The logistics of this project is getting complicated. I'm not sure have a solution, but I'm listing the variables to help sort it out. These problems might not apply to those with huge shops and separate spray booths, or professional painters, but if you're doing it yourself, painting pieces prior to assembly, with limited space and time, this may apply to you too. Things to consider:
Shelf life of the hardener after opening is 14 days and of course the primer and color use different hardeners. This indicates that I should wait to paint until I have a sufficent number of panels ready.
The HVLP gun is efficient, thus to use up all the hardener I need to prepare more panels than when I was using a conventional gun.
The NCP primer MAY be sanded after 1 hour but MUST be sanded after 8 hours. I finally figured out that I should schedule my painting so that I can lay down the color without having to sand the entire piece. This is especially important with parts that have a lot of detail, e.g., the grille. Of course, I figured this after the cab, doors, hood, and fenders were in prime, but better late than never.
It was suggested that bare metal be primed immediately after stripping, but I can't do all the welding/filling in that 7 hour window. I haven't had a problem with the metal rusting so I ignore this one.
The color dries in an hour or two and I don't want to move the parts until the paint is dry to avoid marring them. I also have to clean out the gun in that time so I don't junk it with hardened paint.
My garage/paint booth is small. I calculated correctly that an 8 oz can of hardener would do the color coat on the fenders and hood. I tried to do 4 fenders and the hood in the space I had and although I could walk around each piece prior to painting, once the gun was in hand I realized it was too tight to get the needed angles. The hose came dangerously close to wet paint several times. I orange-peeled three fenders so badly in spots that I had to recoat them.
The PPG Concept color can be recoated after 8 hours. Before 72 hours have elapsed, it can be recoated without sanding.
A few mils of color makes the parts 100 times larger. No more storing in the garage/paint booth. No more stacking. The doors and seat frame are in the office, the fenders and hood in the family room, and bits all about. I have to convince the missus that the grille will look good next to her china cabinet. And, I don't think she realizes it will be several months before these parts are back in the garage, installed.
The trailing edge of wheel opening was damaged. No patch panels from the usual suspects so I used a piece of 3/8 steel tubing to form the contour of the rolled edge and a sheet metal patch to fill in. If I had to do it over, I'd use a solid rod - a little harder to bend but easier to weld.
Not bad for an amateur. While the sheet was still warm from welding, I hammered the flap over the tube.
From the inside, the flap wrinkled more than I would like, but it is only the inside.
That little job made the rustout where the running board attaches seem like a piece of cake. Patch panels are available, but I wanted to fix it NOW so I made my own. It was harder than it appeared at first, with curvature in 2 directions, but I managed.
The Family Room, redecorated
The sign of a professional photographer - no chewed up dog bones in the picture with the subject.
Gets me excited - not long til I'm seeing this from the opposite angle.
Tin worms hard at work plus crash damage to the whole right side. New one? Naaah, I can fix it.
The bed was rough. Front bed panel rusted away on the bottom - it's being replaced as is the tailgate. The old paint hid an inch of bondo! I'm salvaging the sides, knowing it won't be perfect but it'll do for a driver. Too pretty and I'd be afraid to use it.