Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Hello Wesley (or anybody else who knows), how are areas covered, where two pieces of sheet metal overlap or when there is even a small gap? What about complex areas like piano hinges?
I'm interested in wrapping our CruZer, but wonder if it might be easier to paint it, particularly if we do this while the wings and tailfeathers are still off.
i am nearing completion of my 701frame and was going to wrap the plane....until I wrapped my airboat to practice on.
I ran a small wrap business several years ago, so felt very confident in it., until I tried it.
To make vinyl stick and stay on bare aluminum ( in a cold atmosphere) it must be pretreated with extra glue. Vinyl stores sell this product. You simply spray it on, then put on the wrap over it. Good luck ever getting that glue off.
In the cold, it doesn’t matter and it comes off anyway. When very cold, the wrap will crack and flake off , much like paint chips. There is no wrap left around where the prop is , it all got blown off.
I was a Really excited about wrapping the plane. But it is not advisable in cold climates.
Rivets and air bubbles are no problem with new high tech wraps. Much easier than it used to be to install.
and who quoted 1500 to wrap a plane??? That’s less than dirt cheap. The vinyl costs more than that. Quality vinyl will cost 2-3 times that just in vinyl, not including overlay, printing, install, etc. I would expect 5-7k for a quality wrap from a quality company.
Also, vinyl is heavy. I’ve heard it said how much lighter it is than paint. It’s not. Maybe, in small pieces..but not when you try to wrap both sides of a wing and all four sides of the fuse. Just try to pick up a roll of vinyl big enough to wrap a plane. You will need 2 or more people to move it.
Just my 2 cents...
Sorry that I don't monitor this site mch anymore...I traded my Zodiac for a Lancair 360. Concerning the full wrap on my Zodiac 601XLB....
1.) I flew the 601XLB in North Carolina through two winters as low as 10 or so degrees with no problems with the wrap becoming brittle and coming off. I DID have a small problem on the bottom of the fuselage when oil got under the exposed leading edge of the wrap....Be sure to do extra edge sealant in areas where an exposed leading edge is exposed to oil
2.) I hangered my Zodiac except when at Airshows or Fly Ins
3.) Make sure installers are well trained concerning NO RAZOR KNIVES against the skin of the airplane.
4.) I have heard the argument concerning the weight of a roll of vinyl. Remember... a roll of vinyl includes the backing paper. With the backing paper removed the stuff is very thin and flexible like Saran Wap. Unfortunately, I botched the before and after weighing of the airplane, so I do not have accurate numbers for the actual weight.
5.) I had very few exposed seams, I always over-lapped the vinyl at seams. I wrapped the leading edge in one piece...no seams.
6.) I never waxed it...I always used AutoZone Tire Foam. It polished really good and dissolved the bugs without rubbing.
7.) My cost was about $6,500, but I worked a deal where the installing shop used my Zodiac to fill time between their other jobs. I probably saved about $1,500. A plus side of Vinyl is that there was no extra charge for multiple colors or design layout complexity.
8.) I am currently building an RV3 that I bought unfinished from an estate sale. I intend to wrap in Chrome instead of polishing. Obviously I was very pleased with the wrap and plan to do it again.
9.) Sadly, The new owner of the Zodiac crashed it into trees on take off (walked away) but the A/C was destroyed, so you won't be seeing it around anyplace.