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#297879 - 03/22/10 05:14 PM PAINTING mdf and spraying grills
axiomoholic Offline
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Registered: 01/20/10
Posts: 110
Hi All. I'm getting an pair of in-cabinet speakers! The fronts will be exposed, and I plan to paint.

Q 1: Anyone have any advice on painting the MDF? Will a water-based latex paint make the MDF fibers swell? Maybe I could use a spray automotive high build primer, and then top coat it will foam rolled-on interior latex?

Do anyone have good results using a foam roller, or should I think about somehow spraying them? I'd rather avoid spraying latex.

Also, I'm assuming there's no real way around removing all the drivers before painting, right?

Q 2: Although I may just go with a black grill, my wife may wish to have to painted/matching grill. I assume this can't be applied with a roller and I need to find the closest color spray paint, right? Any material conflicts to be aware of? - I think most spray paints have some pretty aggressive carriers and I want to make sure the grill don't get eaten away!

Thanks in advance!
Scott

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#297880 - 03/22/10 05:16 PM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: axiomoholic]
Ken.C Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
I think your best bet is to talk to Axiom on this. We talked about painting grills on our last conference call, but I honestly don't remember what they said.
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#297883 - 03/22/10 05:28 PM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: axiomoholic]
Adrian Offline
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Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6865
Loc: It's all about the location.
I think you'll be ok painting the MDF as long as you seal it with a good quality primer first. Primer is quick drying so it's not going to swell the MDF. The smoothness of the desired finish would be the limiting factor on the final coat, imo. Obviously a spray finish will give you the smoothest result and also you can lay down very thin coats, but a roller can give you nice results too, just don't put down too much paint in one shot(maybe use a shorter pile roller). I think it would make for a better and easier paint job if you could remove all the drivers beforehand, just being carefull not to get drips of paint into the mounting flange area.

Using a roller on the grills probably isn't adviseable due to the amount of paint it puts down. I haven't seen these paintable grills before, what are they made of? anyhow, there are plenty of waterbased spray paints available out there, so they should be fine. Good Luck.
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#297886 - 03/22/10 05:47 PM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: Adrian]
jakewash Offline
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Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10415
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
I have painted MDF before and spraying does give the best finish when applied nicely but a foam roller is a very close second.
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#297896 - 03/22/10 06:30 PM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Online   content
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
Spray painting the grilles apparently works very well. Just don't overdo it so it gums up the cloth.
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#297906 - 03/22/10 07:12 PM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: pmbuko]
NDinUSA Offline
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Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 119
Loc: Fargo, ND USA
I used the Zinser(the red can) shellac based primer on my mdf lighted columns, bar, end tables, and wainscoting. It works really well and you can actually sand the primer coat to get a good smooth base for the finish coat. Clean up is a bitch though. You need to use ammonia for clean up. Wear nitrile gloves to prevent you from getting it on your hands. Line your paint pan with aluminum foil to make cleaning your pan easier. The foam roller will work great for a finish coat too. As far as the grills go, ask Axiom.
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#297991 - 03/23/10 09:00 AM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: NDinUSA]
axiomoholic Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/20/10
Posts: 110
hmmm. This isn't making me too comfortable.
I get the sense that the grill painting is sort of unproven, and I'm not too keen to remove all the drivers of a brand new pair of $1K speakers.

I'm pretty confident in my painting abilities, but it will still be a painted finish. I'd hate to proudly pull off the grills to show off the speakers and hear, "cool - so these are home builts!"

I've e-mailed in and asked if just the front panel can be wrapped in black vinyl, and use a black grill. It would be one piece, no seams, so it should be a piece of cake for the Axiom guys... I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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#297994 - 03/23/10 09:25 AM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: axiomoholic]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6865
Loc: It's all about the location.
If you take your time, I'm sure you could do a fine job painting the baffles. The key would be carefully taping and papering off the drivers and grill peg holes. If you prepare everything properly you should be fine and also you'll be able to paint them the exact colour you like.

The trouble with the grill painting being "unproven" is mainly due to the fact that these in-cabinets are relatively new, as well as the fact that, imo, the majority of people are still buying the regular speakers vs the in-cab's so there's not too many out there who've done this so far. Axiom could provide the details on painting the grills, I'm sure.

You're idea about having Axiom wrap the baffle is good too! see what they say.
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#298002 - 03/23/10 10:12 AM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: Adrian]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Actually, on our last call, Ian was saying that painting the grills worked quite well.
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#298003 - 03/23/10 10:23 AM Re: PAINTING mdf and spraying grills [Re: Ken.C]
axiomoholic Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/20/10
Posts: 110
It ends up my wife wants all black anyway (she must be hiding a little bit of audiofile techie!) - so the simulated wood grain would be IDEAL anyway; awesome looking, matching my subwoofers, and easier than painting.

Every time I see gene from audioholics.com do a speaker review, he's always pulling apart the speakers, with driver's hanging this way and that. I always think better him than me!

Now, I'm envisioning doing the same thing, BUT with rolers, and cans of paint surrounding my m60! Geez, working with my son on his pine wood derby car last night was enough to start making me sweat! \:\)

So, I still have my finger's crossed!

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