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Old 11-02-2020, 10:14 PM
Frank Smidler Frank Smidler is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Stoughton, WI
Posts: 494
Default has good vinyl prices

Originally Posted by steve murray View Post
I just finished vinyl wrapping my RV10, try "" for 3M vinyl, it is about $3 sq-ft for 3M 2080 Gloss (multiple colors) 5' x 60" piece is just under $60.
I just finished wrapping my RV-6 in 3M 2080 vinyl that I bought from Fellers at approximately $550/roll of 5 ft x 75 ft with free shipping for orders over $100. It will cost more if you order less than a full roll. With a few re-do's from learning curve I used 2 rolls and still need to buy a little more for my wheel pants. Overall I am pleased with the results.
Frank Smidler
N96FS, RV-6
Flying 1/11/09
1085 hr
2WI6 Stoughton, WI
Formally of Lafayette, IN
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Old 11-03-2020, 05:45 AM
charger81 charger81 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 273

Maybe a good EAA Chapter project?
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:42 AM
Snowflake's Avatar
Snowflake Snowflake is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
Posts: 4,298

Originally Posted by jssaylor2007 View Post
So what's the consensus on wrapping vs painting? Do most people wrap or vice-versa?
There's no consensus... It's like priming.

A lot of people paint a single-colour base first, then use vinyl for decorations on top. A few people have wrapped the bare aluminum without issues, but there hasn't been any done for long enough to gauge whether there are any long-term issues. I think 4-5 years old is the oldest i've heard of.
Rob Prior
1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:52 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 7,280

Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
but there hasn't been any done for long enough to gauge whether there are any long-term issues. I think 4-5 years old is the oldest i've heard of.
I think many of the quality wrap material is stated as good for around 8 years in vertical applications and 2-3 years in horizontal. I speculate that the majority of the aging is related to UV exposure and to a lesser degree airborne contaminants. I presume that a hangered airplane would net a pretty long lifetime for wrap material. Vynal is notorious for degradation from UV exposure.

N64LR - RV-6A / IO-320, Flying as of 8/2015
N11LR - RV-10, Flying as of 12/2019
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Old 11-03-2020, 08:14 AM
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Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Landing field "12VA"
Posts: 1,884

Originally Posted by steve murray View Post
I just finished vinyl wrapping my RV10, try "" for 3M vinyl, it is about $3 sq-ft for 3M 2080 Gloss (multiple colors) 5' x 60" piece is just under $60.

Any numbers you can post up on material cost and weight gain for your vinyl wrap on the -10? Asking for a very close friend.
Bill Boyd

Hop-Along Aerodrome (12VA)
RV-6A - N30YD - Built '98 / sold '20
RV-10 - N130YD - 80 hours
66 years running stock DNA
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Old 11-03-2020, 11:30 AM
findane findane is offline
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Naples, FL
Posts: 82

Wrapping my 9A next week. A local company who wraps cars, trucks and boats is designing and doing the installation. It's their first airplane and they are excited. My vinyl installer called their standard supplier Avery. Apparently, Avery has an aviation product for wrapping large jets, etc. They said for a small aircraft the standard vinyl will suffice. For the complex design I've chosen it's much cheaper than paint, weighs less, and is installed in less than a week in my hanger with me there every day. Plus the vinyl can be printed with any design you can imagine and the ink is UV coated.

My friend built a Sling, had to fly to a paint outfit, have someone shuttle him back and forth, and waited 3 months to get it finished.
Dues Paid 2022
IO320 9:1 170hp
Dual pMags
165 Hours
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:19 PM
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wcalvert wcalvert is offline
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Anacortes Wa
Posts: 464
Default Wrap it up

Just completing the wrap on my -7 this week.

Following are some thoughts and observations that may help someone get started or make the plunge... no vinyl wars intended, just the facts. You choose for yourself.

I've used about 125' of Avery Dennison Supreme to do the base colors, and it'll take another 25 or so to do the accents. The overall time spent was about 40 hours (so far) and I'll say it's about 95% right. There are a few spots (elevator horns and the like) where the film is not laying as well as it could, so those will be redone in time. Gonna let it age to see how it does in the field.

I chose Avery, but there are films by 3M, Vivvid and others. The Avery is a 3.2mil film, 3M is 3.5. Colors are available in gloss, mat, color changing, carbon fiber etc. Lots to choose from. I plan to use on 3M film as an accent since Avery doesn't have the right shade in their lineup.

I used Fellers as my supplier, there is a local outlet in Seattle or they ship for free over $100. Fast, usually two day shipping. There are others and most ship free over a $ amount. Fellers has treated me well so far.

Every technique I used was taken from the Internet. CW Wraps and the The Wrap Institute are two good YouTube references. The manufacturer has their own instruction sheets online, and combined with the videos provide a lot of technique examples to copy if you watch closely. A warm, clean work area is a must. Cold vinyl isn't friendly and dust under your wrap looks like rocks under a carpet. Keep it clean!

Planning ahead for sequence of application and seam orientation is a must!

