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What Type Of Paint Do I Use For A Lock 'n Lock?


Darren V
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Use a primer to smooth uneven surfaces

 

We don't really care if everything is nice and smooth. Rough up the plastic with a light sanding to give it a little "tooth" then spray it with that Fusion paint you linked to.

agreed. Small sand blasters do a real nice job.

 

Perhaps one of our brothern in the southwest could comment on a question I had for a while now. Does painting the L'n'L's help them resist the strong sun? Living in the Pacific North Wet we don't have that condition.

Edited by jholly
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Use a primer to smooth uneven surfaces

 

We don't really care if everything is nice and smooth. Rough up the plastic with a light sanding to give it a little "tooth" then spray it with that Fusion paint you linked to.

agreed. Small sand blasters do a real nice job.

 

Perhaps one of our brothern in the southwest could comment on a question I had for a while now. Does painting the L'n'L's help them resist the strong sun? Living in the Pacific North Wet we don't have that condition.

 

Most people don't have a sandblaster in their tool kit. But yes, if you do it would do a great job.

 

Anything that blocks the UV from hitting the plastic will help. The best is to hide a cache out of direct exposure to the sun.

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Any other good tips for painting lock 'n locks? I'm going to buy some paint and try it out next week

 

Polyethylene, polypropylene and most other plastics have inert surfaces with low surface tension. A drop of water placed on the surface will "bead up" meaning the water droplet would rather cling to itself than cling to the plastic surface because the droplet has a higher surface tension than the plastic. If the plastic's surface tension were higher than the water's then the water droplet would spread out and cling to the plastic.

 

There are two common ways to break the chemical bonds and change the surface tension to allow for better paint adhesion. They are corona discharge and flame treatment. Assuming that few people own a plasma generator then flame treating is the next best option.

 

A few quick passes with a gas flame over the surface of the container will break the surface bonds and temporarily improve the surface tension. I use a hand held propane fuel torch with a fan nozzle to pre-treat before painting. This treatment will not last very long so apply the paint as soon as possible. Don't over do it and melt the container, and don't spray paint with an open flame around. Using the paints mentioned above in the other replies and a good surface treatment should give you the best bond possible.

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Any other good tips for painting lock 'n locks? I'm going to buy some paint and try it out next week

 

Polyethylene, polypropylene and most other plastics have inert surfaces with low surface tension. A drop of water placed on the surface will "bead up" meaning the water droplet would rather cling to itself than cling to the plastic surface because the droplet has a higher surface tension than the plastic. If the plastic's surface tension were higher than the water's then the water droplet would spread out and cling to the plastic.

 

There are two common ways to break the chemical bonds and change the surface tension to allow for better paint adhesion. They are corona discharge and flame treatment. Assuming that few people own a plasma generator then flame treating is the next best option.

 

A few quick passes with a gas flame over the surface of the container will break the surface bonds and temporarily improve the surface tension. I use a hand held propane fuel torch with a fan nozzle to pre-treat before painting. This treatment will not last very long so apply the paint as soon as possible. Don't over do it and melt the container, and don't spray paint with an open flame around. Using the paints mentioned above in the other replies and a good surface treatment should give you the best bond possible.

I have done enough internet research on the matter to realize that you know what you're talking about. Great tip, although I suspect few of us (myself included) have actually tried the flame treatment. Would there be any adverse effects from the flame treatment, such as maybe burning off plasticisers or uv inhibitors or anything like that?

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Fusion's camo colors come in both their satin/flat finishes, and also the ultra flat--definitely go with the ultra flat. They're avilable at Walmarts for under $5 a can.

 

Paint the container with the lid ON. You don't want to get ANY paint at all on the contact surfaces, where the lip of the container presses into the soft rubber grommet of the lid.

 

I usually use several colors. For instance, I may paint the container with their olive green... but then I just barely "mist" a stripe or two of the black or brown across it too, just enough to ever so slightly change the green tint a shade darker or lighter in some areas to break up the container's visible outline.

 

Spray lightly. The fusion paints actually work best with a thinner coat of paint than a thicker one. The paint molecules actually stick to the plastic better than they stick to each other so a thicker coat actually scratches or chips easier, where a thin coat almost becomes part of the plastic.

