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Paint Thickness Gauge?


MichiganSRT8

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Hey guys, so as ive been getting more cars from friends to detail I've found a few that have needed wet sanding to fix orange peel. As I do not have insurance of a paint gauge I have wisely stood clear of this and told them I would call them once I acquire those two things. I have looked around for a while now and have been looking at gauges cause I know in the near future it will be needed. Right now I've heard good and bad things about the Highline II meter but it is in my primary price range so I cant really argue too much. I dont want to go much over 400 for a gauge and I know that some of the very good ones are in the thousands. I was just wondering what some of you professional guys have used when tackling wet sanding jobs because frankly going in without one reminds me of going to war without a gun. Let me know guys!

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great question. great analogy. I, too, am interested in one but cant justify the price . I understand that any guage used for wet sanding must be able measure clear and paint to be useful. my research found a guage like this to run $2700!! I would love it if someone could suggest an affordable one that would work.

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Ditto here!! :iagree:

 

I want to know how much clear (or paint on a single stage) I have to work with before I tackle those wet sanding jobs! I don't mind taking the chance on a couple of my cars but not other's cars!! Don't want to risk having to pay for a paint job for someone besides myself.

 

Would be nice to find a gauge in a reasonable price range that won't cost the equivalent of a paint job.

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Thanks guys, yeah I hope a few people can chime in who use one. I know Defelsko is one of the best ones out there now, I wouldnt mind spending a couple grand on one if I had a business cause it would just be an investment towards the future. One that would probably be made back up over the next few corrections for customers. But just to the everyday guy though, something under 400 bucks that just lets me have piece of mind the clear isnt overly thin is what im looking for.

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Found this one in the price range you were looking. Seems to have some good reviews too.

 

[ame=http://www.amazon.com/PaintGage-FNF-Thickness-Professional-Automotive/dp/B001OKHGDY]Amazon.com: PaintGage FNF Coating Thickness Gauge & Professional Automotive Paint Meter (Car Gage, Thickness Meter, Paint Tester): Automotive[/ame]

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ive seen that one too haha, thats one i first saw while looking on amazon. Only think is i dont see much about it on the forums, just looking for first person experiences right now from people who have one.

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So, how do you know with this type of gauge when you are getting too close to sanding thru clear coat to the paint. It seems as if it only measures TOTAL thickness. I think this is primarily for checking for prior body work, not wet sanding.

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So, how do you know with this type of gauge when you are getting too close to sanding thru clear coat to the paint. It seems as if it only measures TOTAL thickness. I think this is primarily for checking for prior body work, not wet sanding.

 

there are a few that show different amounts of each substance on the panel. Those are generally in the thousands I believe.

 

Paint Meter, Paint Gauge, Paint Gage - HighLineMeter.com

This is one of the most common, total thickness is most important, as if you have a very low reading, mo matter what its measuring, the job should most likely not be undertaken. When you are dealing with such small amounts of substance it is not really measuring for you to know how much you should remove, it measuring for you how aggressive of a stance you should take or if you even should continue.

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So, how do you know with this type of gauge when you are getting too close to sanding thru clear coat to the paint. It seems as if it only measures TOTAL thickness. I think this is primarily for checking for prior body work, not wet sanding.

 

There are some that will measure up to three different layers. I guess what one needs to ask themselves is would they use it regularly. My life experience has always been (atleast for me) if I buy the cheaper one I wish later on I would have bought the better one and end up doing so. And in the long run it cost me more than if I would have just bought the one that I wanted to begin with. But that is just me.

 

Myself if I were running a detail business I would want one that would show me individual layers. There are just too many variables IMHO with all the different makes and models of automobiles out there. And not to mention repairs that may have been done by a less than stellar repair shop.

 

PosiTector® 200 Coating Thickness Gauge

Edited by LFairbanks
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there are a few that show different amounts of each substance on the panel. Those are generally in the thousands I believe.

 

Paint Meter, Paint Gauge, Paint Gage - HighLineMeter.com

This is one of the most common, total thickness is most important, as if you have a very low reading, mo matter what its measuring, the job should most likely not be undertaken. When you are dealing with such small amounts of substance it is not really measuring for you to know how much you should remove, it measuring for you how aggressive of a stance you should take or if you even should continue.

