The SEMA Show is the place to be when it comes to discovering the latest innovations in automotive paint and fabrication products. We spent three days at SEMA, finding the newest products in paint, body fillers, and tools. We even checked out what’s happening in paint trends. The big news is companies are making it easier to get great results, improving products, and removing some of the Murphy’s Law influences that can affect the paint and fabrication we do in our home shops.
Taking the Guesswork Out Of Body Filler
One of the biggest uncertainties when using body filler is how long it needs to cure before sanding. Normally, the method of finding an answer is to sand a little and see if the sanding debris looks like powder. Evercoat’s new Optex fillers make it easier to tell if the product is cured — before sanding. Optex body filler and putty products change color when cured. The filler starts out pink, then turns green, letting you know the repair area is catalyzed correctly and ready to sand.
This product comes in a variety of sizes: one gallon (#100135), three Gallon (#100137), 16 oz. pouch (#100453), and 30 oz. container (#100454). It has excellent adhesion to steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, SMC plastics, fiberglass, and even silicone-bronze welds. It spreads easily and virtually eliminates pinholes.
Here are some quick hints for fewer pinholes in your filler. When mixing filler, push down as you’re mixing, squeezing the air out of the mixture. Don’t stir air into it when mixing. Some technicians use metal spreaders to help eliminate pinholes.
Keep That Air Clean!
Many DIY painters depend on water traps to keep the air clean and moisture-free. But, just how clean is that air? Water traps are designed to work with incoming cool air and are a simple method of removing water. The air enters one side and then circulates around the bowl, where the water collects at the bottom of the trap and drains out.
Professional paint shops seldom depend solely on just a water trap to create clean air for painting. They use three-stage systems that might not be cost-efficient for the home user who might do a restoration every few years.
But now, Motor Guard has created a new air filter that is great for the home garage. The M-60 Compressed Air Filter cleans compressed air down to .01 microns. It has a non-degrading, replaceable-filter element. The M-60 compresses the filter element, forcing it to expand against the tapered walls of the housing. This forces the air to pass between the tightly compressed layers along the length of the element, creating a true-depth filter versus the conventional method of passing the air through layers of media.
Place this filter between the water trap and the pressure regulator. It provides maximum efficiency with a minimum pressure drop. The unit maintains 100 cfm at 80 psi.
One Step Buffing
Is there anyone who enjoys buffing paint, and is there a way to make it faster? 3M Collision Products has come out with a one-step system that eliminates the compounding step of buffing. It’s a system designed for professionals, but it’s easy to use. This makes it a good choice for the home shop.
Many people already use 3M’s Trizact 3000 and 5000 foam discs when finishing paint. The new 3M Perfect-It 1-Step Paint Finishing System features 3M Trizact 8000 Hookit Foam Abrasive Discs, Perfect-It 1-Step Finishing material, and the 1-Step Foam Finishing pad.
The first part of the process is to take down any defects or orange peel with 3M’s 1500 or 2000 sandpaper on a DA sander. Then, switch to the 3000-foam pad, spray it with water (damp not wet), and sand with the DA to create a uniform finish.
Next, go to the new 8000 foam pad and lightly wet-sand with the DA, until the surface is scratch-free and uniformly smooth. Then attach a purple 3M Perfect-It, 1-Step Foam Finishing Pad to a polisher, and set it between 1,200 and 2,000 rpm. Polish with medium pressure until the desired result is achieved. No more switching back-and-forth between compounding and polishing products.
Easier Panel Gapping and Grinding
Small tools can make a big difference. HammerFab, a restoration shop out of Texas, brought a 1958 Chevy Apache and took home Chevy’s Design Award for Truck of the Year at the 2019 SEMA Show. But, they also have a line of small tools that are very unique. Here are two very affordable products that will get a lot of use in your home shop.
Hammerfab’s Backer Pads supports Roloc-style grinding discs in a way that keeps the disc flat — unlike those rubber ones that lose their shape after a while. This disc is constructed of flexible, durable nylon that is stiff enough to retain its shape after use.
