(Topic ID: 195727)

Cabinet prep for decals


By uncivil_engineer

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 20 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by russdx
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

I am getting ready to put decals on my Street Fighter II cabinet. The original graphics on this machine were silk screened on, but for the restoration, I am using a full set of cabinet decals, much like the old WPC decals.

Working out the kinks in my decals has gotten me to looking at the cabinet. The entire cabinet was sanded down to wood, and then painted using single stage automotive paint. I know painting the exterior was a bit of overkill, but I wanted to seal the wood. In hind sight, I should have used a high build primer, and blocked the cabinet before shooting color. So I am calling this a 'learning experience' and just want to get the decal on the cabinet, and have it look decent.

The single stage paint I put on the cabinet orange peeled pretty bad, and needs to be leveled out some.
More Orange peel that Florida

My question is about how much effort should I put into leveling it out? I realize the cabinet decal will hide some of this, so it does not have to be playfield smooth. I am worried about wet sanding to the wood in places, and having it swell. On the other hand, I also don't want the orange peel to show through the decal. Am I over thinking this?
Thanks,
--Alan

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#2 2 years ago

I would sand it smooth. Decals accentuate even small surface irregularities. If it's auto base coat it should sand and powder up without a ton of effort.

#3 2 years ago

Why does anyone use automotive paint?? Color is color. Auto clearcoat, of course, but I don't see the reason to spend the $ on the color.
So much money for same results.

#4 2 years ago

Sand that flat. It will show unless you do it.

#5 2 years ago
Quoted from ChadKeller:

Sand that flat. It will show unless you do it.

Really?? I have this same thing going on -- although I primed first. In retrospect I should have sanded finer grit before even primer. I think I used 150 on the wood, then 220 on first coat primer then 320. I am sanding after first paint coat with 400 and seeing irregularities like op has.. but if I keep sanding it goes back down to primer or occasionally wood.

Getting tired of the process though.. was hoping at 400 grit that the small imperfections wouldn't matter?

Op -- what grit are you at right now?

#6 2 years ago

Well before I even started, the wood was sanded with 400 grit. Right now, in the picture above it is sanded with 600 grit.

The painting didn't go well for me, as it was my first time using an HVLP spray gun, so the paint was uneven in spot.

It is smoothing out as I sand, but I am having the wood peak through in spots. I don't mind as I am going to decal the entire cabinet.

#7 2 years ago

To get the best results require sanding and more sanding and then even more sanding. You are correct uncivil_engineer everything will show in these newere glossy decals. If you want it perfect and that fact you are doing it at i i assume you do. Bog any holes sand it nice and flat prime it and sand it nice and flat. I am really anal so i cleared it and then i sanded that nice and flat on my IJ resto and it came out fantastic. If you want a look. Bit of fun. If not here's a pic before final sanding.

http://www.aussiearcade.com/showthread.php/73047-IJ-Restoration

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#8 2 years ago
Quoted from Jjsmooth:

Why does anyone use automotive paint?? Color is color. Auto clearcoat, of course, but I don't see the reason to spend the $ on the color.
So much money for same results.

Well I can't speak for the ops reasons to using auto paint but I can to why I switched. I have been involved with the commercial paint trade for roughly 25 years so my experience is with "traditional" paints. It was easy to get, cheap (I got it comped from my SW rep) and my rep would color match and drop of my paint for me with me ever have to leave my office. I switched to auto paints on my last restoration and would never go back. The number one reason is workability. Traditional paints (even catalyzed products) take a long time to fully cure. Whereas with auto systems, primer, base coat, clear are sandable in roughly an hour and can be taped on in 30 or so minutes. I do most of my restore on a weekend. With auto, I can get do what standard paints may take multiple weekends with cure times.

Quoted from Mbecker:

Really?? I have this same thing going on -- although I primed first. In retrospect I should have sanded finer grit before even primer. I think I used 150 on the wood, then 220 on first coat primer then 320. I am sanding after first paint coat with 400 and seeing irregularities like op has.. but if I keep sanding it goes back down to primer or occasionally wood.
Getting tired of the process though.. was hoping at 400 grit that the small imperfections wouldn't matter?
Op -- what grit are you at right now?

