How to paint MDF to a mirror finish worklog

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  • UNW4NT3DUNW4NT3D Joined: Posts: 417
    where can i get mdf, and what's the general cost for an average piece..i'm planning on making a stick from scratch. also, did you guys use a dremel to cut the holes into the MDF..i'm sure you guys used a template for the holes no? can someone PM me..i'm really anxious to start this project already.

    Slagcoin has everything you need as far as layouts and knowing what tools you need. For making holes you need a power drill and a 30mm bit (24 mm bit too if you're using 24 mm buttons). Ideally you want a forstner bit but you get away with using a spade bit. As for pricing and availability of different woods, I can't help since I'm not from the states and don't know your stores.
  • blklightning21blklightning21 Ibuki and Vega Joined: Posts: 1,494
    glad to see this thread going strong and helping people out. Digital worked real hard putting it together and i remember in the beginning when people were mad at him because it takes a long time. Great thread digital :tup:
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  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    Since i'll be painting my box white, I'm using a white Primer I got from Home Depot. In fact, I just realized all the materials (except for the paint) should be purchased at your local auto parts dealer. I went to autozone, and I purchased a 1000, and a 2000 grit sand paper.

    Anyways, I must've used up 3/4 of the primer spray can for my box! I just wanna make sure everything is enough and even. Maybe I'm a little too primer happy.... (btw, I'm using poplar)
  • PHATAL PHDPHATAL PHD UMvC3 Trainee Joined: Posts: 801
    So if im not going for a mirror finish, and more of a high gloss finish, what steps can i cut out of this process?

    Like the wetsanding, and the buffing process?

    also, when you're moving up in grits from like 600 to 800 do you put a new coat of paint on in between? or just keep sanding until you get to the highest grit you have?
    Dudes is salty, I'm fond of the sodium...Anticipating shots like Obama at the podium ~ Buddens
  • UNW4NT3DUNW4NT3D Joined: Posts: 417
    I think if you're not looking for a mirror finish you can probably skip all the sanding and buffing after the first coat of color is on. Now that I've put my first coat of color on I was almost tempted to stop where I am now and call it quits since it does look really nice already.
  • PolicPolic Joined: Posts: 397
    instead of spackling, can I use wood filler? I couldn't find spacking. Where in home depot would I find it?
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    how many cans of paint do you guys use?? I'm almost done with my white gloss spray paint, (half way) and i'm only on my first coat! Also, don't use the color you are painting with. Otherwise, you can't tell which is the primer, and which is the paint! lesson learned!
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    Also, during the "first" color wet sanding portion, what grit should i use?
  • Illustrator76Illustrator76 I Draw Nice Pictures Joined: Posts: 656
    Just wanted to say awesome tutorial Digital, your hard work and attention to detail is very much appreciated!
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    instead of spackling, can I use wood filler? I couldn't find spacking. Where in home depot would I find it?

    Wood filler should work fine.
    maduhbee wrote:
    Also, during the "first" color wet sanding portion, what grit should i use?

    For all color coats use 400 in between coats. You only go higher when there are no more coats of paint (either clear or color) going on.
    Just wanted to say awesome tutorial Digital, your hard work and attention to detail is very much appreciated!

    Thanks man. The only part I regret is not taking more pics of the last few steps from different angles, but yeah I'm definitely not going through all this again just to get those.
  • PolicPolic Joined: Posts: 397
    sorry if this is a dumb question, but the high solids filler primer is an automotive primer, correct?
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    okay here's the progress after sanding down the primer. (Yes i used white primer!)

    aftersanding1.jpg

    aftersanding2.jpg
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    i see the crevices where the wood joins together... is that going to be a problem? should I have used spackle to seal it?
  • PolicPolic Joined: Posts: 397
    So you only spackle/wood fill the edges of the wood, not the entire box? I'm using red oak, not MDF, so i'm assuming I just spackle/wood fill the edges?
  • bigsexyc420bigsexyc420 Keystone II Joined: Posts: 446
    i see the crevices where the wood joins together... is that going to be a problem? should I have used spackle to seal it?

