You just spent hours in the paint booth, between spraying sealer, base coat, and finally clear coat. This is a job that needs to be as perfect as possible, so the clear coat has to get wet sanded with 600 grit and be as flat as possible.
That means, you just sprayed 5 or 6 coats of clear. The flash times between every coat were perfect. And, flash times are unbelievably important, possibly the most important part of spraying clear. (outside of not spraying heavy coats). Now, do you bake it when you’re done spraying?
The answer, no. Here’s why. It’s probably obvious that spraying 6 coats of clear is pushing it about as far as you can. If you get the flash times right, it can be done without any problems. The biggest problem is solvent pop. With solvent pop, you will also probably see a lot of die back. Die back can also happen without it solvent popping. This is all due to the flash times not being correct, and/or spraying too heavy. Again, flash times are crucial.
Force drying, or baking, the clear coat will only force all those solvents out faster than they need to come out. The clear will begin to dry on the top first. When those solvents want to be forced out because of the sudden temperature increase, there’s a big chance of solvent pop happening.
True, it doesn’t always happen. As a matter of fact, it might not happen often at all. But, it is certainly not worth the gamble. An otherwise great paint job could be ruined, all because it ‘had’ to be baked.
Do yourself a favor, and just let it air dry. Let the paint booth run, even over night, and let it dry at its own pace. After it’s dry, the next day, then you can start baking it.
A good way to help it dry, is to bake it more after your 600 grit is done. It helps the clear dry a lot to go through several bake cycles after you’ve started wet sanding.
Painted at: The Refinery by Adam Krause