 

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I use a couple layers of Krylon Fusion. Something I noticed with my Lock & Locks is, the ones I painted with just the Fusion camo had a tendency to flake off, regardless of how much sanding I did. It was as if the paint refused to adhere to the plastic. Then I saw the Fusion whose label specifically mentions "For Plastic". Slightly different label. Those didn't come in the camo colors. (At least not at Wally World) I scuff them lightly with sandpaper blocks, spray a light coat of the "For Plastic" Fusion, then paint over that with the camo colors. It's quite possible that my faith in the "For Plastic" label is unwarranted, as I have heard many times in these forums that all Krylon is for plastic, but it works for me.

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I use a couple layers of Krylon Fusion. Something I noticed with my Lock & Locks is, the ones I painted with just the Fusion camo had a tendency to flake off, regardless of how much sanding I did. It was as if the paint refused to adhere to the plastic. Then I saw the Fusion whose label specifically mentions "For Plastic". Slightly different label. Those didn't come in the camo colors. (At least not at Wally World) I scuff them lightly with sandpaper blocks, spray a light coat of the "For Plastic" Fusion, then paint over that with the camo colors. It's quite possible that my faith in the "For Plastic" label is unwarranted, as I have heard many times in these forums that all Krylon is for plastic, but it works for me.

 

I don't think that all Krylon spray paints are for plastic. However, the can of Krylon camouflage paint I have in my hand right now has the fusion for plastics label on it.

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For plastic containers, duct tape works wonders. No problems with hold or peeling.

 

I'm in this school of thought. We've come across a number of plastic containers that used to have a great paint job. But all the containers we've camo'd with quality tape have stayed camo'd, some after a couple hundred visitors. (Except for the one micro where a little critter apparently got a sweet tooth for the stuff and gnawed through both the tape and the container.)

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My painting technique is similar to most here.

 

three differences on the prep side - i wash them first, i mask the bottoms & i give them an alcohol rub down first.

 

I'll run an entire batch through the dishwasher first (an entire load of just new lock&locks after running a vinegar cycle to clean the dishwasher) to strip away any residual oils, when dry, I apply masking tape to the bottoms & trim to match the "ring" on the bottom (so the bottoms stay clear & look pretty - with the hope that should one be found by LE they just need to tip it over to see that the geo junk inside all caches ive seen of late seem to end up with, is not likely hazardous). Once ive done that, i give them a quick wipe down with methyl hydrate & blast them with krylon fusion for a base layer (lid on)

 

After the first layer is dry, i do camo (etc) with other non-fusion paints

 

The only issues ive seen with my technique is where the hinges flex, the paint tends to come off. The rest of them seems to wear as well as can be expected.

 

I did note someone recommended painting the insides also, I tried that, wasnt so happy with the results - the contents of the cache itself appeared to have worn the paint away & generally made the inside look icky. Replaced it & trashed it after 3 months in the field.

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I'm sort of rethinking the whole idea of camo.

 

While I do like spray paint, I've reached a point where I feel physical camo is superior. First, I had to find an adhesive that would survive various environments and rough handling. After testing just about everything Wally World sells, I settled on Liquid Nails Roof Repair caulk, do it's adhesive properties and flexibility throughout a large temperature range.Mediums I've played with include ground moss:a5dfe58a-2158-489b-af62-b0a7c85c4d0e.jpgand burlap:244d37eb-6355-4e10-8ec7-f5c2b75fe394.jpg

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For plastic containers, duct tape works wonders. No problems with hold or peeling.

That isn't paint. That is duct tape.

 

OK, so now the OP has asked about duct tape. Go figure :lol:

 

Back to the painting, here is what Krylon has to say about the surface prep:

 

When working with plastic

For old plastic, use an ammonia-based cleaner and wipe down to clean surface. If the plastic is new, wipe down with paint thinner for best results. Lightly sand glossy surface if previously painted and remove dust with a tack cloth. When dry, apply Krylon® Fusion for Plastic according to the directions on the can.

 

Edited by knowschad
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So should I go for the paint or this:

http://www.canadiant...e.jsp?locale=en

I don't care for most camo duct tape, as it has a sheen to it.

In some hunter's supply stores, you can buy cloth camo tape, but the adhesive isn't very strong.

I've had good luck with cloth camo hockey tape. It seems to stick well. And no sheen.

