Pulling the masking and masking and sanding the cowlings

May 17, 2012

So tonight I was pretty excited to pull all the masking off the fuselage and the sheet metal panels. They turned out great beside the rudder which had a good sized run in it so I sanded it smooth to re-shoot it.

After I finish that I got to work on the engine cowling and masked them up in preparation to shoot the white on them. I then sanded them down.

Time spent today 2 hours
Total time spent 1322 hours


Shooting the White on the fuse, panels, and rudder

May 16, 2012

Tonight I carted the fuse into the paint booth and decided I could paint the fuse, the panels and the rudder all at once. So I did. 2 hours later I was done and the tape lines were pulled. I did put a bit too much paint on the rudder and will have to sand that down and re-paint it the next day. Sorry no pictures of the rudder or panels.

Time spent 2 hours
Total time spent 1320 hours


Re-masking the fuse for the white

May 15, 2012

Tonight I re-taped the trim line between the white and the silver and re-masked the fuselage and panels areas that have silver and slice of blue from where my previous masking stoped. Really tried to lessen my work so that i wouldn’t have to remask everything. After that I sanded down the white areas and cleand the to be painted areas with alcohol. I’ll see if I can get some white sprayed on tomorrow.

Time spent 2 hours
Total Time spent 1318 hours


Masking and painting the panels and rudder

May 13, 2012

Today I spent a good chunk of time masking off the sheet metal panels and prepping the fuselage and panels for the silver mettalic paint. I masked off anything that wasn’t going to get painted and really pressed the 3M 233+ fineline into the surface with a credit card to make sure there would be no bleed through. I then scuff sanded the area to be painted with some 320 sand paper and then gave it a good cleaning with alcohol. I tried to make my life easier by masking off the lines that I was going to paint then bringing the masking paper up to about 1/4 or 1/2 inch of the that line then bridging the gap between so that when I go to pull the tape while wet that I don’t have to mess with paper too that greatly increases the changes of touching the paint and ruining your paint job. As for the sanding, I just sanded with the tape lines intact and tape holds up just fine.

A few words on masking tape. I have both the 3M blue vinyl like electrical tape and the green 3M 233+ fineline tape. I had heard that they make the same sharp line which is awesome since the blue fine line is $11-13 per 35 yard roll where as the 1 inch green tape is only $7 (in town) or (ordered on TCP global $4 per roll but you pay shipping). Both can be sanded on, however the green won’t turn corners as well, but will conform to fairly tight radius if you get the 1/2″ or less. The green is also good for long straight runs as it stays straighter than the blue which will wiggle bad on a long straight run. I tested both on a test panel and as it turns out they do make the same sharp line only if the green is pressed down with a card.

Anyway I loaded the panels and rudder into the booth and shot the silver on to them 30 mintues after I was done I pulled the tapes making sure to “sheer” the line and I was left with a great sharp line! no bleed through. Make sure you wear gloves doing this or you will have paint all over your fingers!

Time spent today 8 hours
Total time spent 1314 hours


Canopy panel, cockpit inst panel, turtle deck, and painting the rudder

April 8, 2012

Today was a busy day I got all sorts of work done on the canopy panel. First thing first. I measured marked and trimmed the canopy panels ends to meet up with the turtle deck. I then marked and cut the inside coping tube (4130) then I welded an extension tube on to it to lengthen to the end of the new canopy panel. After that I marked and drilled new holes for the rivets on the extension. I sanded the tubing down in prep for priming. I figured the tubing would start to corrode if it was primed after being attached to the panel so decided to prime it, then attach it. So after I was happy with everything I made sure the turtle deck was in place and and I drilled the holes and installed the nut plates that hold the top of the panel to the turtle deck. After all that was done I removed both panels and the windscreen skirt and etched and rinsed them allowing them to dry for several hours. I cleaned them all off with alcohol and primed them. While they dried I pulled the instruments out of the instrument panel and started to sand it down in prep for some primer. I didn’t strip this one as I though I could salvage the primer that I used a few years ago. In hindsight I will likely strip it and re-etch and prime. A hour or so after I primed canopy panels, coping and windscreen skirt I pulled them out of the booth so that I could top coat the rudder.

Now with the top coat on the rudder I decided since I was having some orange peel issues that I would thin the mix a little more using 2.85 instead of the 3.0 on the can. It worked a little better but I still think it needs more so next time I will use 2.75 and see how that does.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1254 hours


White Eko-fill on the rudder and I-struts, shooting the I-struts with blue eko-poly

March 30, 2012

Two day roll up post for the 29-30 Mar. In preparation for top coat I needed to put a white coat of Eko-fill onto the items getting painted blue to give the color a bit of depth. I shot the I-struts and rudder after I rubbed them down with some scotch brite. The white eko fill like to run so I set the gun at 3/4 turn out from closed and moved fast. Several very light coats with drying in between works way better than runs. It only takes two light cross coats to change the color to white.

