Home > VansAirForceForums

- Donate yearly (please).
- Advertise in here!

- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Old 11-21-2019, 06:46 AM
TomVal's Avatar
TomVal TomVal is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SC & CA
Posts: 902

I recently read an article somewhere that Boeing is experimenting with vinyl wrap on the fuselage.
Tom Valenzia
RV8 (Sold)
RV12 Jabiru 2200 Powered
Dues contributor since 2007

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself...Anonymous
Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2019, 09:44 AM
romaja romaja is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Portland Oregon Area
Posts: 60

Originally Posted by tomkk View Post
Not an RV story but does relate to the vinyl discussion. I just finished wrapping my new aircraft, a SPA Panther, with the new 3M 2080 film. For size comparison, the Panther is a single seater, maybe similar to an RV-3.

It was my first experience with vinyl so I can't comment on how it compares to the 1080 product. I wrapped the entire aircraft including the cowling, canopy skirt and tail fairing. I don't have wheel fairings but I would have tried them if I had.

The color scheme is pretty simple, red over white with an accent stripe below the red.

There's not a lot online info for wrapping aircraft but there's a ton of videos about wrapping cars and I watched a lot of those. My thought was that wrapping a car was a whole lot harder than wrapping an airplane. I was mostly right but there were some areas on my plane that were difficult where there were some pretty aggressive compound curves.

The clear outer film on the 2080 product worked well to protect the colored film from being marred during installation on the flat and most curved surfaces but got in the way when stretching over compound curves.

As to cost, I spent $1300 for all the vinyl and ended up overbuying. If I were to do it again my guess is the vinyl cost would be about $1000 or so. I did a rough estimate of what the paint alone would cost and I think it would be about double that.

I spent maybe as much as $100 for tools (heat gun, squeegees, etc) and about another $200 for the Prostripe accent stripe and knifeless tape. I used the knifeless tape make ALL the cuts on the aircraft where pieces of vinyl came together. I overlapped all vinyl joints by slightly less than 1/16". Ther knifeless tape makes that easy. I used almost 165 meters of knifeless tape.

I'm sure the total cost of materials and tools was under $1500.

My rivets were mostly flush pulled rivets with some universal head pulled rivets and flush driven tossed in. They were easy but somewhat time consuming. After post-heating the vinyl and doing the final squeege I used my thumb to push down on every rivet. That seals around the rivet and makes a nice finish. Sometimes I needed to put a pinprick hole in the center of the rivet to let out trapped air.

I can't paint so I don't know how long painting an aircraft like this would take but wrapping is time consuming, at least it was for a novive like me - it took me 110 hours to wrap the Panther. I did the whole job myself - a helper would have made it very much faster.

It was an interesting experiment and I'm pleased with the result. It's not perfect but looks pretty nice if you don't know where the flaws are . It'll be interesting to see what the durability of the vinyl is and the whole issue of corrosion is still pretty much of an unknown. I applied the vinyl directly on the aluminum with no primer. The Panther's skin is 6061-T6, somewhat less suseptible to corrosion than 2024. The vinyl's adhesive sticks VERY tightly and I think there's a good chance that it might actually peel off some primer if the vinyl is lifted to reposition it after laying it down. Not sure about that tho.

If interested, here's a link to my photo log. The vinyl photos are way down at the bottom.
Great Job on the Panther, she's a beauty! vinyl looks great too!
Rans S20 Raven Sold Built in 2016
Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2019, 10:00 AM
jselvatici's Avatar
jselvatici jselvatici is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 145
Default Congrats!

Originally Posted by tomkk View Post
Not an RV story but does relate to the vinyl discussion....
If interested, here's a link to my photo log. The vinyl photos are way down at the bottom.
Wow Tom! Congratulations! Saw the pictures and she looks great! It makes me think if I should try something like this on mine... well done.
Juliano Selvatici
RV-9A Project / N??9RV
O-320 + 3 Blade Catto Prop + Steam Gauges (yes!)
A&P / Private Pilot
RC Pilot ( if that counts )
2019 VAF Contribution Sent
Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2019, 11:24 AM
tomkk's Avatar
tomkk tomkk is offline
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Port Orange, Fl
Posts: 929

Thanks. It was something I wanted to experiment with and it was fun project. I've heard talk about a "Show" paint job and a "10 foot" paint job. These pictures show it at about 20 feet. I'm sure not an expert at this but to my eye the bulk this looks real good to very close. There are some areas however, notably around the lower cowling opening where there are some pretty aggressive compound curves, that were more challenging.

It'll be interesting to see what the longer term durability turns out to be.
Port Orange, Fl
EAA #51411
RV-12 N121TK ELSA #120845; first flight 06/10/2015; 700 hrs as of 02/2020
RV-12 N918EN ELSA #120995 Eagles Nest Project; first flight 05/18/2019
SPA Panther N26TK; First Flight 03/13/2020
Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2019, 11:28 PM
iaw4 iaw4 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Los Angeles, ca
Posts: 79
Default Transparent Wrap Over Polish

crazy idea here---I like the polished look, but I don't like the idea of high upkeep maintenance. is there transparent vinyl that one can lay over the bare shiny aluminum and thereby get the best of both worlds??
Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2019, 08:59 AM
rvbuilder2002's Avatar
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 8,910

Originally Posted by sahrens View Post
As for durability the vinyl on my aircraft is starting to show some wear after three years. But I wrapped my aircraft with an expectation of replacing it every four years or so. It cost me $3,000 in time and materials to have mine wrapped, $1,000 of that was materials. After watching the installers I am confident I can do the next wrap job. Assuming the material cost go up overtime I figured an average of $1,200 every three to four years. That is a lot less money than paint and after ten or so years a paint job will be showing its age as well.
My experience from maintaining a fleet of 10+ RV’s is that properly applied paint will outlast vinyl by a very large margin. As far as costs go, I assume $1200 every 3 years is a DIY (based on your original cost of $3000?).
The DIY paint job on my personal airplane cost me $1200 (single stage polyurethane fleet paint system) and at 5 years old it looks the same as the day it came out of the paint booth.

I think vinyl is an alternative for someone that doesn’t know how to paint (and doesn’t want to spend time learning), but in the DIY context, I don’t think it saves any $$$$ andit will not have the same life span.
Opinions, information and comments are my own unless stated otherwise. They do not necessarily represent the direction/opinions of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Van's Aircraft Engineering Prototype Shop Manager
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")

Last edited by rvbuilder2002 : 11-23-2019 at 09:07 AM.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:16 PM.

The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.