All of the vinyl seams are aligned with a panel seam and overlapped so the lap edge is either down or aft, then seam sealed with 3M 3950 edge sealer. The overlap is not required (there are methods that produce almost no overlap) and it does detract from the "seamless" look, but I prefer the solid bond between layers that it creates (vinyl stick to vinyl very well). The seam sealing likewise may not be required, but it was recommended as a bulletproof insurance policy by a local wrapper, and is used on all of his boat wraps. You can barely see the sealer line as I used a 3/16" wide brush to minimize the excess and took my time doing the applying (don't use the applicator in the can! ... huge)

All cuts in the finish vinyl were done with 3m Finish line knifeless tape. This stuff is expensive, as is the sealer, but the quality is excellent and the tape keeps the knife off the aluminum skin. There are many videos out there about how to use this product, and it really works well.

All aluminum surfaces were cleaned of any adhesive or oils with lacquer thinner, then two cleanings with 70% IPA (isopropyl alcohol) in a spray bottle, wiping with micro fiber towels. I chose not to use any primer on the aluminum, and after some discussion with others, have decided to do an inspection in the future by pulling a small section to see how it is holding up. Adhesion is not an issue on clean shiny aluminum. I did a test to see if scuffing with Scotchbrite would improve performance, but it appears to stick less well.

When applying the film, it's important to "lock in down" with firm pressure from you squeegee as you go. Light pressure will likely allow bubbles to stay behind and cause headaches later. You'll learn to keep the correct tension on the free film and work the edges of the unlocked film along as you go along. Speed is not important. Also pay attention to "adhesive printing" where the vinyl is pulled hard over an edge, causing the adhesive to roll up, and then laid down again. This will print through the finish.

I have applied the vinyl to fiberglass that was primed and prepped for paint. The vinyl adheres just fine with no issues. Be sure you primer is sanded smooth as defects will print through.

All seams and field areas in the wrap were post heated. The seams and any areas where there was much stretching were heated to the full 90 degrees +C (90 - 105 is recommended by Avery) and the fields were heated to a lower temperature to check for entrapped air bubbles. This process is vital. Where the film has not been post heated, it retains its memory and will try to return to its original flat shape. Once the film is heated to over 90 degress, it looses all memory and stays in place. The heating also activates the adhesive.

During application, any folds or wrinkles in the film can be removed with a quick shot of heat. Also, before stretching, adding heat will relax the film and it will stretch easier. Most wraps recommend not stretching more than 10% to prevent gloss or color changes.

When heating be careful of any rivet or gap that may have a bubble. It is critical that all wrap be adhered well before post heating, as the bubble with "burn" because it doesn't have the heat sink of the aluminum to temper the hot air.

Tools are pretty simple. A good heat gun (mine is a Dewalt that goes to 1100 degrees F), hard and medium squeegees, a couple more with felt edges, extra felt edges, a good break blade knife, microfiber towels, spray bottle, small brushes, IR thermometer, work apron and a Snitter (slitting hook knife). I also used a soft rubber roller (RollerPro Heat Resistant Vinyl Application Tool, $50) and a rivet brush, both to smooth rivets. Build yourself a vinyl cutting station that allows the film to be rolled out and cut to length.

All of the work I did on the fuse was done on the rotisserie. Doing this job on a flying aircraft would be a whole 'nuther challenge. With the roto, gravity can help hold the vinyl and I could work at the best body angle possible. Just be prepared to need more help when you're doing the bottom of anything. I have a new found respect for the "skinny kids" doing these wraps online, it's hard work no matter how you do it!

A second set of hands will occasionally be helpful. I did the top of the wings solo, and the sheet was 60" x 10'. It can be done but would have gone faster with help..

As far as advice goes, be prepared for some frustration and a steep learning curve. Now that the project is almost done, I've found a few places where I could do better. That's what I expected.

Overall I'm very happy with the result. Cost will be around $1300 all in, no spray booth, minimal solvent exposure, and done in a week. Just what I was looking for!
RV-7 Tipper
Bill (Wild) VA-165 '90-'93
Anacortes, Wa

First Flight 7/17/2021!! 200 hours 6/22
- Been there, Donated 2022

Last edited by wcalvert : 11-03-2020 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 11-03-2020, 05:24 PM
JimWoo50 JimWoo50 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Chicago sw suburbs
Posts: 419
Default Wcalvert

Thanks for posting that. Good info.
Jim Woolard C56
N9855J RV-6 Donated 2022
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Old 11-03-2020, 08:00 PM
steve murray's Avatar
steve murray steve murray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina
Posts: 400

Originally Posted by Bill Boyd View Post
Any numbers you can post up on material cost and weight gain for your vinyl wrap on the -10? Asking for a very close friend.

Hey Bill

I have not yet weighed the plane. The wings are all vinyl and all the striping is vinyl, most of the fuselage is paint. I would guesstimate I have $1200 in material for the wings\striping. I probably used $150 of 3m "knife tape" in the process.

Learned a lot, had fun and my wife helped out as well. It is a 20 foot paint\vinyl job and I am OK with that. (Scheme was shamelessly copied from gentlemen in Australia)


RV10 - Flying (Jan 2020)

RV8 - Built 2006- Flown 800 hours Sold 2021

RV4 Kit Purchased 2021
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Old 11-03-2020, 08:05 PM
Jimbot Jimbot is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: FL & NC
Posts: 167

Learned a lot, had fun and my wife helped out as well. It is a 20 foot paint\vinyl job and I am OK with that. (Scheme was shamelessly copied from gentlemen in Australia)

Fine job, turned out very nice. Congratulations.
Jim Hall
VAF Annual Dues Paid
Former President, EAA Chapter 309 - EAA 309
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