The next day I sanded the white eko fill with the scotch brite again, wiped them down with a rag and alcohol while blowing compressed air on them. I mixed up my custom color blue and shot those nice and shiny blue.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1223

Unrelated to the airplane build, my buddy came over so I could paint a couple of scallops on his motorcycle fuel tank. After doing some dent filling with bondo we primered it with Eko-prime sanded it smooth with 320 and then shot the blue onto it and it came out fantastic. It really proves out versatile the Stewart Systems products are.


3rd X coat on the Istruts, stabs, rudder and elevators starting cowling prep

March 17, 2012

Today I took the morning to go flying with my buddy to work on my instrument rating. This afternoon I started prepping the left side cowling for paint. It will need a bit of body filler as this is the side that I had to widen for the engine to fit. It also has some areas that need some filler to fill in some voids after the molding process. I started by sanding all the gel coat down with 320 to give it some grit for the paint and to also clean it up since it had bugs and other things on it. The sanding worked really well the cowling looks great. After that I re-installed the ladder back into the paint booth and hung the I-struts, right stab, rudder and elevators for their 3rd cross coat.

Time spent 5 hours
Total time spent 1190 hours


Sanding the 2nd X coat and spraying the 2nd coat of grey on the fuse

March 16, 2012

Today I spent the day first sanding everything I sprayed the day before which was the I-struts, horizontal tails, elevators, rudder and fuselage. After the fuse was sanded I sprayed a 2nd cross coat of Eko-fill on to it. With the 100 watt light bulb test I could still see light through in some areas so it still needs another cross coat which is what I planned for anyway.

Time spent today 5 hours
Total time spent 1184 hours


1st grey coat for the fuse and sanding and 2nd cross coat for for the elevators, stabs, rudder, I-struts

March 15, 2012

Today I took a half day off work I got right to work by removing all the parts I shot the night before and pulling the fuselage in for 1 more half cross coat of eko fill white. By the time all this happened the mail man and just delivered my new variable speed orbital palm sander and with this new set up sanding is easy and got right to work sanding the elevators, stabs, rudder and I-struts. I also used my square palm sander with the red scotch bright for areas like the rib stitches and the leading and trailing edges of the parts. Once the sanding was done I wanted to shoot a coat of grey on to the fuselage but I also wanted to see how my sanding was working on so I also shot the 2nd cross coat on my left horizontal stabilizer. Once those dried I pulled them out of the booth and I spent some time figuring out a way to secure all the other parts so that they are rigid but I could also get around them to paint them with out touching them. I took half of my extension ladder and wired it to the ceiling to secure them to it using some spare wood, screws and clamps. after I had this all figured out I was to a break for dinner which gave me enough time to sand the 2nd cross coat on the left horizontal stabilizer so I could shoot a 3rd cross coat on that while shot the second X coat on all the rest of the parts. With the ladder holding everything tight I was able to do all the above parts in one sitting.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1179 hours


Applying Ekofill to Stabs, Elevator, Rudder and Lower right wing. Starting the fabric on the lower left wing.

February 12, 2012

Spent Friday afternoon, a very small part of saturday and a good chunk of Sunday applying Eko-fill to the horizontal stabs, elevators, rudder and lower right wing. I started finish Ironing the rest of the surface followed by a throuough cleaning of each surface with the Eko-clean followed by a rinse.

****IMPORTANT NOTE: I want make it a point to all that read this that the Terry Cloths that Stewarts recommends are NOT to be used atleast from Lowes or Advanced Auto. They leave little invisable fuzz balls on the wing. This is a takeaway from the lower side of my upper wing. I have found that jersey cloths from Lowes are just as inexpensive and DON’T leave little fuzz balls that you can’t see until you apply the first coat of Eko-fill.

After I switched to the Jersey cloths all I was left with was a beautifully smooth surface ready for spraying without a rough sanding required. Anyway I applied the first coat of Eko-fill friday night to one side of all the surfaces. Saturday morning I flipped them over and applied the first coat to the other side of all the surfaces. Sunday I applied the second part (to make 1 cross coat) they dried fairly quickly and I was able to flip them over and coat the bottom side to finish them off.

After that was all done I started prepping the lower left wing for fabric. I sprayed the wing with compressed air while wiping with a clean jersey cloth to get it clean. I then marked and drilled the stitch holes through the I-stut section and wing walk. I lightly sanded the holes to “debur them” I also vacuumed them out to get all the tailings out. Finally I pre-glued the areas for the bottom side of fabric. After that was dry, cut and trimmed the fabric to size and ironed it down to the glue. After I got everything sitting pretty I glued them down with the Eko-bond. Once everything was dry I did the initial shrink to 250 F.

Time spent (3 days): 10 hours
Total Time Spent: 1100 hours