Paints for saber accents

Hi all, I just finished my first saber build from scratch. Machined all myself and im looking to add some accent colors and im wondering what paints or enamels work good on aluminum.

Ive been looking at testor or tamiya sice ive used them for years with my rc vehicles and had great results.

Let me know what yall think.

I’m very much not an expert, but i would think that unless you are using paint specifically made to stick to metal, you’re going to need to do something to make the paint stick well. That means sanding, etching or priming before painting. Hopefully someone who knows more can actually provide actual information, not just guesswork…

Hi there. So my day job is metal finishing for aerospace, painting specifically.

Finally a thread where I feel useful lol

So there are 2 kinds of adhesion basically, chemical and mechanical.

I shoot for both of those on sabers when possible. Of course chemical will be a primer, and mechanical can be as simple as scuffing the surface up a bit.

On sabers I use this:
Dupli-Color CP199 Clear Adhesion Promoter Primer - 11 oz. by Dupli-Color Dupli-Color CP199 Clear Adhesion Promoter Primer - 11 oz. by Dupli-Color: Home Improvement

The main benefit being, it’s clear. It works fairly good on aluminum too which is nice.
Before you paint, maybe try and scuff up the area with scotch brite at a minimum.

If the paint I’m applying is opaque I’ll prep the part with 400 sandpaper. Always sand in circles, so you don’t leave gouges or scratches :wink:

After that and a light coat of primer, whatever you spray should do fine. Light coats.

I feel like I’m giving more info than was asked for, so I’ll stop there. I’m happy to help anytime.

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Read the OP again and I didn’t really answer the question directly.

I must have 50+ cans of paint, of all different kinds. Yes, I have a problem hehe

All those plus the paints I have access to at work, have all worked fine for me over the years.

Your surface prep is more important, as I mentioned above, that’s what the paint is gonna stick to, not just bare aluminum.

If it was only that (and I’ve seen it) of course it’s not going to stick well.

So just prep, clean, prime, and off you go.


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Thanks for the tips. Thankfully its not much surface coverage as its just accents but ill do some trials and see how well i do.

I know some people etch, then paint over and then clean up the non-etched areas on the lathe. Makes for a kind of inlay which is pretty durable I would think.

Ill have to try the etch method, need to get the equipment for it, also anodizing too.

I got some more enemal paints, man are they getting harder to find at the stores here.

Ill keep yall posted and hopefully should have some finishes pics soon.

First paint tests love the color

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It looks better in person. I added some LIT glow pigment (powder) to clear coat and put a coat over black rings.

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LIT Glow Pigment
Google Photos

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that a really cool affect you’ve got there!
your saber is looking very good :+1:

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Thx Driftrotor