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Alclad problems

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Alclad problems
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 06, 2017 9:28 AM

I have been working on an Alclad finish on a model, and had some strange problems.  I got a lot of clogs. 

I had an old bottle of "white aluminum," and was using that over some other colors. I happened to notice, when cleaning out an airbrush bottle that had a small amount of the white aluminum in the bottle. I happened to be using paint thinner (turpentine) to wash out the bottle, and noticed as soon as I poured in the thinner, that what appeared to be tiny aluminum flakes percipitated out!  Never had this happen before.

I found the clogging happened only with that bottle of white aluminum, and it took a very long time, using lacquer thinner, to get the clogs out.  I don't know whether it was the age of the bottle (does alclad go bad over time), or just the white aluminum itself.  Has anyone else had problems with the white aluminum, or with alclad going bad over time (I estimate the bottle was about five to eight years old).

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Thursday, July 06, 2017 1:59 PM

I recently shot some alclad alumimum and jet exhaust that I have had for over 5 years with no issues.  Contact Alclad direct.  They a bit slow to respond but they will try and work issues out with you.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, July 06, 2017 3:51 PM

Don, your issue is very interesting. I recently reported a similar problem on my Moebeus WIP. I was using an old bottle as well. Mine was Alcad Aluminum, not the white version like yours though. It clogged up my Badger 200 something fierce. When I tried it with my Anthem I had less trouble with clogging, but I did get some splattering. So there was paint buildup on the tip. I almost never have issues with the Anthem. There is something going on with this paint.

If you find an answer, please report back. I would like to know the cause as well.

PS. My paint is about 4 years old.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 07, 2017 9:02 AM

This situation is getting worse.  I had ruined the air valve in my Badger 200, which I prefer to use with Alclad.  While waiting for the new valve, I turned to my 150, a double-action brush. It hadn't been used in awhile, so I cleaned it thoroughly, and turned to a bottle of just-plain-aluminum, which I had just bought. It sprayed fine for about thirty seconds.  Then the surface I was spraying started turning rough. It was like it was getting covered with aluminum fur!  The airbrush was spitting, so I started disassembling to do some cleaning, and I noticed a tiny chip of aluminum on the outside of the nozzle.  Then, I happened to notice the needle, uncovered when I removed the head, was covered with an aluminum fur.  These are tiny (almost microscopic) slivers of aluminum.  And they stick up about 90 degrees to the surface they are on.  Sort of like that flocking material you apply with the electrostatic applicator.  Somehow, the aluminum seems to be coming out of solution and aggregating!

Now, one thing- I ran out of lacquer thinner, and had a can of MEK on the shelf. I was using that until next time I went to hardware store. Although that stuff evaporates very fast, I suppose some could have been left in the brushes.  Is there anything strange about Alclad that makes it critical as to thinner?  Isn't most lacquer thinner a mix of acetone and MEK? 

I find cleaning an airbrush after using Alclad works better with lacquer thinner than with turpentine, although I have used both before without problems.  My modeling friends also use lacquer thinner to clean up after Alclad.

I am doing nothing different than I have done for years.  Has some fundamental law of chemistry or physics gone astray?  Why can't I spray Alclad!!!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, July 07, 2017 9:25 AM

Say Don, I am shaking my head over here. If you take out the adding thinner from your story, my recent experience is almost identical. In my case the aluminum had settled to a thin layer and there was a vast amount of clear solution above it. I assumed this was enough thinner. Maybe not. I was dissappointed with the finish that I got.

I don't have an answer for you. As someone mentioned, maybe try checking with the manufacturer. Until we figure this out I have second thoughts about reaching for this paint.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 07, 2017 3:17 PM

Bakster

Say Don, I am shaking my head over here. If you take out the adding thinner from your story, my recent experience is almost identical. In my case the aluminum had settled to a thin layer and there was a vast amount of clear solution above it. I assumed this was enough thinner. Maybe not. I was dissappointed with the finish that I got.

I don't have an answer for you. As someone mentioned, maybe try checking with the manufacturer. Until we figure this out I have second thoughts about reaching for this paint.

 

That layering is normal. Like many paints, if it sits for awhile it will seperate.  I think density differences between pigment, vehicle, and solvent determines how long it will stay mixed.  I have ordinarily found, however, that once shaken, it will stay in solution/mixture long enough for a normal painting session.  The thing I have been finding lately is that this problem occurs within a minute or two of beginning to paint!

Ordinarily, shaking the bottle for a minute is enough.  And I have never had to mix extra thinner.  From the bottle it is extremely thin. The lacquer thinner and MEK I was talking about was for cleaning, not for thinning the Alclad.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, July 07, 2017 3:37 PM

Ah...point taken about the thinner and MEK. Thanks for the correction. And yes, understood about the layering. I shook the bottle well and it looked fine once I did that. So then...we arrive at the same point. What's the deal with the paint. 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, July 08, 2017 10:53 AM

I forgot to mention yesterday more symptoms of the problem. Air is leaking into the paint bottle.  These are suction feed airbrushes.  When I push down on the air, bubbles come out the pickup tube- more bubbles the less the paint lever is pulled back (even zero paint flow).  I had cleaned the brush thoroughly after the last Alclad attempt.  But it still won't work right. Even with just thinner in the bottle, the airbrush spits and has irregular flow, plus the bubbles coming out the pickup tube.

In the past, when I would get air into the paint bottle, it meant the teflon washer was bad. I replaced it with my last spare, and that didn't help.

