What do you use for painting your larger projects?

DeltaVee

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I've been gradually building larger sized mid-power models over time leading up to (finally!) my L1. Up until now nothing has been bigger than 3" dia ( a Cherokee G that I obtained here on TRF) and I've been using rattle can paint for all of these projects. Usually suspend the subject horizontally and spray paint the thing moving from side-to-side. I find that reduces the chances (at least for me) of a run... esp. when using rusto 2x! What I'm wanting to do now however is get a larger fiberglass subject (such as CW's full scale HV-Arcas). This is around 8 feet in length... and I'd need at least 6-9 cans of paint. I'm wondering what experienced folks might be using for these considerably larger subjects. I'm guessing an airbrush arrangement is necessary but I suspect it's not going to be something small!

Let me in on your favorite method/equipment etc. when you're working on something big.

Thanks!
 

Andrew Brown

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I'm working on a 4", 12 ft fiberglass and finding rattle cans to be just fine. 3 cans put down a nice base coat after priming. I then added two cans of semi-transparent and will probably burn through 3-4 cans of clear coat next. A spray gun would be much better, but qty of paint may not warrant cleaning out the gun as I'm painting in two pieces. Airbrush? Nah. It would take you all day. An airbrush is great for detailing and really small stuff.

If you are looking to buy something to turn a rattle can finish into something amazing, a nice buffing disk set, a medium compound, and a fine compound will transform a mediocre finish into something amazing.
 

waltr

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An airbrush just won't do for a project that size. You'll need to go with a Spray gun.
Will also need an compressor and spray booth with fan to evacuate over spray.

Advantage is a wider selection of paints and can mix any color you want.
 

DeltaVee

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An airbrush just won't do for a project that size. You'll need to go with a Spray gun.
Will also need an compressor and spray booth with fan to evacuate over spray.

Advantage is a wider selection of paints and can mix any color you want.
I guess I meant spray gun which is sort of a gigantic airbrush in my mind!
 
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From my first rocket in 1958 to the early 1990s, all my models were primed and painted with rattle cans.

I now use a 10 HP air compressor, air dryer and inline filters, with very expensive spray guns, using paint that cost more that my first car.

Some of my rattle can painted rockets.

Learn what to use and how to use it. It all works.
 

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tsmith1315

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Yes, half scale (7.5" dia, 4" dia top, flew on a cluster of 3-K550s.
I'm guessing 1990.

Foam\epoxy fiberglass fins, plywood wrapped transition.

Roy

Very nice! I'd be interested in any other pics of it- I'm hoping to do a 1/3 scale.

That's a good looking wood-skinned transition.
 

mtnmanak

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Let me in on your favorite method/equipment etc. when you're working on something big.

As Marty noted above, the best answer to that question is "get someone else to do it for me!"

This is also a good reason to have some indentured servants children/grandchildren (and convince them how cool it is to whitewash the fence...) :)
 

Titan II

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I have done the compressor and a variety of sprayers route. Not worth the hassle.
 
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StreuB1

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I'm doing a 6" FG rocket right now.....9' tall. Rattle cans work just fine. The hastle and expense of spray guns is not warranted in my eyes until you get into the 8" to 10"+ range. Long ago back in 1994, my largest rocket to date was built on 8" sono tubes and it was done with a spray gun but thats because I did it in the high school wood shop. I have guns now and I still would not even think of using them to paint anything unless I absolutely had to. Rattle cans from Ace Hardware (house brand made by Rust Oleum) use fan nozzles and they do such a great job that I see no personal need to use anything else.
 

