The prep process can be broken down into 4 basic operations; cleaning, sanding, resurfacing, and cleaning.
Initial Cleaning: Everything needs to be cleaned, whether you can visibly see contamination or not. Best practices require thorough pre-cleaning to eliminate mold release agents, dirt, and other contaminants. If you do not start by taking care of grease, oil, and dirt on the parts, the paint job will certainly be compromised, because they can get ground down into the surface during the sanding process.
Sanding: The surface of any part must be sanded properly. Sanding creates a consistent scratch profile, and each scratch is like a chair for the paint to sit on. My dad taught me with this analogy; “Sanding turns the surface into a stairway for the paint; before sanding it may as well be a slide!” The surface needs to be crafted to serve as a cozy home for the paint live.
Resurfacing: The purpose of this is to perfect the surface because every part possesses natural surface characteristics. While the paint job I referenced earlier was wavy like a potato chip, other parts have surfaces like orange peel, cottage cheese, the ocean, or a mountain range. The point of resurfacing is to put a “new surface” on the part, thereby eliminating these abnormalities.
Final Cleaning: After all this prep, we clean the part one last time. The reason for this is to remove ground-in dust and other potential contaminants. This seems like the step that everyone would do, including a beginner or inexperienced painter because it is so obvious. However, cleaning should be vigorous and detailed. Two people can clean parts side by side and get radically different results. This step is not the time to fall asleep on the job because done incorrectly, all previous investments could be nullified.
Painting on an un-prepped part is like building a house on sand. At CPV, we strive to establish a solid foundation which will be the integrity of the paint job.