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Painting fabric

Old 09-05-2017, 11:26 AM
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Default Painting fabric

I have an Ace Semester that's ready to cover. I am thinking Solartex. I've read that its a bit hard to fill the weave with paint on fabric coverings. Typical primers over open bays tend to cause wrinkling in the sunlight. Ive read that it takes many coats of paint to fill the weave. My goal is a glass like finish without adding too much weight. I'm not interested in a plastic film cover as I want to do a color scheme that, for me anyway, is easier to apply with an airbrush. Ive also read that of the fabric coverings, Solartex is the best. But I'm open to suggestions. If anyone has some experience with painting fabric, please let me know your impressions, both good and bad.
Old 09-05-2017, 03:46 PM
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Go to the Stits.com site and follow the process. You will be pleased with the outcome.
Old 09-05-2017, 05:02 PM
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John, thank you for that suggestion. I went to their site and it looks like you are correct. I'll be ordering fabric and paint from them very soon. once again, thank you.
Old 09-05-2017, 05:19 PM
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I use Stits all the time and like it very much. It gives you a very scale finish for your typical full-size fabric-covered airframes. However, a "glass-like" finish is going to be difficult to achieve over any type fabric covering, Stits included. It will take many coats, which means weight. And even with their high-gloss clear coat, the Poly Tone paints are not going to give you the same level of sheen as quality 2-part automotive paints. If I wanted a high-gloss mirror-like finish, I would probably use automotive paint with a flex additive to ensure there is no cracking over the open bay areas.
Old 09-05-2017, 06:20 PM
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All I do is paint fabric, Solartex that is, I use automotive base/coat-clear/coat urethane paints and can get any kind of gloss I want. Base coats of 3 or 4 colors can be put on and then the whole plane is sprayed with clear coats to achieve the gloss you want. Solartex covering it's self when properly shrunk will not sage over open areas painted or not even in the sun.

Stits is a lot of work and will end up heavy on a model, why go to all the trouble when Solartex is so much easier.

Old 09-05-2017, 07:30 PM
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I guess "best" is defined as what qualities you want. If you want iron on convenience, Solartex is definitely the way to go. You'll pay a slight weight penalty for the adhesive on Solartex over the open bays, but that's probably not a significant concern. Seams will show on Solartex if you don't fill them. Filling is easier to do on Koverall.
Sig Koverall is a glue on fabric that's easy to use and extremely durable. If you stick it on with dope it will stay just like you put it forever. You can also use Stix it if you prefer an iron on application. What's nice about using Koverall is you can seal and fill it with nitrate dope which saves you some weight.
Over sheeted surfaces, 1/2 oz fiberglass will give you a smoother finish that requires less filling and therefore will weigh less. It won't span any surface imperfections like the fabrics will though, so your sanding and filling will have to be done well.

I'll echo what others have said that getting a high gloss finish is likely not going to work well over an open bay structure covered in fabric. Full scale fabric covered planes never had a high gloss finish. And I'd think (but am not sure) that any clear coat that will gloss up and take a high polish will be too brittle to last. If you want a high gloss finish, sheeting and glassing is the way to go IMO.
Old 09-06-2017, 06:13 AM
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Rustoleum Primer. This attached photo shows my Royal Midi F4U covered in Solartex, primed with Rustoleum Primer and wet sanded to a smooth metallic finish then painted with Rustoleum. A better photo is in MyGallery.
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:46 AM
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Solartex or Oratex and automotive 2-part acryllic paint is what I recommends if you want a car like surface on open structures.
On clad balsa surfaces go with 25g glas fiber.
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