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  #1  
Old 06-27-2018, 12:51 PM
wilddog wilddog is online now
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: va.
Posts: 363
Default Vinyl Wrap?

There have been some beautiful wrapped RVs posted here but Iím wondering if any builders tried wrap and didnít like the results or gave up in frustration? If so, could you explain the problems encountered and possibly post a picture of the not so beautiful results? I am considering wrapping my -8 and only see good videos and favorable reviews, there must be a down side.
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2018, 04:40 PM
RicoB RicoB is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Glendale, CA
Posts: 164
Default

Since we in the subject of vinyl wrap has anyone paid to have it done and if so could you give the idea of how much? My airplane is all white and I want to do the rest in vinyl
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2018, 06:25 PM
spatsch spatsch is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Randolph, NJ
Posts: 183
Default

Yes.... .

Let me give a little bit of background. I finished my Rv-8 about 3.5 years ago and have flown it for about 350 hours since.

I flew the airplane completely unfinished for a year and a half (there was actually an Oshkosh picture in the EAA magazine from my first year at Oshkosh...). After a year or so I got tiered of people complaining about my pink nose so I gave my kids a pile of 3M vinyl (the kind others on this forum have used too) to cut random shapes which I applied to the cowling. Also put vinyl on the canopy skirt and have been flying around like that for close to 2 years.

Now the results are mixed. The canopy skirt still looks good except for the area where it seals with the windshield in the front (RV-8) where the Vinyl "rubbed" off.

The cowling is a different story. Looks pretty good on the bottom part. However after 6 months on the top I started getting bubbles when the engine was getting hot in the summer in particular after a flight when parked in the sun. First small once barely noticeable now they are the size of a quarter. They disappear when things cool down.

Now I am not that unhappy considering that I got 2 years out of a couple of dollar investment but if I would have paid the thousands of $$ the professionals charge (the quotes I got were much cheaper then a comparable complex paint job but comparable to a simple paint job) I would be pretty .

So at this point I decided to polish the aluminum (don't want the weight of paint) and paint the cowling and other fiberglass. My only problem now is how to paint my cowling in all of those random shapes my kids had cut out. I kind of got used to it now .... .

Oliver
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Last edited by spatsch : 06-27-2018 at 06:30 PM. Reason: fixed typo
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2018, 09:14 PM
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sahrens sahrens is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 393
Default Costs

I am just finishing my vinyl. I purchased about $1,000.00 in material online and I paid a local guy $2,000.00 to apply about 85% of the job. I have done the rest. Most of the aircraft is polished. The material I ordered was 3M 1080 vinyl, two different colors.

I initially tried to apply the vinyl but the compound curves of the empennage fairing and the cowling where just beyond my skill sets. Wasted a lot of material in the attempt. The installer was good enough to discuss his techniques and how to figure out where seams can/should go. Probably a topic for EAA, maybe even at OSH. Could I do it now? Maybe. I'm doing the wheel pants now.

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Last edited by sahrens : 06-27-2018 at 09:19 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2018, 09:32 PM
lndwarrior lndwarrior is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Cloverdale CA
Posts: 190
Default it's all about the seams..

planning for seams (which are near invisible) is the key for us a amatures doing a vinyl wrap. I'm almost done a partial wrap on polished metal and it looks darn neat professional. I do have some wrinkles around the strobes and aileron tips but you have to look for them.

honestly, doing this vinyl wrap has been the one part of building my plane that I've actually enjoyed. Hated everything else, and no, I'm not joking.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2018, 09:44 PM
wilddog wilddog is online now
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: va.
Posts: 363
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Thanks for the replies! Could you all elaborate on placement of the seams? Especially on curving areas like the cowl, fairings and tips.
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2018, 06:29 AM
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tomkk tomkk is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lndwarrior View Post
planning for seams (which are near invisible) is the key for us a amatures doing a vinyl wrap.
That's two who have mentioned the importance of planning for seams. I can understand the importance but could someone talk about what to consider in the plan?
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  #8  
Old 06-28-2018, 08:49 AM
John-G John-G is offline
 
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Location: Northeast Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spatsch View Post

The cowling is a different story. Looks pretty good on the bottom part. However after 6 months on the top I started getting bubbles when the engine was getting hot in the summer in particular after a flight when parked in the sun. First small once barely noticeable now they are the size of a quarter. They disappear when things cool down.
Oliver,

Curious ... did you seal all the pinholes in the cowling prior to applying the vinyl wrap?

