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Newbie question alert - Paint Depth Gauges

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by danb986, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    [Aug 26, 2011]
    I'm probably going to embarrass myself now, but here goes anyway.
    I'm totally new to detailing and have just been one of those guys that was a sponge and bucket once a month person in the past.

    My question is about paint depth gauges. How do they work exactly? What I mean is, obviously it tells you how deep the paint is on the panel, but does it differentiate between lacquer, colour and primer.
    If I put a gauge on a panel and it gives a reading saying that there's loads of paint to play with when machine polishing, how do I know it's not 4 coats of primer and the lacquer and top coat are actually really thin?

    I know this is probably a stupid question to those of you in the know, but like I said, I'm new to all this and it's been something I've been trying to figure out. :blush:
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  3. John @ PB
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    John @ PB Member

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    [Aug 26, 2011]
    The more basic gauges just show the total paint depth.

    With them, you don't really have a means of knowing how much is lacquer, how much primer etc.

    Assuming the readings indicate a factory paint finish, let's say 120microns; it'd be safe to say that between 30 and 50% of that is clearcoat.

    The more advanced gauges do show the individual layers of paint but they're not that accurate; on metal panels the accuracy can vary by around 10%, on composite panels it's around 5%.

    So on a metal panel, with a basic gauge, it gives you an indication of the paint thickness but equally importantly, it shows how much paint you're removing as you polish.

    :)
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  4. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    [Aug 26, 2011]
    Thanks John, that was a great answer.
    It would probably be more use as a gauge to see what you're doing, rather than what you can do (that made sense in my head when I wrote it)
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  5. John @ PB
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    John @ PB Member

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    [Aug 26, 2011]
    I know what you mean; use it as a monitor of your work.

    It will give you an indication of the total depth which is useful and you can then have a more informed idea of how much clearcoat you have but yes, it certainly helps as you polish so you can monitor your paint removal.

    :)
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