Car Painting Equipment & Accessories Your Shop Needs
When it comes to bodywork, it's important to have the right auto body paint supplies on hand to ensure the job is completed properly. Not only does this ensure safety, but it also helps get the job done quickly and efficiently and prevents you from losing business because you're lacking in equipment. And while some of the items might seem pricey, the proper tools will actually save you money in the long run.
So what are the best car painting equipment and accessories every body shop should have on hand? You've got your paint booth and paint gun set-ups and your ventilation systems are up to code, but providing employees with a wide range of tools and proper protective gear is also important. We've compiled a list of the basic automotive paint equipment and accessories every auto body shop should have on hand to ensure optimum productivity and safety.
Necessary Body Shop Paint Supplies
Having the proper equipment for painting a vehicle takes the headache out of what has the potential to be a very complicated process. In addition to refinishing paint jobs, vehicles will also need scratch and dent repair, detailing, and in some cases, undercoating. Even home shops will need to have a list of items on hand that will help keep your vehicle looking good and running smoothly.
- Lighting: It might not seem like a big deal, but lighting is a crucial aspect of every auto body shop. Improper lighting can prevent clean and proper paint jobs, makes it harder to see your work area and can lead to shoddy paint or repair jobs. Even the quality of the lamps themselves, how they're positioned, and the color temperature of the bulbs being used will all have an impact on productive capabilities and your perception of surfaces. For use in a paint booth, fluorescent bulbs with high color rendering index and high color temperature will provide the best visibility. Choosing a lamp that is "full spectrum" will also help. Because of off-gassing and the chemicals contained within solvents and paint, lighting also plays a huge part in paint booth safety, as the fumes can be ignited when exposed to a hot bulb. Make sure that any lighting installed has been approved for use in hazardous locations. Positioning of the lighting is crucial as well - generally, lighting illuminates more of the work surface evenly when it placed horizontally or in corners around the booth or work space as opposed to directly overhead. Providing small but powerful portable lighting options will also help.
- Curing Lamps: In addition to needing proper lighting, paint curing lamps are an important item to include in your garage. Generally, the best heat lamps for producing a good turnover rates and the perfect cure are infrared, or IR paint curing lamps. IR lamps can be used to dry both waterborne and solvent-based paints and don't require special housing to trap or circulate heat. With the right lamps, it's easy to help speed up paint curing time and allow a greater turnover plus more efficient and professional paint jobs. Curing lamps can be installed overhead, or keep it simple with small portable options that allow mechanics to cure any paint anywhere.
- Air Compressors: These are essential to properly and efficiently completing any vehicle painting tasks and powering other air tools. Air compressors have the tendency to perform well and last a long time when taken care of, so invest in a couple quality compressors that have at least a 60-gallon tank capacity.
- Brushes: Sometimes, a paint booth just won't cut it when it comes to finishing hard-to-reach areas inside and out of the vehicle. Having a variety of brush sizes available to your employees makes it easier for them to complete tasks properly. Detailing brushes are especially important for completing professional auto paint jobs.
- Rust and Paint-removal Supplies: Rust should always be removed from the vehicle before a paint job, and this is made easier when the right tools are present. Stock plenty of heavy-duty sand-paper and wire brushes to make rust removal easy. A dual-action sanding machine is perfect for these instances and gets the job done even quicker.
- Body Filler: Body-filler is an important item to have on hand for quick dent and ding touch-ups and touching up after removing rust and before repainting. In addition to the filler, you'll probably need to keep some thinner on hand as depending on the brand and type of filler, you'll need to mix it with thinner before applying. Make sure you have some Bondo spreaders or metal putty knives on hand to make application quick and simple.
- Rust Prevention Supplies: Once rust has been removed and the vehicle has been repainted, it's important to protect the vehicle from further rust and damage by using a primer or sealer before continuing with painting or filler. Be sure to also keep sealant and a basic undercoat option available in case a client would like protection added to the undercarriage of their vehicle.
- Tapes and Masking Liquids: When it comes to painting, tape is a versatile tool. Pinstriping tape makes it easier to master strong, straight lines and complete a professional auto paint job, while masking tape protects areas that don't need to be painted. Keep a couple rolls of variously sized tape and masking papers around, or some masking liquid. This allows clean, professional paint lines and prevents overspray when painting or refinishing a vehicle, as well as damage to windows, mirrors, or any chrome that shouldn't be painted. Masking liquids are suited for covering larger areas that shouldn't or won't be painte, and are easy to clean up.
