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This has baffled me for a while. I know, probably simple for some, but I am painting illiterate, and in the interest of saving a few bucks, because I hardly ever wear a full-face, I figured I would paint this one to my liking instead of buying new. I have an HJC helmet (pictured below) that I want to paint flat black. What is the best way (proper way) to prep the surface for primer and paint? I believe there is a clear coat over all the design. And, all the designs may possibly be decals under the clear coat. Before I start destroying this helmet, what say y’all?

Thanks in advance,

Matt
 

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I can't say I know the "proper" way but I've done a few over the years with no problems. Even if it has decals under the clear you'll be fine, just remove all the removable parts and the rubber trim around the bottom. Then just scuff up the clear coat with some med to fine sandpaper, mask off the face opening and start spraying.

Being your wanting to go with flat black it'll be fairly easy as that's a very forgiving color to spray on, and even if you happen to get a bad spot or a run just sand & spray it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can't say I know the "proper" way but I've done a few over the years with no problems. Even if it has decals under the clear you'll be fine, just remove all the removable parts and the rubber trim around the bottom. Then just scuff up the clear coat with some med to fine sandpaper, mask off the face opening and start spraying.

Being your wanting to go with flat black it'll be fairly easy as that's a very forgiving color to spray on, and even if you happen to get a bad spot or a run just sand & spray it again.
Cool beans. Thats what I was hoping to hear. I will still be interested to see others advice too.

This is my very, very cold day helmet. So it will rarely see the light of day. That's why I can't justify buying the one I really want. Would much rather mod this one to suit me better.
 

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yeah, what the others have said...if youre wanting to do a cheap rattle can flat black just take the shield off, sand it, wipe it down and clean it well, tape off anything you dont want to paint, primer and paint it. nothing that difficult.
 

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Many coats is better than one or two. I did the same thing to my full face last spring. I painted 6 thin coats after scuffing. it looks good and was a quick mod. Thicker coats will scrap off and are not as forgiving as many coats.

good luck and happy painting
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Many coats is better than one or two. I did the same thing to my full face last spring. I painted 6 thin coats after scuffing. it looks good and was a quick mod. Thicker coats will scrap off and are not as forgiving as many coats.

good luck and happy painting
Did you use sand paper or steel wool to scuff it up? I have used steel wool in the final stages of refinishing gun stocks before, but I don't know if that would scuff enough for paint to adhere.


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Did you use sand paper or steel wool to scuff it up? I have used steel wool in the final stages of refinishing gun stocks before, but I don't know if that would scuff enough for paint to adhere.


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I would use a 180 grit or finer sandpaper, it'll be coarse enough to scuff the clear coat pretty good but not gouge it to deep where you'd see the sanding marks through the paint.
 

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I have painted the plastic interiors on many cars while building them. There is a primer made to help bond the paint better to the plastic surface. It always work great for me and I am sure no painter. You don't even do any sanding because of the textured surfaces you don't want ruined. I'd clean the surfaces and go over it with some alcohol and then prime and paint. You'd never know they were painted it worked so well. http://www.amazon.com/SEM-Vinyl-Prep-Plastic-Primer/dp/B003HEVWKI I remembered it the more I read this thread.
 

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I used 180 and then 300 grit sand paper. just wanted to scuff the surface for the paint to adhere. I did also put a very thin primer coat, mainly because I had a left over can.
 

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Is there a certain brand/type of rattle can paint that has to be used or can any kind be used? Not trying to thread jack. Thanks.
 

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Is there a certain brand/type of rattle can paint that has to be used or can any kind be used? Not trying to thread jack. Thanks.
I've always had better luck with enamel vs laquer paints, but either one will still do the job along with any brand. For what ever reason I've always used Krylon or Rustoleum, and I also prefer the adjustable fan tip vs the standard type nozzle.
 

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^^ yea what he said. use the fan tip style nozzle, try and find plastic friendly spray paint. With the sand paper, you can use something like 200-180 if you have any imperfections on the helmet already, but if it's in good condition, just sand it down quick like with some 220 and mask off the areas you don't want painted but removing the face shield.. or just tape it all off. A little more time but sometimes easier to do that than remove everything.
multiple thin coats will give you the best even coverage look that is sorta hard to achieve with flat black.
it's fairly easy.
 

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Thanks guys! Hopefully next week during my Christmas vacation I can knock this out.

One more question, how do I tell if the paint can has a fan tip?


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it will usually say it on the can...most are blue and you can turn it with your fingertips...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I realized I never followed up with my post from a few years ago...I guess its better late than never.

I did indeed paint the helmet. I went with a satin black rustoleum spray. I used a 180 grit sanding block (it was flexible) to scuff the entire surface, then I used some 00-00 steel wool to smooth that out. Not sure if steel did too much, but I am happy with the results.

After scuffing everything up, I soaked a lint free rag in mineral spirits and cleaned the surface free of all dust. I found a very large cardboard box and cut the flaps off one side to use as a make-shift paint booth. I just wanted to control the conditions as much as I could, which wasn't much. At a minimum at least keep the larger dust partials out. I used blue painters tape to tape off all vents and holes.

I sprayed probably 4-5 thin coats of satin over the entire surface. Sanding and cleaning in-between each coat.

I am very happy with the results. This little bit of elbow grease, and cost of paint saved me the expense of purchasing a new full face just for winter riding.

Since this is my winter helmet. To top it off I purchased the breath box and chin deflector to help keep the shield from fogging, and unwanted air from entering the helmet. And hey, don't laugh at the pictures, but foil HVAC tape works excellent for keeping a drafty helmet vent sealed up in the winter. :)

I've been very pleased with the overall results.

All together I probably have $30 into the paint and helmet accessories.







 

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You did a nice job, did you pull the pads out or just tape and protect them? I am a heavy handed painter. I always need to back off and the more I get into what I am working on, the closer I get. I have only painted 2 or 3 helmets (for Demolition Derby) and it has been a while. I always wanted to get into air brushing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You did a nice job, did you pull the pads out or just tape and protect them? I am a heavy handed painter. I always need to back off and the more I get into what I am working on, the closer I get. I have only painted 2 or 3 helmets (for Demolition Derby) and it has been a while. I always wanted to get into air brushing.
I actually left all the padding in. I removed all the stuff that was not permanantly attached and taped off the rest.

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