Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rejuvenation - Painting the plane

Actually getting paint on the plane was very exiting. After looking at naked metal for months to actually see it with paint was really the begining of the end. While a P51 with yards of polished aluminum is a thing of absolute beauty, a Cessna 150 with dull etched (for painting purposes), is just sad. When the first coat of Zinc Chromate went on my painter sent me a photo., I showed all my friends, until I reallized that the really just did not get it. Even my family was unimpressed. I was giddy. Later that day, the first coats of gray primer went on and then the first coats of white paint. The painting process is really messy and stinky. To start with you need a low humidity and reasonably warm day or a really good paint booth that has climate and humidity controls with really good venting. Everything that does not get paint needs to be really well masked off. The air supply for the paint gun needs to be dry with astrigent sponges. Dust control is also a serious issue. The surfaces that are to be painted must be totally free of grease, finger prints, dust, or any type of contaminants. The area around the plane needs to be as clean as possible as well. Once everything is ready paint is mixed an put into the gun. You want to keep a wet line going so it helps to have someone mixing paint while the painter is going, to minimize the down time when the gun runs dry. Once the process starts you need to finish an entire coat. This means the painter needs to hold the gun up for hours sometimes. The paint that does not go onto the plane creates a terrible fog that gets on and into everything. A respirator and preferably a paint suit is a really good idea. These are not chemicals that you want to inhale, ingest, or soak into your skin. Once done properly the results are very pleasing.

No comments:

Post a Comment