- Paint-Gun Cleaner: It's important to clean your paint guns thoroughly between each job and keep them ready-to-use for the next once you're finished. By keeping a heavy-duty-grade paint-gun cleaner around, it will be easier to complete the task and have the gun ready to go once you need it again and also ensure longevity of your paint gun investment. If it's cleaned properly every time, your paint gun will last longer.
- Paint Gun Washing Station: Make paint-gun clean-up even easier by designating or installing a special station in your facility specifically for cleaning paint guns. Paint gun cleaning stations are reasonably priced and offer a lot of perks, such as dual-action cleaners, the ability to recycle dirty solvents and self-cleaning stainless steel sinks, making clean-up quicker and leaving paint guns like new and ready-to-go when it comes time for the next paint task. In addition to washers, paint gun cleaning kits are a great idea to make clean-up quick and easy.
- Gloves, Goggles, Air Masks, & Other Protective Gear: When handling chemical-based solvents, paints, thinners and sanding or removing rust, your employees should be properly clothed from head to toe. Goggles keep particles out of eyes, gloves protect hands and air masks are really important to prevent inhalation of damaging substances.
- Buckets/Other Surfaces for Mixing: When using vehicle paint, body filler and a variety of other solvents, you'll probably need to mix these substances with a little thinner before applying, and this is much easier if you've got the proper containers on hand. Plastic buckets will work well for mixing and are easy to clean and mixing boards work well for quick touch-up jobs.
Auto Body Paint Supplies & Accessories For Home Shops
If you're a home mechanic, the list of supplies you'll need to complete your tasks tends to be slightly shorter, more specific and not as involved, but there are still some tools, supplies and accessories you'll want to have on hand to make your life in the garage easier.
- Air Compressor: As mentioned above, air compressors are a great mechanic's shop staple and are a perfect piece of equipment for the home auto enthusiast. They'll power paint guns as well as other air tools with ease and are generally an all-around versatile work-horse. If you're only planning on painting for small touch-ups or motorcycles, an air compressor with 25-30 gallons of capacity will work fine, but if you're planning to repaint entire vehicles or even want to make some money, a 60-gallon tank is recommended.
- Dual-Action Sander/Sanding Materials: It's possible to complete small-area paint removal, rust-removal and touch-ups by hand with sandpaper, but a dual-action sander will save you vast amounts of time when it comes to reshaping body filler and removing large areas of rust. Not all rust removal or shaping jobs will require a sander, however, and auto body sanding blocks are the perfect tool for a quick and even sanding.
- Body Filler: Having the ability to fix and repaint any dents, dings, or areas on your vehicle where rust has been removed saves you time and money. Body filler is a great home garage staple, easy to shape and san and repaints like a dream. Keeping a couple containers of this stuff and some putty spreaders around will make it simple to "grab-and-fix" any small dents or rust spots.
- Rust Prevention Sealer/Primers: If you're refinishing and touching-up vehicles, rust prevention tools are an important aspect of your home garage. Rust prevention sealers and primers will help keep rust at bay and make completing paint jobs easier.
- Brushes: Keep a few auto paint brushes on hand to help you coat hard-to-reach spots. Detailing brushes are also a good idea if you'll be completing any pinstriping or want a professional look.
- Quality Paint Gun: When performing your own touch-ups and paint jobs, it's going to save you a lot of time and money to invest in a quality paint gun. For a home garage, expect to pay about $180-250 for a professional quality starter gun. When shopping, keep in mind the ATOM X is a great model for all capacities.
- Tape/Masking Liquid: If you're planning to repaint or update your entire vehicle and/or plan to complete larger auto paint jobs in your home garage in the future, tape and masking liquid will make things much easier when it comes to protecting areas of the vehicle that shouldn't be painted. Masking papers work well, too.
- Protective Gear: As with any mechanic's shop, it's important to make sure you're well-protected from splashing solvents/chemicals, air particles and other fumes when you're completing your projects. Investing in a couple sets of face masks, heavy-duty protective gloves and goggles to have around your shop will make it easier to complete vehicle paint or maintenance safely and efficiently.
- Lighting: You don't have to install large banks of expensive lighting in your backyard shed in order to complete a home paint or repair job, but lighting plays a crucial role in proper paint jobs. Invest in a few portable fluorescent lamps with a high color index to ensure proper color matching and no uneven spots or imperfections are missed during repair and painting.
- Ventilation: If your workspace is indoors, you'll need to make sure it's ventilated, especially when handling thinners, paints and other materials that create fumes. A few quality box fans and keeping windows and doors open should do the trick, although you could have a simple exhaust fan installed in the front and back walls of your workspace if you deem necessary.
A lot of time and money can be saved by businesses and home mechanics alike if the proper auto painting tools are available. Check out our tips on rust removal, painting your vehicle and our vast selection of auto painting supplies.