Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I am trying to decide if I should paint myself, or pay for a pro do do it.
I know that asking how much does painting cost is like asking how much a house costs.
But has anyone painted a CH-750 STOL or Cruzer, what can I expect for costs for a basic paint job?
Do you want it in pieces when you paint or complete? Do you want to paint before or after engine/instrument panel installation?
Jonathan, I painted my 750 STOL this Spring basic white and it turned out good, but is a job. Less painting
equipment, I spent abiotic 800 dollars and that included Bonderite C-IC 79 for cleaning and Bonderite M-CR 79
for cleaning and etching (1 gallon each). Then (from automotive paint store) I used a white Omni MP 171 epoxy
primer and then Omni 2k urethane single stage finish coat. I painted the inside of th cabin before windows, doors
and instrument panel and it’s a trick because of overspray. You need good ventilation and spray mask but you
can do a good job after some practice using an inexpensive hvlp gun. I painted the wings, slats and many things
individually but not sure that matters. After 50 hours on the plane, I am confident the paint will stay on and have
a guy making some emblems to dress it up. Would like to know what a pro would charge because it is a job and
time consuming. Hope this gives you some idea.
I’m actually pretty sure I’m going to Vinyl cover mine. I’m not patient enough to do a good job painting :-)
Might even do some of the cabin interior in Vinyl.
We considered wrapping ours, but then dropped the idea, as wrapping a 750 would be pretty hard to do right. Just think about the many complexly shape areas like hinges or gear brackets.
Before you go full in, you might want to order a smaller piece and give it a try first: https://www.metrorestyling.com/Default.asp
Still trying to figure out (and have the time to do so) whether to paint myself or go pro. My neighbor painted an RV-12 about 8 years ago and it was $7000 at an aircraft paint shop.
I was thinking about taking the parts (wings, fuse, tail, etc) to either an automotive body shop or a high school shop class.
That is pretty!
I like it! I would have thought polishing would have been a huge trouble given what other talked about.
How long did it take to get this far?
Do you have a link to the polisher you used?
ordered the polisher from Amazon, and the white diamond polish is carried by O'Rileys auto parts.
I didn't keep track of the time involved, but probably between 100 and 200 hours.
Since I hadn't planned on polishing it, I wasn't too careful about protecting the surface while I was building it. That plus almost 20 years of building and moving the parts in and out of storage, there were a lot of small surface scratches. These were somewhat eliminated by wet sanding with 800 thru 2000 grit sand paper.
It is a messy job, and requires a lot of old rags for wiping off the polish.
I polished my airplane, which is not as much work as people seem to think it is, and doesn't cost much or add any weight.
Although I have not "re-polished" it in 3 years, it's still shiny, and I still get a kick out of seeing people walk right past rows of RV's (some with very expensive paint jobs) to look at my polished plane.
I know that asking how much does painting cost is like asking how much a house costs.
I think the responses so far have given you an idea of the low end of the spectrum where you're simply purchasing materials and DIY'ing it.
Likely a true "pro" (someone who actually paints airplanes for a living!), turn-key job( where you don't lift a finger!), and using aviation quality paint (epoxy primer, catalysed urethane, etc.) will cost at least $7-$8K and could be as high as $10K!
I would highly recommend completely assembling the plane prior to painting as you will nearly always find something that has to be altered, trimmed, or tweaked! It would be a shame to have spent big bucks on a nice paint job and then have to touch it up due to alterations after painting. I was concerned I might need some cooling tweaks to my cowl during Phase I and also concerned about the potential of leaking fuel senders. So, I completely assembled my STOL 750, then broke it down and had wings, slats, flaperons, struts, fuselage, rudder, and HS painted separately. I had the top wing root skins also painted separately and did not install them until after final assembly so the plane could be fueled and observed for a couple of days for sender leaks (there were none and none since!) and then the skins were riveted and the rivets touched-up.
I did not paint the cowl initially, waiting until well into Phase I to be sure it wouldn't have to be modified. Since it is easily detachable, it was no problem to take it back later and have it painted. I have minimal paint in my interior and tended to powder coat pieces like the panel and sub-panels, tunnel covers, etc. for durability. What little of the interior that is painted I did during the build process and it was no problem to mask this off for the exterior paint. The exterior painting was done with the windshield and doors removed (exterior door trim painted separately). The only thing I wish I had done differently was to not have installed the windows in the fuselage - despite leaving the protective film on them and masking, a little overspray got on one or two, but it was very minimal and really not noticeable except to picky people - like EAB builders! Ha!
My paint job was about $8500 (two colors and a separating fuselage stripe), but it was a total turn-key cost - all I did was take the pieces off the plane and re-assemble them - the painter even transported the pieces and fuselage back and forth to his shop! I briefly considered doing it myself, but having zero experience, I realized I really didn't want to learn to paint on my plane - after all, the paint job is the first thing most people see! Ha! Costly, yes, but it was worth it for the huge convenience factor - I'm in a remote, rural area and a retired custom painter/old car restoration expert with a professional spray booth just happened to live less than 3 miles from me! On top of that, he is a pilot and has painted planes before and was very knowledgeable about managing paint weight, etc. He was so picky that when I offered to help do the masking ... he said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but knowing me, if I let you mask, when you leave I'll probably just re-do it all!" ;>)
You do sometimes get what you pay for, however, 6+ years later, most people look at the paint and think it was just done yesterday! I actually got more than I paid for: The painter and I became good friends and he wound up painting an '84 Honda NightHawk restoration for me and the front and rear of an '82 Porsche 911SC and didn't charge one cent of labor - just materials. He also tutored me on the bike and car restorations and started letting me actually help! :>)
I painted my 750 Cruzer this year. My wife helped and we cleaned the wings, tail and fuselage with a pressure cleaner, then scotch pad with alodine, then Bonderite. After it was dry I sprayed everything with Gripper primer from Home Depot using a $10 Harbor Freight spray gun and a $350 compressor from same.
Next we sprayed Home Depot Behr gloss white.
The Airport office called and instructed me to cease and desist all painting. We put paper down and felt that using rollers would be ok. I guess there will be dust from overspray no matter what type of pain.I explained it was water based paint. They insisted.
We continued with more coats by using 6 inch woven rollers from Home depot. The paint was thinned with 90% water/10% denatured alcohol. This allowed the rolled paint to flow. The paint has a little to medium orange peel. I think this happened because it has been terribly hot since April here in Florida. The Cruzer is still in the finishing stage. The engine cowl, and front wheel fairing are fiberglass. These will be painted with 2 part primer and topcoat (white) from Eastman (online) This is expensive high quality urethane. The car shows on TV use this and they color sand rarely to smooth any orange peal. My Cruzer has a Viking 130, and their front suspension.
Finally, My stylist wife insisted that the wing, elevator and fuselage will benefit from 1 inch and 12 inch 3M red film stripes. I thought that will be good to do while awaiting the FAA do show up. I am told to expect 3 weeks after I call.
This is what we did over the past 8 months part time.
If I build another I intend to powder coat everything. We both think that planning and selection of a spectacular colors that are part of the powder coating industry will produce a spectacular bird!
I just posted in the painting section a link to a pretty well done painting video, that might be useful for those how wonder if they could / should paint their planes themselves: http://www.zenith.aero/forum/topics/video-how-to-paint-an-airplane