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Thread: Paint for fabric covered aircraft

  1. #11
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    IIRC from a factory tour some years ago, the Legend Cub guys used PPG Concept (an automotive Acrylic Urethane) as the topcoat on their factory built planes. I forget which system they used through the silver coats. Maybe Stewarts, maybe not...
    I've used PPG Concept single stage on several projects and always had good results. I mixed up paint tech terms (polyurethane and acrylic urethane) in an earlier post when referring to modern automotive finishes. The new stuff is amazing technology, it is more of a flexible plastic coating than "paint". I often see significant dents in cars where the finish isn't cracked.
    Sam Buchanan
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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    Imron is not one of the modern automotive finishes.

    How many of our custom-built planes spend their life tied down on a ramp?
    Yeah, I think Imron has been around a while. I'm going to do some test samples. A lot of people have used it on fabric with great success. My airplane certainly wouldn't be out side a lot when not in use.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    I've used PPG Concept single stage on several projects and always had good results. I mixed up paint tech terms (polyurethane and acrylic urethane) in an earlier post when referring to modern automotive finishes. The new stuff is amazing technology, it is more of a flexible plastic coating than "paint". I often see significant dents in cars where the finish isn't cracked.
    Hey thanks Sam. I see you are an EAA tech counselor. Cool. I'm in the right forum. It will be a bit before I am ready to paint but I'm going to do some test samples on a couple test frames I made. I also need to check to see if Imron or PPG concept is compatible with Polyfiber products up to and including the silver coat. I think it will be. i just won't use polyfiber paint anymore and they also don't have the colors i want, unless I won't pay big bucks to have them mix it special. Alos really don't want the wet look. Just normal shiny.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by cub builder View Post
    It used to be acceptable to use any polyurethane paint over polyfibre, but the STC was rewritten to require the use of their paints. It gives them better control of the finishes and limits the blame if you use something other than what was recommended.

    I painted my SuperCub Clone with an automotive polyurethane paint over butyrate dope. It worked well enough, and at 7 years old, so far still looks great. Admittedly, it rarely spends a night outside, but it does see plenty of flight time. I needed to touch up some fabric damage on a gear leg and found the original paint had precipitated out a bit in the can and no longer matched, so had some acrylic urethane mixed to match. I also needed to modify an elevator, so when I recovered the elevator, I finished it with Acrylic Urethane over top of butyrate dope. The Acrylic Urethane is easier to shoot and much easier to spray a nice finish as compared to polyurethane, and so far, I am not seeing any issues with the Acrylic Urethane either. I'm thinking if I ever build another Experimental, or live long enough to need to recover the Cub Clone, I'll likely cover with Stewart's and finish it with an Acrylic Urethane. Before someone jumps on the "you can't do that" bandwagon, note that it would be an E-AB aircraft, and would definitely be an experiment; albeit based on my experiments so far, an experiment I predict to be successful.
    That sounds good. Worth looking into. I'm glad I asked my questions and I'm getting a lot of good educated answers. Polyfiber also only recommends their fabric. I used Stits and I bet it's the identical type material.
    Last edited by chuckb01; 05-30-2018 at 07:44 AM.

  5. #15
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    One thing about Imron and the gloss finishes on fabric: They're harder to make a repair blend in, if you have to patch something.

    Also, be aware of the safety requirements of the finishes. Some are quite toxic during application, and just a mask won't hack it. You'll need an outside air supply to a full-face mask.

    Ron Wanttaja

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    One thing about Imron and the gloss finishes on fabric: They're harder to make a repair blend in, if you have to patch something.

    Also, be aware of the safety requirements of the finishes. Some are quite toxic during application, and just a mask won't hack it. You'll need an outside air supply to a full-face mask.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Thanks for the reply. Your absolutely correct about the paint. I painted a Challenger II with 2 part polyfiber urethane and I tore a hole in the bottom of the fuselage. Difficult to repair. Also I really don't want t a high gloss "show plane". There are some available now with a lower gloss I hear. And it is toxic. I used a 3M organic face mask with good results but had plenty of ventilation to remove the fumes from the painting area. A fresh air mask would be the best idea. This time i going to build a ventilated structure out of PVC pipe and cover it with clear plastic with a fan in it and a large furnace filter.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    Even though PolyFiber doesn't recommend it, many fabric aircraft have been painted with automotive polyurethane paint. The modern polys are quite flexible and the ones I've seen seem to be holding up very nicely. This will yield a high gloss finish that will hold its gloss with no upkeep other than the semi-annual wash job. Kawasaki Green should be very close to what you are looking for or one of the lime green tints from 70-ish Mopar muscle cars. Hyunda has a stunning yellow on their new Veloster cars.
    Going to look up the color suggestions you gave me. Sounds good. Thanks for that.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    Even though PolyFiber doesn't recommend it, many fabric aircraft have been painted with automotive polyurethane paint. The modern polys are quite flexible and the ones I've seen seem to be holding up very nicely. This will yield a high gloss finish that will hold its gloss with no upkeep other than the semi-annual wash job. Kawasaki Green should be very close to what you are looking for or one of the lime green tints from 70-ish Mopar muscle cars. Hyunda has a stunning yellow on their new Veloster cars.
    I looked up some of the colors you suggested and they were exactly what I had in mind.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by cub builder View Post
    It used to be acceptable to use any polyurethane paint over polyfibre, but the STC was rewritten to require the use of their paints. It gives them better control of the finishes and limits the blame if you use something other than what was recommended.

    I painted my SuperCub Clone with an automotive polyurethane paint over butyrate dope. It worked well enough, and at 7 years old, so far still looks great. Admittedly, it rarely spends a night outside, but it does see plenty of flight time. I needed to touch up some fabric damage on a gear leg and found the original paint had precipitated out a bit in the can and no longer matched, so had some acrylic urethane mixed to match. I also needed to modify an elevator, so when I recovered the elevator, I finished it with Acrylic Urethane over top of butyrate dope. The Acrylic Urethane is easier to shoot and much easier to spray a nice finish as compared to polyurethane, and so far, I am not seeing any issues with the Acrylic Urethane either. I'm thinking if I ever build another Experimental, or live long enough to need to recover the Cub Clone, I'll likely cover with Stewart's and finish it with an Acrylic Urethane. Before someone jumps on the "you can't do that" bandwagon, note that it would be an E-AB aircraft, and would definitely be an experiment; albeit based on my experiments so far, an experiment I predict to be successful.
    After doing a bit more reserch, I find i can paint Imron with a HVLP system but they don't recommend it with PPG Concept or Acrylic urethane. Any thoughts on that?

  10. #20
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckb01 View Post
    After doing a bit more reserch, I find i can paint Imron with a HVLP system but they don't recommend it with PPG Concept or Acrylic urethane. Any thoughts on that?
    A whole bunch of RVs have been painted with Concept and HVLP systems. I suspect many auto body shops have had to convert to HVLP for environmental reasons. And a regular ol' gun still works nicely.
    Sam Buchanan
    EAA Technical Counselor
    The RV Journal RV-6 build log
    Fokker D.VII semi-replica build log
    YouTube Channel

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