: 782
    bencao: Gorgeous finish, and the joints don't show at all. Very well done !
  • JMroJMro Joined: Posts: 279
    Cross post from the QCFGaming thread, but this guide really helped out

    New Happ/iL built using http://qcfgaming.com case, a lot of sanding, a lot of coats of high gloss paints and this guide

    It still needs some more sanding & coats, but I can't do any more painting until it warms up outside. Unfortunately I didn't capture any pics after sealing with vinyl spackling or after priming.

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  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    alright! i've finally wetsanded the clear coat and applied rubbing compound & swirl remover to the happ box. since that took me so long today (i started at ~5:30p or so and ended at ~9:30p), i'll do the sanwa box later this wk.

    i promise i will have pics!
  • RiddickRiddick Joined: Posts: 86
    Really nice guide man, very informative. In my experience, nothing works as well as 3M perfect it. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

    http://www.autobodytoolmart.com/3m-perfect-it-3000-extra-cut-rubbing-compound-p-16565.aspx

    Kinda expensive, but well worth it!
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    So do you use Turtlewax or Meguiar's Nexgen wax to keep the shine? Haha, j/k. Godlike tutorial. Thanks.
  • PHATAL PHDPHATAL PHD UMvC3 Trainee Joined: Posts: 801
    I painted my stick with a few coats of primer and about 3 coats of color...
    but how do i get it not to smell like paint?
    Whenever I take it to tournaments it reaks of paint, lol
    Dudes is salty, I'm fond of the sodium...Anticipating shots like Obama at the podium ~ Buddens
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    (cross-posted on the qcfgaming.com thread) finally posted my blog entry abt my mirror finish custom joystick cases!

    http://www.shoryuken.com/blog.php?b=150
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Hey guys,

    Need some advise....

    The CP I'm knocking up in MDF will be routed underneath to make it thin enough to mount the buttons:-

    explanation.jpg
    (excuse the 30 second MS Paint drawing)

    My problem is, I intend to paint the underneath and make the wiring pretty etc, but once the MDF is routed surely it'll need something to stop it from being porus before I apply any paint.
    Wood filler and the like aren't really appropriate for an area this big.
    I don't need the underside of the CP to be 'mirror finished' like the outside of the box will be, so do you reckon a decent high solids primer and a plasticoat type of paint might do the trick without the wood swelling and absorbing it all??

    I will do a tested on a scrap routed piece of MDF at some point anyway, but just thinking out loud while I'm on the forums and nowhere near the garage.....

    Cheers
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    hi could you send me a link to your controller worklog?
    regards daniel.
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    sorry was directed at digital.
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    Hey guys,

    Need some advise....

    The CP I'm knocking up in MDF will be routed underneath to make it thin enough to mount the buttons:-

    explanation.jpg
    (excuse the 30 second MS Paint drawing)

    My problem is, I intend to paint the underneath and make the wiring pretty etc, but once the MDF is routed surely it'll need something to stop it from being porus before I apply any paint.
    Wood filler and the like aren't really appropriate for an area this big.
    I don't need the underside of the CP to be 'mirror finished' like the outside of the box will be, so do you reckon a decent high solids primer and a plasticoat type of paint might do the trick without the wood swelling and absorbing it all??

    I will do a tested on a scrap routed piece of MDF at some point anyway, but just thinking out loud while I'm on the forums and nowhere near the garage.....

    Cheers

    hey mate seal any mdf before painting with an appropriate mdf sealer (alternatively you can use a pva/water solution) this will help prevent the mdf from soaking the primer in too much.
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    what sponge said; i used wood filler to seal mine.
  • eczangiefeczangief GOD OF 1-HANDED ROM Joined: Posts: 1,877
    Not quite MDF, but I gave my Dreamcast the wetsand treatment.

    th_DSCF1964.jpg

    th_DSCF1973.jpg
    I can't believe I'm Magnetro.
  • djSTAT!CdjSTAT!C 北部のライオン Joined: Posts: 28
    hey guyz im making another MDF box and was wondering when to paint the wood..

