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?
In Alaska some very good bush pilots, questioned painting, with the argument that it is added weight and would rather have gas, if you are not building a "HANGER QUEEN "the aluminum will out live you , so why not just fly it as is ...BOB
Some time ago a builder in this group mentioned that he wanted the weight advantages of no paint but did not want the bother and effort of a full-on buffed aluminum job. He decided to rub the exterior aluminum down with scothbrite pads to give a scuffed satin kind of look to the surface. The swirl marks and such from the scuffing hid any scratches and marks in the aluminum and the overall look, he reported, was kind of interesting. It would also be very light (any amount of paint adds weight) and very easy to "touch up" if needed, just scrub the area down with a scotchbrite pad again if needed.
I do not recall seeing any pictures from the chap who posted his scuffing idea but I am personally intrigued by it. I am thinking I will scuff up a hunk of aluminum and get an idea of the "look" of it. A professional paint job is way expensive and even a homemade paint job using top notch materials is not cheap, plus it usually looks homemade. A full blown polish job takes a lot of time and effort and has to be re-done every few years. 6061-T6 aluminum is inherently corrosion resistant so all we need to do is make it look decent in some manner, it does not demand protection from the elements.
My friend's 601XLB (now sold) went even further in the lack of effort department - he flew the plane with absolutely no polish or paint or effort of any kind, the metal was as installed on the plane, as removed from the Zenith kit packaging. Outside of thirty or forty feet it looked surprisingly good, just a dull grey airplane. Close up it was ugly as heck but the plane did not care, it flew just perfectly!
John Austin mentioned in a paint thread that somebody used a paste that makes scuffinig easier, and particularly helps avoiding halos around the rivet heads.
3M makes a similar product to the one he mentioned, which however seems to have better reviews. Since it is also made to work in conjunction with the 3M Scotch Brite pad, which were are using anyways, I will order the 3M product.
Watching some videos, it appears as whether it indeed makes scuffing much easier, what might be useful if you're going for a brushed aluminum look.