SkyFire

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I'm doing a 6" FG rocket right now.....9' tall. Rattle cans work just fine. The hastle and expense of spray guns is not warranted in my eyes until you get into the 8" to 10"+ range. Long ago back in 1994, my largest rocket to date was built on 8" sono tubes and it was done with a spray gun but thats because I did it in the high school wood shop. I have guns now and I still would not even think of using them to paint anything unless I absolutely had to. Rattle cans from Ace Hardware (house brand made by Rust Oleum) use fan nozzles and they do such a great job that I see no personal need to use anything else.
I agree. I have a variety of professional paint guns, a compressor with a moisture trap, etc. but use rattle cans for rockets up to 6".
An inexpensive paint booth and home made stands help the process.
For most nose cones I use a cheap Lazy Susan turntable set on top of a bucket.
Paint booth.jpg
PS3.jpg
My Interceptor.jpg
 
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DeltaVee

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David_Stack

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Dang that is a heck of a rocket. Original design, or upscale of something else? I don't recognize it.
Good Afternoon Neil;

He started with a Wildman Darkstar:


and

 

jimzcatz

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Don't need expensive guns or paint. I have a 26 gal air compressor from Tractor Supply. I use the cheapest guns I can find, They had a 3 pack on sale for 20$. I use Nason 3 part acrylic enamel metallics from NAPA. I paint outside in any weather except rain. It's not a car it's just a rocket. I am very happy with my results. I will use 1$ a can primer from walmart.
 

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StreuB1

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Don't need expensive guns or paint. I have a 26 gal air compressor from Tractor Supply. I use the cheapest guns I can fine, They had a 3 pack on sale for 20$. I use Nason 3 part acrylic enamel metallics from NAPA. I paint outside in any weather except rain. It's not a car it's just a rocket. I am very happy with my results. I will use 1$ a can primer from walmart.

I think my dad repainted my moms Pinto in 81' using Nason. 😆
 
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You should still stop by an auto body shop and show them a picture of someone holding a big rocket so they get a visual image of the size and see if they wold be interested in painting it. You might get someone that finds it really cool, and know that the painter would find it to be fun and a good diversion from the monotonous day job. Also suggest to offer putting their company logo in vinyl graphics on the rocket. Spending money on 10+ rattle cans that have poor atomization/low pressure and ending up with a rather mediocre paint job isn't worth it unless it's really not important to you.
 

DeltaVee

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You should still stop by an auto body shop and show them a picture of someone holding a big rocket so they get a visual image of the size and see if they wold be interested in painting it. You might get someone that finds it really cool, and know that the painter would find it to be fun and a good diversion from the monotonous day job. Also suggest to offer putting their company logo in vinyl graphics on the rocket. Spending money on 10+ rattle cans that have poor atomization/low pressure and ending up with a rather mediocre paint job isn't worth it unless it's really not important to you.
That's a really interesting thought...
 

spiker04

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Don't need expensive guns or paint. I have a 26 gal air compressor from Tractor Supply. I use the cheapest guns I can find, They had a 3 pack on sale for 20$. I use Nason 3 part acrylic enamel metallics from NAPA. I paint outside in any weather except rain. It's not a car it's just a rocket. I am very happy with my results. I will use 1$ a can primer from walmart.
Proof is in the pudding, they say !! lol
 

Budro0

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I'm a big proponent of spray guns and airbrushes - mainly because you can get a wider variety of colors. But the initial outlay of cash may not make it worth it for some. If you already have a compressor that can produce around 4cfm, you've overcome the biggest hurdle. I use a little pancake compressor (craftsman, I think) that runs my spray guns fine, but it will not run all of them fine. For color coats, I have a Spray-It 33500 detail gun that works perfectly. I just finished WM's 2.6" Cherokee with 40 ml of paint to coat the whole thing, so you really don't use a lot of paint. I also have a Summit Racing 1.4mm spray gun for topcoating that does equally well. For small rockets, I have a Badger 250 mini spray gun that may not paint as well as the Spray-It, but does well enough especially in light coats. For paints, I use Createx line almost exclusively (Wicked and Candy2o primarily), and they have some great tutorials on youtube to learn the ins and outs. I do still use rattlecan primer though.
 
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