The problem is twofold:
Need to keep it off the skin, and probably better gloves.
1.) The clear is in an aerosol - if you can smell it (without a mask), you're getting skin exposure. It's not a matter of simply not spraying it on yourself. You have to protect everything.
2.) Simply wearing gloves isn't sufficient - you need gloves made of a material that won't pass the isocyanates. Latex gloves are only slightly better than nothing - but you'll still get exposure to the stuff.
The thing with isocyanates is that you don't have to inhale it. It gets through the skin just as easily. The way the stuff reacts to humans is that repeated small, or a single big exposure, will sensitize your body to it. It doesn't take much exposure to cause problems. At that point, even a miniscule amount absorbed through the skin or inaled will cause a severe allergic reaction, ranging from hives, rashes, swelling, to asthma attacks. So the stuff has a definite "poison ivy" effect.
The forced air unit is baffling to me for this reason. The air source is next to me...? It's pumping air that's poisoned.. no? I'd have to put it 100 feet away at the corner of my property since I pump the stuff essentially outdoors.
You're absolutely right that having the unit next to you, in the clearcoat aerosol is stupid.
Placement of the unit is important. It has to be in an area with fresh air - hence, the 40+ foot hose on the unit I linked to. One way to do it is have the air input inside the house, and the hose goes through a sealed portion of a wall/door.
As far as cure times go - it depends on the clearcoat used; read the directions. The one time I've used it, it was a 6-hour cure, but I left it for 24 hours.
But I'll never go to an auto body place to have them spray. Not very DIY, defeats the purpose.
I'll have to agree to disagree here. For me, the point was to develop a skill, maybe save some money, and not cause health problems in the process. Considering the cost of the PPE, it would take a lot
of canopies to be cheaper to shoot clear than an auto body shop - especially if you know the guy & he'll shoot it really cheap or even for free (using leftover clear from a car job).
I've got a long way to go before I'd consider my painting skills are where I would like to be. I'll take the advice of experienced painters when they tell us to preserve our health and let an auto body shop shoot the clear.
I'm using the Faskolor paints mostly, which are "non-toxic". That said, I use a mask then too.
Which is a good idea. I know the non-toxic auto air colors that I've used explicitly instruct you to use the mask even though the paint is "non-toxic". I imagine it has something to do with the difference between swallowing a substance and inhaling it. A lot of things can be swallowed and cause no ill effects, but inhaling or injecting are a different story.
The last thing I want in a heli is a few loose screws.