painting a C150

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by Scarecrow56, Jul 19, 2017.

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  1. Jul 19, 2017 #1

    Scarecrow56

    Scarecrow56

    Scarecrow56

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    Hi folks, been a while. I have a friend that bought a C150 with almost no paint on it and what is left is pretty bad. long story short, I have been "warned" against painting the plane for him because "if you don't know what you're doing you can ruin an airplane". My background is about 7 years as an autobody man. I can paint a car and make it look like glass although I would not consider myself an expert. I do believe I am halfway decent. I have had experience with aluminum truck bodies. I don't believe them to be any different from aircraft. The last one I painted was in the 1970's though and I used a zinc oxide primer. Do they still use this or is there something else out there now? We have an experienced person that will strip it. I have heard that it needs to be "etched" which is something new to me. Is that true? I never did that with the truck bodies. Is it necessary and if so how do you do that? Also, this may sound rookie or stupid, what about polishing the aluminum? Like a P51. How do they do that and can you do it with standard factory grade skin on a C150? Thanks, I'm sure I will have more questions but that's enough for now.
     
  2. Jul 19, 2017 #2

    TFF

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    Big thing is flight controls have to have balance checked. Paint is paint. The difference between a car and an airplane is you want the absolute smallest amount of paint on the plane that looks good. I think most low altitude planes use car paint. I know a couple of manufacturers use PPG base clear. Its what I use on aluminum. Cessnas have been polished. What a pain. If you want to deal with the upkeep, fine but in Florida? I dont think so.
     
  3. Jul 19, 2017 #3

    BBerson

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    Two part conversion process. Scrub the bare metal with part one phosphoric acid (etch) and scotch bright. Rinse well.
    Sponge on or weed sprayer on the part two Alodine (chromic acid)next. After 10 minutes rinse it off. Don't let it dry in sun.
    Gives a slight gold tint.
    Follow directions on jug, a gallon of each should do it. Collect and dispose the chemicals properly.
    Most will use epoxy primer. Some use urethane primer. Some don't prime at all with Alodine only under the top coat.
     
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  4. Jul 19, 2017 #4

    Pops

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    And what you spray is what you get. Forget about buffing like you would do on an auto. Matter of fact, just forget everything you know about painting autos. There are things like rivet heads and you don't want to get hot spots in the aluminum with buffing. Don't mask the windows with paper, use aluminum foil. Etc, etc, etc. Like TFF said, use the Cessna Service Manual and there is a section on how to make the tools to balance the control surfaces. When masking for the trim using fine-line tape, special way to go over a rivet head. Its a lot more involved than painting an auto. It's a whole new learning experience.
    How is it going to be stripped, if not done correctly it could destroy the airframe. I seen a man try to strip by sand blasting a C-172 and destroyed it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  5. Jul 19, 2017 #5

    Scarecrow56

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    points taken fellas. Thanks. Pops, I have not met the stripper however she is the stripper the guy that wanted to paint the plane was going to use. She supposedly has had much experience with stripping. However, now you're starting to scare me off. I had no idea it was so complicated. So what about all these home builders in here? Are they all farming out the paint to pro's?
     
  6. Jul 19, 2017 #6

    Scarecrow56

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    I just read what I posted and that is kinda funny! Yes she is a stripper of airplanes. As far as I know she doesn't strip at The Dew Drop Inn!
     
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  7. Jul 19, 2017 #7

    Scarecrow56

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    Another note about the 172 sand blasting. My buddy made the mistake off sand blasting the hood of a 1965 Chrysler and ruined it. It stretched the metal so there were waves in it and there was nothing I could do to fix it. Sand blasting should be done by experienced personnel or done only to heavy metal that wont warp. MHO. There are other mediums that can be used such as walnut shells and beads but I cant really comment on those as I have 0 time with that stuff. I have heard it is a gentler way of blasting.
     
  8. Jul 19, 2017 #8

    BBerson

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    Stripper attacks plastic, the windows and other plastic, wing tips etc. need to be masked with thick aluminum foil and foil tape. Rubber also.
    She should know that.
    Don't air blast the static port or pitot tube. Mask with foil tape.
    Don't sand off any of the rivets head.
    Don't pressure wash a constant speed prop, it blasts water into seals.
    Don't strip or paint antennas
    Don't strip fiberglass or honeycomb. Sand and paint.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
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  9. Jul 19, 2017 #9

    Scarecrow56

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    thanks BB , we will assume she knows all that and I do believe she is stripping with chemicals. My job would be to refinish. I have also looked at Vinyl wrapping the entire airplane. wadda ya think of that?
     
