Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Full wrap. Didn't do it myself (my airplane time is in short supply these days).
3M vinyl installed by Signz360 out of Washington, MO. The installer came to my hangar to do the work which is about 45 minutes away. This was the first plane they did. The installer Jake is fantastic and the salesman Howie is outstanding too.
It was mostly hands off for me but I definitely needed to be around to answer questions and of course had to have panels off and clean plane to start.
It took them a little longer to complete than they thought but part of it was due to commute time to hangar and some pretty hot days. Plan on $5,500-$6,000 for two colors.
I'm very happy with the results and others around the airport are too. It could definitely be done yourself/with a helper even without experience but of course it would take a lot longer and plan for some wasted vinyl as you learn by mistakes.
Was the plane primed before applying the vinyl? I'm only six miles from the ocean in humid Florida and would be worried about corrosion.
I would be interested in knowing more about the prep work. Did you treat the metal before applying the vinyl? Also how do they do different colors. Is one color layed over the top of the other, or are they butt joints between colors? And as silly as this sounds...what causes the vinyl to stick to the surface?
No treatment necessary other than a good cleaning.
Take a look at 3m 1080 vinyl. It seems to be the product of choice for many aircraft. It comes in a huge array of colors. This is what I used on mine and it was very easy to work with.
You use both over-lapping joints and butt joints, depending on the situation. They have "knife tape" with double and triple cutting ability that also makes this easy.
The 3m 1080 is not like any other "'vinyl" you may have used. It stretches (and can be shrunk back to its exact original size with heat), you can lay it down and pick it right up and re-position it and it doesn't get air bubbles. It's about as idiot proof as you can get (and I'm a pretty big idiot!).
The only real challenge with it is compound curves. That takes some practice, but its easy to try, and if it doesn't look right just pull it up and try it again.
Because it allows air to pass thru you don't have to worry about corrosion occurring underneath it.
It takes a bit of planning and practice to lay it out, and down, but I found it very easy to use. And no need to buy any expensive tools. Just a heat gun, some knife tape, some good exacto blades, some squeegees and you're good to go.
When you want it to finally "stick" you go over it with a heat gun. Even then, you can warm it up and take it off without any problem or significant residue.
Also, if you happen to repair a ding, it's easy to do a decent patch that no one will notice (but you).
That is fascinating. I painted my RV6a at home (PPG base coat/clear coat) and it went fairly well, but the dings and chip repairs never look as good as the original. I am not a perfectionist, but those visible repairs in my paint do bother me a bit. I would think painting a plane plain white and doing vinyl "accent" graphics may just be the ideal combination.
I'm in the final planning stage before wrapping my plane. How is yours holding up? Any advice before I get started?
3 years and 370 hours and mine still looks like new. Mine plane has always been hangared.
My original wrap job on the spinner and wing tips was not good. I recently went back and redid them. Also added vinyl to the landing gear and steps. While not necessarily a professional job, even a close look will not reveal to many flaws, unless you happen to be a wrap specialist.
One real benefit is the ability to go back and repair or replace any problem areas as I did.
Thanks Jim & Gary !!!
Hi Jim & Gary,
Have you guys had any problems with fuel spills around the caps damaging the vinyl?
I don't have any vinyl near my fuel fill. They use the 3m 1080 vinyl on expensive car wraps, so i'm pretty sure this isn't a problem for that material. Don't know about other vinyl products.