I did buy some lacquer thinner yesterday, and will no longer clean with the MEK, but not sure that is the problem- in fact, I can see no reason why MEK would be a problem.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2015
  • From: the redlands Fl
Posted by crown r n7 on Saturday, July 08, 2017 11:04 AM

I've been reading on your paint delema very strange.i used white alum. on Rey's blaster the paint is about 2 years old now with no issues but I do spray at 10 lbs it's super thin like all of them maybe that bottle is bad if the trouble is with that color thats my opinion . 

 

 

 

Nick

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, July 09, 2017 11:53 AM

I got to wondering- does anyone know how Alclad works?  Is there a vehicle, like clear lacquer, in addition to the aluminum pigment and the thinner, or is it just the aluminum and thinner?  That would make it similar to those powder products where you rub the powder into the base coat.

What is bothering me, is, if you can end up depositing an aluminum coating inside an airbrush, how would you clean it out?  Are any airbrush parts made of aluminum?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Monday, July 10, 2017 12:00 PM

Don,

Have you contacted Alclad? If they're a company that concerns itself with customer satisfaction I would suppose they'll be interested in your  problem. I, for one, am very interested in hearing what you find out - both because I have some Alclad that I was going to attempt to use on a P-47 and a B-24 and also because I'm following your thread on the P-59 with interest.

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Monday, July 10, 2017 1:44 PM

Don S. - I just opened a new bottle of Alclad 101 Aluminum, and some DuPont lacquer thinner. In comparison they smell much alike, so I'd say the Alclad metal components are actually suspended in a real lacquer base.

In the past, I've noticed that AB cleanup after Alclad use does require a more agressive agitation of the parts. For my Badger's I use the AB cleaning brushes, not the ones with metal bristles, rather with what I think may be nylon or similar. The bristles are tolerant of lacquer thinner and acetone. The smallest one does fit in the tiny bore of the front bits of my 100's and 200's.

Otherwise it seems Alclad is quite stubborn for conventional means of cleaning. Just a rinse spray doesn't touch it, soaking parts in thinner doesn't dissolve it like it would enamel or acrylic. Lastly, I do see acetone as just a little bit stronger than lacquer thinner, for cleaning Alclad. But I hate the smell of acetone, even though I have a spray booth with strong air removal, I still get the occasional sniff of it.

Patrick

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:56 AM

At a club meeting last night, the concensus was that my Alclad was too old.  Maybe I was mistaken on the bottle I thought was new.  Anyway, I am going to throw out the old stuff and buy some new to try.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 11:48 AM

Don Stauffer

At a club meeting last night, the concensus was that my Alclad was too old.  Maybe I was mistaken on the bottle I thought was new.  Anyway, I am going to throw out the old stuff and buy some new to try.

 

 

That kind of stinks if it has a shelf life. This paint is expensive. Let us know how the new stuff works. 

Thanks Don.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:54 AM

Well, I am putting down Alclad again, but not happy with it.  Concensus was the stuff I was using was too old.  Bought a new bottle of aluminum.  It went down better than before, but still not great.  I did finish the P-59, and now working on my F-80.

Stuff still very rough, almost like fur.  Also tried some of my old bottle of polished aluminum.  That worked better than the new aluminum, but does not give me the shiny finish it used to.  I am still baffled about what is going on!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
Posted by damouav on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:11 AM

Don,

Does your compressor have a tank? If so, you want to try draining any water in it. Worth a try.

Damian

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:28 AM

I have a theory.  Most of my Alclad work so far has been with the Polished Aluminum stuff.  I have always been a bit surprised that I could successfully use Testors enamel for the gloss black undercoat.  Now, with the polished aluminum, I have always put on a very fine mist, an extremely thin coat.  I have been trying the just plain Aluminum stuff, putting it down much heavier.  I am wondering if the heavier coating of Alclad, which is a lacquer-based paint, is getting to that gloss black surface and messing it up.  I did a few panels on the plane I am working on in Polished Aluminum yesterday, and those panels seemed to have worked okay.

I do have some Alclad black primer (a lacquer), and primed the gear doors with that last night.  Today I will try to put down a thick coat of Aluminum on those doors, and see what happens.

And, no, I do not have a water trap, and it has been humid lately. If the Alclad base coat does not fix the situation, I may have to stick a water trap in the line- I think I have one around somewhere.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May, 2006
  • From: Irmo, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:16 PM
I just checked the 2014 build log of my Enola Gay. I used several over lapping shades on an Aluminum 101 base. The White Aluminum began to form a skin on everything in the brush. It was hard to get out and it was a new bottle. I emailed Alclad and their response was not helpful.

On the Bench:

     1/48 Star Wars X-wing

On Deck:

     1/48 P-47D Razorback

     1/48 Nieuport Ni-17

     1/350 USS Hornet CV-8

    

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 21, 2017 9:19 AM

Putting down Aluminum Alclad over the Alclad black gloss undercoat worked fine. I think I am on to something here.

Another test I might make is to use the Enamel undercoat, then a coat of Testors lacquer overcoat, then the Alclad. I have never had a problem with Testors glosscoat over enamel- I don't know why, but it seems to work.  Question is what will Alclad look like over Glosscoat?  I will find out.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May, 2016
Posted by B-36Andy on Monday, July 24, 2017 11:03 AM
Don-- I have great interest in your findings as 95% of my model stash will be silver!
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 9:52 AM

B-36Andy
Don-- I have great interest in your findings as 95% of my model stash will be silver!
 

I have done more Alclad work in the past few days using the Alclad black undercoat, and it is working fine.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May, 2016
Posted by B-36Andy on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 6:05 PM
Thanks for the good report! Maybe Alclad will be OK!

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