Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tank Painted

I'm late with updating this entry but the work has been done as anticipated. Yesterday I painted the last parts for the interior, the map box, the fuel neck and the tank.
Despite my troubles in getting a good job done when priming (remember, I produced some small runs), the paint job turned out way better than my previous average work. Actually I think the map box and the tank are my masterpieces with the spray gun.

Take a look at the pieces and note the shiny reflections which prove that the surface is really smooth. Here are the parts right after applying the last coat.

And here after a night of polymerizing in the heated paint booth.

I believe, I am done with painting large interior parts at this point but before tearing down the paint booth I will do an inventory and see if there's nothing hiding in a corner of the shop ...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back to Building

Finally! After quite a long hiatus I am back at building. Not with full motivation yet but at least I AM doing something with the plane. Main reason why I am not really gun-ho about it yet is that the still-not-availability of the aviation package is frustrating. I refuse to accept the idea that I would have to crawl back into the tailcone to install the magnetometer thingy and some wires and tubes, lying on my back, resting on two fragile little bulkhead webs. Installing this stuff right now when I can still turn the fuse on its side would be hell of a lot easier and so I am currently hoping (or call it: dreaming) that this aviation package is going to be available before I put the fuse on wheels....

So, I am back at building. What did I do? The tank needed paint and the first step is to prep the aluminum - usually. With the tank there's an earlier step. This is to remove the gunky spillover from sealing the tank with Pro-Seal. This is particularly ugly at the fuel window which I left open (I know I will likely regret this). So I had to find a technique to remove this stuff without damaging the window. Van's calls for building a tool from a wooden spatula with a sharp tip. I did tha but also used a scalpel to cut loose thick chunks before going at them with the wooden tool.

This shows me somewhat into the job (a few holes on the left side have been cleaned up).

This is after being done, also showing the two tools used.

The edges of the tank were trimmed with a loose razor blade. Careful! Don't cut yourself.
Then the tank was up for the usual surface prep and drying in the sun. My painting skills suffered a bit during this hiatus as I didn't show the usual patience putting on the multiple coats and giving the, enough time to dry before the next one was put on. The result? Runs! This is not so bad with this primer as it's to sand. This better not happen during the paint run!!!
BTW: The window holes can be covered with self adhesive felt patches. The diameter should be 3/8" which makes them fit perfectly in the holes.

I only primed the left and right side (the right more accidentally than willingly, call it a mistake), the top and the front of the tank. Only these sides will be exposed and there's no need for paint on the other sides. This way the tank will be paintable in one long run instead of needing multiple days to be able to put it on a previously painted side.

The primer should fully dry over night and then tomorrow I will probably sand and paint.

I also primed the fuel neck and the map box.