1) Yes you can spray the paint on. In fact that is what I did first in order to cover all the little nooks and areas I couldn't get at with a roller. 2) I would try a 10% thinner to paint to start with. Try testing the paint spray on a…"
Building and Flying Info / Your Profession / Other Background Info
Retired. Doing church work.
Work experience: 1) crew chief on B-47; 2) Aerospace engineer by training; 3) worked on 747 as liaison engineer (Boeing, Everett); 4) 30+ years as an electro-mechanical engineer; 5) engineering consultant at end of engineering career; 6) parallel career in pastoral church
BSAE University of Pittsburgh, 1969
Father of 10, grandfather of 35...+5 greatgrandchildren.
1) Yes you can spray the paint on. In fact that is what I did first in order to cover all the little nooks and areas I couldn't get at with a roller. 2) I would try a 10% thinner to paint to start with. Try testing the paint spray on a piece of wood or scrap piece of aluminum to see what the consistency is like. Remember to clean the sprayer tip with lacquer thinner after each use. 3) Yes you can use any (cheaper) lacquer thinner for clean up. 5) I used new foam rollers for each painting session. You actually need 2 rollers each time. One to roll on the paint and the dry roller to smooth it out after about 5-10 minutes. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy the 4" foam rollers in the large package so that you have enough on hand. I still get comments from people who think I sprayed the paint on. It looks pretty good for the cost. I spent approximately $500 and that included all the rollers and paint products. A far cry from some of the estimates I hear it costs to have it professionally painted. Good luck to you.
I used white Interlux Brightside Polyurethane paint that I purchased off the internet. I believe you can purchase it at any marine supply store as well. It is thinned down with Interlux Brush-Ease paint thinner so that it flows well. It is almost the consistency of water when applying. I think it looks great up close. Many people think it was sprayed on until I tell them it was rolled on with a foam roller. After applying a coat I used a dry foam roller about 5-10 minutes after to smooth it out. It took three coats to get a consistent look and coverage. It isn't difficult to do, it just takes a lot of patience. There is a lot of prep work before the painting can begin. I cleaned the entire plane with soap and water and then applied a Bonderite self etcher. This is then rinsed and coated with Alodine which is also rinsed and dried before starting to paint. I just keep searching the internet for the decals before I found the ones I liked and purchased. There are a lot out there for automotive. It took about a month and a half to do the entire job but I think it was time well spent.
Robert, I had to trim the ends of the upper horizontal firewall channel to clear the mounts. For the mid mounts, I used 1/4 inch bolts through the mount, firewall, and Zenith supplied steel reinforcement on the inside. For the lower mounts, I bent up 4130 steel sheet to tie the mounts to the lower belly longerons.
Here is a video I made when attempting to align the original mount. After this video, I sent the mount back to Viking. They corrected and returned it.
Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, power distribution panel, Approach Fast Stack harnesses, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.
Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit HomebuiltHelp.com for the latest DVD titles.