Over the weekend I began the final sanding and applied the last coat of pink paint. I ended up putting on 6 total coats with a 4" foam roller and sanding after applying coat #2 (with 220 grit) and coat #5. For the sanding of coat #5 I started with 220 grit and got it fairly smooth and then moved up to 600 to try and really get it nice and flat and remove all of the "orange peel" left by the roller. I had planned to take it all the way to 1500 but I think 600 is good enough and that would have been overkill (kind of like this entire process but that's another story).
After I finished the sanding I added one more thin layer of pink paint before applying the lacquer. I know some people suggest sanding the pink smooth and applying the lacquer immediately afterwards but I just don't trust that the color will be vibrant enough. The sanding really dulls everything. Besides, the test panels I made came out great and I sanded, then applied the final coat of paint and then lacquered so I think I'll be OK. The roller I used is pictured - the brand name is Whizzer. They are really great and I've tried a bunch of different types and these seem to give the best results (little to no "orange peel" and no air bubbles).
It took me way longer than I anticipated to do that final sanding. I kept thinking "when you think you've sanded enough, sand some more" so I probably went over the entire thing 4 or 5 times with the 220 grit and then another 4 or 5 times with the 600 grit. My arms were about ready to fall off.
After the sanding process was finished, I used a tack cloth to remove the dust and get the surfaces ready for the final coat of paint. Everything was VERY smooth at this point so the final coat of paint went on very even - it looks great as it is right now without any lacquer so hopefully the lacquer will come out nice and take this thing to the next level.
Thanks for looking!!