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Thread: Stewart Systems for Painting Aircraft

  1. #11
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Is one of these systems easier to use if you are doing a 2 color paint job, or all they all pretty much the same?

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Switzer View Post
    Is one of these systems easier to use if you are doing a 2 color paint job, or all they all pretty much the same?
    Two color paint jobs are simply a masking task.

  3. #13
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Downey View Post
    Two color paint jobs are simply a masking task.
    So, basically just like a car. I was under the impression for some reason that when working with fabric the color was mixed in with the dope, but I don't know who told me that.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Switzer View Post
    So, basically just like a car. I was under the impression for some reason that when working with fabric the color was mixed in with the dope, but I don't know who told me that.
    Placing a second coat of DOPE will soften the first coat, but it should not mix with it unless agitated by brushing or other means.

    Many restorers will mask off and paint the trim first, then protect the trim with masking and pain the rest of the aircraft. this results in 1 layer of DOPE or paint on the entire aircraft and no ridges where the color changes.

  5. #15

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    Unless you have horseshoes up where the sun don't shine, stay far away from EkoPoly. I've used it a few times, all with disastrous results. It looks good for a while than it goes to hell. The factory always seems to have some tips and tricks that they "just found out" or an instruction revision after you get to the end of your project and it's too late. There doesn't seem to be any consistency in the failures. It works for a few people, yet others have problems even though they followed the instructions. Many guesses of what could have gone wrong, but no definite answers. You pay your money and take your chances. If it fails, they will usually replace the product, minus the fill, glue, fabric, blood, sweat and tears.

    It's a shame, the rest of the system is really good. They need to offer alternatives, such as Randthane, on the STC until they work the bugs out of their top coat. Tweaking the procedure after customer failures is not acceptable.

    Here's a few photos of one experience following the instructions to the letter. All the fabric had to be cut off and a more proven system used. Only the tail feathers were done, but imagine if you spent years building an airplane and had to recover the whole thing within three years.

    IMG_0035.jpgP1000563.jpgP1000564.jpgP1000565.jpg

  6. #16
    steve's Avatar
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    Stacey David had the rep from PPG on his Gearz car show (rerun) earlier today. Looks like water based paint is coming on strong if the major players are getting in on the action.

  7. #17

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    Water borne finishes are being worked on for automotive and furniture manufacturing use. The EPA is driving it and the paint companies are actually working pretty hard on it.

    The problem is that the maturity of the technology is not yet to the point where a guy in a hangar or home shop is guaranteed good results. Many folks get the right combination of temperature, gun settings, and mix, but the anecdotal evidence suggests that just as many people have problems. So if you like being an early adopter, then go for it. If you want to absolutely know that you will be successful, stick with the older paint systems.

    I can report that with no previous experience, to paint some aluminum, I bought a mask, HVLP conversion gun, and the PPG Delfleet materials (rugged truck paint), listened to the folks at my local auto paint supply, read the directions, followed the directions, and had a great result. The folks at the auto paint place really wanted to be helpful and answered all of my questions. It is not rocket science. They have high school kids doing it. Just take care of your mask and don't breath the stuff. Never thought that I would own 2000 grit sandpaper. When the experts say that prep is everything, listen.

    So translating that into fabric covering, the current top of the line appears to be Cooper Superflite. Aviat uses it on all of their new Pitts and Husky's. Polyfiber has worked well on a LOT of homebuilt airplanes. Having owned and maintained a butyrate dope airplane and had it recovered with Superflite, I will suggest that traditional dope finishes are obsolete unless you are trying to do a museum level restoration of an antique.

    I will suggest that you might pull out the issues of Sport Aviation that list the award winners at OSH and see what the finishes used were. That popularity poll might offer insight into what works for the most builders.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  8. #18
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    Water borne finishes are being worked on for automotive and furniture manufacturing use. The EPA is driving it and the paint companies are actually working pretty hard on it.
    One of the local body shops advertises in all their TV commercials that they only use "environmentally responsible water borne paint". I don't know anyone that has had their car painted there that is happy.

  9. #19

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    The pictures, from my perspective, appear to have some form of contamination between the undercoat and topcoat. Since conventional solvents are not being used to get past any surface "oils" the surface prep is even more important.
    In the supplied photos - what type of spray gun was used? How long between fill coats and top coats and what was the environment during that time?
    Having seen the display aircraft that Stewart uses for their "booth" I was impressed. I attended two work shops on Stewart products - one observing and the other hands on. I was pleased with the ease of application

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Heffelfinger View Post
    The pictures, from my perspective, appear to have some form of contamination between the undercoat and topcoat. Since conventional solvents are not being used to get past any surface "oils" the surface prep is even more important.
    In the supplied photos - what type of spray gun was used? How long between fill coats and top coats and what was the environment during that time?
    Having seen the display aircraft that Stewart uses for their "booth" I was impressed. I attended two work shops on Stewart products - one observing and the other hands on. I was pleased with the ease of application
    A Sharpe HLVP with a 1.3 tip. Time between last fill coats and top was about 24 hours. Done in a heated shop set up for painting with temperature 72-85f and about 50% humidity. Surfaces sanded and cleaned per the instructions prior to top coating. There were filters and a dryer on the air line. Everything was so clean there wasn't even a dust nib when it was done.

    The failure started as a few very small cracks. Then a heavy rainstorm caused it all to lift. The tubing had three coats of epoxy but was already starting to rust due to the porous fill coats allowing moisture to penetrate the fabric.

    I attended their seminar at Oshkosh this summer and there is nothing I would have done differently. That's the problem. Nobody knows the secret to make the system work consistently. Two people could apply it the same way with different results. It could be something as minor as a 2% difference in humidity that makes it fall apart. Considering homebuilders seldom have the exact same conditions every time they reach for the spray gun, and probably much different than that in the Stewart shop, EkoPoly is a very poor choice.

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