    Since your still in the primer stage I suggest that you Spackle over any imperfections on the wood/box. That way you can make sure that your surface is nice and flat for paint and clear coat.

    Remember Primer is cheaper than paint and also easier to touch up. Do it right the first time so that you dont have to go back to previous steps.
    "Contra on the DS makes me want to punch myself in the balls"
    -Monte
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    after the first coat of paint, it doesn't look too bad... I'm on my second day of waiting.. tomorrow's the sanding day!!! Also, I've noticed that since I had it on card board, I would need to move it so it doesn't dry up with some sort of paper underneath it!
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    l1020975.jpg

    here's a picture showing off the imperfection of this corner. This is after the first coat of paint.

    l1020977.jpg

    another full shot after the first coat of paint.

    l1020974.jpg

    last shot! Of course, this was done 3 days ago... I've already wet sanded the first coat, and applied the second coat! Gonna hit up the wet sanding again tomorrow, and then, it's clear coat time!!!
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    Got the sanding and primer down now:

    fightstick018.jpg

    Priming took longer than I anticipated. After sealing the edges I thought I had sanded them down well enough. Once I put that first coat of primer down, I saw that wasn't nearly the case! I had to go back and cut another hole in the case for the USB adapter anyway, so I wasn't too upset. I used 220 and 400 grit 3M flexible finish paper, which was perfect for the rounded edges. I was able to sand them down without cutting thru the paint. I wish they had some of that for wetsanding...

    I've got 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000 wetsanding paper ready to go once I get the lacquer down, which should start today.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • bigsexyc420bigsexyc420 Keystone II Joined: Posts: 446
    after the first coat of paint, it doesn't look too bad... I'm on my second day of waiting.. tomorrow's the sanding day!!! Also, I've noticed that since I had it on card board, I would need to move it so it doesn't dry up with some sort of paper underneath it!

    Its best to paint your object, so that it's elevated above whatever its resting.

    Like say have it sitting on some blocks of wood resting on the inside nubs.

    This way so that you can easily paint all the sides and rotate the piece with out worrying its going to touch anything.
    "Contra on the DS makes me want to punch myself in the balls"
    -Monte
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    Its best to paint your object, so that it's elevated above whatever its resting.

    Like say have it sitting on some blocks of wood resting on the inside nubs.

    This way so that you can easily paint all the sides and rotate the piece with out worrying its going to touch anything.

    When I paint it, I do have it supported. The box was just lying flat for pictures after I sanded it and wiped it down with turpentine to clear all the dust off
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    :sigh: I may have to go back and fix a few spots on the box. When I sanded the primer down, it looked pretty smooth, WIth the 1st coat of lacquer, I can still see some areas where the spackle is higher than I'd like. It's fethered decently, so it's smooth, but I can see it annoying me if I looked at it too long. I'd really hate to go at it with some 150 grit to take it down a bit, then resmooth, prime, and paint that area. I'll have another look at it once I get home from work.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • LuckyDayLuckyDay Joined: Posts: 2,870
    man, I was following this tutorial to the tee.

    Then during one of my first coats of paint I left it outside to dry for 10-15 and it fell off the table, cracked an edge and got a bunch of dirt and grass stuck to the sides.

    The crack isn't a big deal, it's like a tiny hairline on one edge, so I can spackle that. B

    But I'm basically back to square one and going to have to start from the beginning, because to get this dirt and stuff out I'm going to have to sand it down with a rougher grit paper.
    Evil will always triumph... Because good is dumb....

    "I can do the corner infinite on cyclops like 25% of the time" - Governor
  • Clembo2021Clembo2021 Who reads this? Joined: Posts: 534
    Damn Lucky, bad luck there. Painting can be such a pain in the ass sometimes.

    After I finished my first paint job I left it on a couch. Then my roommate's girlfriend decided to move it off of the couch so she could move the couch. Then later that night our basement flooded and soaked up water into the MDF, bubbling up my entire paintjob. What a pain in the ass...
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    oh yeah everyone, REMEMBER to paint/Primer in a CLEAN environment. Even when you put the clears on. I didn't, and i had weird wood chips stuck underneath the paint and dried! I couldn't sand it off because it would've blown through all the coats of paint and clear!

