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Metal Flake finish (wrap?)

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  • Metal Flake finish (wrap?)

    I was thinking about how fun and cool deep metal flake finishes are. Like you know those amusement park rides when we were kids? How did they get the metal flake so deep?

    Then I thought I might like that sort of finish on a pair of bookshelf speakers. What do you think is the easiest way to go about it?

    I watched a few YouTube videos on auto shops and guitar shops. Looked like a lot of skilled work that's basically more than I have the time or patience or materials to do.

    So then I thought about wraps. I don't know much about wraps, though. I remember there was a guy (filmslayer?) who used to hang around here who did auto wraps for a living. So like how hard could it be to do a wrap on a bookshelf speaker? I'd be willing to round over sides and do a removable baffle to hide seams.

    Any ideas or experience?
    Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
    Twitter: @undefinition1

  • #2
    Metal flake and candy apple used similar technique in their early incarnations.

    A bright base coat, mirror or pearl for candy, pearl with flake for metal flake, then many coats of lacquer with very dilute color(40 or so), every seventh or eighth with flake for metal flake.

    There are tricks to use modern catalysed paints with fewer, thicker coats.

    Vinyl wrap can be amazing, look up a car wrapping guy in your area.

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    • #3
      Wrapping is easy, but the substrate must be filled and preferably varnished for good adhesion. There are many youtube videos showing how, most with cars.
      www.billfitzmaurice.com
      www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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      • #4
        We have a business owner in town that drives some pretty nice cars but has them re-wrapped almost quarterly. His latest is a brand new Corvette that has a pearl mirror wrap. If they can wrap that I would bet a speaker wouldn't be that difficult. Especially compared to the labor involved with a candy or flake paint job.

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        • #5
          My dad did a lot of custom painting on cars and other things back in the 60s and 70s. He did it as a side job while managing a body shop. He painted hot rods, show cars, race cars, motorcycles, the occasional odd bit or furniture or store fixtures, things like that. It was all very labor intensive, and I think he liked doing it as relief from the paperwork and other management hassles he dealt with during the day. Metalflake was a long process of many laborious steps, involving expensive materials, noxious fumes, and lots of ways for things to go wrong. He did some pretty wild stuff. I wish I still had my blue metalflake bike. Painting a bicycle frame with lacquer is difficult enough, getting even coverage without dry spots or runs, but adding all those bits of chopped up foil into the mix was a pretty good trick. Around 30 years later, Schwinn started selling mountain bikes with "Bass Boat" paint jobs. Those made me smile. The metalflake came as bags of glitter, to be mixed with clear or candy paint. You needed a couple of good size bearing balls or such in the cup so you could keep the metal bits from settling in the cup. There were different grades and sizes of flakes, each requiring the right spray head on the paint gun. A wrap seems like the way to go these days.

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          • #6
            This stuff is meant to be applied to a T-shirt. I think it's cricut type vinyl (those CNC vinyl cutters) https://www.specialty-graphics.com/thermoflex-plus-metal-flake-12x20-sheet/?sku=PLSMF-12x20-9882&gclid=CjwKCAjw2rmWBhB4EiwAiJ0mtUy0j12r523goSD Kj_Se-QPKQtmBZM-1C4PAm5dQWO_iy66k2fS0-BoClWAQAvD_BwE

            I was looking for airplane iron-on coverings and I found this stuff. Not sure of it's ability to curl around corners, though.

            Tom/Z
            Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
            *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF

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            • #7
              Paul, if you don't want to mess with the time and materials, you may check around to see what schools in your area have career trade centers. An auto body/ paint program may be able to do a flake job for you. The instructor, and students might jump at the chance to do something cool. Glenn.

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              • #8
                Here are some more ideas... these sheets are designed for drums...
                Looking at 'Drummer's name up there reminded me that I had a friend awhile back who got some really cool coverings for his drums.

                Click image for larger version  Name:	Drum Glitter.gif Views:	0 Size:	95.0 KB ID:	1488334
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                https://precisiondrum.com/high-quali...ts/drum-wraps/

                TomZ
                Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF

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                • #9
                  Not helpful but nostalgic. Meyers Manx. I believe this is gelcoat sprayed into the mold before layup. Huge flakes.

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                  • Paul Carmody
                    Paul Carmody commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Oh yeah! That's the stuff right there! That's the metal flake of my childhood, and exactly what I was thinking of with the amusement park rides.

                • #10
                  Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                  Here are some more ideas... these sheets are designed for drums...
                  Looking at 'Drummer's name up there reminded me that I had a friend awhile back who got some really cool coverings for his drums.


                  TomZ
                  Oh my gosh, you're right! I AM a drummer, and I totally forgot about all the cool wraps. My friends and I used to drool over the catalogs in high school. I think they just use plain old contact cement. The tricky part is that they are pretty thick, and won't go around any sort of roundover. But it certainly does give me some new ideas.
                  Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                  Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                  Twitter: @undefinition1

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                  • #11
                    Precision has glass glitter that is explosive under lights, but it is thicker than average. They have top notch quality, but it's not cheap. I built a custom studio kit with their maple shells years back, and it rivaled every pro kit that I've ever played.

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                    • #12
                      https://duckduckgo.com/?q=glitter+fo...ages&ia=images

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                      • #13
                        Paul,

                        I'm working on some small computer speakers for the kids using 3D printed baffles and backs with the center sections made from vinyl wrapped Baltic birch plywood. I'm using Vvivid brand wrap from Amazon. It's the brand that PE sells but you will find a much larger variety on Amazon. They have metallic vinyl in gloss and matte finishes. I've only done one box and it's not too hard to apply. My experience is that it telegraphs everything so you definitely want to use a smooth grained substrate and put a smooth finish on it. They make a special tape for making seams. https://vvividshop.com/

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                        You can find a thread here with some links toward the end about vinyl wrapping. https://diy.midwestaudio.club/discus...3d-printing/p1

                        Ron
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                        The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. - Neil deGrasse Tyson
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                        • #14
                          Paul Carmody

                          Have you given any thought to trying "bar top" urethane? Using multiple coats can result in striking 3D effects not achievable with vinyl, etc. There are several online vendors offering tints, pearls, flake--you name it--specifically for use with poured urethane. I'm no expert on this, I've just been looking into it for my own projects and there are a lot of cool effects available. From what I've gathered, "trick" automotive paint additives can be used as well as long as they're dry. Masking around openings/fastener holes could be somewhat tricky, but as far as doing a three-dimensional object like a speaker cabinet goes, as long as you wet the vertical surfaces the urethane will flow onto them evenly. The main drawback as far as I'm concerned is time, since a multi-layer effect such as pearl base/clear layer/flake layer/clear layer(s) would take days. On the flip side, it's exceptionally durable, self-leveling and can result in piano-like gloss if done correctly without using (potentially expensive) specialized tools. No overspray, less VOCs... it all seems win-win to me--at least until I fail miserably at it!

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