Duracoat observations


June 16, 2013, 01:27 AM
I'm halfway through my first duracoating project, and I have learned a couple of things. (It's a knife, not a gun.)

The much celebrated red solo cup is not a good vessel in which to mix Duracoat and reducer. It will melt. Get a pint-size mason jar.

Likewise, you cannot guesstimate reducer in a plastic spoon. Get some stainless steel measuring spoons. Keep a container of mineral spirits to drop the spoon in.

Make sure your connections are all good. If your air hoses have been sitting for a while, you may want to make sure that all of your connection seals are still good. You don't want your air to run out mid-spray.

Use a compressor of significant size. A little one will work, but make sure you don't keep spraying as your air depletes.

Harbor Freight sells cheap stuff. Doesn't mean it's GOOD stuff. My HVLP sprayer is leaking air, and I have to be VERY careful to make sure I hit the target with the beginning of the air shot, because it starts sputtering at the end. I really think I would be better off with a Paasche airbrush. I get good atomization at the beginning of a burst, I can't use all of it.

One reason I would prefer an airbrush, I can mix the paint in smaller amounts, and not have to commit to only using one color at a time.

When you are done with your sprayer, run a full hopper of mineral spirits through it. If you have an HOA, spray it over your rear wall into the desert wilderness behind your place. Don't tell anyone.

I ran a paracord clothesline over a non-grassy part of my backyard, and I use zip-ties to hang parts on it to spray. You can slide them back and forth out of the way. This seems to be working quite well.

Check for yellow-jacket nests in the area BEFORE you commit to spraying.

Keep more Duracoat on hand than you think you will need. You don't want to have to do a do-over and have to wait for Midway to get the stuff back in stock.

I had visions of doing this for profit, I don't know if I will ever be able to do it fast enough to make it time effective at all.

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June 16, 2013, 01:59 AM

June 16, 2013, 02:06 AM

June 16, 2013, 02:12 AM
Ok, how would I use such a thing? And is it necessary to test it regularly once I learn the formula that works?

June 16, 2013, 03:21 AM
Sounds like your having fun.

June 16, 2013, 03:41 AM
I'm between projects in the guard, I had some time on my hands, I decided to get around to ......a few things I have been meaning to get around to.

June 17, 2013, 06:12 PM
Manufactures include instructions for a reason. Duracoat is pretty straight forward with theirs. It's not all that hard to mix the proper paint/hardner ratios. 12:1 is what is suggested. If you want a glossier finish more hardner is needed.

I would skip the viscosity meters as we are talking very small amounts of paint here. You can get by with some small metal measuring spoons though I use syringes that are graduated in CC's for very small batches. Paper cups work fine with Duracoat as well a the glass bottles that are included with most airbrushes. Just remember that after the hardner is mixed the shelf only a few hours.

While not rocket science, using Duracoat and other coatings require certain things for a project to turn out as good as the manufacture claims

June 17, 2013, 06:27 PM
You'll find that multiple-component paints like Duracoat and professional auto finishes work much better when mixed at the correct ratios.

Go by a local automotive paint shop and get some cheap paint mixing cups with the ratios marked on them. They won't dissolve.


Most automotive paint shops sell a "wash" low-grade lacquer thinner which is awesome for cleaning about any kind of paint.

June 17, 2013, 11:21 PM
(Both of those posts are actually very helpful.) I've never done anything close to being like this before.

June 19, 2013, 05:22 PM
A few pointers I have picked up in my Duracoat career:
I use Harbor Freight air brushes. I mix one tablespoon of paint at a time to cut down on waste so the small jar on the air brush is sufficient.
If you do much, it is better to go straight to Lauer for supplies, they always have inventory.
I use as much reducer as I do hardener, sure sprays better and the reducer gives the air brush a final clean after the lacquer thinner clean.
When the temperature is over 90 I use a little retarder to help it float out better.
+1 on metal measuring spoons, don't "eyeball" the proportions.

Just my two cents worth.

June 19, 2013, 05:49 PM
I guess I'm lucky, or blessed. I'm a physician with access to syringes. For the volume I've been mixing - generally about 20cc - I use various syringes to get about as accurate a measure as I can before mixing.

I like duracoat. I like how it goes on, how quickly it dries, how tough a finish it is and how easy it is to clean up. I've used it on several project guns already (couple of AR15s, some magazines for a .308 DPMS gun, and a new Rem 700 5r). Prep's a bear, but easier since I learned you CAN run MEK/acetone through those spray bottles they sell at Home Depot for home cleaning chemicals. Just wear a mask when you're spraying so's it doesn't splash back into your eyeballs. Don't ask.

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