    Clean environment guys!!! clean environment!
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    oh yeah everyone, REMEMBER to paint/Primer in a CLEAN environment. Even when you put the clears on. I didn't, and i had weird wood chips stuck underneath the paint and dried! I couldn't sand it off because it would've blown through all the coats of paint and clear!

    Clean environment guys!!! clean environment!

    Good point. I'm gonna edit my original post to include that tip.
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    As much as I didn't want to, I went back and sanded down everything. I grabbed some 180 at the store and went down to the spackle in the places that needed it, and smoothed it with 220, 320 & 400. Wiped it all down, now reapplying the primer. Not at all what I wanted to do, but I'm sure it will be worth it in the end.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Awesome guide.

    Was going to start today, but in the initial sanding of my case (was literally just a frame. 4 sides, butt joints and a dowel in each) I realised that my fabrication left a bit to be desired!!

    So I've glued some support inside and will hopefully be able to start tomorrow.

    In the mean time I'm practising on a scrap piece so will have some idea of what I'm doing before I let loose on the case!!

    Thanks again and I'll post up my results when I can :)



    Does anyone have any experience of spraying metal?? My wooden, 100% made by me stick will be my pride and joy, but I've also found a local sheet metal worker willing to make me a case.
    Will a similar process work? I assume just no prior sanding required, and finer paper to sand between coats??
    Or am I well off??

    Cheers
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • maduhbeemaduhbee Joined: Posts: 128
    for each coat of paint, do we have to wait 3 days? Like I know the first one I had to wait 3 days, what about the second coat?
  • SystemSystem Joined: Posts: 508,676 admin
    i am going to love using this guide to paint the cases i just ordered from qcfgaming. awesome stuff, dude!
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    Anybody tru steel wool yet?

    I've read thru the worklog a few times and decided to give it a try. The first time I went thru and tried to wet sand with 400 grit, it didn't seem to look too hot. So I decided to try something else. I cleaned it, put on another coat of paint, dry sanded it with th4 3M flexible 400 grit paper, which gave me one nice smooth even finish. I then wet sanded with the 600 grit. Not as bad as the wet sanded 400 was, but I still wasn't nearly as even as I wanted. Then I remembered something I read on slagcoin's site:

    Steel wool is steel frayed to different thicknesses and wound together; steel wool is graded using 1's and 0's, the more 0's, the finer; because of rust, steel wool should be avoided on water-based finishes, and should not use water as a rubbing lubricant. Rubbing compound is small bits of minerals usually mixed with a lubricant and rubbed with a cloth; pumice (which is white) and rottenstone (which is finer and looks and feels like dirt) are used most often in rubbing compounds; polishing compound is a very fine rubbing compound often using silica (which is white; note that silica is the same ingredient for softening sheen; this is another reason to wait on drying and curing). It is important to note that steel wool and rubbing compounds are different from sandpaper; they are not pressed into the surface and yield much more to the base of the surface, moreso with rubbing compounds.

    Strong caution should be exercise when buffing edges. It is very easy to remove the entire finish on cornered edges. Keep sandpaper flat on surfaces and try not to curve it into the corner. Also be gentle with steel wool. Rubbing compounds tend not to have too much of this problem.

    To give an idea of the approximately equal size of each grit for each buffer:

    * About 220 grit sandpaper equals #00 steel wool.
    * About 400 grit sandpaper equals #000 steel wool.
    * 600-1000 grit sandpaper equals #0000 steel wool which equals rougher grades of pumice rubbing compound.
    * 1200-1500 grit sandpaper equals finer grades of pumice rubbing compound.
    * 2000-4000 grit sandpaper equals rottenstone rubbing compound.
    * 5000+ grit sandpaper about equals polishing compound.

    But it needs to be noted that each buffer functions differently. Rubbing compounds have more give than steel wool which has more give than sandpaper. This is why in progressive buffing it is a good idea to make steps from higher grits of sandpaper to lower grits of rubbing compound; it is a good idea to move from 2000 grit sandpaper to pumice rubbing compound.


