quite often I have seen someone do a paintjob, only to end up with alot of orange peel, and they assume the job is scrap and has to be done over again. providing you have at least THREE good solid coats of clear, it can be fixed. in fact, even the "big money for a paintjob" pros will get orange peel in their work. you just never see it cuz a quality paintjob is only half the work. there is another whole process after your clear has dried. I usually never share this part because it is an easy source of revenue. On a few occasions I have had someone bring me a car or some bike parts that they have painted on their own, and figured it had to be repainted cuz of all the orange peel, or dust....or runs.....or whatever. More often than not, it just needs a good polishing.
Here is an example of orange peel. notice how the paint/clear is not real smooth, and actually have an appearance like the skin of an orange.....hence the term, "orange peel.
now, providing you have applied an adequate amount of clear to your parts, which you should always do anyway to allow for a good buffing, which you REALLY need to do anyway if you are going for a mirror-like shine.......it is time to smooth it up. WARNING......do the following procedure with the utmost caution.
Assuming you have a good healthy amount of clear on your parts, you need to wetsand all the orange peel out of the clear. I use U-POL clear with fast hardener, which allows me to sand and buff 24 hours after the application. if you are unsure about your brand, give it a good 48hrs to be safe. personally, I wetsand with 400grit because it is faster, plus I have at least 4-5 coats of clear to allow for some heavy buffing. but most folks don't apply that much clear, so go with 600 grit on the flat surfaces, and 1000 on the corners and sharp edges. corners and edges are where you need to be careful that you don't sane through the clear.
as you can see here, this is after the wet sanding. it looks shiny, but that is only the water that makes it appear like that. once sanded, it should look dull like the two dull spots you see near the large opening in the fairing. hosing it off with water not only cleans it, but also lets you see your progress and water will act as a fresh coat of clear.
now it is time for the buffing. as you can see in the pic, I use a big buffer for this. and the best polishing liquid I have found to date is made by Mopar. it cuts well, but yet is not too course as to leave swirls and such. you just spread on a fair amount to a section, then buff while it is still wet. the places you can't get to with the buffer, you can do by hand with a rag.
Just be careful around the edges and sharp corners that you don't buff through the clear.
once you are done, it should look like this:
so there you go....my little "secret" that I do not usually share with folks. well, it's not like it is my own personal secret, but many DIY painters believe they can get a perfect job straight from the paintjob itself, and end up disappointed when they don't. the pros take care to get the spraying as perfect as possible, but they don't fret the little things cuz they know it can be buffed out.....and has to be buffed to bring out the best of the job. This is also the difference between a $500 job, and a $1000+ job..so rember that next time someone quotes you $800-1000+ for a paint job. Chances are they are going to give you a quality job comapred to a $500 or less job. And it is alot of work. so ya...prep work and the spraying are crucial to a good job, but it's the buffing and polishing after the fact that really brings it to life. And some good wax after all that, and you're golden.
just be careful if you attempt it. keep an eye on the polishing liquid and how much it cuts. I suggest going to the chrysler dealership and buying a bottle of their stuff. and you need to put some muscle into it, but in the right fashion. again, it is like spraying....it's all in the technique.