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I Forge Iron

Cast iron floor standing drill press restoration


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Hello there, I am in the process of stripping rust and paint from an old cast iron drill press.

The plan is to spray hammer paint but I'm struggling to find a suitable (portable) sprayer that doesn't require a compressor and will cope with xylene and cellulose thinner. HVLP units indicate they can't cope with coarse/thick paints with bits in them (and the pressure at the nozzle is about 10psi). It needs to produce approximately 45-55 psi at the nozzle and come with a 1.3/1.4 tip.

Once sanded, I'm planning to use metal filler to make it flat and remove the imperfections from casting (voids, particularly around the edges) then etch primer, high build primer and Bitec Blue Hammer Finish Metal Paint Hammered Coating. 

Can someone please help with choosing something suitable for this job?

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you'll be a lot more likely to meet up with a member living within visiting distance. 

I don't get such a complicated plan to paint the drill press. Originally it was probably painted with a brush in enamel, almost certainly unprimed. When I painted my little Giant power hammer I hosed it with a couple few cans of carb cleaner, hauled it to the car wash and took the pressure washer to it. Happily the washer was strong enough to strip the loose paint off.

I taped up the things that don't like being painted and sprayed it with Ospho, once dry several cans of Krylon forest green.  It's been happy green and gold for a good 15 years. 

I was accused, probably justly for overdoing it. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hey Frosty, thanks very much for your reply. I have added my location.

I have a pressure washer and would be terrified to use it on cast iron, worrying that it would cause issues with oxidation (particularly inside where it's bare metal). How can that not be a problem with pressure washing? Wouldn't you use carb cleaner afterwards, just prior to painting?

The idea is that the casting is fairly rough and I'd like it to be smoother. I also love a hammered finish and am trying to get into spraying rather than using aerosols. Plus, I've seen a lot of people saying they have problems with rust converters. Which specific Ospho product are you referring to?

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I have found the electric paint sprayers which use and oscillating piston to push the paint out of the nozzle to be pretty finicky and not very satisfactory.  The problem is that they will work pretty well with a thin viscosity liquid/paint but choke out pretty quickly with anything thicker.  A compressed air paint gun works a LOT better and can handle varying viscosities by adjusting the air pressure.  Also, the electric ones are kind of difficult to clean, or at least harder than the air guns.

When restoring my hand crank drill press I used cherry red spray paint in an aerosol can and it worked quite well.  IIRC one can did it all for me and it's a fairly large item.

I'm not sure the "hammered" finish will come out very well on a rougher surface but you can experiment and see.

If you are worried about rust after power washing, spray it with WD-40.  That's what it is designed for  WD stands for "water displacement."  if you don't want to use that just use plain old alcohol.  It will do the same thing.  Things will dry completely.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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You haven't been doing this very long have you Jay? 'm not dissing you but you are focusing on things that don't exist and or don't matter for a working tool. 

Why on Earth are you terrified to use a high pressure washer on CAST IRON? Seriously, it is CAST IRON, not cardboard. It took years to get very rusty it isn't going to flash rust from pressure washing. 

Carb cleaner cuts grease, varnish and other built up deposits laid by a century of slobbering oil. Once the tar like residues are dissolved you rinse them off forcefully. Power washing THEN applying the solvent would be like toweling off BEFORE you shower.

Put a couple drops of oil in the oil cups and hand turn the drill the Babbits will be happy. 

People who have problems with rust converters don't know how to use them, probably don't read the directions. Let's apply a little logic to my above suggestion. Hmmm, apply Ospho to the bare metal before priming. Let's see, could I have been referring to the Ospho product formulated for THAT purpose?  Hmmmmm?

You want to Bondo all the casting and other surface defects and paint it in a hammer finish paint? What are you going to do with it? Certainly not use it, hammer finish paints don't like oils and solvents like a drill press is going to slobber on it. 

Look you obviously have a fantasy going with this drill press and I'm too old and curmudgeonly to humor you much. If you want a functioning tool clean it up and paint it. If you want a show piece then make sure you never drill holes with it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Also, please consider if you are trying to restore the drill to how it looked when it was new or are you trying to make it look more "modern."  If the latter, then your hammer finish paint is probably what you want.  If the former, use a solid color.  I have used cherry red or gray with black accents (lettering).

Frankly, IMO the hammer finish paint would look inappropriate on an old tool.  You might as well use hot rod paint in, say, candy apple red metal flake.  Oh, and add racing stripes.  It will drill faster that way.:)

Seriously, you would have to work pretty hard to damage a cast iron casting with a power washer.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand.

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Thanks for your replies. Absolutely, I am new to this and really appreciate the information and advice of others who have more experience.

It seems a lot of products are from the US and are quite expensive to ship to the UK. So essentially I need a Zinc Phosphate product?

Hammer paint is what was on the machine when I took it on, I'm liaising with a manufacturer of a hammer type paint who assure me their paint is able to cope with oils.

I think I will see how the sanding goes and then decide how much I really want to fill voids.

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They're close enough to be interchangeable in most cases but "equally well?" all depends.

