I've already bought the 3M 1080 vinyl wrap - Metallic Blue, Metallic Black and Dark Metallic Grey (accent only). 

I've been planning to do this for some time but didn't have the money until now. The vinyl comes in 5 foot wide rolls and I ended up buying 40 feet of blue, 25 feet of black and 5 feet of grey. The cost for the above was $611. I've also ordered about $50 worth of supplies and knifeless tape. 

I've attached a pic of my design. Since my day job has me working in AutoCad it was easy for me to develop my design with this software. The downside is you can't get any real sense of the actual colors. 

I spent hours and hours scouring the web for design ideas. I knew I wanted something that would accentuate the elegant lines of the fuse. I played around with a lot of different ideas and designs. In the end my wife (and wonderful co-pilot) really helped me get to the final decisions.

The nice part of this design, I discovered today, is that there are very few long pieces of vinyl (longer pieces can be a lot harder to work with).  The natural breaks in the 601 canopy and at the rudder result in pieces being shorter and more manageable. This should help me do a better job. The only vinyl I've done before is what I covered my panel with (3M Di Nock Carbon Fiber). 

The panel was was amazingly easy to do. This new tech. vinyl is not at all like the vinyl form back in the day. This stuff breathes, doesn't create air pockets or creases, is re-positionable , and stretches up to 30%. It's also very durable and can be removed easily in the future. 

I'm really looking forward to getting started and will post pics and vids as I go. 

I'm not sure why but the attached pic doesn't show the dark colors correctly. The curved dark stripe down the side is metallic black, not grey. Likewise the flaps are mostly black with grey just on the outer edges. The dark accent lines on the curve of the wings are also black. The wing tips themselves will be grey as will the the curved stripes at the top of the fuse near the canopy. 

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Looks great, Gary!  Is this going down over a base white vinyl or paint, or over polished aluminum?



Polished aluminum.

I'm curious, how much does 350 square feet of vinyl weigh?

10.7 lbs for 350 sq. ft of 3m 1080 vinyl (4.4 oz per sq yard)

with or without the paper backing?

Thanks. Everyone talks about the weight of different finishes, but no one seems to have hard numbers.

That's going to look really sharp, Gary. I can't wait to see "after" pictures since I had a good look at the "before" in the flesh at yesterday's QSP fly-in. It was great meeting you. 

Nice to meet you too! 

Going to start on my first small section of final wrap today - the tip of the elevator. Really curious to get a feel for this stuff. 

And so it begins...

I wanted to start what I thought we be an easy piece. Instead I learned I was starting with the most difficult one. The piece was the fiberglass tip on the elevator. The compound curves made it very difficult.

I started by looking closely at the fiberglass tip. There were a number of small holes and chipped fiberglass near the trailing edge. So, I filled the holes and chipped pieces using JB Weld Plastic Bonder (works for fiberglass). Then I spent a good amount of time sanding the tip. Like paint, vinyl covers nothing. 

My first attempt did not work well. It got wrinkled bad and while trying to trim it to make it more manageable, I over trimmed and cut into the part that was supposed to cover the tip...

The second piece was going great - right up until the point where I got the the heat gun a little too close and melted right thru it - arrghhhh!@$&!!

The third attempt was more successful. From 3 feet away it looks darn near perfect. If you look close you can see some small wrinkles at the front edge. If you were to look at the underside you would see a bunch more.

I may re-do it at some point in the future but I'll call it good for now.


I attempted to wrap my cowling but found the curves too  difficult. Went with paint



I'm doing a partial wrap also.  I’m using vvivid premium vinyl.  It’s also breathable.  It is going over bare, clean aluminum.

I painted the cowl, under the front fuse and the tips.  I tried several times to do the elevator tips, but could never get the curves to come out nice.  I plan to put some overlay black stripes over the major white of the tail.  Cut tape is your friend.  I have not been happy with the rivets.  I have used primer underneath, rivet brush, Teflon pusher, heat/ no heat, pinholes.  Nothing seems to get the vinyl to grip over the rivets.  It might lay down tight, but an hour later, it forms a dome as the memory comes back.  I think the worst thing is to heat too much and damage the vinyl.  After saying all this, is still is much cleaner than painting.  Having a couple hands on each end of the big pieces and start in the middle helps.  The fuse sides are 14 ft long.  I have not done the wings yet.  I plan to paint the flaperons.  

I would enjoy seeing a video of how a professional does the rivets.  I keep reminding myself that I’m building a Zenith Cruzer, not a Lancair.  

Dr Fred



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