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Vehicle Spray Painting

Spray Painters learn their craft of vehicle spray painting from the previous generation of tradesmen through their apprenticeship. They spend the rest of their career refining and perfecting their chosen skill.

What makes an automotive refinish technician (aka spray painter) so special in his craft? It all starts in a factory on the other side of the globe.

spray painting apprentice
Apprentice spray painter – learning and refining the skills
robotic arms spraying a freshly welded motor vehicle shell
Robotic arms spraying a freshly welded motor vehicle shell

Body and Paint

A freshly welded motor vehicle shell is guided along a track ready to enter the paint chamber. A series of Robotic arms programmed to within a fraction of a millimetre wave a fine mist of paint on a computer generated path around the vehicle. You may have seen this on shows like “MegaFactories” or on Youtube.

What you probably won’t notice is the robots don’t use spray guns. They apply the paint using a rotary “Bell” electrostatic paint gun. This equipment is very similar to what’s used in powder coating where the paint is atomised into a very small particle and coats the electrically charged metal panel of the car. This results in a perfectly even, high gloss finish using the absolute minimum amount of paint possible.

There are no runs, no dry patches and almost no dust specks over the entire vehicle. Humans aren’t allowed anywhere near this sealed chamber for fear of contaminants. The paint robots apply is so thin it’s actually transparent but because it’s painted altogether it’s impossible to detect. The finish is as close to perfect as you can get.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment and infrastructure, the best paint scientists and engineers and thousands of hours of programming went into making the body and paint on your new car look as good as it does.

"Bell" electrostatic paint gun
“Bell” electrostatic paint gun
local panel beater spraying after a smash repair
Local panel beater spraying after a smash repair

Smash Repair and Painting

Then the car has an accident and goes to a local panel beater for smash repair and painting.

The vehicle is sanded down by hand, panels are replaced and hammered straight and a person connects his pot of $200 paint to his $1000 spray gun and goes into the spray booth worth less than $100,000.

To attempt to replicate what the robot did, spray painters use muscle memory and years of experience to move that spray gun at exactly the right speed and correct distance from the panel. Move too slow and you get runs. Too quick and you see dry patches. If the shape and edges are not carefully considered then places get buildups of paint and edges run. If the gun is too far away at any point then the chance of heavy peel might mean that panel doesn’t match its opposite number.

Spray Paint Colour

If the spray paint colour is not matched and blended into adjacent panels then the spray area is detectable to the eye. To make matters worse the painter has just one shot at all this. No pressure! A redo is disastrous and means that the car cannot be finished on time and what little profit there was is now well and truly gone. A painter has to get it right, first go, every time, every day.

But here’s the amazing thing. Every day thousands of cars have panels repainted. Using relatively basic equipment, up against tight deadlines, impossible manufacturer colour variations/opacity and incredibly tight profit margins, spray painters are able to repaint cars – the same ones that are painted by a robot in a billion dollar factory. Most owners can’t even tell it’s ever been in an accident. Amazing!

spray painter color matching
Spray painter colour matching panels
classic car restorations back to bare metal
Classic car restorations sometimes go back to bare metal

Custom Car Paint

Not only do we do vehicle spray painting for smash repairs but we do custom car paint for classic cars. This takes the art of spray painting to another level.

Not only do we do vehicle spray painting for smash repairs but we do custom car paint for classic cars. This takes the art of spray painting to another level. For some classic car restorations we have had to go back to bare metal then begin the process of spray painting. We take great pride in our custom car paint work. Please peruse our 1955 Bristol 405 Drophead, Mercedes Benz 450SL Hardtop, and Jaguar E-Type as examples of our custom car paint work.

Vehicle Spray Painting Quote

If you have the Repairer of Choice option with your insurer, please Contact Us today for a smash repair and vehicle spray painting quote.

Use this facility to send us files or photos, but we are not able to provide quotes without an actual physical inspection of a vehicle.

Vehicle Spray Painting Quote

If you have the Repairer of Choice option with your insurer, please Contact Us today for a smash repair and vehicle spray painting quote.

Use this facility to send us files or photos, but we are not able to provide quotes without an actual physical inspection of a vehicle.

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