If you just want a long lasting paint finish how about sand blasting the rust off and before it can flash rust, prime and paint it? I'm a huge fan of acid etching epoxy primers topped with epoxy appliance type paint.

You might want to consider how many people have owned and used it since it was made, it's probably been painted a dozen or more times. Outside of specialty equipment you don't see wrinkle or hammer finish paint of much, definitely not shop tools.

However, it is your drill press and yours to do with as you wish. There's nothing wrong with a flashy paint job or chrome, or . . .  Seriously, nothing wrong.

Just remember, we LOVE pictures and expect you to post pics of your pimped out drill press!

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for your reply.

When I started sanding all I could see was a hammer paint and under it a red primer, there was no evidence of other paint layers. 

I am reconsidering my options with sprayers. I want something that's easy to clean and would consider a compressor system if it was small/portable and quiet.

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You'll have to balance the minimum air flow needed for a particular spray gun with the capacity of the compressor.  Compressors come in all sizes, from little things half the size of a shoe box that run off your car's electrical system and take 20 minutes to fill a tire to major industrial ones.  Unfortunately, compressors, by their nature, tend to generate noise from the piston(s) doing the compressing.

I'd look at the specs for smaller paint guns and then at what smaller compressors will put out.  You can charge up the tank and run off that for a little bit and then the sprayer starts to die and you have to wait for the tank to recharge if the compressor can't support the air loss from the sprayer continuously.  Unless you are going to be using it a lot the Harbor Freight (if you have HF in the UK) compressors should work fine.

As Irondragon says, you can use up a lot of spray cans before a compressor and spray gun start to make sense economically.

That said, once you have a compressor you will find lots of little tasks for which it is handy such as blowing dust and crud off things, sort of like an air power washer.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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You know Jay, by time you buy a compressor, spray gun, paint and do the prep work you might be money and quality ahead to take it to a paint shop. 

There are some automotive paints that are not only beautiful but tough as nails. 

My Little Giant took 4 rattle cans of Hunter Green IIRC I painted the lettering, trim, etc. with a brush and metallic gold enamel. Places where the old paint chipped it must've been 7-8 layers deep, so I added a couple more.

Frosty The Lucky.

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3 hours ago, George N. M. said:

As Irondragon says, you can use up a lot of spray cans before a compressor and spray gun start to make sense economically.

I have a large shop compressor with a pressure regulator and about 4 different spray guns, but for small jobs like that, it is too much trouble for me use them and then clean them up.

I can't control the wind, all I can do is adjust my sail’s.
Semper Paratus

 

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I've spent so much time and money over the years trying to get a better finish without a sprayer. My understanding is that whilst it can take a lot of time to prepare for spraying, it's actually quicker in terms of how thick the layers end up being and the finish is unmatched (without constantly sanding and cleaning between coats) compared to brushes and rollers. I like spray cans but I like the ability to use any paint I want, including tubs I already own.

I see some of the Wagner sprayers use less paint and by design allow the user to work closer to the object being sprayed, those are good points to me.

Until now, I have managed to avoid having a compressor but realise how useful they are even for blowing air around. I don't like the idea of being caught out by a compressor running out of puff to be able to sustain a job though.

So I'm still really unsure about which way to go. Particularly if there isn't a good combination of compressor and sprayer being recommended. I'd like to use a gravity fed spray system as they seem to require the least set up and cleaning compared to others.

I see people recommending 150l compressors for sustained painting. Those are pretty big though and most of them look like they'd be hard to move around. Then it starts looking like going the compressor way isn't going to be cheaper or more convenient?

So are there any decent turbine systems out there to be used with gravity fed systems that are just as powerful (relatively), more portable, economic and quieter?

(And easy to clean)

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Automotive paint stores color match paint too, it might be more resistant to oil, hot sparks, etc.

I don't know Dulux paints from a water ski, I'm afraid you'll have to hope someone in Britain speaks up or research it there.

The spray guns LOOK okay but it's their internal works that count.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The object in the first photo appears to me to be something that is used for spraying texture on walls or blowing in insulation into walls and attics.  That said, I'm not sure of the scale of things.  I'm guessing that the hose is a couple inches in diameter but it could be smaller . 

My experience is that you hook an air hose of about 1/2" diameter directly from the compressor/air tank to the spray gun, fill the paint reservoir attached to the spray gun, turn on the compressor, let it build up pressure, and start spraying.  If there isn't enough pressure to atomize the paint, turn up the pressure.  If you are just getting a fine mist of paint, turn down the pressure.  There may be instructions with the spray guns as to how much pressure to use.  Depending on the type of paint you may need to make it thinner with a solvent if it is oil based or water if it is water based. 

Do everything outside unless you have PPE with a separate air source.  Wear a mask.  You don't want to be breathing paint droplets.

My experience is somewhat limited.  Someone with more paint spraying experience may have better/more advice.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Either buy a water separator for the airline after the compressor or be meticulous about draining the compressor tank before turning it on every single time. Nothing screws up a paint job like wet air, especially with water based paint. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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