How Do You Paint Carbon Fiber On An RC Car Body?


How Do You Paint Carbon Fiber On An RC Car Body?

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A carbon fiber paint job can look absolutely stunning on an RC car but it requires a decent amount of work and practice to get the right. Most see-through RC car bodies will be painted backwards meaning you will start with your color, add the circles using a drawer mat and then do the black backing. 

Surprisingly using a drawer mat and airbrush will work great to get the carbon fiber look on your RC car. Simply paint the color you want to see first, then using the mat airbrush your silver coat and then do a black backing coat or two. 

You will of course want to let it dry between coats which you can speed up using a heat gun or simply waiting will work as well. 

The biggest thing about this style of painting is how much practice it takes to get just right however if you live your RC car and enjoy spending time working on it then this can be a great way to stand out from everyone else on the track or in the park. 

To see exactly how to do this process as well as to see the finished process you can check out the video below. 

Can you use regular spray paint on RC car bodies? 

If you have never painted an RC car body before then you are likely to have a lot of questions about what you can and cannot use. Of course some people might have some normal spray paint lying around so they might want to use that but aren’t sure whether they can. 

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You can actually use normal spray paint for an RC car body however it won’t look as nice as using paint that is specifically designed to be used on RC car bodies. If you are careful with the application it can work just fine. 

Most people prefer to spend a little bit of extra money and get a great paint job that won’t need to be touched for a long time but if you are the type of person that likes to change their RC car’s paint job quite often then using normal spray paint every time can save you a good amount of money. 

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with using normal spray paint and if you don’t like how it comes out then you can simply strip the paint back off and use a better paint that is designed for RC bodies. 

Can you paint the outside of a Lexan body? 

If you have a Lexan RC body you will typically paint it on the inside so that way you get a glossy finish however some people don’t like that finish and instead want to paint on the outside. Is that even possible? 

You can paint the outside of a Lexan body but you can’t use normal paint. You would have to use Tamiya PS paint, or scuff the outside of the body substantially to get the paint to adhere properly. 

The biggest issue with painting the outside of a Lexan body is that you have to scuff it substantially before the paint will stick in most cases. The reason that is an issue is you can’t change your mind in the future. Once the body is all scuffed you on the outside you will have to continue painting the outside until you change out the body. 

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That isn’t necessarily an issue but it is something that you should make sure that you are ok with before painting the outside. 

Will Tamiya TS paint work on Lexan?

If you have some Tamiya TS paint lying around from a previous paint job or that’s all that is available in your local store you will likely want to use it on your Lexan RC body but can you? Will it stick properly? 

Tamiya TS paint will not adhere properly to a Lexan body so it should NOT be used. Instead for a Lexan body you should use Tamiya PS paint. 

The PS paint is designed to adhere to the smoother Lexan body while the TS paint will peel and crack virtually immediately destroying your paint job. TS paint should only be used on plastic bodies not on Lexan ones. 

Can Tamiya paints be thinned with water?

If you love to paint your RC car with an airbrush you likely also like to use Tamiya paints as they are typically thinner than other paints that are on the market. Despite being thinner they will still need to be slightly thinner out to use in an airbrush so then the question is can you do that with water? 

Tamiya paints should not be thinned with water. Instead it should be thinned with the Tamiya thinner (found here) instead. 

The reason that Tamiya thinner should be used is that Tamiya paints are alcohol based so adding water will cause issues not fix them. The Tamiya thinner is specifically designed to work with Tamiya paint and is the best way to thin it down a little bit more so you can use it in an airbrush. 

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How long does it take Tamiya acrylic paint to dry? 

Tamiya paint is a popular choice among RC enthusiasts but a common question that comes up is how long it will actually take to dry? 

Generally speaking Tamiya acrylic paint will be dry to the touch in a few minutes, ready for a second coat in a few hours, and ready to use in a few days. The dry time is greatly affected by the thickness of the coat, the humidity, the air movement, and more. 

Basically what I’m saying is that it varies considerably based on those and other factors so your actual drying time will vary as well. If you live in an extremely humid area (Florida for example) it will take longer for the paint to dry than if you are in an arid climate like Arizona. 

Another thing to consider is how roughly you will be handling it. If you are going to tape off sections over the recently painted parts then it would be better to wait at least overnight or longer before doing so. If you are simply going to pick up the body to move it somewhere else then 10-15 minutes should be long enough for it to be dry to the touch. 

Conclusion 

I hope this article has been helpful in answering some of your questions when you go to paint your RC car body. If you have never painted an RC car before I would recommend watching multiple videos on different steps and procedures on YouTube. 

Often the most helpful tips can be found from the hobbyists who don’t have the best camera setup but who actually are in the trenches working on and painting RC cars regularly. Those hobbyists will typically have much better information in their videos than RC car manufacturers will have in theirs! 

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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