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Go Back   VAF Forums > The Never Ending Debate Section > Painting your RV
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View Poll Results: Who painted your aircraft
Unpainted 19 8.64%
Myself 85 38.64%
Professional painter (non aviation shop) 30 13.64%
Pro painter aviation shop 86 39.09%
Voters: 220. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-02-2012, 09:06 PM
bird's Avatar
bird bird is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: lake charles, La.
Posts: 699

Very very rewarding for me and I get to say I did it. Not done yet but so far it is turning out to be a 12 inch paint job. 90 percent preparation, 10 percent actually spraying. Actually, for me, the newer materials are easier to use. My biggest challenge so far was keeping dry compressed air here in humid Louisiana. My wife's cousin, a professional auto painter helped me get that together. If you have any questions about putting together a good air system message me. Good luck if you decide to paint yourself.

rv8 entire airframe at airport now, painting done, intersection and gear upper and lower fairings done, maybe order engine around first of year or before the next rate increase.
"to fly is a privilege that I am so thankful to God for"
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:43 PM
N15JB N15JB is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Denver
Posts: 566

I painted my Pitts 30 years ago. It turned out OK, but I promised myself I would never paint another plane. When my -10 was ready for paint, I kept my word and took it to Grady. The pain of writing the check was less than the agony of prepping/painting for weeks on end.

Jim Berry
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:11 PM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO, Okemos MI
Posts: 2,858
Default get a neighbor who owns a body shop

My next door neighbor owns a body shop in Aspen. In looking at colors, he gave me the Range Rover, Porsche, and BMW charts. He is a good neighbor to have!!He said I could prep it and his guys will spray it for me if I want for $25 an hour or I could use his booth. With a plane, you can do all the parts at different times and then put it together. That makes it easier to transport to a painter. I have done several cars and as long as you don't mine color sanding, you can get a pretty good job. The chemicals are what scares me now. The big tip is DO NOT SAND WHERE YOU PAINT! I agree with those who say it is rewarding to paint it themselves. I am still not sure if I will just have the guys paint it for me or do it myself. My neighbor will also buy the paint and other materials for me at quite a savings over retail.
Williamston MI
O-320 D2A
Flying N376E
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:37 AM
humptybump humptybump is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,181

Vlad - as you know, I had mine painted at a professional shop. I think everyone would describe it as a 5' paint job (at less than 5' you can find some imperfections). There were two reasons for having it done. The biggest reason ? I was not comfortable disassembling the plane. With some recent experience, I am comfortable with the processes but without disassembly, I would not tackle an airplane project.

If you are serious about painting your airplane for the experience, I'd be happy to talk about the process. If you're doing it to save money, you should talk about Jim Russell.

Last edited by humptybump : 12-03-2012 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:31 AM
noelf noelf is online now
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Solomons, MD.
Posts: 1,258

I did not participate in the poll as there was no in between.

One paint shop in NC wanted $10K, another wanted $7K. I had started polishing and decided I was not ever going to finish. I decided to paint the plane myself.

I have all the fiberglass finished and will paint the rest next spring after pine pollen season. I am using the HVLP Citation system and like the results very much. The only down side to this system is that you get to drag two large hoses around, and I feel like I am constantly tripping on them.

Another other draw back is that it appears next to impossible to shoot paint upside down (fus belly, underside of wings, etc). My buddy just invested in a high end SATA 3000 gun. Wow! what a gun. I will be using that gun for at least the underside stuff (3M makes disposable adapters/cup/liners that fit the gun that allow for true upside down painting).

I am using the PPG DCC Concept line of single stage polyurethane paint, PPG K38 primer on the fiberglass, and DPS3055 V-Prime primer on the aluminum.

I have made good friends with my local PPG distributor as I/we are painting 3 RV aircraft. The volume of paint we buy is huge compared to the pints and quarts that an auto body shop uses. Because of the gallon sized increments we purchase, we are getting jobber prices.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:21 AM
Paul Tuttle's Avatar
Paul Tuttle Paul Tuttle is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Lantz,Nova Scotia ,Canada
Posts: 556

I'm doing my own paint. As imperfect (under statement) as it may be, I want to be able to say I did it myself.

It was getting a little cool up here which caused a few extra issues. I ended up with some orange peel which bothers me. I have a buffer and have color sanded and buffed the paint . It takes some effort, but it turns out pretty nice when it's finished.

I'm working on the checkerboard rudder today, which is making life a little interesting.

Paul Tuttle
RV 8
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:12 AM
jsharkey's Avatar
jsharkey jsharkey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bennington, Vermont USA
Posts: 1,302
Default Prestige At FSO in Northern VT

I can't recommend enough Prestige at Franklin County. They did a great job on my RV-6.

If you are in the north east they are easy to get to.

Jim Sharkey
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:50 AM
dougweil's Avatar
dougweil dougweil is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hudson, WI
Posts: 260

Hi all
Saturday MN Wing membe Scott Elhardt gave a talk to our builders group on the process he used in painting Luis beautifully RV8 himself. Here is a link to his PowerPoint presentation:

Personally, after having 3 other airplanes painted in my lifetime, I felt that i would just save and save until i could have my new RV7 painted at WipAire here in St. Paul. Not cheap but it was well worth it.
Doug Weiler

Hudson, WI
president, Twin Cities RV Builders Group
RV-4, sold
RV-7 completed and flying N722DW, 930 hours
Based Lake Elmo, MN (21D)
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:02 AM
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Fearless Fearless is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Crestwood, KY
Posts: 848
Default Thanks Gary

I'm in the process of trying to paint myself. I just don't have the funds to have it professionally done. I built a temporary booth inside my garage to keep the overspray down to a minimum. I'm trying to teach myself how to spray currently with priming the parts. I was trying to use a cheap Sears siphon gun to prime with but its not working out.

I bought an air system to protect my lungs that I intend to sell on here down the road once I am sure I won't be painting anymore.

Gary I appreciate the pictures you posted so I can see the detail of what you did. I am copying your scheme but will use blue where you have the red.

If it looks good from 10 feet thats fine by me. I have more time than money.

When my daughter is at school I move the fuselage to my house garage to get it out of the way to free up the booth and keep it out of the elements. I don't spray anytime rain is forecasted and wait a day or two following a rain.
So what if it takes some more time to finish the build. Its suppose to be all about the experience anyway.
RV-9A Based K6I2
Flying - out of Phase 1
Building RV-12 with brother
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:11 AM
selhardt's Avatar
selhardt selhardt is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 113
Default Painted it myself

I just did a presentation on my painting process for our Minnesota Wing on painting my RV-8.

The link is here -

My results were really good and I'd do it again. My costs ended up about 1/3 of the numbers that I heard from the group compared to having it professionally painted.

My paint booth is in this thread -

I think if you built it, you can paint it if you want to.
Scott Elhardt
RV-8 N32SE -Finished!
Grove Gear, XIO-360-M1B
Whirlwind RV200
Dual PMags

Pitts S-1S Restoration in process!

Minneapolis, MN
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