Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    17

    Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    I have stared building trailers with the intent of developing it into a business. I have completed two of them now and each one I solve a new problem and get closer and closer to reasonable fabrication time. The next problem I want to solve is the paint that we use. For the first two I just used a rattle can with an etching primer. This has been and cheap and easy way to do it, but it does not seem durable enough for the intended used for. For prep we wire brush all the MIG welds and then whip down with acetone. This finish looks okay but hard to get a consistent sheen with the small spray pattern that you get from a can.

    These trailers are for whitewater rafting so they spend a lot of time on dirt roads with a lot gravel and dirt and they hammered season after season. I don't want to go with a full automotive finish with a clear coat of some sort. Idealy I would like a direct metal product that we can custom tint but a primer coat is an option if it gets me a better result. I have fallen in the love with the color that we have but cant find and good option outside of full automotive products that are just too expensive for the price point that we are shooting for.

    As of now I am painting these in my garage and have a HP HVLP spray gun i am hoping to use. I don't have a way to bake on the finish and painting them in the winter is going to be a struggle. I had a suggestion from a guy on another forum to use the Rustoleum in the quart and adding a alkyd enamel harder and thinning it with naptha.

    I am wondering what kind of expericane the community has had with painting bare steel. I don't have much painting experience with painting metal but I am very good with my hands and like to learn new skills.

    Thanks in advance for your help and wisdom.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Winona, Minnesota
    Posts
    61

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    If you can get your customers to recognize and pay for it's value, there is nothing better than hot dip galvanize. Check into it. Around here AZZ is the galvanizing company. They charge based on the weight of your your weldment.

    Otherwise it seems the simplest and cheapest way would be to have a local powder coater blast and powder coat your trailers. Surprisingly cheap. Not the worlds best finish, but it will be on par with what everyone else is doing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    558

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    Find a professional paint supply in your area and go talk to them I have products I'd recommend but it depends what you have available locally.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    365

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    hot dip galv can be really cost effective i push it on hand rails. the last job of 300' of handrail was about $1200 to get galv'd. i cant paint for that cheap.

    if you do paint this is what i've come to after 4yrs now doing weld and fab stuff. and i've spent allot of money on paint equipment i no longer use.

    i use 3m accuspray gun, the small pressure pot one. it costs a bit to buy into with the disposable cup liners and such but it is worth every penny to me and in the end comes out to be much cheaper than rattle cans. this is important > be sure your air line is 3/8" and put a quality regulator inline before your last hose section. with trigger pulled you should be reading 13-16psi at the gun.

    for paint i use Sherwinn Williams sher-kem. the oil base, its not even worth messing around with anything water base. its an industrial direct to metal paint, with out hardener added it takes a good week to really cure.

    with the pressure pot gun and that paint you can lay it on really thick with out runs or drips. i do one coat and call it good.




    *but the best investment i've made in painting has been a hot water pressure washer. i pressure wash it once to get the big stuff, then i scrub brush the entire part with castrol super clean degreaser. and pressure wash again. dont go cheap on the degreaser. your paint will only be as good as your prep!
    Last edited by tracymobilecnc; 08-07-2018 at 12:54 PM.
    General Contractor
    Commercial Industrial & Custom Residential
    Specializing in all things Metal

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    212

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    maybe work out a deal with a local body shop. After you get more established then expand into painting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pasco Fl.
    Posts
    236

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    I never saw a fab shop that didn't loose money on painting.
    ***********************

    CR

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    117

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    i'd just spray truck liner on them - durable as can be
    Lincoln Invertec V205-T Tig/stick
    Millermatic 211 Mig Welder
    Speedglas Adflo PAPR 9100 FX-Air
    CertiFlat FB2430 fabBlock U-Weld Kit Welding Table
    FW3012 CertiFlat fabWing 30" X 12" Extension Table

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    274

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    Pictures would be appreciated !!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    3,604

    Re: Trailer Painting Cheap But Durable, is that an oxymoron?

    roll on > Spray on for durability.

    I've painted my trailer 3x since I bought it approximately 8 yrs ago. the first two times lasted about a year each using spray on technique. used roll on the last time I painted it and that's going on nearly 4 years now. you get a thicker coat with the roll on.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

    Hobart Handler 210
    Airco 225 Amp MSM Stinger

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