Sunday, August 19, 2007

Starboard float painted

With the wingnet rails attached and faired, I was just about ready for painting. The last remaining task was to construct some sort of a paint booth. If you search around on the internet, you'll find plenty of ideas for home-grown paint booths (Here is one particularly well-detailed story) and my original goal was to try to build something world-class (you know, good enough for a cancer-lung patient, etc, etc). By Wednesday evening I had found time to purchase some 3/4" PVC tubing and construct the basic frame:

On Saturday morning my wife came outside to help me tent up the plastic over the frame. I made a mistake going with 3/4" tubing and 4mil plastic - the plastic was a bit too heavy, causing the tubing to bow pretty good. (Most recommendations say to use 1" or 2" tubing, but I couldn't resist the price on 3/4" PVC tubing -- you get a 10 foot piece for less than three dollars.) We were able to get the overhead piece up okay, using duct tape to attach it to the frame. When I tried to get the first side-piece up though, it was just not working -- the duct tape didn't have the holding power to support the weight of the plastic. I would suggest using 2 or 3 mil plastic in future. In the end, I decided to give up on my goal of having my own personal Hermetically Sealed Booth (tm), and settled for just the overhead piece and a big piece on the floor to catch overspray. Here's how it looked Saturday morning; this is just about ready for painting:

The above approach worked out better than I might have expected. My boat tent keeps out most of the wind. The overhead plastic keeps most of the bugs and dust from falling down onto the float (lots of bugs fall down after dying in the concentrated heat at the peak of the tent). I also sprayed down the grass and dirt around the perimeter of the ten before spraying, to help keep the dust down. The final finish was remarkably dust-and-contaminate-free (more below).

My initial paint batch consisted of 48 oz of paint (24 base, 24 converter), reduced by 40% using Alexseal's Medium-speed reducer. I also added slightly less than a capful of the top-coat accelerator. Outside temperature was in the low 70 degrees F. This batch size was based on guess work, but it turned out perfect -- it was enough for three coats and I had only about 3-4 ounces of wastage at the end.

Here I'm filling up the paint gun cup to prepare for the third and final coat:

I sprayed in a Tyvek suit, with the full-face respirator that came with my Axispro spray setup:

I look just like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, don't I? :-)

I put the first coat as thin as I could, per the guidance I got from Tim Lackey and others. I accomplished this mainly by moving the gun nice and fast; I slowed down for the 2nd and 3rd coats.

Okay, enough procrastination! Time to answer the $10000 question: how did it turn out? Well, it's not perfect but overall I think it looks pretty good! I did get some orange peel here and there, and also some dull spots. (Need to work on keeping the gun a constant distance from the surface...) I can't see any dust anywhere on the finish, although one big bug did decide to end his life on top of the wingnet rail (his carcass outline will be covered by the net rail eventually). Anyway here's some pictures, you guys can judge for yourselves:





All in all though, I am reasonably satisfied with the results. A few runs here and there, but nothing like I was afraid of. The underside of the wingnet rails was a pain in the arse to spray -- there's even a spot that didn't get any paint at all, I'll have to mask off and fix it using a small brush.

I'll post a few more pics when I get this float outside into the sun.

I was planning on spraying the port float today, but unfortunately it's been raining all day and temperatures are still below 60 deg F. (Where's some of that global warming when you need it?) So I'm going to let the starboard float remain hanging for another day, guess it won't hurt for it to cure a bit longer.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get the port float sprayed, and then it will be full-speed on the main hull. I've already asked my neighbor with the CNC machine to start cutting my main hull form frames, to be ready sometime around Wednesday. I'll need to do some cleanup in the tent and double-check the level on the strongback, but that shouldn't take too long.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jay,

As a professional aircraft painter and F-32 builder, I must congratulate you on a great paint job for your first attempt! There is no such thing as a perfect paint job, but you can repair defects with 2000-3000 grit sandpaper and polishing equipment. Most 2K high end polyurethanes require that you fix them while the coating is still green so they can still flow. If I get a bug or run, I fix it the next day, and it looks perfect! Once I learned how to fix paint defects, I can turn a great paint job into a flawless, perfect paint job. If you would like more info on painting of paint fixing, I love to help you in any way I can.

Best regards,

Phil Kite
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Tom McCaw said...

Looks great from here Jay. Wingnet rails look awesome. When you get the float out side could you post a pic of it dead on sideways so I can play with some graphics … ya maybe I am getting ahead of myself buuuuut.

Phil I will take a copy of that tutorial/video/email/blog/youtube!!!!
Nanaimo BC

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay,
I yust must congratulate you....
Looks great ....

regards Roger Bonnot

Tim said...


Looks good! Congratulations.

Jay said...

Thanks everyone for the compliments, they are much appreciated!

Phil, I've never repaired paint defects before, nor have I ever used a buffer or polisher. I looked the float over again last night and I think it is "good enough" that I will leave it alone.

Tom, I'll see if I can get a side-on picture for you.

Also up on the agenda is finally figuring out how much this float weighs... Any bets for the pool? :-) It's hard to guess but if I'm under 150 lbs (68 kg) I'll be happy.


Anonymous said...

I have been using a Norton Spot Repair kit #36216. It works great and the small little air sanders work great for sanding in tight locations also.

Keep up the great work and thanks for all of the great pictures!