  10. Jul 19, 2017 #10

    TFF

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    Not certified without an STC. Seen airshow planes done. They are under experimental exhibition usually.
     
  11. Jul 19, 2017 #11

    Pops

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  12. Jul 19, 2017 #12

    Turd Ferguson

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    I have seen people repaint airplanes over the existing finish, matching paint lines and all with excellent results. Might add a few extra pounds but if all you want is plane that looks good, consider that option. Don't add too much weight to the control surfaces. Try to avoid using sandpaper or any abrasive on aluminum, lightly sand fiberglass and plastic parts and fog it on. If you start from bare aluminum, use a self-etching primer so you won't have to use abrasives. You can paint a solid color and use vinyl for the graphics.
     
  13. Jul 19, 2017 #13

    TFF

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    A friend just took the wings off his 150 so they can be painted. Grown, it will not fly now for a year now because of procrastination. Sounds like you got the good end of the deal. To me painting was the icing of the job. If I did the prep work, no one was going to take the fun of painting from me. I had a high school teacher who painted 150s 1960-62 at the factory to pay for college.
     
  14. Jul 20, 2017 #14

    Scarecrow56

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    TFF are you saying you need an STC to wrap a plane?
     
  15. Jul 20, 2017 #15

    TFF

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    Im going to say yes. Unless you have proof Cessna does it all the time. It is different from what is specified. If it comes loose in flight, there is a good chance the plane could go down by either spoiling air or wrapping around a control. Although I have seen airshow airplanes with wraps so they can change sponsors, it better be experimental and not certified. Essentially what the FAA does is ask questions. They can walk up to any certified airplane, put their finger on a rivet, and say prove to me this rivet is airworthy. You only can do one thing, prove it. At work just last week, my Fed came out and took a picture of the fire extinguisher label ,to see if what it says is what manual I claimed it to be maintained under. This was just file filling paperwork. Now this is a commercial operator so it is an open door to them; they can ask the same of you anytime; they normally just dont have the time. You wrap your plane, it will become a local celebrity. Everyone will talk about it. They might not come looking for you directly, but they know you will be out there and will sometime cross paths. You are now a test case. They will put their finger in the wrap and say "Is this legal?" I have see planes tagged on the ramp by the FAA; dont move until you contact the FAA. There is good and bad to it. Bad, you just cant do what you want; good, you are not going to get killed with an experiment where there is not suppose to be one. You want to answer the question, "Is this legal?" by saying, "Why yes, here is the STC or here it is on page 123 of the maintenance manual." There is no other answer they accept.
     
  16. Jul 20, 2017 #16

    Rockiedog2

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    from scarecrow
    >>>we will assume

    uh oh.

    had a friend built an Acrosport fuse. took it to the local sandblast place and they ruined it.
    he assumed they knew...

    I quit assuming anything, my wife says I'm paranoid. maybe so. I like it that way. no worries...

    just sayin
     
  17. Jul 20, 2017 #17

    Rockiedog2

    Rockiedog2

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    Scarecrow tell us about your avatar...
    he looks like a character
     
  18. Jul 20, 2017 #18

    Scarecrow56

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    TFF thanks, point taken and well thought out. one big problem I could see arise is the possibility of the cowl wrap lift and cover the windshield in flight. An absolute "OH ****!" moment that I'm sure none of us would like to have happen. Or a piece of wrap get stuck in an aileron and limit function. Although I don't believe that would ever happen I guess there is that 1% chance. I have run Vinyl graphics on my tractor trailer for years and never seen one come off. They do peel up/ curl up on the edges after 5 years or so but even then they don't just come off. Average speed between 55 and 75 mph. But once the government gets involved--------
     
  19. Jul 20, 2017 #19

    Scarecrow56

    Scarecrow56

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    Rockiedog2 I hated to use the "ass out of u and me" word but really no other word works, especially in my situation where I'm in florida and the plane is in NY. As far as my avatar, That is a very good friend of mine who, unfortunately, died 3 years ago. His name was Fred. I called him Fredrick or Fredrick M. Doodle or Trucker Fred. He was a petit basset griffon vendean or a French rabbit hound. He was a great watch dog as he owned that truck and may God help you if you came near it! A good friend that is sorely missed. I am choked up as I type this.
     
  20. Jul 20, 2017 #20

    Hephaestus

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    They wrap 737 and 767s, and the Canadian cf18 demonstration fighter...

    I'd assume the wraps are a known entity now. But no clue on the STCs it would require?
     

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