If you have been searching for a product to protect your project after spending hours making it good again, look no further than U-POL RAPTOR. A practically bullet proof coating originally designed to be used on pick-up truck beds, it’s found a whole new fan base with restorers, thanks to its flexibility and ability to be tinted any colour you like.
To see how you can use this great product to your advantage read on. These photographs were taken for us by former Heritage team member James, during his Beetle restoration.
Starting all over again
After a Heritage training day spent at U-POL learning all about RAPTOR, James just had to have it. The next day he took some abrasive paper and pack of scotch pads to his freshly finished floor pan, and repeated the process again; except this time he went to town on it!
A word of warning…
A few words of warning before you run straight into the workshop and cover yourself in the stuff. IT’S NOT DESIGNED TO COME OFF, EVER….So wear old clothes / paint suit. Wear gloves. Cover anything you don’t want to be chiselling or grinding RAPTOR off from, and once you have finished applying it quickly strip your spray gun down and soak it in thinners to get it clean again. Oh, and wear the appropriate PPE, and paint in a well ventilated area… honestly you don’t want it on you!
Mix and shake it
When mixing up the RAPTOR on the bench with the necessary amount of hardener, James added about 10% thinners to allow it to pass nicely through his HVLP spray gun to create a smooth finish. With the compressor set at 2.0 Bar (30 PSI) the finish is not dissimilar to powder coating.
Smooth finish with HVLP
With James’ Beetle chassis in a state of undress, he applied black RAPTOR to the central spine section with his HVLP gun, giving it a smooth finish. He’d picked up a HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) gun on eBay for about £20 which was more than adequate for the job in hand.
Masking is key, do it well!
Keen to keep the smooth finish of the spine preserved it was crucial to mask this area off before tackling the textured finish on the outer pan halves. He’d chosen to do this as the pan areas come under more stress from stones, salt, water and everything else that we encounter whilst driving.
Note the masking tape on all bolt holes, threads and clean mating surfaces. Any over spray will require opening back up / cleaning off with a blade ASAP.
Thick and fast
The pan halves have been treated to a thicker more textured coating using a standard U-POL RAPTOR application gun (or you could use the U-POL vari professional gun). This method is even easier than with the HVLP gun. Simply mix the hardener to the RAPTOR, shake it up and screw a RAPTOR application gun (Shutz gun in old money) to the top of the RAPTOR bottle. The recommended airline pressure for this method is around 4 bar / 60 psi.
It’ll show the rest up
Once you have started something like this bolting scruffy ancillaries back onto the chassis just won’t do. Having been assured that the product was more than up to it, James was keen to paint EVERYTHING else with RAPTOR too. Painted or scabby parts were taken back to bare metal with a knotted wheel and angle grinder. Please be careful: goggles, gloves, mask are essential. RAPTOR can be applied over painted surfaces if required, providing the surface is clean and has been adequately prepared.
Fresh onto the market (at the time of this project) was a world beating epoxy primer from RAPTOR. James had the pleasure of testing this before release, and needless to say he was well impressed. The spec on this stuff is amazing; it’s been tested to withstand more than 1000 hours of salt spray (before top coat) and it includes anti-corrosive additives to stop rust forming. You can find it on our website here.
A pile of painted parts
After a few days of hard graft James was left with some super cool looking components, and an awesome looking chassis to bolt them up to. He even painted the Beetle gearbox; this was done direct onto the magnesium case if you were wondering, rather then using the epoxy primer first.
The finished article
With everything bolted back up the overall appearance isn’t far from ‘stock’ with much the same result as powder coating but without the need to pay for a professional to apply it for you.
If you’d like to know more about U-POL RAPTOR then get in touch. Our sales team have been trained by U-POL in how to handle the product, and can advise with first hand experience how to get the best from it.