It weighs about half as much as the rubber ones, and the thin outer edge allows you to get in close. It has a 1/4-inch steel arbor. Dimples on the backside allow for a better grip when removing the discs. They also make the backing pad lighter, so it spools up faster while causing less drag on your tool’s bearings.
Gapper Pads, also designed by Hammerab, use Roloc-style grinding discs. They come in 1/8-, 3/16-, and 1/4-inch. These measurements include the thickness of a 3M Green Corps 50-grit Roloc disc attached to the backer. Open the door or panel, grind, shut the door, and give a final grind where needed. It also has the 1/4-inch arbor and a dimpled backside.
One Welding Machine – Three Processes
Imagine a welding machine that can do MIG, AC and DC TIG, and stick welding. What’s more, it can automatically determine the polarity, so the MIG gun and TIG torch can stay connected at the same time. Miller Welding’s Multimatic 220 is that welding machine. It automatically switches to the right process. Just hit the MIG trigger or TIG foot control, and the welder automatically changes. It also recalls the settings from the last method used. This machine is crazy with features to make it easier than ever get professional-quality welds.
It has a Pro-Set feature that eliminates the guesswork when setting weld parameters. Also, it has a color LCD with Miller’s Auto-Set Elite. Just set the wire and gas type, wire diameter, material thickness, and it’s ready to weld. It reduces the set-up and pre-test time normally used to make sure everything is right before welding.
The Multimatic 220 has a multi-voltage plug that allows connection to a 110- or 220-power outlet. Just choose the plug that fits the outlet and connect the power cord. It also has two shielding-gas connections, so both gases can be left connected to the machine — no switching back-and-forth between bottles.
Upgrade Your Respirator
Traditional paint respirators help protect your lungs, but what about your eyes? Studies have shown that eyes can absorb as much toxic material as lungs. When painting a car or truck, the pressurized air hits the surface and blows back at you, hitting your eyes.
Gerson Products has been making respirators for many years, and chances are you’ve used its products. The company’s latest innovation is a Multi-Task Full Face Respirator Kit #9955. It’s similar to a half-mask respirator, but it has a shield to protect your face from any paint spray. It has replaceable cartridges (#G01) and filter pads (#G95P.) It can also be used as a grinding shield by using Gerson’s P100 pancake filters, which are designed to filter out any solid particles.
Upcoming Paint Products
PPG Refinish is known for making excellent quality, user-friendly paint products. The company will be coming out with a next-generation DELTRON primer surfacer at the end of December. DPS7500 High Production Primer Surfacer is a fast-dry, high-build primer surfacer with a built-in guide coat. While it’s designed for collision shops, this new primer makes it easy for the DIY’er to get great results. Keep an eye on PPG’s website and social media for more information.
House of Kolor is also introducing new products for 2020. Jon Kosmoski, House of Kolor founder, showed us the new line of Shimron Pearl paint. They are so new they don’t even have names yet! Kosmoski has been creating paints and colors for 63 years. When most folks would be chilling on vacation, he’s in the shop creating. These new pearl colors have an incredible depth and glow.
Paint Trends and Styles at SEMA Show
Over the past ten years, retro-style paint has become increasingly common. But, this year marked a big return to retro. From metal flake paint to custom graphics straight out of the ’70s, bright and bold retro color was all over the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here’s a little eye candy from the show floor.
Metal flake paint has always been popular, but it’s starting to become mainstream. It easy to understand why — flake paint is a fun, happy paint effect with infinite choices. Flake paint isn’t just for lowriders anymore. Paint companies are expanding flake paint lines to accommodate the demand for more flake choices.
As 2019 draws to a close, muscle car restorers are hunkering down in their shops, burning the midnight oil on their projects in hopes to open up that garage door in the spring and hit the road. As you’re planning your project’s paint and bodywork, think about the latest products, tools, and equipment that will help you not just in this project, but for years to come. It’s items like these that will make your time in the shop even more enjoyable, easier, and help remove some of the stress that’s part of every project.