 

This is what I use . Very solid and affordable.

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So what if the paint thickness is high but the clear layer is thin. You would still risk going thru clear with wetsanding.

 

:iagree:That was my thought too.

 

There are some that will measure up to three different layers. I guess what one needs to ask themselves is would they use it regularly.

 

Myself if I were running a detail business I would want one that would show me individual layers. There are just too many variables IMHO with all the different makes and models of automobiles out there. And not to mention repairs that may have been done by a less than stellar repair shop.

 

PosiTector® 200 Coating Thickness Gauge

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OK, so here's my confession: I do lots of wet sanding to fix defects and I don't own a paint guage.

 

It's not that I don't want one.....they're cool to dazzle your friends and customers but nobody really cares how much paint and clear is on their car and it's not that I mind shelling out the dough for such a tool, BUT, bottom line is that if you are trying to fix something that severe and you don't do this sort of thing every day, you're likely to F it up anyway and off to the paint shop you go. I go very slow and check my work continuously. Use the same theory of "the least invasive" method first. I stock 3000 and 2500 grits and rarely use anything more than 2000.

 

I simply preface any types of repairs that are risky with the premise that it may either a) not come out completely, or B) it may need painted anyway if it's beyond my realm of capabilities. Over the years, I've done way more damage with my rotary buffer than with any piece of sandpaper.

 

 

My question to those participating in this thread:

 

If I use a paint meter and tell you that there is 2.5 mil of clear on a given panel, does that tell you how deep the defect is? Does it tell you what grit sand paper to start with? Does it tell you how much pressure to use when sanding with which grit? You still need lots of real world experience with different combinations of readings to know how to proceed.

 

Remember, it's part science, part art/skill/craft.

 

To address the original poster's question, if you're mostly correcting orange peel, there is likely more than enough clear to not worry since the most common cause of orange peel is laying it on too thick.

 

JMHO,

 

- Darryl

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Hey guys, I don't know about getting one in the US but here in the UK I just bought one from a new company called PCE apparantly selling German Designed products! and they have this cheap coating meter called the CT 25 which seems pretty cheap and cheerful and does the job dunno if the can sell to the US maybe you could give them a call?

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Heres the catch guys (and I didn't read all the comments so forgive me if its been mentioned) you need a meter that will read all materials. Generally the cheaper meters will only work on steel panels and with most all modern vehicles having plastic bumpers, body kits, etc on them you're left with a tool that can only help you on part of the cars you're working. Then also consider the prevalence of fiberglass (all vettes) carbon fiber, aluminum, and other lightweight materials having a meter that can't read these makes it pretty useless for a lot of vehicles.

 

Another thing often overlooked in relation to thickness gauges is the ability to read LAYERS. A thickness gauge on a base/clear car that can't differentiate the layers isn't much good to you either. You'll need to know how much CLEAR you have to work with, not just how much coating. Many cheaper gauges will only give you a total, not a breakdown of layers.

 

To get into something like the Defelsko positector 200 which reads both ferrous and non-ferrous substrates including plastics and can differentiate individual layers will set you back $2-$3000 easy.

 

As a side note: I would say NEVER ever ever ever attempt a wet sanding job on a car without a meter unless you're willing to eat the cost of repaint should something go wrong.

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As a side note: I would say NEVER ever ever ever attempt a wet sanding job on a car without a meter unless you're willing to eat the cost of repaint should something go wrong.

 

This is one of the big reasons why if you are in business and are doing this kind of work on a car that is not your own, you need to have insurance. Unless you can pay for the panel to be repainted out of your own pocket.

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To get into something like the Defelsko positector 200 which reads both ferrous and non-ferrous substrates including plastics and can differentiate individual layers will set you back $2-$3000 easy.

Dylan,

When I asked the Delfelsko staff if the Positector 200 Adv would work on metal with mutiple layers (clear coat, base, primer) they said non-ferrous ONLY...

 

The 6000 can do single layer measurements...

 

So I haven't even considered getting one that can't do both...

 

[m]

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