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Painting Fixtures cheep n easy and save time n money

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:44 pm
by The Flying Hare
Well I have just finished the laborious task of painting all the tail feathers, flaps and ailerons.
Regardless of the paint system you choose, the task is arduous. Depending how big your spray booth is, you are limited to how many parts you can shoot at a time. Each shoot is another set up, mixing, and cleaning of the gun (or it should be anyways!). I also discovered that much to my amazement that each surface has 2 sides...and both of them need to be sprayed! The surface could be sprayed hanging it vertically, which increases the chance for runs and sags. Spraying flat can be done in two separate sessions, with a wait and dry period in between, or with some creativity, planning and scrap steel you likely have laying around, some odds-n-ends, and some basic welding skills, these fixtures can easily be made to double your painting pleasure, and half the number of times you need to do the set up/mix/clean cycle, this saves not only completion time, but reduces material waste, and chemical contact/exposure time. Oh, and by the way, the results are superb!!!
Here is what I did:

First things first, during your build, you will need several sturdy saw horses, and they will always come in handy around the hangar, now for painting, later for work tables or whatever. I found plans online to build your own stackable "I" Beam saw horses out of 2x4s that turned out to be amazingly strong and cheep. (About $10.00 each, if you buy everything new!) Here are FREE plans for them

***Elevators and Rudder***

Horn up, resting on wooden part

Using some plate or 1 1/2 angle, and a 16 penny nail, weld up 4 fixtures that looks like this. drill some holes on the base surface so it can be screwed to the top 2x4 of the saw horse with sheet rock screws or what have you. This setup us used to paint the Elevators and Rudder. On the Elevators and rudder, I mounted the surface so the control horn was just off the end of the 2x4. Be sure to hold the surface captive in place by having the nails pointed in opposite directions, otherwise it could slide off and fall, this usually is followed by profanity, shame and drinking.
Horn down, resting on screw

Then using a carefully placed screw and a piece of scrap wood attached to the saw horse, the surface can flip-flop from side to side, allowing both sides to be painted in the same session.

The rudder is "stopped " using 2 screws that make contact on the Rudder Control horns. (these should be placed so the surface is level on each side)

***Horizontal Stabilizers***


This part fabricated out of 2 pieces of angle stock tack welded to a short length of pipe. The pipe is the pivot point for the Horizontals, while they are painted as a pair. (Left and Right) A 24" wood dowel with masking tape wrapped diameter build-ups made the diameter of the dowel more closely matches that of the ID of the pipe, so the whole assembly doesn't wobble. The protruding ends were plugged into the end tube openings on the horizontals, and another dowel gets plugged into the opposite tubes on the horizontals, and the whole thing can flip-flop by touching ONLY the dowel to turn the parts over during the painting process.

***Flaps and Ailerons***
ail 1.JPG
1x2 stop piece NOT touching Aileron

This one is even easier to make, and requires NO welding, and works well on what would be a hard to paint in 1 session parts. This may sound long and complex, but it isn’t, and once you see it once, you’ll “get it” and a picture is worth a thousand words.
For the flaps, I mounted a longer 2x4 to the top of the saw horse. Measure the approximate distance between the flap tracks, and that is about the length you need, this is not critical.
Get 2 same length pieces of 1/8 x 1 inch "Flat stock" aluminum or steel, about 10 inches long. (mine in the pictures are longer, but i'm pretty tall, so it worked out ok)
Drill 2 holes about 3/4 inch apart at one end AND 1 hole (3/16 or #12) at the other end. Get 2 scrap 2x4 blocks of any length and using 2” or longer screws, pre-set 2 screws so they just poke out of the other side of the blocks. Sink a screw in ONE of the 2 holes into the end of the small blocks. Have a helper, hold the surface parallel to the saw horse with trailing edge pointed toward the floor, and the underside of the control surface facing the saw horse. Put a #3 AN bolt through one of the flap mounting bracket tabs, then through the bar stock piece and finally through the other mounting tab, AND PUT A NUT ON IT, again to avoid profanity!! Do the same on the other side, so now you will have your helper holding the surface, with two 2x4 blocks with screws hanging off of 2 bar stock pieces, pinned on to the surface with #3AN bolts, with nuts.....SO FAR SO GOOD!!!
ail 2.JPG
Aileron resting on 1x2 stop

Hold the surface over the saw Horse and screw one block to the saw horse, now move down to the other block and position it so the bar stock it square to the 2x4 block. Don't fuss too much, as this can be adjusted if you don't get it right the first time, once you get the mounting set. Now swing the flap so the mounting tabs and #3 bolt are up, the Bar goes through the slit in the surface and GENTLY rests against the bar on the skin on the opposite side of the mounting tab. Level the surface and you will find the Bar will be at about a 20 degree angle to one side looking down the saw horse.....PERFECT !!!
Put the second screw in the second hole on BOTH blocks, and check the swing of the surface. It should rotate from right side up to up side down without binding at the bar stock to slit or tabs. Adjust the blocks to get that right. TO make a stop, I took a piece if 1x2 scrap and put a piece of rubber pad on one end so as to avoid scratching where it contacts the surface. This gets mounted vertically somewhere mid way down the surface, to the Saw Horse at a location where it will contact a rib, not just the cloth in between, cuz it will cause a dimple. The mounting height of this will vary so to achieve a level surface when it is swung over to this side. Swinging the other way, the stop is the bar touching the aluminum skin in the slit, so be careful, and don't slam these things around, and as you are going to do some light sanding or cleaning during the painting process, support the surface to avoid "boogering up" the skin there. Note: Paint the surface side first where it is resting on the rubber pad. Then flip it over and paint the other side. DON’T FLIP IT OVER AGAIN UNTIL THE PAINT IS THOROUGHLY DRY, as it could stick to the pad.


Chris Hare
Conroe TX
SuperSTOL #340

Re: Painting Fixtures cheep n easy and save time n money

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:43 pm
by The Flying Hare
Walter White

Here is a picture of me in my “Walter White” (Breaking Bad TV series Meth Cook!) costume, blowing the first “cross coat” of Poly-Spray on to the Horizontals.
You can see the Flip-Flop fixture mounted to the saw horse.
Also, I reluctantly bought the pressure pot from China Mart (Harbor Freight) under advise from my Stits Mentor. I was leery, but with all the surfaces done now, I can say that shooting the wings and Fuse should be easy. The pot holds about ½ a gallon, so with NON CATALYZED paint, you can fill it up, spray what you want without having to re-load. When your done, simply dump the unused paint back into the can. Do that with Catalyzed paint, and you will be unhappy.
The cleanup is pretty easy, and you can drain the hose back to the can as well, so there is little waste.
I have to say that with Poly-Spray and Poly -Tone products, this gun did a great job. I haven’t used it on the Urethane paints yet, though I don’t expect anything less.