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Thread: Painting a 750 Interior...

  1. #1
    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    Painting a 750 Interior...

    There's not much information out there about painting the interior of a 750 (STOL or Cruzer) so I thought I would start a thread about how I'm painting my interior. Note that I am not a painting expert, although I did paint my RANS S-10 and my RANS S-6S.

    I painted those two airplanes with a Citation HVLP and although I got excellent results, I didn't like that fact that 80% of the paint ends up as overspray. Furthermore I didn't like the how much pressure comes out of the gun. I could literally hold the paint gun about 15 feet from a wall and paint the wall! The entire paint booth fills with overspray very quickly.

    So for my Cruzer, I want to use a regular HVLP gun. I have been told by so many people to buy a $15 Harbor Freight paint gun because they work perfectly. That's what I did. Would I use this paint gun for the final finish on the outside of the plane? Probably not, but then again we will see how it works on the interior.

    Today at Harbor Freight I bought a $15 HVLP gun. The gun I bought was $15 but I got the version that comes with an adjustable pressure gauge for $29.99. I also bought a paint gun stand for $15, and an air filter and a couple of fittings.



    Here's the set up out of the box...



    Next I connected the air filter to my compressor. Because of the compressor handle being in the way, I wrapped the black hose around the compressor and then zip tied the air filter to the other side of the handle as shown below...



    The next step is to buy some tape and plastic and mask off the parts I want to paint. For now, I am only going to paint from the forward seat pan bulkhead forward. Once this is painted, I can rivet the firewall and the forward side stiffeners which I will also paint. I can then also install the rudder pedals and anything else that goes up front.

    Here the forward fuse part that I will paint...

    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

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    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    As a side note, notice the two bottom fuse stiffeners are mounted inside the airplane as opposed to the bottom. Zenith indicates it makes no difference if they are inside or outside, and I didn't want them on the outside of the airplane as all they would do is disrupt the airflow and act like spoilers causing drag. So I mounted mine inside and kept the bottom smooth.





    To bring you up to speed if you're not following my builder's log, I have primed the pieces as I build with NAPA 7220 etching primer. My plan for the inside of the fuse is to spray a light coat of epoxy primer over all the rivet tails so that the paint sticks to the rivets. So I'll re prime parts of the interior, and then paint it with Superflight paint. I used Superflight paint and epoxy primer on my S-6 and was very happy with both of them.

    That's it for today. I have been debating what color to paint the interior. It's either going to be white or grey. I can't decide! It depends on the outside paint scheme as white would look better with some of my designs, and grey would look better with others. So I am going to go to the 25th Zenith factory fly-in this weekend and look at interiors and paint schemes and get some ideas. Then once I return home, I'll have to make a decision and order the paint and primer.

    So if you interested in following my experience painting the interior, follow along on this thread, or check my online builder's log here.
    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

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    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    Just a quick update...ordered the epoxy primer and top coat paint from Superflite. I decided to go with a grey interior as I'm still not sure of the final color scheme. The grey will go with anything so that's what I'm doing. Once the paint arrives and start painting I'll be posting more updates here.
    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

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    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    I received my primer and paint today from Superflite.



    The first thing I did was look through the new System 7 manual.

    I mixed up the primer per the instructions and then sprays a little paint on a piece of cardboard and made any necessary adjustments on the paint gun. I wasn't happy with how the first couple spray passes went on. I thinned the paint little more and that helped, but then I realized I had the pressure set too low. Once I turned up the pressure, the primer sprayed very smoothly. I know you're wondering what pressure I used, right? The gauge right at the base of the gun indicates 60 psi when the trigger is not pulled, and drops to 40 psi when it's pulled. This seemed to work well for me.

    Here's a few pics of the white epoxy primer. It's a very thin coat since the aluminum was already primed. I mostly wanted to cover the rivet tails so that they would be primed for the grey interior paint.




    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

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    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    OK guys and gals, I just painted my interior! I will post some pics once the overspray clears out in the hangar. For now I will tell you I am VERY happy with the Superflite paint and the el cheapo Harbor Freight paint gun. More details to follow soon...
    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

  6. #6
    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    As shown above I'm using the Superflite System 7 topcoat paint. The color is called Polar Gray and it's the darker of the two grays that they sell. It appears to be the exact same shade as the parts I had powder coated gray which is nice (cabin frame and the four engine mounts).

    The paint is mixed 3-to-1 with the catalyst. One thing I've learned about Superflite paint is that it needs thinned 100%. I mixed 6 oz. of paint to 2 oz. of catalyst. Then I thinned it with 6 oz. of thinner. No this is not 100%, but I have a very slight amount of orange peel so I think I should have used 8 oz. of thinner. Now the orange peel might also be because I may not have the gun settings perfect. Also I'll keep in mind that as the paint dries, some of that orange peel disappears. But like I said, the orange peel is very slight and I'm totally happy with the results.

    For reference, here's my set up...



    Obviously not the ideal painting situation. I just covered some shelves and my Applebee's booth with some plastic to protect the hangar from overspray. But as you can see I don't really have a paint booth set up which if I did, I probably could have experimented and practiced a little more with setting up the new paint gun.

    So here are the results in the following photos. Obviously I painted the forward interior, along with the 6 fwd fuselage stiffeners, 2 floor plates, and the two seat belt attach points.





    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

  7. #7
    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    This software only lets my upload 4 pics per post, so here is the rest of the photos...

    In the following photo, notice I've masked off the very forward part of the sides. This is because that is the part that's fwd of the firewall and I wanted it bare aluminum like the rest of the engine compartment.



    These interior pieces look awesome! The paint is smooth and very shiny...





    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

  8. #8
    Administrator ZenithOwner.com's Avatar
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    The forward sides were the part I was worried about being able to paint. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get all the nooks and crannies with all the L angles. But, I was able to get it all very nicely. The following pic is dark but you can see it's very even coverage all over.



    So now that the forward fuse is painted, I can install the rudder pedals, brakes, firewall, etc. and get the fuse on the gear and off the workbench. Once I finish the aft part of the interior, then I'll mask off the forward part and paint the aft section. So the final verdict on the $15 Harbor Freight paint gun is positive. It's cheap and works great. I think with a little practice and time spent really dialing in the adjustments you can get a perfect paint job (at least for an interior!)

    I also highly recommend the Superflite line of primers and paints. They mix easy and give a very nice finish. I painted all the aluminum parts on my RANS S-6S with Superflite and the paint is tough as nails! That's why I'm using it again on the CruZer.
    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    Price's Airpark, Linden, MI (9G2)
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

  9. #9
    I recall seeing the beautiful paint job you had in this plane. A shame that photobucket has now eliminated access. Might you consider reposting all the pics in a single post? As I recall the inner priming was just absolutely perfect. Thanks.

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