November 1, 2004 HOME

This morning, I got out early and bought paint.  It's not all the paint I am going to need, just the black.   I'm using a 2-part urethane that must be clear coated.  I wasn't all that selective about brand, settling for what most of the local auto paint shops are using.  I considered just-for-aircraft paints like IMRON, but decided there is greater flexibility and availability with urethane auto finishes and the durability is nearly equal.

Below is the activator, a gallon of Absolute Black (it's actually black with a fair about of blue in it) and a flattening agent that I will use only for a few small areas.  It still needs reducer.  The mix ration is 4:1:1.  That's 4 parts color to 1 part activator and 1 part reducer.


Below is are the clear coat activator, the clear and the reducer for the color.  The mix ratio for the clear is 4:1.  That's 4 parts clear to 1 part activator.


Before I paint the aluminum it will be cleaned, sanded or scuffed and cleaned again.  I will not chemically etch the bare aluminum, having already mechanically etched it, but I will use this self-etching primer.  It's a 2-part primer.  It really isn't very sophisticated stuff.  It's a butyral resin containing some conditioning solids and color (gray) that is mixed 1:1 with phosphoric acid.  It provides a sandable primer surface when it hardens.  When it's wet, the acid etches the aluminum before it flashes out allowing the resin to bond as it cures.






The last thing to do before actually spraying paint, is to wipe down the surface with a good tack rag to pick up the remaining dust particles that might show up through the paint.  I bought a lot more of these than I will probably need.

Of course, you have to have cleaners and tape and other stuff.  Plain old "white gas" (it's the same stuff as Coleman Lantern fuel) is great for degreasing and cleaning up surfaces before sanding and before painting.

Here's a picture of the paint booth taking shape.  It will give me an area about 9' by 18' to paint in.  I can't do the whole fuselage in here, but I can expand it if necessary.  The filters in front of the fans are visible in back.

In addition to the florescent shop lights you can see here, Bill wired in 2 500 watt halogen lights and I will add 2 more portable lights so there is good visibility.


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