Blending Tips & Techniques
With today's colors, blending is proving to be a more challenging job for painters. Color blending is a necessary part of the repair to ensure an undetectable match between panels on your customers vehicle. The only time I consider skipping this step acceptable is on bumpers that have a poor color match to begin with. If your painting a front cover and the back is already dark to the quarter, it can be acceptable to use a slightly darker tint on the front and not blend the fenders. It can depend on the job and what you think is best for your customer.
Give yourself enough room to make the blend
Always know your limits & your colors. If you don't think you have enough room to make the blend, go into the next panel, it will cost you twice as much when you have to redo the job.
Use an orientation coat
an orientation coat will fill in the small sand scratches and give your base a flatter surface to be blended on. This can make your job much easier. Their are a few different options you can use for your orientation coat. An overreduced clearcoat works well,simply catalyze your clear & reduce it around 9:1. Another option is a transparent tint, usually just a mixing clear in your existing paint system. Some company's offer it as a separate product only meant for being applied as an orientation coat, any one of these ways will work great.
Another great method for difficult colors is to lay down your orientation coat again before your final blend coat. Apply your blend coat while it is still flashing, this makes your basecoat land without dryspray which can help eliminate a halo.
Don't Crank the Pressure
Ok, this isn't always true, their are some situations where you can bump the pressure to make your blend easier...sometimes chasing away a silver halo this can help. For the most part, the reason I would avoid this is because more often then not you end up having the rest of your panel covered in a fine overspray. You will hear it when you run the tack cloth over it and it will appear as dirt when you apply your clear. If you want your base to go on dryer I'd advise increasing your gun distance.
This is pretty simple, just make your base more transparent on your blending coats. You can add some clear basecoat (binder) from your paint line to make it easier to blend out. You should try not to exceed a ratio of 1:1 & remember to reduce your binder accordingly. Avoid over-reducing your paint for transparency as it can lead to problems.
This technique is now for everybody but it is very effective when utilized correctly. What you will do is spray your first coat as your blend, fan it out as you normally would. Bring each subsequent coat inside a little bit more until you've achieved hiding. The theory behind it is that your never painting over the previous coat's overspray, each coat lands on a perfectly smooth surface.
Lowering your air pressure for your final coat is another way to combat difficult colors. The basic idea again is that your paint lands wet and you don\'t end up with a dry edge that reflects the metallics differently causing a visible blend. With polyester based paints you can drop your pressure even lower and get a really good drop coat on, just keep in mind the drop coat will darken your color, certain silvers and golds this isn't the best idea.
These are a few simple strategies used to make blending easier, other ideas that are sometimes overlooked is color match and equipment settings. Always make sure your using recommended spray equipment and ensure that the color your spraying is going to be a blend-able match before you try it on your vehicle. Spray out cards only take a few minutes and can sometimes save a few hours!