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Painting and Airbrushing Tips / Techniques Painting and Airbrushing Tips / Techniques


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Old 01-28-2008, 06:31 AM   #1
dj_rpr
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Default How to canopy Painting

Ok guys, this is it...the how to paint thread that im getting PM'd and emailed about. This is how i paint my canopies, probably other ways around it but hey, its works for me and im no expert.

First things first, get safety gear to protect your lungs!

So lets get started...this is what the canopy looked like yesterday...such a shame cause the red 500 canopy looks pretty good.



Step 1: Sanding and Preparation
This is important, if you dont do this right the end result wont look as good. Get some 320 grit wet dry sand paper and sand the canopy, sand until the factory paint lines are gone...these are raised due to excess paint. get them smooth. Then wash the canopy in warm soapy water and let it dry.



Now the canopy is dry, rub it all over with de-wax (get it from the local auto paint shop). This dries almost instantly so we can start painting on it straight away.



Step 2: Prime the canopy
Here is what you need, primer, hardener, reducer and gloves. Mine is mixed in a 4:1 ratio of primer to hardener with 10% reducer. Mix it up and we are ready to prime the canopy.



I use a gravity fed gun for this, small and very handy. Get one! I shoot this at 100psi from a general purpose 24litre air compressor.



Wipe the canopy over with a tac cloth first to remove an dust. Shoot the primer on lightly at first, and repeat until fully covered. dont go too heavy we are trying to save some weight on the canopy.





Leave the canopy to dry over night. This is a 2pac primer system and required the hardener to dry before sanding.

Next morning sand the canopy with 800 grit, then 1200 grit wet dry to get it nice and smooth. If you have any imperfections sand and spray primer again. Once done run over with the tac cloth and spray the entire canopy white for the base color.

Step 3: Masking
Get some 3mm fine line tape, i use 3M brand which has good adhesion and flexibility for making curves. Have a hobby knife with a sharp blade on standbye.

Lay down the tape for the design of choice, cut off the tape where desired. You can see the build up here to the design im working on for this Trex500.





As im working on this area only, mask off the remaining areas of the canopy that i will spray a different color later on.



Step 4: Adding the color
Now the fun part, grab the airbrush of your choice. Im using a Iwata Eclipse for this canopy...great all purpose airbrush. Gravity fed so can change colors very quickly with a simple squirt of reducer and blow out the old color. Here we start with blue, lightly build up the color as you go. Trick with the airbrush is to constantly have air on.





For the front design i want a checker pattern with a trailing shadow effect. So cut up some masking film in squares, and apply to canopy to make the checker mask.





Lighly tint the area with black, and then starting from the bottom of the design remove a square mask at a time and fill in the black and add a trailing shadow...effective way to make checkers look nicer. Remove the masking when done to show the work so far.





Mask up the area we just painted, to protect this part of the design now so we can start on the larger area.



Im using SEM products for the fluro, these need to be added to a carrier ie clear coat. So i mix up the clear and add 10% SEM fluro and spray with airbrush on the canopy. I paint the entire area in yellow first, then change to the red and higlight the edge of the fine line tape to put a red shadow. Then fade in the top area of the canopy.





Remove all masking to show what we have done so far...starting to look like something now.

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Last edited by Skiddz; 02-17-2009 at 03:05 PM..
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:32 AM   #2
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There are many ways to do this part, im doing it this way as i dont have any transparent paint of the right color..this works aswell. and gives a more solid line structure which i want as ill be putting a vinyl sticker over the top of it.

Using fine line tape again mask out some lines to construct the mesh pattern. Now with a solid red reduced to make it semi-transparent tint the tape, then remove a line and tint again to make an over and under effect of the lines. we dont want them all in the same plane.





Ive shot the canopy now with a light clear as im packing up for today, and want to sand down some of the lines to make it smooth. Will continue soon peeps. Hope your not too lost yet.



Ok, back to some painting this morning before the summer rain hit...got it all done so im happy hope you guys like the end result.

Now we are ready to put on the windscreen and the final touches to set your canopy apart from the others. I chose to put on the pointy windscreen, which I think looks good on this style of canopy..thats whats great about this, its your choice to make it how you want it.

So with fine line tape mask out the windshield, ive aslo masked out the pointy bits again as im tinting the tips black.



Mask up the canopy to protect your work so far, and lay down some silver. Now to get some text in the windshield...and make it red which seems to be popular at the moment.

Cut up some masks, or get from a sign writer. Using application tape (low tac) lay this over the mask and peel back so the mask is now on the application tape. Now lay that on the canopy and peel back to leave the mask on the canopy.











Now to get some definition on the windshield, just lightly tint over the mask with black, remove the mask to show the shaded text. Looks good hey!



To make it even better, add some candy color over the top. This is a transparent color so will show what you have painted over. This one is Candy Apple Red - candy also gives depth to the graphic. Once red then apply some black on the edge to make the windshield fade.





Remove all masking to show the final art work.



Now add some chrome stickers to set this canopy off

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Last edited by Skiddz; 02-17-2009 at 03:07 PM.. Reason: Fixed Picture Links
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:33 AM   #3
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Clear Coat Time

I like to add some pearl into my clear, this is House of Kolor and works very well. You get a nice sparkle in the sun with this stuff, add a small amount to your clear and spray away.







