I keep hearing things about the fantastic finishes possible on autos but have been unable to get any response from the local shops about doing an aircraft.  I explain that the project would be mostly the slab sides ans smooth curves of the flying surfaces, all new, bare aluminum with a few areas of fiberglass.  Then I throw in what might be the burr under the saddle, the rivet heads ... no response.

Anybody out there done it?  I still think it would look great on my 701 ... in a year or so.

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Funny.  I just left the blog I found an e-mail reply from a vinyl shop in the Dallas Area (New Graphics, Richardson, TX).  Ed Bowers replied:

The 3M vinyl I would recommend is their 1080 series. It is designed for full body color change wraps, where printing is not required. My concern would be the bare aluminum surface, and the adhesive migrating into it . This would make removal very difficult, and could cause issue with resurfacing in the future. Most all vinyl products are designed to be applied to a painted surface, to allow for proper adhesion. My recommendation would be to have the areas properly prepared and painted prior to installing the vinyl for the final color. This could be just a base white automotive paint, which would create a permanent coating for whatever you decide to do in the future.


I know it adds cost to the overall project, but I do believe it is the best way to go in the long term.

Ed did not address the rivet heads issue so I fired back the question again ... I'll post his reply.

Thanks for the info...I'm interested in this as well.

There are a couple of threads on this on the site (but maybe they are on the 750 forum?). There is at least one plane completely done in vinyl, and I am sure there are more. I'm thinking about doing the same come the time.

I did a general search and found nothing.  The Search Engine for the site is rather weak ...

If you can point me to the info, I'd like to check it out. 

I do have a dialog going with Ed at New Graphics in Richardson, TX.  He says that the company does truck boxes "all the time" and that rivet-heads are "no problem".  However he did ask to see a pattern ... I fired off a couple of pictures.

Yeah, the searching is certainly weak. I found this one


and here is the guy that I knew had already done it


Looking forward to hearing what you find out.

Here is good thread by Wes Parker that wrapped his 601:


Unfortunately that is private to the 6xx builders - any chance it could be reposted on the "Paint your plane" forum?

oh my, I didn't know that! All these four years and I thought I had to be approved - smh

Hi Kurt,

Thx for the friend request, Yes, I have a full wrap on my 601XL-B. I love it and get tins of comments. people stop me on the ramp all the time just to take pictures. Even the tower controllers ask about it.
I used 3M printed wrap rather than solid colors...this was just a personal preference. I worked with a local auto wrap shop and spent $6,800 total installaed. They did the work over a 4 week period in the winter time. I could have been completed in 4 days, but I got a further price break because I let them work on mne between other jobs.
I took my wings off and trailered my finished 601 to them they installed the wrap with the wings off, so my fuselage is covered behind the wings.
Also!!!! I love the fact that the blind rivets are covered!!

Additionally, Removing is NOT a problem. Apply heat and it releases with no residue.

Also...mine is hangered full time, so I cannot respond to UV wear...Mine has been installed for a year with no big problems.

Thanks for the reply and the pix of the beautiful bird. 

I think I have New Graphics in Dallas very interested in giving it a go.  I don't get my 701 kit until later this month so one of the other Dallas-Ft Worth Zenith builders will probably get the inside track on the 1st job.

My 701 scheme will probably be somewhat more utilitarian than yours.  But I sure do like the results.  The great big slab-sides and huge wing should be rather easy.  As I stated, my worry was all those rivets, but Ed Bowers at New Graphics says that they do truck boxes (all riveted) "all the time".

Yeah, I worried about the rivets too...they turned out to be a non-issue


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