    i am using the box from slagcoin.com. Specifically the simple poplarl using MDF as my wood...


    for the box structure, there are a total of 7 pieces that i have. should i seal and start now? or Glue the box together first then proceed with the Mirror Finish?
    SSFIVAE2012:Akuma (main), Cammy (2nd), Makoto/Evil Ryu/Seth
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  • undamnedundamned Wake up! Time to die! Joined: Posts: 1,682
    I can't say I'd take personal time to do this, but it is pretty cool! :bgrin:
    -ud
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    hey guyz im making another MDF box and was wondering when to paint the wood..

    i am using the box from slagcoin.com. Specifically the simple poplarl using MDF as my wood...


    for the box structure, there are a total of 7 pieces that i have. should i seal and start now? or Glue the box together first then proceed with the Mirror Finish?

    I'd glue, then paint. That way you don't risk scratching the paint during assembly. However, if you chose to paint first just be sure to avoid painting any of the joints so that the glue will stick with no problem.

    As an aside, I ended up trying something different with my latest project. I painted one section of the case with a metallic flake spray paint, which worked pretty well. The other section I ended up using a can of enamel paint, which I applied with a foam roller. Believe it or not, the paint dried to an even finish with no roller marks. I wet sanded both up to 2000 grit. After the enamel paint cured in 7 days I then brushed on about 6 coats of polycrylic, wetsanding with 400 grit between each coat and proceeding as normal after the final coat. Most of the brush strokes evened out once the coat dried, but it neds to be sanded anyway, so it didn't matter much (and they weren't an isue coming out). I may have been able to use a foam roller for the polycrylic as well, but I didn't test that out this go round. The finish looks like glass after it's polished. I'll be sure to post pics once I'm done.

    The painting itself didn't take much longer than using a spray can. The one thing I likes is I could paint inside without fumigating the place. Seeing as it's a very cold winter, not having to be outside to paint is a good thing. One thing I can't stress enough when using an enamel paint is waiting for it to cure before adding another coat of anything to it. While it's dry to the touch there's still chemicals being released from the paint that can and will bubble any additional layer of paint or clearcoat. I had to restart this project twice because I didn't do this before switching to the roller method. The sad thing is even THAT bubbled when I added the polycrylic the first time (enamel is enamel, whether can or spray).

    At some point this year I'll probably get a compressor and airbrush and try using acrylic paint to see how that works.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    hey, ive painted my vewlix frame using this method and after a couple of weeks once the paint has dried a slight hairline crack keeps appearing where i joined on the rounded top, ive sanded it back twice but it still keeps coming back!! does anyone else have this problem with joints on there cases? im assuming its because its mdf and the change in temp is causing it to swell and shrink, any ideas as this is really starting to bug me!!!!
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    What did you seal the edges with?

    While I'm at it, here's the finished paint job I mentioned

    Barrage011.jpg
    Hard to see on the yellow (too bright outside)

    Barrage010.jpg
    Can't miss it on the metallic blue!
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    wow spenzali awesome case! if you were asking me then i sealed everything with an acrylic based mdf primer, i used plastikote spray paints and primers, but im thinking maybe an enamel might prevent this?...
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,016
    Sponge - I don't think it was the paint so much that may have caused the cracking. What you may have been able to do is use some spackle, joint compound or even wood putty where the joints were, sand them level and feather the edges, then hit it with the primer.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    yes the joint was fairly tight in the first place but i filled it with car body filler then sanded and hit with primer, maybe theres some movement there as its not a solid construction like a box is, i dunno im gonna have to sand down and paint again (this is the last time aaarrrgghhhh) and hopefully it wont come back, im gonna try some enamel i think rather than the acrylic based spray i used before, hopefully it wont shrink.
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    a couple of pics to show what i mean although you cant see it here, like i said its flat at first but after a couple of weeks it appears,
    http://tinypic.com/r/16k97c3/5
    http://tinypic.com/r/e83jmu/5
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