High-visibility paint

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muddymooose

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I'm currently prepping my PML Ariel and Estes PSII Nike Smoke for paint. I'm more into pragmatic high-visibility colors than crisp and faithful award-winning finishes. I want to paint both in bright fluorescent colors, but I have concerns about the fluorescent paint I've found. The Rustoleum fluorescents are all "water based marking paints" and don't sound like they have any durability. The Krylon fluorescents don't explicitly say "water based" but I suspect they're a similar formulation. All of the enamels I've found are rather bland earth-tones.

Will it be worth my time to use these fluorescent marking paints, even if I have to repaint them from time to time? Are there better fluorescents out there? Would I be better off just using a mix of standard enamel white-black-red? My main concern is visibility in the sky and on the ground, not being particularly snazzy.
 

dhbarr

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Safety orange, hot pink blobs / strings, chrome fins, max polish.

I'm probably wrong, but this is the best I've been able to think up.
 

modeltrains

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The fluorescent sprays I have used have a rather rough surface, which is a bit soft and easily scuffed. I suspect the rough surface is to offer a lot of microscopic fluorescing facets for reflecting light.
Paints used have been 'regular' fluorescent spray paint; marking spray paint in cans which spray upside down, Testors model fluorescent spray paint.
 

Exactimator

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Caveduck, who posts here, has tons of experience tracking small rockets for competition. Some of us call him Hawkeye because he has a knack for keeping eyes on a rocket everyone else has lost.

He said the easiest color to track is black. It can be seen against blue sky and clouds.

FWIW, I seem to be able to see red a little better (small black things get lost in the floaties in my eyes), so most of my HPR fleet is red. But I can still only see the actual rocket to a certain height. After that I just follow the tracking smoke until I see the drogue chute. I can see small red chutes really high up.

I painted an Apogee Aspire flourescent orange and promptly lost it after motor burnout.

Anything shiny that glints in the sun helps too. Doesn't necessarily have to by mylar. A shiny finish on a black fin seems to work well.
 

tomsteve

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white basecoat, flourescent paint, then clear coat.any flouresents froma rattle can ive used dont seem to have full coverage- more of a transparent,so the white base helps.
and the last coat a dust-mist coat to even it all out.
ive been using rusto auto clear on rockets and it seems to spray quite nicely and good durability.
if ya want more durability, upol#1 clear is pretty good
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LHER0M/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

and iffen ya want to start using a spray gun, auto air colors makes some awesome flourescents
https://www.tcpglobal.com/Airbrushing-Supplies/Fluorescent-Colors-1/

pretty good place to get paints and supplies,too.

personally, ive found what exactimator said to be true- black is easier to track that any flourescent colors ive used. it seems to show up good against any sky color.
that and the largest mylar streamer i can fit into the rocket- not the longest streamer, but largest. area. fan folded,too.i was quite amazed how large of a mylar streamer i can fit in an apogee aspire
 
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Woody's Workshop

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The florescence in fluorescent paint is chalky by nature.
Mixed with base clear and some pigment.
The clear is basically for adhesion and volumn.
Do not coat with a UV clear, it will hinder the florescence.
But if you want to avoid marring the finish easily, a clear coat is necessary.
 

muddymooose

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He said the easiest color to track is black. It can be seen against blue sky and clouds.
I agree black is easy to see in the sky, but it's not very easy to see on brushy ground. I think I'll try a black-white pattern, and maybe throw in some red.

I appreciate the posts recommending a clear coat over fluorescent. I'm tempted to try this as well.

Another option I'm considering is a metallic silver paint.
 

Woody's Workshop

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If you often land in high grass areas, try a secondary longer shock cord with a long streamer of florescence (not in place of the chute).
This will lay on top of the tall stuff as the rocket sinks through the foliage to the ground.
 

Zeus-cat

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Something shiny works best. Even us geezers can see sunlight glinting off silver Mylar as the rocket spins during descent. Either use a streamer or attach some shiny Mylar to the fins or around the body tube. And I would use a bright color for ground recovery; something like red or pink or orange.
 

blackjack2564

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The Rustoleum fluorescents are all "water based marking paints" and don't sound like they have any durability. The Krylon fluorescents don't explicitly say "water based" but I suspect they're a similar formulation. All of the enamels I've found are rather bland earth-tones.

.

You are attempting to use the WRONG paint!!!! That is marking paint for underground wires-pipes-cable etc. you see it on lawns where digging is about to happen to mark pathways....NOT for rockets or anywhere it's expected to last. This stuff [water based] is designed to deteriorate when exposed to elements. Same types of paint used when marking football fields .

This is what you want: https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/specialty/fluorescent-spray/
Readily available at Home Dept-Lowes-Ace- Wall-Mart- most all big box and hardware stores.
There is a store finder right on that link.

I have written so many posts on how to with fluorescents I will just show link to best one on the forum for use & application......where I chimed in:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?3570-Fluorescent-colors&p=34892#post34892

Backing up and reading the entire thread will shed answers to all your questions, by myself & others who are professional painters/sign painters by trade. We have dealt with the gamut of different paints and their proper use.

Good Luck..when applied correctly Flour. will last as long as most other coatings and by far are the easiest to spot when hunting a rocket.
 
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