Edited by CanadianRockies
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I've painted a lot of Lock & Locks over the years and had a lot of success and a few failures. Initially, I used Krylon Fusion flat camo colours. The paint peeled within a few weeks. Then I tried the same paint over a Krylon primer. The paint still peeled after a few weeks. Pre-sanding seemed to do the trick and, for a while, I sanded, primed and then painted. The resulting paint jobs have lasted for years although the paint can be scratched off with your fingernail if you work at it. However sanding properly, especially in the nooks and crannies where the paint generally fails first, is time consuming and fiddly.

 

The solution I use now is to mask off the blue seal with painters tape and lightly sandblast the container and lid in a small sandblasting cabinet. Then, without removing the masking tape, I spray the container and lid separately. I do not paint the inside although I do spray the underside of the lid tabs. I spray a grey primer followed by a coat or two of flat olive drab. For the final coat I hold a small cedar bough or fern leaf over the workpiece and lightly spray flat black. I do this for the top of the lid and the sides & bottom of the container. I have containers like this that have been in service and held up well for 5 years.

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I have done enough internet research on the matter to realize that you know what you're talking about. Great tip, although I suspect few of us (myself included) have actually tried the flame treatment. Would there be any adverse effects from the flame treatment, such as maybe burning off plasticisers or uv inhibitors or anything like that?

 

Flame treating will not adversely affect the plasticizers because the surface quickly reverts back to its normal inert state. Generally clear food containers won't use UV inhibitors (carbon black) or fire retardants (boron) or any other additives due to costs except for a mold release agent and perhaps heat stabilizer (dishwasher safe).

 

Keep in mind that plastics in general have a large coefficient of thermal expansion. Polypropylene at 0.00005 in/in/deg F and polyethylene at 0.00007 in/in/deg F. That means a 10" long container of PP that winters over can experience a 100 degree temperature swing or 100 degs x 10" x 0.00005 = 0.050" overall growth. Generally paints do not have the same cte and tend to crack over time. The thicker the paint coating the more likely it will crack.

 

Any adhesive used should also take expansion in to consideration. A rigid adhesive like epoxy will be more likely to flake off than a flexible glue like rubber based contact cement or urethane based cement. Again, flame treating improves adhesion.

 

Combine thermal expansion with the flexibility of plastic with its modulus (can be stretched and bent easily) with its inherent inert surface characteristics and it's a wonder anything sticks to it! The only absolute way to bond similar plastics together is by fusing the two. A hot plate welder or ultra-sonic welding will yield bonds that are 95% the strength of the parent material.

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Use a primer to smooth uneven surfaces

 

We don't really care if everything is nice and smooth. Rough up the plastic with a light sanding to give it a little "tooth" then spray it with that Fusion paint you linked to.

agreed. Small sand blasters do a real nice job.

 

Perhaps one of our brothern in the southwest could comment on a question I had for a while now. Does painting the L'n'L's help them resist the strong sun? Living in the Pacific North Wet we don't have that condition.

 

Most people don't have a sandblaster in their tool kit. But yes, if you do it would do a great job.

 

Anything that blocks the UV from hitting the plastic will help. The best is to hide a cache out of direct exposure to the sun.

 

No need for a sand blaster. All I use is soap, water and a Scotch Brite or an abrasive cleanser like Comet.

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I've tried Krylon Fusion. It's OK, but I've seen it scratch or peel.

 

I get my best results with a plastic primer made by Valaspar. I've tried other brands of plastic primers but Valaspar is the best by far. Once the container is primed you can use virtually any spraypaint to cover. I've had caches out for years hidden under rocks without the paint peeling or scratching.

 

First I rough the Lock n Lock up a bit with dish soap, water and a Scotch Brite, or just Comet and a regular cloth.

 

The apply the Valaspar primer liberally. They say it doesn't even have to dry before painting the next later, but I do let it dry for a day then paint.

Edited by briansnat
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I just use plain flat paints. The 'Ultra Flat' paints are nice and I use cheapie Wally World primer for the black, red, and gray flat colors.

 

I tried Krylon Fusion and had mixed results. With real Lock-&-Locks, I use a wax and grease remover which is available at any parts store. Simply wipe on and off with paper towels. Make sure to wear nitrile gloves, as the stuff will pull all the oils out of your skin (and it makes cleanup easier when you're done painting).

 

I can also recommend one of the spray can adhesion promoters before your first coat of paint. There are several on the market including Bulldog, VHT and Krylon.