Are you using auto paint? Application technique is everything in minimizing stippling and orange peel. The most common mistake I see is trying to get paint to cover in one coat. More coats, less paint will net better results. I only go up to 220 on raw wood but I prep and fill the shit of the wood before priming. I'm doing a cab now and I have easily 30-40 hours into it and I haven't applied a drop of paint yet. Fill, sand, fill, sand. Then prime, sand, prime, fill, sand. On my final sand of prime I'm at 400 grit. You want a product that powders up nice when sanding. If it's not powdering, your not leveling and smoothing. If your sanding through the primer and there are still a lot of areas that haven't been sanded because of the highs and lows, you need to fill more before priming. In the ops picture, all the raised grain could have been sanded and filled away before painting. His biggest issue was no primer.

Looks good and smooth...
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Nope. Still some imperfections.
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Base coat now like a mirror (no clear coat yet)...

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And cleared:
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#9 2 years ago

My cabinets are always smooth as glass before I apply the decals. Then I have my wife go ahead of me with an air gun and a no tac cloth to ensure not even a spec of dust gets under as it's applied. Anything at all under the decal will show.

#10 2 years ago

Oh man.. now I'm kind of regretting taking this on.. decals weren't that bad beforehand maybe I shoulda left them. Far too late now lol. Onward.

Good luck OP!! Post some final pictures and how it turned out. Hoping to do mine in less than 2 weeks.. depends on this sanding process though I guess.

#11 2 years ago

On the cabinets I don't paint the entire thing, just the edges and leave the majority of the decal area primed. But I spend weeks on a cabinet - sand, fill, sand, fill.....

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1 year later
#12 9 months ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

On the cabinets I don't paint the entire thing, just the edges and leave the majority of the decal area primed. But I spend weeks on a cabinet - sand, fill, sand, fill.....

[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

When applying decals does it matter what colour surface is? ie can it be just left the colour of the primer with the edges sprayed the colour of the game. Can you see this through the decals? Or are they usually thick enough you don't see the beneath paint or what colour it is.

#13 9 months ago

I would add to the excellent advice here that use of a guide coat on your primer helps to identify spots that need more attention.

#14 9 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

When applying decals does it matter what colour surface is? ie can it be just left the colour of the primer with the edges sprayed the colour of the game. Can you see this through the decals? Or are they usually thick enough you don't see the beneath paint or what colour it is.

I've installed many different sets of decals and it's never been an issue. And I do mine the same way as Weirpinball.

#15 9 months ago
Quoted from Bryan_Kelly:

I've installed many different sets of decals and it's never been an issue. And I do mine the same way as Weirpinball.

Perfect so no point wasting paint by painting whole game final colour of cabinet just the edges.

I am in the same boat as the OP first time restoring a cabinet and its one massive learning experience also having issues with getting rid of wood grain, as you can really see where the wood filler is vs the normal wood, not sure if just multiple coats of primer / sanding will remove or if i need to cover the whole thing with a very thin coat of wood filler to really smooth it down.

#16 9 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

When applying decals does it matter what colour surface is? ie can it be just left the colour of the primer with the edges sprayed the colour of the game. Can you see this through the decals? Or are they usually thick enough you don't see the beneath paint or what colour it is.

Doesn't matter if the outer paint job is a solid uniform colour or just the edges but that the decal isn't being applied onto bare wood.

Quoted from russdx:

Perfect so no point wasting paint by painting whole game final colour of cabinet just the edges.
I am in the same boat as the OP first time restoring a cabinet and its one massive learning experience also having issues with getting rid of wood grain, as you can really see where the wood filler is vs the normal wood, not sure if just multiple coats of primer / sanding will remove or if i need to cover the whole thing with a very thin coat of wood filler to really smooth it down.

It's literally about 90% prep work/10% decal application.

You'll get used to it after the first two dozen or so.

For the 90% grind, put some earbuds in with your favourites playlist and go hard.

#17 9 months ago

following

#18 9 months ago
Quoted from pinsanity:

Doesn't matter if the outer paint job is a solid uniform colour or just the edges but that the decal isn't being applied onto bare wood.

It's literally about 90% prep work/10% decal application.
You'll get used to it after the first two dozen or so.
For the 90% grind, put some earbuds in with your favourites playlist and go hard.

indeed i am starting to learn this, i thought the pf swap was gonna be the hard part! it's easy compared to sorting this cabinet out

#19 9 months ago

I have seen some decals that are very thin and you can see through them if you have light gray primer for instance and use black on the edges. I recommend at least giving a light coat of a solid color unless you are positive your decals are thick enough where it wont show through.

#20 9 months ago

Ill be using a dark grey primer, and spraying edges with the dark Earthshaker blue. The decals seem pretty thick. I was going to cut off a bit (in unused section and just though just to be safe)

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