A friend vinyl wrapped his RV-9 and has had no issues ... after the initial learning curve of the vinyl coming lose from fiberglass components due to poor prep. He figured the vinyl would stick just fine so did not take the time to do a wash of Acetone diluted resin to seal all of the pinholes. After sealing all the fiberglass components to give the vinyl a smooth sealed surface to stick to, he has not had any issues and it has been 5 or 6 years now (even has vinyl on the spinner).

Happy flying,
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  #9  
Old 06-28-2018, 09:20 AM
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scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,128
Default My wrap saga--mostly good, but some lessons learned

Wilddog,
I completely wrapped my aircraft, had it done by AircraftWraps.com. Here is my VAF write-up on the project from 2015:
http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...d.php?t=132000

Now, 2.5 years and 500 Hobbs hours later, I have a few lessons learned that I can pass on to you.

Cost and Benefit: This design's wrap, compared to the estimate to paint the same design, cost about 2/3rd's less than paint ($9500 vs $13500). It weighs half as much as paint. It is actually a tad more streamlined than paint, since the vinyl bridges gaps and overlays rivets and unimportant screws (which can still be accessed if needed). It is easier to clean: No waxing. I bath the aircraft with Dawn for dishes, and clean bugs with a water/rubbing alcohol solution from a spray bottle.

Build prep: There was no need to prime the aircraft, nor did I need to fill pinholes, but all other fiberglass surface prep was still essential because vinyl will accentuate surface flaws. My concern for water intrusion at wrap gaps has been completely unfounded, because this 3M aviation stuff really adheres nicely. It's UV tolerant and high-sub-mach strong.

Minuses, and Pluses:
(1) Hangar rash. Vinyl is not as durable as paint, and will scuff, rub, or gouge more easily. However, it is easier to repair than paint: With a razor, just cut a shallow outline of the vinyl area to be removed, heat it SLIGHTLY with a heat gun to soften the adhesive, and remove the bad patch. Replace with a new vinyl patch cut SLIGHTLY LARGE than that area (to give edge overlap), smooth it into place (air bubbles), and heat it with the heat gun to activate the adhesive. Results: Nearly perfect repair, except that the edges of the patch will be visible at 1-foot observation.
Compare this to paint: I understand that paint may be more durable in the hangar, but tougher to repair (I'm not sure about this, since the only aircraft I have owned is wrapped).

(2) Rain durability. When I wrapped this aircraft, it was a day/night VFR aircraft. I have since upgraded it (and me) to IFR. The vinyl has problems standing up to the occasional flight into rain, particularly around the more complex curve areas like around the cowling air intakes and on the tire fairings. Again, these can be repaired as discussed above.

Am I glad I did it? Yes.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I think I'd use the approach discussed by others: Paint a simple base color, and accent with vinyl.
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  #10  
Old 06-28-2018, 11:52 AM
spatsch spatsch is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Randolph, NJ
Posts: 183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John-G View Post
Oliver,

Curious ... did you seal all the pinholes in the cowling prior to applying the vinyl wrap?

A friend vinyl wrapped his RV-9 and has had no issues ... after the initial learning curve of the vinyl coming lose from fiberglass components due to poor prep. He figured the vinyl would stick just fine so did not take the time to do a wash of Acetone diluted resin to seal all of the pinholes. After sealing all the fiberglass components to give the vinyl a smooth sealed surface to stick to, he has not had any issues and it has been 5 or 6 years now (even has vinyl on the spinner).

Happy flying,
I did follow the instructions sanded it all to get it smooth and afterwards thoroughly cleaned it with alcohol using gloves to not recontaminate with my hands. I did not fill pinholes as the commercial guys don't recommend it.

As said the bottom of the cowling and the canopy skirts look fine. No issue at seams either. It's only the top of the cowling I have issues with. It's clearly caused by the heat of the engine.

For me this was an experiment to figure out if I should do the whole airplane that way. Looking at the results 2 years later I decided to paint the fiberglass and polish the aluminum. I am glad I did an experiment before jumping into doing the whole thing. Others might make different choices. If I wanted a more fancy designed I might consider a partial wrap with high wear complex areas (e.g. cowling wheel pants) being painted.

Oliver
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