Page updated on 09-20-2017

Which Clear Coat is best for heavy duty?


papaya
05-03-2017, 11:12 PM
Hi folks, I'm trying to restore a headlight with Clear Coat as protection, however I'm having difficulty finding the best type of clear coat.

I read some modeling guides on how to achieve mirror finish, which involves lots of high grade sanding on the paint, then gloss coat, then polish with fine polishing compound and then finally a Protective Wax coat.

However I noticed, Acrylic Clear (claimed "durable") has reaction on most car care products.

After applying a Clear Gloss Coat, the object looks good but still there are some uneven surfaces. However non of the polisher/wax i used works, because they tend to react with the coat resulting in blurred out finishing or noticeable scratches. Acrylic clear coat also doesn't protect against Alcohol as i tried to clean the wax marks off the lights end up making even more marks with the alcohol. Note I used Wax, not Polisher.

So I'm guessing Acrylic are weak against other agents and unlike automotive clear coats which can withstand Alcohol & other car car products.

So I'm wondering which type of Gloss coat easily available can provide good protection and still polish-able & waxable after dry?

I only know a few types: Acrylic, Lacquer (where they never specify which type), Enamel, Polyurethane. And in order to achieve near perfect gloss, the coat needs to be polished & waxed.

So hope folks here can shed some lights. Top Coat has always been a problem for me whether it's Gloss, Matte or Semi-Gloss.

Kjenjak
05-04-2017, 03:10 AM
The most durable would be 2K clear I guess. When applied right, it needs no sanding and polishing in the first place. When you say you have to sand and polish, that's a lot of work though, and 2K is also much more work to mix, apply and clean your tools.

I use Tamiya TS13 gloss clear (or semi gloss or flatt). It's easy to apply, quite hard after it has completely dried, and sands and polishes well. It can attack the base paints though, if too much is used at once.

papaya
05-04-2017, 10:06 AM
The most durable would be 2K clear I guess. When applied right, it needs no sanding and polishing in the first place. When you say you have to sand and polish, that's a lot of work though, and 2K is also much more work to mix, apply and clean your tools.

I use Tamiya TS13 gloss clear (or semi gloss or flatt). It's easy to apply, quite hard after it has completely dried, and sands and polishes well. It can attack the base paints though, if too much is used at once.

hi thanks, but i'm not comfortable with mixing the paints, i also heard ready made 2k paints needs to be used within 24 hrs after purchase, and they can be quite hazardous even though i have a gas mask. also i'm working on car headlight i don't have access to wall plug so sprayed can is the only method.

as you know spray can usually end up with uneven surface so it will require polishing (not sanding) with polishing compound (like those used for polishing car paint gloss).

so i'm wondering which type of clear coat is durable and won't react easily with other car care products like finishing compound & wax.

I read people saying Denatured Alcohol won't react with most Clear Coats but from my experience with few clear coats most waxes will also dull the finishing. but it's less noticeable on body paint, but very noticeable on transparent objects like headlights.

I've tried Kylon Acrylic Clear Gloss, Mr.Gunze Super Clear Gloss (suppose to be lacquer?), both react with Tamiya Finishing compound & normal polisher/wax and will make the coat slightly dull (on colored surface).

There are some really cheap Lacquer clear coats out there but i don't know how's the result & durability.

I believe Lacquer can withstand chemical compounds more than acrylic?

Not sure about Enamel & Polyurethane, they are also available in the stores. I hear Enamel is weaker than Lacquer. But even Lacquer, there's so many types which they never state.

i watched a video even with proper gloss coat, you still need to use paper towel for a fine finishing, then apply a wax coat for more shine. I can't do these currently as the coat will become dull if i do it.

klinad
05-08-2017, 08:36 PM
Acrylic clear coat just won't give you the best results. Lacquer is better, and is more durable, the thickness can be easily controled. But it can react with 99% alcohol. for me the most stable clear coat is polyurethane coat. it basically won't react with common type of thinner we use for modeling purpose. polyurethane is really hard and is widely used in industrials, and also works fine with models. but it requires some experiences for the operator.
As for the compounds, i don't think they will react with Lacquer or polyurethane,
as you mentioned that tamiya compounds would react with gunze spray can clear, i think maybe because the clear coat hasn't dried completely. I once used gunze spraycan clear, b-513, and then use tamiya compounds, from coarse to fine then finish, the result was good. it won't as shinny as the original clear coat because the compounds leave some tiny scratches. maybe you can apply some wax to get better results.

papaya
05-08-2017, 09:39 PM
Acrylic clear coat just won't give you the best results. Lacquer is better, and is more durable, the thickness can be easily controled. But it can react with 99% alcohol. for me the most stable clear coat is polyurethane coat. it basically won't react with common type of thinner we use for modeling purpose. polyurethane is really hard and is widely used in industrials, and also works fine with models. but it requires some experiences for the operator.
As for the compounds, i don't think they will react with Lacquer or polyurethane,
as you mentioned that tamiya compounds would react with gunze spray can clear, i think maybe because the clear coat hasn't dried completely. I once used gunze spraycan clear, b-513, and then use tamiya compounds, from coarse to fine then finish, the result was good. it won't as shinny as the original clear coat because the compounds leave some tiny scratches. maybe you can apply some wax to get better results.

hi thx, for now i'm using Future Floor Care as gloss coat for small parts.

can you explain the experience required for polyurethane coats?

klinad
05-09-2017, 02:09 AM
hi thx, for now i'm using Future Floor Care as gloss coat for small parts.

can you explain the experience required for polyurethane coats?

So basically it need to be mixed with the ratio shown on the package or guidence. For different brands, the ratio may varies. Lots of guys in Europe use zero paints 2K clear, the ratio is 100 Parts Clear, 50 Parts Hardener + 10-30% Thinners . when applying it, first to apply a mist coat, let it set for 5mins, and then apply a wet coat, when doing this, the air pressure needs to be high, like 50 Psi. and pull the airbrush trigger to the full and Move slowly to give a saturate finish. I think two layers is maximum, more layers will make the result too thick and make the car like a "candy". Still need to mention that all these procedures are better to be done in let's say 1 hour. after that the paint may become too viscous.

Some_Kid
05-09-2017, 06:50 PM
Are you restoring and actual headlight or a model car headlight?

For model car class you can sand with fine sand paper and polishing compound, then dip it future floor wax. I'm doing this currently on a windshield and it looks great.

2k clear would be the most durable clear coat. You can buy from a can online but they only last for 24hrs once you begin use. This would be best and most durable way to go and you can polish this to a brilliant shine.

Other than that I think your stuck with automotive lacquer clear. It would be the only one remotely able to handle outdoor elements.

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