View Full Version : Painted Aluminum Cake Pan Lid

Dee Gallo
06-30-2010, 10:59 AM
Since I cannot get anymore Doughmakers lids, I decided to try painting my own. I got some Mirro aluminum pans and painted the lid.

Thinking I should prime it first, I used a sandable red primer (which I had on hand) and bought some auto spray paint. Everything went as planned until...

I lasered the design using anodized settings (100sp/80p) since I did not know what the paint settings should be, so I started there. To my surprise, the paint came off clean but the primer remained. Looked nice, tucked that away for another time when I might want two colors... I took this picture before the second pass to avoid moving it.

I did a second pass and the primer was not even touched. Won't move.

So, as usual, I've gotten a new piece of information. I will try doing one with no primer since I like the silver look for the engraving.

Anyone know anything about metal primers?

cheers, dee

Mike Null
06-30-2010, 11:28 AM

Don't be so modest. I know this was a plan, not an accident.

Your pan looks great!

Dan Hintz
06-30-2010, 11:29 AM
I'm with Mike... best looking accident I've seen...

Dee Gallo
06-30-2010, 11:35 AM
Thanks guys - now all I have to do is locate different colored primers, or I'll have to come up with red, white and blue design schemes. Of course, red, white and green are good for Christmas. And red, white & black is the new favorite kitchen design scheme... hmmmm

Dan Hintz
06-30-2010, 11:36 AM

There's nothing necessarily special about metal primers, other than some ingredients to convert any oxides (e.g., rust) into the corresponding metal's salt... depending upon the type of primer, it may have a higher metal content than usual (like zinc for further rust prevention), so that may have an effect on lasering it off.

On a side note... assuming this will be near food at some point, I would suggest baking the lid on low heat for an hour or so to remove any volatiles left in the paint (auto paint, especially).

Dee Gallo
06-30-2010, 1:21 PM
Thanks for that suggestion, Dan. Even though the top is not supposed to be used in the oven, it will be used to cover food, so better safe than sorry.

:):) dee

Chuck Stone
06-30-2010, 5:51 PM
I made some clocks out of old saw blades and found the same thing
that you did. I used various primers and a motor paint I found on sale.
Looked great and the paint lasered well .. but the laser wouldn't touch
the primers at all. I only went down to about 10% speed .. lower than
that and I just couldn't afford the 2 hours it would take to do them.

Dee Gallo
06-30-2010, 6:24 PM
Well, I made one without primer and the truth is the primer really makes the design pop. It gives the engraving some dimension, too. I coated it with lacquer to seal the primer and that really makes it look great. It reminds me of tooled leather. The unprimed one is nice, but boring next to the two color job. With some planning, you could make several colors on one design no problem.

I would do an outline of the design and burn it onto the metal, then spray with the primer colors I want in whatever place. Then a coat of the final paint and press go!

So, that's what I will be using from now on. It would be handy for making signs too or anything else needing metal as a base.

Here's a picture of it with the lacquer.

:) dee

Roy Nicholson
07-01-2010, 5:39 AM
That's a great one for your repertoire.


Roy N.

Mike Null
07-01-2010, 7:30 AM

You're right about the 3d look. Plus, you're a pretty good photographer.

Thanks for sharing some neat stuff!

Chuck Stone
07-01-2010, 7:35 AM
ok, now I have to go try this.. :p

Dee Gallo
07-04-2010, 3:56 PM
I decided to make a sampler, to compare on the same piece what happens with different colored primers and paints. Rather than waste a baking pan, I used a spare metal tin.

I painted white primer, red, and black in thirds on this tin. Then, I sprayed auto paint over it making two color blocks. This should have given me 6 samples of color combinations.

I put it in the laser and used the same settings as before, but the burn went down to the metal! I lowered the power from 80 to 40 and still...metal! A tiny ghost of the primer shows through, but not much.

Can it be that steel reacts THAT differently? If the primer cannot be lased on aluminum, why can it be done on steel?

I'm flummoxed... and I would like to to have predictable results!

Thanks to anyone who can sort this out. Please forgive the obvious use of clipart, for expediency sake.

cheers, dee

Dan Hintz
07-04-2010, 4:41 PM

There's always the possibility of a reaction between different substrates and the primer (I would need to know what's in the primer to be sure), but I don't think that's the case here. So, my first question is... how consistent were you with the thickness of primer sprayed between your last sample and this one? If you became more proficient at spraying, you may have laid down a thinner coat, leading to it being more easily lasered off.

Dee Gallo
07-04-2010, 6:32 PM
I'm doing another test, Dan. I just put 4 coats of primer on the bottom of the tin, and tomorrow I'll try out the laser on it to see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the boost.

BTW- I hope we don't lose you to the CNC forum now that YOU WON THE STINGERRRRR!

:):) dee

Mike Null
07-05-2010, 9:14 AM

I would try lowering the power even more on the steel.

Dee Gallo
07-05-2010, 10:54 AM
I did lower the power down to 10% but that did not help. Here are the results of my last test with thicker layers of primer on painted steel:

I painted 4 layers of primer and one coat of automotive paint. Speed was 100% on all. The undercoats were black on the left, red on the right, top middle blank metal and bottom middle white. Thanks, Dan, for suggesting thicker coats, it seems to be the answer.

1. at 10%, 20%, 40% and 80% power- the best result was 20-40%. I'd use 30%.
2. the black primer did alright at lower power, but at 80% it disappeared. However, it did not stay black, it turned grey.
3. the red and white primers held their color at 20-80% WHERE THE PRIMER WAS THICKEST

I guess I will have to sacrifice an aluminum pan to do a similar experiment to find out what the primers will do there, but at least I will have a sampler to show people as a result.

Hope this helps someone in the future, dee

Dan Hintz
07-05-2010, 12:54 PM

I think you'll find the thickness of primer is your deciding factor, not the substrate. The paint will act as a thermal insulator, so thickness of substrate should have little to no effect, either. If you end up having someone paint these for you for sake of consistency, make sure they understand it's consistent thickness you're shooting for rather than, for example, lack of orange peel, etc.