Paint/Finishing Question

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Mar 1, 2004
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Looking for everyone's input here.

I'm starting to paint my Big Betty and I have some questions:

1) I want to mask off an area, should I use masking tape or clear?

2) After primer, do I sand it down a little to make it smooth? Using what grain sandpaper or maybe steel wool?

3) Put fins on and then paint or can fins go on after the fact?


I hate to be obnoxious, but... do a search for masking techniques. There's been plenty of threads regarding this subject. You'll find so much information, your head will spin!
I've found painters tape to work really well, I got it at hobby lobby. Masking tape tends to take paint off and it lets paint seep through. Personally, I sand primer with 280 grain sandpaper and put the fins on first. I think the paint helps seal the fins to the rocket and having a bunch of paint on it could cause fitting problems. This is all in my humble opinion, I could definately be wrong. Turned out good for me though.
Painting should be one of your final steps to a completed rocket. Fins definitely on. The only exception would be in ring fins or compound tube situations where the larger, outer tube would prevent you from getting good paint on the "inside" of that "outer" tube.

I sand primers and paints with 400 grit paper. Heavier grit if I need to rough out a run or drip in the paint, then smoothed with the 400 grit.

But definitely attach your fins before painting.