PART 2: HOW TO REPAIR MINOR DAMAGE
So I want this to be done right, so instead of assuming that the sanding 100% fixed the corners A,B,C,E and dent D on my grill. I will decide to be better safe than sorry and I will fill in spot putty to the rest of the damaged areas.
Go ahead and grab your spot putty. And fill in the damaged areas. Use thin layers of the putty to fill in the issues.
Using a thick layer will not allow the putty at the bottom to fully cure before you have chance to paint it.
IF WORKING ON MORE THAN ONE PROBLEM AREA, DO ONE AREA AT A TIME. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO IT SIMULTANEOUSLY.
The putty will dry fairly quickly, so I just puttied in A, spread it out.
Then worked on B, spread it out, and etc with C,E and D.
Go ahead and wait 30 minutes to let the putty dry some more.
So the process you will be using will be a repetition of this:
-apply thin layer of putty
-sand with 180 grit sandpaper
-apply another thin layer of putty
-sand with 180 grit sandpaper
etc. until the putty covers all the damaged regions. I was able to do this within 3 layers of putty.
Now its time to level out the surface of the putty and the rest of the item.
Now go back to the 180 grit sandpaper and sand down your surface. You can choose do either drysand, wetsand or do both.
I chose to drysand this time around. So I drysanded everything with 180 grit. And after I finished with the 180, I washed down the grill to make sure no particles remained, then I let it dry for 20 minutes and continued.
Next work your way up to 220 grit. (I continued drysanding) I washed it down again and waited for it to dry (and I kept doing this until I was done sanding).
Then 320 grit. (Still kept drysanding)
***Make sure you are blowing away the shavings off the surface of the item you are working on, and you are keeping your sandpaper clean.
At this point, your problem errors (filled with putty) should be exactly level with the rest of the surface of the item you will be painting.
Now go ahead and sand the entire item again with 400 grit.
And then your 600 grit sandpaper.
Now it is time to prime and paint the item.
This is what my grill looks like so far after all the errors have been filled in and I have just finished sanding it off with 600 grit sandpaper.
PART 3: PAINTING
Get these items ready:
Use a tack rag to gently rub down the item and remove any dust, lint, sand-particles, etc., we want ABSOLUTELY nothing on the item when it comes time to apply the primer.
Before first coat:
Now spray the primer about 10 inches away while holding the can parallel to the surface. Spray LIGHT LAYERS and build up on.
I've done my tail-lights, my calipers, my wheels, my headlights and I know how hard it is to resist the urge to just cover everything up, dab on clearcoat and install your new exterior piece back.
After first coat:
This is a pretty big project we are working on, a lot of time and money is going to be invested into this, and you want to make sure it turns out right.
Keep spraying light coats until the entire object is covered.
You should wait how long the can tells you before applying the next coat. My can said 10 minutes, so I waited 15 just to be safe.
So the process should be:
-spray light coat of primer
-wait 15 minutes
-spray light coat of primer
-wait 15 minutes etc. until it is all covered evenly.
3 coats in:
After you've sprayed the final coat of primer, it comes to the hard part, waiting.
****LET THE PRIMER DRY FOR 24 HOURS BEFORE CONTINUING*****
SIDE NOTE: If any issues reoccur when priming.
So when I was priming I didn't perfectly fill in dent D.
Priming will bring out many issues that you missed. It reappeared and I noticed it after 3 light coats. But don't worry.
Go ahead and grab the 180 grit sandpaper and sand down the area around that issue.
Then grab your spot putty and lightly dab some over it.
Wait 30 minutes for your putty to dry.
Then sand down the putty region with 180 -> 220 -> 320 -> 400 -> 600. And you can go back to priming.
Since I did 3 light coats before I applied the putty, do 3 light coats only in the region you are fixing.
Then go back to priming the rest of the item so it is even.
**Don't try to spray heavy coats trying to finish it faster.
Don't try using a hairdryer or something to speed up the drying process.
These things will only make it look worse, just let it dry and fix itself naturally with light coats.
Viola, that was a close one.
Ready for painting:
Sand down the grill evenly with 400 grit sandpaper, grab one of those blue towels (lint-free) and rub off the surface. And then sand it with 600 grit sandpaper, then use a blue-towel to wipe off the surface and then use a tack rag to make sure there is absolutely nothing on the surface.
Using the same method for the primer, apply the first light layer of color coat.
This is what my first layer looks like.
Wait the recommended time on the spray can, my spray can by paintscratch said 15 minutes in between coats.
I kept spraying even coats until the entire grill was 100% evenly covered. I had about 8 light coats of paint applied.
Now comes the hardest part of all, wait 2 days for the paint to cure. Sure it may dry within 3 or so hours from your final coat - you will touch it, it will feel just fine and dry and everything, but trust me on this, it is not yet cured.
Now VERY LIGHTLY wetsand the grill with 600 grit sandpaper.
Wipe it dry with a lint-free blue towel, and then use a tack rag to remove anything that may be on it.
And using the same method for the base coat and primer, apply the clear coat.
I applied light coats of clear until my can seemed like it was about to run out. For the last few coats, get a pretty good distance away, a bit further than the distace you used to spray your coats, and do about 3 misty coats from far away to ensure even coverage.
So when you are done clear-coatting. Your grill will look ugly. VERY VERY ugly. All the issues from the paint will rise to the surface and all the the uneven spots and orangepeel will begin to show.
At this point I just wanted to throw my grill away. Look at how bad and terrible everything looks.
We are not yet done, now we have to wetsand and buff it which is the last step. But we have to wait for the clear coat to cure. So after 2 days, start the next process.
PART 4: WET-SANDING AND FINISHING YOUR PAINT JOB
So at this point you want to grab your 1000 grit sandpaper. And you will be WETSANDING your item, right now you don't have an option between dry/wet sanding. You will have to wetsand. So go ahead and wetsand your item down, and make sure you sand evenly. It is very easy to tell at this point because when you take long strokes with the sandpaper, the surface that has been sanded evenly will be easy to stroke over, and the part that hasn't will be harder and have a sort of "rib" like texture when you sand over it. You'll understand when you do it.
So not only will the wetsand make your grill look really pretty, But it will also give it that nice "glass" like plastic texture and look to it.
This is what the top bar looks like after I wetsanded it, the ENTIRE grill is soaking wet, but notice how the top bar has that nice shine and texture to it.
Same thing with the second bar completed.