Removing orange peel
How to: Remove orange peel and paint runs
Equipment needed: (What I used)
Power Buffer (DeWalt Heavy-Duty Polisher DW849)
Compounding Pad (3M Hook-It Plus)
Rubbing Compound (3M Perfect-It II)
800, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit sandpaper (3M Imperial Wetordry)
Dual Action Sander (Black & Decker)
First, wash off whatever area you are working on and make sure it's clean.
Stage 1: Sanding
Sanding a painted surface removes imperfections like orange peel, dust nibs, and paint runs. As you can see in the picture, the hood is covered with orange peel and a few paint runs.
I used the 3M Imperial line of sandpaper. The P800 grit removes paint defects, so I started with that. 800 might be too much if the imperfections aren't that bad. Start high (around 1500) and see if that gets it out. If it doesn't, just keep going lower. I wouldn't go lower than 800 on a final paint coat, though.
Put it on the DA sander and go over the places with imperfections. Go back and forth over them until you get a smooth and uniform surface of scratches, as in the picture.
Now use the 1000 grit sandpaper to level out the surface that you just scratched up. Go over the entire area a few times.
Once you've done that, switch it out to the 1500 grit. I went back over everything quite a few times because the rubbing compound removes the 1500 grit scratches.
Do it again a few times with 2000 grit once you are done with the 1500.
Wash it off good and make sure it's clean before moving on.
Stage 2: Compounding
The compounding process uses rubbing compound to remove scratched left in a painted surface by sanding.
Set your buffer speed to 1800 rpm. Any faster than that and you will burn the paint. Attach the compounding pad and spray it with water and then spin it off to remove excess lint.
I've been told to put a quarter sized drop of compound per 2 square feet of work space. Move the buffer over the compound by hand and rub it over the area you are going to be working. This gets the compound in the pad and prevents it from all spinning off.
Slowly move the buffer around at ~1800 rpm, and don't apply too much pressure.
Once you are done with the compounding, you can glaze the paint if you'd wish. But if you get a good gloss from just the compound then I think it's a waste of time. I did get a good gloss so I skipped the glazing stage.
All that's left to do is apply wax.