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Thread: Beginner prep tools?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    2

    Default Beginner prep tools?

    Hi all,

    Iím a non-professional. Iím equipping myself to take on some automotive prep, paint, and polish work.

    So far I bought some fun toys without getting the most important things: prep tools. Right now I have:

    - flex 3401 with 5.5 and 6.5Ē pads and compounds/polishes.
    - clay
    - Iwata LPH80 with 3m mini cups
    - assorted types of blue 3m tape
    - spot and glazing putty which Iíll probably use to fill some chips/scrapes that took off paint to the primer (coin width scrapes in places), or metal (smaller than pencil eraser size down to the metal)

    I have an assortment of 3m wet dry sandpaper (many grits from 400 to 3000) in woodworking sanding block sizes. I have a few woodworking sanding blocks as well.

    Iím going to need to sand at least some damaged areas on my wifeís car. I may choose to paint the whole panel and would then want to sand the damaged area plus the whole panel for adhesion. I need to do the front and rear bumper and one door. The paint will be single stage Honda Taffeta White NH-578.

    Should I get 3m sandpaper for my flex3401? If so what grits?

    Should I get an assortment of auto body style hand sanding blocks? If so what should I get? Hook and loop or adhesive? Any brand recommendation?

    Should I get a 3Ē polisher and sandpaper for that? If so, rotary or DA? What grits?

    What other tools and materials will I need to get this done successfully? I know I will also need paper and or plastic for masking. I also plan to make a spray room in my garage with plastic sheeting, box fans, and hepa filters.

    Iím planning to get a hood from a junk yard to practice on before I paint a car.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    Good idea about the hood to practice on. I would skip the hepa filters and get some cheap mesh filters. The hepa filters will plug up in no time. Use whatever feels good to you for sanding blocks until you find you need something to fix a problem that comes up. Brands are a personal choice. Itís a trade off between quality and price. You need to decide yourself how much you want to invest. It doesnít sound like you need power tools to do the work you mentioned. Once you find you can live with the effort it takes to get work done that you are proud of then get the power tools that will suit your needs. I bought a lot of tools over the years but not on the first day.
    Bob K

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    43,893

    Default

    For sanding blocks we mostly use Dura-Blocks linked below along with stick-on roll sandpaper. As far as what grits we keep rolls of 40, 80, 120 and 220. The blocks re inexpensive, last forever and do a great job for wet or dry sanding.


    LINK


    The Indasa roll sandpaper is also inexpensive and works well with both stick-on and clip-on sanding blocks.


    LINK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    olympia,wa
    Posts
    1,341

    Default

    You didn't mention a compressor. You absolutely need that to paint. The compressor will give you options for air tools like a da sander. A da is pretty inexpensive and quite useful.
    The flex might be good at stripping a panel since its forced rotation but I don't have any experience with that machine. It will certainly be good for polishing after paint though.
    Keep it simple though, till you see if you like doing it. Bodywork and paint isn't for everyone.
    b marler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks everyone. Sorry I didn’t mention: yes I have a compressor. It’s enough to run the mini Iwata. I wouldn’t want to do a whole car with it.

    I’ll definitely avoid the hepa filter. Thank you.

    For the blocks, I was also looking at those dura blocks. I read that sticky sandpaper works well. My concern is if I only have one set of blocks do I have to keep un-adhering and re-adhering the sandpaper? Would I need to get multiple sets of blocks? Or should I maybe get one set of blocks with the Velcro?

    I currently have Porter cable 4.5” adhesive sandpaper in grits 120, 220, and 320. If Velcro is the way to go for me, I can definitely get some Velcro stuff instead.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NORTH JUAREZ
    Posts
    3,279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bmarler View Post
    You didn't mention a compressor. You absolutely need that to paint. The compressor will give you options for air tools like a da sander. A da is pretty inexpensive and quite useful.
    The flex might be good at stripping a panel since its forced rotation but I don't have any experience with that machine. It will certainly be good for polishing after paint though.
    Keep it simple though, till you see if you like doing it. Bodywork and paint isn't for everyone.

    The flex 3401 is junk for buffing it's a consumer/not industrial grade tool not much difference between the made in china stuff on amazon for 79.00 and the flex, on the other hand you might be better off with a porter cable sander from home depot (similar to 7424 but cheaper) and change the backing plate to fit your paper, wood paper is not the same as car paper even though it might have the same numbers on it.

    There is so much more to everything your trying to do might be better just to pm.20210112_180124.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    43,893

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pontoon View Post
    Thanks everyone. Sorry I didnít mention: yes I have a compressor. Itís enough to run the mini Iwata. I wouldnít want to do a whole car with it.

    Iíll definitely avoid the hepa filter. Thank you.

    For the blocks, I was also looking at those dura blocks. I read that sticky sandpaper works well. My concern is if I only have one set of blocks do I have to keep un-adhering and re-adhering the sandpaper? Would I need to get multiple sets of blocks? Or should I maybe get one set of blocks with the Velcro?

    I currently have Porter cable 4.5Ē adhesive sandpaper in grits 120, 220, and 320. If Velcro is the way to go for me, I can definitely get some Velcro stuff instead.
    We don't use sheets of hook and loop paper so all of our blocks can take stick-on paper. We purchased several of a couple of them and cut one third off so that we would have a 1/3, 2/3 and a full length block. We did that with the 4400 and 4404. I use hook and loop disks on different size DAs but not on blocks we use stick-on and wet paper on the blocks. The only hook and loop block we use is the one that takes the 6" disks.

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