Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
How are people going about painting their airplanes? Are you waiting until you've finished flight testing and then painting (which I assume involves a lot of disassembly)? Or are you painting parts as you finish them and then install them?
What about the interior? A bunch will be covered by upholstery, but a lot won't.
Lastly, anyone done a vinyl wrap? Is it lighter or cheaper? I watched a video of a 750 being wrapped and it didn't look like much disassembly was involved at all.
Sorry for all the questions, this is a part I have virtually no familiarity with.
Easy for me - I only had to do a few dozen ... not a few thousand! LOL!
Well, perhaps a few hunnert, not thou...
My main areas would be about 2/3rds of the upper aft skin (leaving loose to install ELT antenna & pulleys for tail), the very aft of the aft fuse where the plans say to leave un-riveted, the vertical tail fairing, the upper instrument panel cover, and of course the wing upper/inner root skins as you noted.
I fretted over this question just like you are now. I tried a test vinyl wrap on the rudder just to find out how difficult it would be. It was no problem until I got to the parts where there were curves and that's when I had a lot of wrinkles so I stopped and removed the vinyl wrap. I had completed the construction of the CH750 and did not want to take it apart just to paint it so I opted for another alternative. I had heard about a person who used a polyurethane marine paint and rolled the paint on. It looked pretty good so I tried it and was very pleased with the outcome. There is a lot of prep cleaning the surface, using a chemical etcher and it did take about 3 coats of paint but the paint is very thin and was easy to apply. In the crevasses I used a small paint sprayer purchased from Harbor Freight. All together I spent about $500 on paint, etchers foam rollers and materials. For the interior I used indoor/outdoor carpet that I got at Lowes. I also purchased vinyl graphic decals off the internet for some accent on the fuselage. I will attach some pictures for you see the results.
It looks great. It looks like you did not use a primer. Any reason why not?
Do you mind sharing what products you used precisely? I have seen a few posts about the marine paint and I think that is the route I am going to go. Did you try any paint or etcher that didn't work and should be avoided?
WOW! I'm VERY impressed; as Dustin notes below, I'd like to know the specific products you used. When I first read the post, without looking at the pics (via email), I thought, "Yeah - it's probably nothing but roller stipple..." I see some marks, but the gloss is pretty good, and the roller marks are acceptable to me.
Can you tint the marine paint? Will *they* tint it?
Where did you obtain the graphics for the vinyl pieces? Design yourself, or did you grab 'em from someone?
The paint is Brightside Polyurethane by Interlux. It can be purchased on-line at Wholesale Marine, West Marine or Amazon.com. I chose white but they have many different colors. The process was to clean the aluminum first with paint thinner to get all the marks off such as Sharpie marks or ink stamping marks on the surface. Then washing it down with a sponge using soap (Dawn) and water. Then applying an acid wash such as Bonderite C-IC 33 Aero (formerly Alumiprep 33) with a green scrubby pad then rinsing with water. After that brushing on Bonderite M-CR 1201 (formally Alodine 1201). Both products can be purchased at Aircraft Spruce. This alodized surface provides protection against weather and allows the paint to firmly bond to the surface. You are now ready to apply the paint. If spraying Interlux solvent 216 special thinner is used to thin the paint in order to apply a thin mist for spraying. If using a roller Interlux 433 Brush-Ease is added to aid in rolling and to improve flow which eliminates the air bubbles and allows drying to a glossy finish. When rolling on the paint a foam roller is used. After waiting 5-10 minutes a second dry foam roller is used to smooth out the surface of paint. This method is called "roll and tip" and YouTube has many videos describing the process. Look for the vinyl graphic decals on line at Xtreme Digital Graphix. I hope this gives you enough information to go on.
Thank You, Stephen! Great, clear detail!
I checked out youtube, but it appears all of their roll & tip videos recommend a brush (of course, I didn't look at ALL of them...).
Can you shed any light on your decision to use a 2nd dry roller as opposed to a brush for the tip portion? Did you experiment and find it to be even smoother than the brush?
The second (dry) roller smooths out the paint after applying it with the first (wet) roller. This gives the surface a shiny look when dry. If you use a brush you run the risk of seeing the brush stokes. You may have to use a small detail brush for getting in the hard to reach places.
Stephen: Sorry to be such a pain, but I'm probably going to go this route. Thanks for the info so far.
Just curious: how much of each product (alumiprep, alodine, & paint) did you use for the entire plane? I'm just not sure whether a quart of the two cleaners/preps will work or should I get a gallon...