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Thread: Surface Prep on Aluminum Airplanes?

  1. #1
    Administrator Site Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Surface Prep on Aluminum Airplanes?

    I have a question about surface prep on aluminum airplanes like the S-19 with pulled rivets. The question is: How do I do it! LOL

    I know that the surface should be scuffed with a Scotchbright pad, but when this is done it will leave a little halo around each rivet where the surface is still shiny. Does this matter? Is there a way to scuff around each rivet?

    Also, if you painted your S-19, did you alodyne the surface? If so, what happens if you get the alodyne on the windshield? Does it have any negative affect on it?
    Mark Pensenstadler
    Site Admin
    S-10 | S-6S | RV-7 | Cherokee 160 | Zenith Cruzer

  2. #2
    Premium Member (Donated) WWhunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    In the woods


    Mark, it has been quite a few years since I painted on my aluminum aircraft so things may have changed. I would lightly scotch-brite the surface, then do an acid etch which entailed washing off with water. Then sprayed the paint. I am thinking that there are newer and better ways to paint now that involves fewer steps and not using that acid etch stuff as it is not environmentally friendly. Sure hope someone with more up to date info responds to your post.

  3. #3
    Premium Member (Donated)
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Mark I too would be interested in other thoughts...

    15 years ago Scotch- Brite pad and self etching primer was the key to a paint job that still looks good today. That little halo was not a problem, the etching primer was the solution. We are talking aluminum and the finish was a two part polyurethane. Thinking outloud again.


  4. #4
    Premium Member (Donated) pouellette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Easthampton Ma


    When I stripped and painted my Cherokee, I scotch brite( bought a case of the red ones at auto store), acid etch , then used a neutralizer rinse, applied alodine, rinse again then a two part epoxy primer. then the finish top coat after again scuffing the primer with scotch bright. Wouldn't do it again, would hire out!

  5. #5
    Basic Member
    Join Date
    May 2015


    My hangar mate had his RV-7 wrapped. It looks great and weighs less than a paint job.

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