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Last edited by Skiddz; 02-17-2009 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:46 AM   #4
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Great work. Any water based paints for canopies?
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:18 PM   #5
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Looks great I always use Auto Air Color for my color coats it is water based. But I final clear coat it in Urethane 2 part (Nasty stuff use in well ventilated area) But will make it shine like glass.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:43 PM   #6
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You are asome:dance:thumbs-up2:
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Old 01-30-2008, 12:10 AM   #7
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Great work!! thanks for posting an example of how a simple design with a few colors can be so effective
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Old 01-30-2008, 12:52 AM   #8
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Beautiful!! BTW, you said you run your paint gun at 100psi. Do different guns operate at different pressures? I have a siphon feed unit and I believe it states that 40psi is max.......

Thanx.........
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:24 PM   #9
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That is awesome man...you are extrenely talented.

Thanks for the step by step instructions for us noobs. Keep them coming.
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:49 PM   #10
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You can use Auto Air colors which are water based as Icman said, ill update this post by the weekend as work is hectic and not allowing me to paint when i get home.

the gun i bought is rated to 100psi from what i have been told, it works no probs. I use the it to a large fan so i get a good spread. Its great for clear coating that way.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:33 PM   #11
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i am going to start spraying a plastic logo canopy but im worried that the thinners in the paint will melt the plastic ? i sprayed a fibreglass logo canopy, obviously i didnt have this problem ... im using pactra racing finish thinned for airbrush, will it damage the plastic ? wish i had an offcut to try on

Last edited by Blackrat; 01-31-2008 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackrat View Post
i am going to start praying a plastic logo canopy but im worried that the thinners in the paint will melt the plastic ? i sprayed a fibreglass logo canopy, obviously i didnt have this problem ... im using pactra racing finish thinned for airbrush, will it damage the plastic ? wish i had an offcut to try on
I'm guessing the Pactra paint can be cleaned up/thinned with paint thinner (mineral spirits) and I haven't seen any adverse effects on any type of plastic I've ever shot.

The paint I use for my lids (House of Kolor) can be cleaned up with laquer thinner and I've never had any plastic issues with it either.

I'd be more concerned with solvents like Acetone or MEK..


Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliDan View Post
Beautiful!! BTW, you said you run your paint gun at 100psi. Do different guns operate at different pressures? I have a siphon feed unit and I believe it states that 40psi is max.......

Thanx.........
Depends on the gun. I run a Finex HVLP gun and it runs a max of 29PSI, but needs a lot of air volume. Both of my airbrushes like 25-30 PSI and don't need much volume at all..

Very nice How-To. I'm pretty good at graphic patterns, but the airbrushing effects is something I'm working on. (I practice with water tinted with food coloring on an easel and my wife keeps wondering where all the food coloring is going. hehe) I need to detail my own work process and this certainly helps.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:40 PM   #13
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Updated thread...check our the final pics.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:35 PM   #14
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Some outdoor shots of the babies.







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Old 02-02-2008, 12:59 PM   #15
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Hot damn! Besides the airbrush technique, I'm sure there is a lot of skill in just knowing how to mask areas and know what the final effect is going to look like. Not easy - you got some skills obviously!
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:07 PM   #16
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dj, are you sanding the tape line ridges between steps or clearing, then wet sanding then final clearing?

I've tried both and get similarly smooth results with either method, although I'm sure the clear/sand/clear method is a bit heavier.

Also, HoK recommends a light coat of intercoat clear before taping over another color. Is this really necessary if you let the previous color dry thoroughly 1st?
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:38 PM   #17
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dj_rpr

AWESOME SKILLS!! I was wondering if you were painting on fiberglass or the "milkjug" type of fuse. Would the steps be the same if you were painting on the "milkjug" type?


All in all very nice work and many thanks for the how-to!!



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Old 02-06-2008, 11:16 PM   #18
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i dont really need to sand that much of the line work as i lay it on thin with the airbrush. Usually only where the fluro is laid on top of the paint does it leave a ridge, howerver when clear coat is applied its smoothed out...if not i sand very lightly before clear coating.

this is the fibreglass canopy that comes with the heli, i dont spray on the plastic canopies...too many issues with adhesion of the paint.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:04 AM   #19
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Hmm.. must be my work process then 'cuz I get pretty good ridges sometimes...

As for plastic canopies, so far I've not had adhesion issues. The canopy gets a good scrubbig with soap and water using a scotchbrite pad, then I rinse and wet sand with 400 grit sandpaper to remove all flashing, molding ridges and gloss, the soap and water again. I wip the whole canopy down with laquer thinner and let dry, then hit it with the tack cloth and shoot a light coat of Bulldog adhesion promotor on it and follow about 10 mins later with a medium coat.

I let this sit overnight then prime and paint as normal. I use House of Kolor paint only and even after lawn-dart crashing a plastic canopied heli, the paint didn't chip or crack at all. Bent the hell out of the battery tray and stripped two servos, but the canopy is unphased.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:24 PM   #20
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Amazing stuff, how long are you leaving the paint to dry before removing the making?
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