As a general rule with my build... I never planned to do as much as I am on it... and I always end up doing
even more than what I'm currently working on, which I hadn't planned on working on. (follow that ? ... me either)
I had envisioned buying a completed fuselage, sandblasting it and then shipping it off to some place to have them primer it and put a nice coat of aerothane on it. All I would need to do is add the accessories, cover and then
send it out again for painting the fabric. Simple enough... ain't always that simple... or at least I don't make it to be.
I'm no expert about painting. Sure... I've painted a few houses. A lot of rooms. Maybe a few finger paintings when I was younger. But they ain't got nuthin' on painting an airplane. You might as well throw all the stuff you learned from those experiences right out the window.
I'll throw what I know... out at you. As usual, in bits and pieces. (maybe when I'm finished building the Skybolt I'll go back and try to make logic of all these notes. But... in the mean time, you'll have to put up with the bits and pieces that I throw your way.)
I'll try and keep this somewhat organized, if I can.
About painting metal
I have a few fittings that are only primed to keep them from rusting. Might be a good idea to keep them as they are until I paint the fuselage. OK.. not a problem. But I have a set of throttle quads that I'm just about finished with and the levers on it need color. Well... actually, I'm having a set of custom knobs made for the levers and
I need to send the guy off some paint. Yeah... basically it comes down to needing to buy some paint for the color for the four knobs. BUT since I'm going to great extent to match the color in the knobs to the color of the fuselage I might as well get the right kind of paint that I need so that I can paint those levers and maybe paint a few fittings.
OK... I'm ready to order the paint. Should be relatively painless. Turn on the computer, navigate to Aircraft Spruce's site and DAMN ! what's all this ? Acid Proof Black Paint - VHT Flameproof Coatings - Ultra-High Temperature Paints -
Epibond Epoxy Primer - PreKote Surface Pretreatment - Stits Epoxy Primer White EP-420/EP-430 - Aquaprep Aviation Metal Cleaner - Alodine 1201 - Alodine Touch-N-Prep 1132 - Alumiprep No. 33 - Metal Prep No. 79 - and on and on and on...
Where do you start !?
Ask some questions... that's where you start. No sense it recreating the wheel.
I'm just reporting what I've been told. As of right now (June 30, 2008) I haven't spoken to any paint manufactures.
Jim, from the biplane forum, said that he feels that a lot of builders are using Aerothane over Epoxy primers, on metal. Sure, it a little bit more work than a single step enamel, but you need to make sure that if that metal is going to be touched by fabric, it needs to have a paint on
it that is compatible with what you're using on the fabric. If not, all those hours you've spent on your biplane are going to end up looking bad all because you either didn't do your homework, or, you were trying to cut corners, take short cuts.
Jim has used Aerothane on the fuselage and the rest of the metal parts. He's thinking of using Superflite on the fabric and the remaining exterior metal.
Using such specialized paint made me think that you probably need some specialized kinda primer. Jim, again, answered my question as to what others are using for primer underneath a coat of poly-urethane. He is using, and says others swear by it, Stits Epoxy Primer EP-420 or EP-430. I'm sure that there are others out there that you can buy. This just gives you a heads up to what you need to look for. I'll take this information and go to the Randolph site and see what it is that they suggest as a primer. You'll need to watch when you go to buy it. Some shops sell the catalyst and the reducer separately. If you're unsure, give them a call.
And because these poly-urethane paints have polyisocynates, you must wear a respirator. Aircraft Spruce carries one called the "Hobbyair Respirator." Cost between $390.00 and $490.00, depending on if you get a 110 volt or 220 system.
Right now I think I'll be going with the Ranthane, which is Randolph's poly-urethane. I've been looking at their site and the above questions have raised more questions than answers. Not to fear, I'll fill you in here. I'll read over their site, look at the books that Tony Bingelis has written, then ask more questions.
I'll be back to write more on this in a few days... maybe a few weeks. But I will be back.
Oh... and another thing. Fabric cement softens most enamels. So.... make sure you're not using enamel on any parts that the fabric gets glued too.