    So, I got some fine grit (#0000) steel wool and went to work. It got rid of all the marks and left a nice matte finished surface that was even better once I cleaned teh dust off. I suppose it's the equivalent of using 1000 grit paper, without the wet stuff (but with fine wool in the air, so wear that respirator!). And I didn't burn thru the corners either.

    Now, whether this works when the clearcoat is on, I"m not sure. I still have 1500 and 2000 sandpaper T can pull, and I may still use that on teh paint before the clear just to see what it does.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    I've read thru the worklog a few times and decided to give it a try. The first time I went thru and tried to wet sand with 400 grit, it didn't seem to look too hot.

    It never looks very good after sanding. At the end though it comes out perfect after that final swirl remover gets wiped off.

    Anyways I'm very interested in how well steel wool works for this. I've never tried it, but a lot of people use it to sand coats of polyurethane or some other finish on fine woods. I was always curious about it but never bothered to try it. So be sure to report back here. Pics would be great if you could.
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    for each coat of paint, do we have to wait 3 days? Like I know the first one I had to wait 3 days, what about the second coat?

    Generally yeah. If it's cold though wait a little longer. Any coat that you plan on sanding needs to cure for a few days first. Remember you aren't waiting for the paint to "dry", you're waiting for it to cure. There's a big difference.
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    It never looks very good after sanding. At the end though it comes out perfect after that final swirl remover gets wiped off.

    Anyways I'm very interested in how well steel wool works for this. I've never tried it, but a lot of people use it to sand coats of polyurethane or some other finish on fine woods. I was always curious about it but never bothered to try it. So be sure to report back here. Pics would be great if you could.

    I'll try to snap some tonight before I hit it with the clear coat
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    fightstick.jpg

    The left side was touched up with the steel wool just before the shot. The right side is how it looks once I have it wiped clean with turpentine. My son playing Vanna White...
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Digital717Digital717 Wannabe Viper Player Joined: Posts: 986
    I like the way that looks. It's very uniform. Impressive. Thanks for posting.

    Keep us updated.
  • sateksatek QCF Gaming Joined: Posts: 393
    Looking clean, should look awesome once you stick the plexi on top.

    Don't forget to drill joystick holes before it's too late!
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    fightstick021.jpg

    I sprayed 3 coats of clear lacquer. Very shiny. I'll probably add another 3 or more coats tomorrow after work. The pinstripes are the stick-on variety from Autozone (I didn't feel like either masking and either painting or airbrushing the stripes), so I'm hoping the more coats I have the less chance of burning thru the clear and tearing up the stripes.

    As for the steel wool, I'll have to see if the wet sanding with 1000 sandpaper or just hitting it with teh wool works better. I will still start with the wet 600 and go from there. I do like using the wool, as it seems easier to work with. But I do want to see what the 1500 and 2000 will look like.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    Looking clean, should look awesome once you stick the plexi on top.

    Don't forget to drill joystick holes before it's too late!

    Ah, did that already my friend. I lined everything up and drilled the holes for the panhead screws. Then I used a countersink to drop the screws below the surface, then packed spackle in the hole and sanded it smooth. Bondo or wood filler would have worked as well, but I didn't have any at the time.
    fightstick017.jpg

    I've got pics of the build I'll post once I'm done.
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
  • Chris [BEANS]Chris [BEANS] Game Over Joined: Posts: 128
    Must say, this thread has been some wicked inspiration to finally get my stick done. :)
    This stick has taken many many months, and there have been a few 'attempts' that have simply made the bin!!

    But now it's finally built (much bigger than I imagined, so a smaller sleeker version will come soon. But that's another thread!!), and is covered in masses of filler!!

    Should have time to sand it down, add my filler primer coats tomorrow before work in the afternoon. I'm excited!!!

    I'll post pics as I go so you guys can correct and advise me along the way.

    Wish me luck!!! :D
    chrisbeans.jpg
  • spenzaliispenzalii Joined: Posts: 2,019
    Never underestimate the power of rubbing compound
    fightstick024-1.jpg
    I'll get some swirl remover tomorrow
    And we build BALLER SHIT! (c) Matskat
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