Empennage - Paint

2004-12-18 - Painting the HS. (2.0 Hrs).

It has been too cold to paint at night here in Austin, so I could not paint the HS after work this week. I had to wait until the daytime for it to warmup a little. It got up to about 65°F, which is probably marginal, but I went ahead and started painting, anyway. I had mixed results. The good news was that the paint stand worked perfectly, and I did not have a single run. The bad news is that I have a bit of orange peel and a fair amount of dust with the white paint, so I am going to have to repaint that. However, the blue paint that I sprayed on the bottom of the HS turned out great--at least as far as my expectations.

Let's be honest, here. I am not a professional painter, and my setup is pretty pathetic. I am using a $70 Husky gravity-feed paint gun from Home Depot. I am painting in my garage without any kind of paint booth, and I have a severe dust problem. I am not going to get a perfect new car finish, but if I can paint this thing without large chunks of dirt and bugs embedded in the surface, and if the paint looks fairly smooth, without major orange peel, then I am going to be happy. After today, I am very happy with the blue paint, and not quite satisfied with the white paint. I am getting a lot better at laying down this AFS paint, but I still have a ways to go.

Here you can see that the white paint is not at all smooth.
Better picture of the problem. Obviously, I need a thicker wet coat, so the paint can flow better.
The piece of cardboard leaning up against the compressor is to prevent any oil from spraying onto the painted surface. Early this year, I heard this pop when I was riveting, but I didn't find any problems. A few days later, I noticed a light film of oil all over my wing. I could not figure out what the problem was, until I noticed the oil plug missing from the compressor. I couldn't find the plug, so I put a paper towel in the hole, and the oil problem disappeared. I found the plug several months later, but I don't trust this thing not to leak a little oil mist into the air, so I use the cardboard to block it off when I paint. I know, I need a better setup.
Fog coat of the blue paint on the bottom. I am experimenting with the idea of going from white to blue on the bottom, just to see how it looks.
The second coat looked pretty good. You can see a little bit of orange peel, but it's not that bad. The blue-to-white transition is supposed to be like the bottom of a Corsair. This is the bottom of the HS, and I may leave it this way, but I definitely don't want to do the fuselage like this. Remember, this is just an experiment.
I got a pretty good wet coat of blue paint here. You can see the reflection of the garage door at the far end. The blue only needed about two coats of paint to cover.
I came out the next morning, and the blue paint was almost perfectly flat. Almost all of the orange peel disappeared, with just a slight hint along the edges. This picture really does not capture how good the blue looks. I am seriously considering painting the whole airplane blue.