Painting … done [1.0 hours]

It took me the remainder of 2023 to recover from injuries and regain enough facility to complete the paint work. Painting an RV-10 is a very large job and I’ve given up any notion of keeping track of hours. I painted the fuselage and doors in late December, took a break for a few weeks and then completed the cowls, rudder and VS in late January. As large as my blow-up booth was, I couldn’t do it all at once, apart from which applying paint masks and taping up between layers is such a time consuming job it would be impossible to do it on my own inside of the time limit to apply all colors.

Overall I’m happy with the paint job, it’s not up to professional standards but pretty good for an amateur effort and my out-of-pockets costs all up, including paint, were a small fraction of the numbers I’ve seen being spent on paint jobs. Most of the cost was paint – I used PPG CA7700 primer and CA8800 polyurethane paint. I compromised in a few areas where the paint design was a bit too ambitious. For instance, I was going to include a black surround across the window/door pillars as is commonly done with RV-10’s, but that was just more time and risk so when the time came, I omitted that step.

Since completing the paint job, I’ve been re-assembling everything, it has seemed strange to be fitting parts together that will not be disassembled again.

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    Doors after painting the inside
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    Spraying final coat of fill primer, prior to sanding
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    Checking the final door gap
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    Taped up seams/holes ready for acid etch
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    Fuselage after acid etch, ready to prime
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    Fuselage after priming
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    Doors after priming
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    Fuselage after painting white
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    Doors after painting white
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    Paint mask ready to apply
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    Applying paint mask
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    Masking up ready for blue
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    Fuselage after shooting blue, taken through plastic window
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    Fuselage, ready to shoot dark grey
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    Fuselage after painting
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    Hanging doors after painting
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    Minor blunder, requiring a re-paint
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    Rudder after acid etch, ready to prime
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    Rudder after priming
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    Lower cowl after priming
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    Lower cowl ready to shoot blue
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    Removing parts of paint mask between layers, VS
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    VS and rudder after painting
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    Lower cowl after painting
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    Lower cowl after painting
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    Wings on

Priming mid & forward fuse parts [6.5 hours]

I primed all parts except for the forward fuse bottom skin in one large priming session. I now have a full size spray gun but am still waiting on a fitting so I had to use the mini-gun for the mid fuse skins – slow going. The paint booth was overflowing with parts but I managed to shuffle things around enough to get everything done. Now I’ve got a lot of riveting to do.

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    Mid fuse skin a bit too big for paint booth
  • f6b
    Parts for mid fuse and forward fuse
  • f6c
    Mid fuselage skins primed

Right flap priming [4.0 hours]

Primed all the right flap parts. The good news is that the next priming job I do will be on the fuselage! A separate post will catch up on right flap construction.

  • w56a
    Right flap skins scuffed, de-greased, ready for priming
  • w56b
    Right flap parts ready for priming
  • w56c
    Skins primed
  • w56d
    Internal parts primed

Left flap priming [4.5 hours]

I primed the left flap parts, aileron pushrods, and remaining four wing inspection covers. Now I can assemble the flap.

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    Left flap parts ready for priming
  • w46a
    Left flap parts, aileron pushrods, wing inspection covers
  • w46b
    Left flap skins


Priming aileron parts / compressor debacle [5.5 hours]

Today I scuffed, degreased, etched and primed all of the aileron parts. This should have been a straightforward job, and it was until the compressor failed when I was half way through spraying on the EAP-12. A solenoid valve on the output of motor #3 (of 4) blew up, tripping the breaker for that motor and causing a significant leak for the entire compressor. This in turn made the remaining three motors run “flat out” trying to make up for the leak. I hurried through the rest of the EAP-12 application with the compressor in this condition, in order to at least get all the parts “sealed”. Once this is done, the PPG spec says I have up to 72 hours to apply the primer. I’d already made up a pot of primer though, so if I didn’t want to waste it I had a remaining pot life of 4 hours to work out what to do.

It was very hot in the workshop mid afternoon when this happened, which could have contributed to the failure. I used a piece of rubber, some gorilla tape, and a C clamp to temporarily block up the leak (or most of it), and turned the remaining three motors back on. I waited a few hours until the ambient temperature dropped, and sprayed the primer. The three motors alone were on 100% of the time, which is not good, so I wound up the spray rate in order to complete the job quickly. This meant I didn’t achieve the usual extremely light coat on everything, so I’ve probably added a few grams of weight to the ailerons, too bad about that.

Normally an un-primed strip is left on the aileron skin trailing edges for pro-seal. I’m not using pro-seal on the trailing edge, I found on the rudder and elevators that the 3M F9460PC construction tape adhered just fine to a slightly scuffed primed surface, hence there is no un-primed strip in the attached photos.

I touched up a couple of wing parts while I was at it. Replacement solenoid valves are cheap from China, but will take a few weeks to get here, so tomorrow I’ll seal up the leak properly; running on less than four motors will be fine for normal construction and assembly work.

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    Very temporary fix for solenoid valve leak
  • w31b
    Aileron parts, plus a few ringers for touch up
  • w31c
    Allowance in bottom skin for static wick


Priming left wing skins [4.5 hours]

Given the workshop space, it’s better logistically if I prime the left wing skins before preparing the right wing skins, so that’s what I did today.

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    Scuffed ready for priming
  • w26d
    Spraying EAP-12 surface prep
  • w26b
    Left wing inner skins
  • w26a
    Left wing long skins
  • w26c
    Priming edge of main spar

Priming wing parts [16.0 hours]

I primed all the internal wing parts, across four separate, boring priming sessions.

When I built the spray booth, and the frame for etching “long” parts, I sized them to fit the HS spars, since that is what I had. It turns out I should have made them slightly longer, so that the wing rear spar would fit in. Rather than build an extension on the end of the spray booth, I sprayed these parts outside – which reminded me why I built a spray booth.

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    Some wing ribs ready for priming
  • w23b
    Primed wing ribs
  • w23c
    Piles of primed wing parts
  • w23d
    Ready to etch long parts
  • w23e
    Shooting primer in the spray booth
  • w23f
    Priming the wing rear spars - outside
  • w23g
    Wing rear spars
  • w23h
    Long wing parts primed

Primed tail cone parts [5.5 hours]

All tail cone parts are now primed. There were twice as many parts as I have table space in the paint booth, so I did them in two separate batches. Time to break out the rivet gun…

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    Long etch bath set up for J stiffeners etc.
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    Long parts ready to prime, plus some small parts to fill the empty space
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    Priming completed on long parts etc.
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    Remaining tail cone parts primed


Primed tail cone skins [3.5 hours]

I decided to prime the tail cone skins before the mountain of other parts. Get the easy part done first. The NACA vent holes, and the holes for the static ports, were treated with an Alodine pen and masked over, since the pro-seal used for these parts will achieve a better bond directly to the scuffed Alclad. The weather was a bit cold – 12 degrees C, so I mixed the primer and let the pots sit in the house family room – where there’s a wood burning stove – for the induction time. The primer went down OK, just took a bit longer to dry.

Next will be the “long” parts (stiffeners etc.) together with small parts to fill up the booth, followed by the remainder of the tail cone parts.

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    Set up ready for skin priming
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    Bottom tail cone skin in booth
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    Masked off NACA vent and static mounting areas where pro-seal will be used. These areas treated with an Alodine pen.
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    Left side skin and bottom skin primed
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    Right side skin and top skin primed
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    Tail cone skins finished, now for the mountain of other parts....