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Gorak, what medium do you use for blasting?

I'm using glass beads but I'd have to go look at the bag to see the specifics. I bought the sandblasting cabinet at an employee auction and it came with a bag of glass beads. They don't seem to cut as aggressively as I'd like but they do the trick. I'll check the specs on the bag when I get home and get back to you.

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I have done enough internet research on the matter to realize that you know what you're talking about. Great tip, although I suspect few of us (myself included) have actually tried the flame treatment. Would there be any adverse effects from the flame treatment, such as maybe burning off plasticisers or uv inhibitors or anything like that?

 

Flame treating will not adversely affect the plasticizers because the surface quickly reverts back to its normal inert state. Generally clear food containers won't use UV inhibitors (carbon black) or fire retardants (boron) or any other additives due to costs except for a mold release agent and perhaps heat stabilizer (dishwasher safe).

 

Keep in mind that plastics in general have a large coefficient of thermal expansion. Polypropylene at 0.00005 in/in/deg F and polyethylene at 0.00007 in/in/deg F. That means a 10" long container of PP that winters over can experience a 100 degree temperature swing or 100 degs x 10" x 0.00005 = 0.050" overall growth. Generally paints do not have the same cte and tend to crack over time. The thicker the paint coating the more likely it will crack.

 

Any adhesive used should also take expansion in to consideration. A rigid adhesive like epoxy will be more likely to flake off than a flexible glue like rubber based contact cement or urethane based cement. Again, flame treating improves adhesion.

 

Combine thermal expansion with the flexibility of plastic with its modulus (can be stretched and bent easily) with its inherent inert surface characteristics and it's a wonder anything sticks to it! The only absolute way to bond similar plastics together is by fusing the two. A hot plate welder or ultra-sonic welding will yield bonds that are 95% the strength of the parent material.

You are now my authority on the subject! Awesome posts! Do you work in the field? I'm guessing that you do. And if so, thoughts on these paints like Fusion that are supposedly made for plastics. For starters, isn't "plastics" way too general a word?

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I'm sort of rethinking the whole idea of camo.

 

While I do like spray paint, I've reached a point where I feel physical camo is superior. First, I had to find an adhesive that would survive various environments and rough handling. After testing just about everything Wally World sells, I settled on Liquid Nails Roof Repair caulk, do it's adhesive properties and flexibility throughout a large temperature range.Mediums I've played with include ground moss:

 

a5dfe58a-2158-489b-af62-b0a7c85c4d0e.jpgand burlap:

 

244d37eb-6355-4e10-8ec7-f5c2b75fe394.jpg

 

Do you have any issues with the moss decomposing? I've done something similar with other plant-based materials, and it rotted off pretty quickly.

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Here are two containers treated with with the method I used earlier, a gentle scrubbing and a layer of Valspar plastic primer and my paint of choice for the final layer.

 

The container on the left is about to go out. The container on the right had been in the wild for several years covered with rocks. No flaking or peeling. Some scrapes that went through the paint and into plastic, but that's it.

 

0efca63d-dad9-4497-b604-e1dcaf20ba5d.jpg

Edited by briansnat
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I'm sort of rethinking the whole idea of camo. I found an ammo can a while back that was painted bright red, and it was NOT an easy find. I just bought a pack of Lock'n Locks, and I don't think I'm going to apply any camo at all... just hide them well.

 

This one is candy apple red and some people have had difficulty finding it.

 

Still, I prefer to camouflage because I can hide them in more places. I did a maint run on a cache today that is next to the trail and visible from it. I could see it as I approached because I knew exactly where to look, but was making a maint run because of a spate of recent DNFs. If it wasn't painted in camouflage it would be obvious to anybody walking by.

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Do you have any issues with the moss decomposing?

Not really. The moss I use comes from an arts & crafts store. I know they treat it for bugs, which dries it out considerably. Maybe that inhibits decay? The biggest problem I face is the individual strands of moss turning brittle and breaking. Over time, all of the moss strands will snap off near the surface of the adhesive. Since the adhesive is black, what I am left with is an ammo can that looks like it needs a shave. (Still pretty good camo) It's a kwick fix though, as I just smear on another layer of adhesive and apply another coat of moss. Depending on the environment and the handling, each application is good for a couple years.

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