Tips for Robot Painting

We are looking into painting our robot for nationals and worlds this year, as it is our final year of high school and potentially our last time going to worlds.

Does anyone have any tips or recommendations as to where to start when doing this. We would like to spray paint it as anodizing will likely require it do be done all in one batch. Also, would you recommend it, or would it be better to just use accents like electrical tape and or multicolored zip ties and rubber bands.

I’ve never done it before, but I imaging you’ll need to take your bot apart, paint the metal, and then put it back together. seems like a lot of work for some decoration, but if you have the time to spare then it can look really cool. accents are always nice as well, like colored polycarb, colored zipties, rubber bands, antislip matt. I’ve seen some robots that don’t pain anything, but put strips of colored tape to add color. looks pretty cool. LEDs look nice as well.


As someone who fully spray-painted their robot, I would not recommend due to the risk of the robot’s performance. But what I would recommend is partial spray painting. If you are going to spray paint your robot, I would only spray paint the most visible metal. By doing such, you will get nearly the same reaction as spraypainting your robot fully, but you don’t need to take your robot fully apart to paint it. Just take some C-Channels off the most visible part of your robot, spray paint them, and put it back on the robot.

In addition, its a good idea to have sharpies to color scratches in. As what we found, colored sharpies appear lighter on metal, but black is always its dark form. So id suggest picking a color that can be sharpied in easily.


If you do want to spray paint it, I would recommend taking the robot apart and painting each component separately if you do want the entire thing painted. Personally, I think it looks nice fully painted but you will have to make sure you have the time and recognize that everything may not work exactly the same as it does before painting although we had no major issues.

A big thing for aluminum painting is using like a 60 grit then a 200 grit sandpaper on it, cleaning it thoroughly, then applying a self-etching or aluminum primer before actually painting it. We made the mistake of only using a 600 grit and the primer didn’t really stick to the aluminum but honestly it still doesn’t look bad.


I know that a few teams have just taken off the motors, sensors, and cortex and spray painted from there. I haven’t done this myself so I can’t say how well it works but it seems like a much nicer alternative to taking apart your entire robot.
In the past we’ve just sharpied over our metal but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have a lot of patience.

Firsts off,p, @swoodberry happy cake day
Second off, I would like to ping @kmaster because I believe he may be able to help. Personally I cannot help you.
Although, I must know what colors you’re going to paint it

We were planning on painting all of our bots black and using different colored bands and zip ties for accents.

Although it might not be the “right way” we just spray paint directly. We don’t sand or prime or even clean it if it’s a new c-channel and we typically paint before we build. We’ve yet to have any issues with this method. Often times it’s ok to paint one entire mechanism (like a chassis) in one go, just make sure that any rotating areas (such as bearing flats and etc) are covered as the paint can and will cause friction to rotating components. Painting is one of the most rewarding and impressive things you can do to your robot, and one it was one of the main reasons we stood out at the Signature Event we went to earlier this year, considering we had such a unique paint job.