Painting & Finishing

For folks wanting to get the Table Mounting Bezel at the lowest cost, or that prefer to finish to their own preferences, I'm offering the unfinished white nylon version. I thought it might be useful to share what I've learned over the last few months and offer some tips.

There's a number of good options available for finishing these, including covering with leather or vinyl, sanding and painting, and even powdercoating. Today I just want to give some tips and share what I've learned about sanding and painting.

First, most of the surfaces are hidden by the center console trim and the tablet itself, so only the front surface and especially the "duckbill" that meets the radio trim are really critical which helps a lot. The 3D printed surface has a slightly rough texture (roughly the feel of 200 grit sandpaper). I've found that these surfaces are easily smoothed using the Black & Decker "Mouse" type hand sanders starting at 120 grit and moving to 200 or 400. The nylon material is somewhat porus so it is essential to seal and prime it before painting. I've used the Duplicolor High Build Formula Filler Primer with good results, usually applying and sanding two or three separate coats, finishing at 400 to 600 grit.

I've tried various types of rattle can acrylic spray paints as well as Plasti Dip. I was consistently disappointed with the spray paints as I was never able to get that perfect uniform finish due to sputtering or dust. Some people have suggested painting it where you can turn on the shower to steam up the room which will take the dust out of the air, but I never tried it as my wife wasn't too keen on the idea. I think the most essential elements for a good paint job are a clean non-dusty work area, patience, and practice. Paint all of the non-critical surfaces first and then do the critical ones last, keeping them in a horizontal plane as much as possible.

I had much better success gettin a uniform finish with Plasti Dip as it is much more forgiving and looks better as you add more coats. While it's not a perfect match to the surrounding trim pieces, it's not bad. On the down side, it is a softer and a more rubbery feel than I prefer and I dont know how durable it will be over the long haul.

I'm sure that many of you have much more experience with this than I do, so I invite you to give your comments and tips too.

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