first time using waterborne

SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 457 ✭✭✭
edited April 2021 in Water Based Paints
I decided to give waterbourne paint a go. So I picked up a gallon of white from GoBig Brain and gave it a test drive this morning.

A couple things I noticed different right away from the solvent based I'm familiar with...

No vapor cloud hitting me in the face when opening the can or spraying it. Even though I use a walk up spray booth, the vapor cloud is still prevelent with solvent based.

This stuff is much thicker than the solvent based. My 1.2 tipped ANi was kind of tight. Need to order another gun, I guess. And need to get paint filters with a larger screen.

After spraying for a few minutes, I noticed the spray pattern getting funny. Turns out the spray orifice was plugging up. Maybe this is from the thicker viscosity? So I started wiping the tip every so often and the issue went away.

Cleanup - Awesome! Hot water mostly. Then a quick wash with lacquer thinner just to make sure.

Now onto the most important part... Dipping

Following my normal procedure for this particular film, my first hit came out great. That's good. But, I chaulked it up to luck. I haven't dipped anything for many months and it was raining outside so the humidity was high. So I tested another part and it came out really good, too. Hmmm...

Rinsing it in the sink, I hit it with full power of water and the print didn't budge, fudge, or smudge. Hmmm that's interesting. I usually have to go gentle with the rinse or the paint/print will move on me.

These parts are double dipped using masking tape at the seam - Dip, pull the tape, the dip from the other end meeting at the previous tape edge. This seam area always seems to create issues - the tape pulled the film a bit, or the double layer of goo softened the paint and created a smudge during the rinse, etc. But non of these things were there today.

I remember @WileECoyote mentioning it's almost impossible to over activate on waterbased paint. So I went back to the dip tank and made three passes (two is what's normal for me). It looked good coming out of the tank. So I went to rinse it and it still looked good! Back to the dip tank I went and made four passes of activator! It still loooked good! Dang!!!

I made my way through 20 parts without one overactivation or smudge. All of them are acceptable to me. I still have a couple of touchups in the usual places but that's no big deal. The film still doesn't want to stretch as far as I would like it too presenting a bit of fading. But I do not believe those to be paint issues.

Clear will be tomorrow, But I don't believe I will have issues there. I'm really liking this paint. I've never really had lot's of confidence throughout the entire process. But today, by the end of my little run of parts, I didn't feel anything could go wrong?!?


  • PagesHydroDippingPagesHydroDipping Member Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    Very nice. And good to know. We have always used solvent based. But I've heard from other guy here on the forum that the coverage is a lot better on water based.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,967 El Moderator
    This is exactly right. We used solvent based paints for a few things... but if we COULD use water based, we did. If I remember correctly, there was some testing done on @MidOhioHydrographics tank for activator passes (because the robot is consistent) and the waterbased paint absorbed 8 times the number of passes that were determined to get the print to stick.

    Waterbased paint is MUCH safer to be around for you guys working out of your garages (and basements, bathrooms and kitchens as we have seen on here). Essentially it is as safe as the paint that you use on your walls in your house.

    As you get more advanced in your process, you are going to find specific uses for all types of paint. Waterbased should be the default paint for beginners, and should always be in your shop. There are definitely drawbacks (need for adhesion promoter, and primer for steel) but most of you can absorb an extra step, trading for great results almost every time.

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,560 El Moderator
    Good write up! All true. We use Aqualac for 99% of our dipping, both custom and production. I just flat out works. Yes, you will need adhesion promoter or primer sometimes, but that’s part of this animal. Coverage will be better also, in terms of parts you can cover w the same volume of paint.

    As far as paint guns, we love the Iwata LPH400 eXtreme Base Coat gun in a 1.5. The tip clogging build up is also part of the beast. We keep a nylon brush handy, and just pull the trigger half way so it’s just air and knock the build up off the tip.

    Clean up - Hot water only on any wet paint in your gun. If you add a solvent while there is wet/liquid paint in your gun, you will have a cottage cheese looking mess. Any dried on paint can be cleaned up w a solvent.
  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 457 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for reminding me. I did notice better coverage. Just a guess... maybe 1/3- 1/2 more parts per fillup? I had the pressure really cranked up so there was plenty of overspray. Ill pick up a bigger tip and maybe control that.

    I did use a brush to wipe off the tip, but needed to use Lacquer thinner to do any good as the buildup was quite thick and dried by the time I noticed it. I'll try to keep on top of it with the dry brush.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,560 El Moderator
    Correct, we saw anywhere from 40-55% more parts.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,967 El Moderator
    In addition, your filters and exhaust fans are building up with dry overspray. There is some danger in starting a fire with dust, but it is significantly safer than a solvent.

    Sometimes when painting an odd color (orange for instance) there is a need to lay a white base underneath the color to get the right look in a solvent based system. You get much better color out of a water based. We typically recommended using a 1.5 tip minimum for base coat, but you can use a 1.8 as well for larger parts.

    There is also the benefit of alternating layer configurations. If you spray a solvent clear on top of a waterbased base coat, there is NO chance that the clear is going to lift the base coat. When you start looking at multiple layers on a motorcycle tank (solvent primer, water base coat, solvent clear, water 2nd color panel, solvent from the activator, water based rally stripe, and another coat of clear). By the time you get to that final layer, if you have a mistake, you have shot HOURS of time, and have to strip off 6 layers to start over. With alternating formulas, there is very little chance of that happening.

    There is a reason that the guys that do this for a living at least have it in their shop, some it is their default paint formula.
  • IceMasterIceMaster Member Posts: 1,336 ✭✭✭✭
    I spray pretty much all Aqualac 35 paints now but then again, I have to use Waterborne where I live. Very happy with this paint and it also sprays nice out of my airbrush for touch ups
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