Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Downloading plans
Flight of whirligigs
Free plans all metal hub
Free plans Whirligig Stand
Free plans Whirligig #43
Free plans Whirligig #46
Free plans Whirligig #57
Gears for whirligigs
Painting your whirligig
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7.31.2009

Painting the Whirligig

Painting the Whirligig

Chuck Dunbar's
Whirligig Design & Development
Painting wood parts


I do not use wood any more.  It simply does not hold up in the weather.

  1. You may paint the whirligig any color you like, but if you are putting it outside, intense colors are the most visible.
  2. Sand the wood pieces with 150 grit or 180 grit 3M Sandblaster sandpaper.
  3. Prime the wood with a good grade of white exterior latex or acrylic (water based) wood primer paint. I put on three thick coats.
  4. Then sand the paint smooth with 220 grit 3M Sandblaster sandpaper. The 3M sandpaper does not fill up with paint. After you have sanded, some of the wood may show through.
  5. Apply two more coats of the exterior paint more thinly and evenly.
  6. Sand with 320 grit 3M Sandblaster sandpaper. Avoid sanding down to the wood. If the wood shows, apply two more paint coats over the bare spots and sand.
  7. Use quality exterior gloss enamel over the primer. The color coat may be either water based or solvent-based exterior paint. I use Ronan solvent-based Bulletin colors. I apply them with a one-stroke synthetic hair brush. Whatever paint you use, follow the directions. Using solvent-based paint requires adequate ventilation.
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Chuck Dunbar's
Whirligig Design & Development
Painting aluminum and brass parts


I do not paint parts any more.  I now use commercial adhesive vinyl sign material.  It is much faster and allows for easily cutting shapes with an X-acto knife.  It is cheap.  The commercial grade is guaranteed to last six or seven years depending on your altitude.  The vinyl is easy to remove if need be.
  1. Priming brass and aluminum metals presents special problems. The following procedure works. (Go to my blog [http://dunbar.blog.com/4954759/] for a complete discussion of the problem and a solution.) For best results, allow enough time to follow the procedure without interruption. Prepare a solution of trisodium phosphate, TSP, 1 cup per gallon. Clean the metal parts with #1 steel wool. Immediately put all the aluminum or brass parts to be painted in the TSP solution. Do not put the brass and aluminum parts in the solution at the same time. Leave the parts in the TSP solution a half hour. Swish the water a few times. Rinse and dry the metal parts.
  2. Immediately, put the metal parts in a 5% solution of white vinegar (how it comes out of the bottle) for five minutes. Swish the samples a few times. Do not put the brass and aluminum parts in the vinegar at the same time. Rinse and dry the samples.
  3. Immediately, spray Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer, white or very light gray, (no product number) on all surfaces of the metal samples. Do not forget the edges. Apply two coats. Follow the directions on the spray can. I improvise a spray booth outside to spray paint the parts. I wear a half mask cartridge respirator while I paint.
  4. Sand the metal parts very lightly with 320 grit 3M Sandblaster sandpaper.
  5. Use quality exterior gloss enamel over the primer. The color coat may be either solvent-based or water-based exterior paint. If you use water-based exterior enamel, allow the Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer to cure for one week. I use Ronan solvent-based Bulletin colors. I apply them with a one-stroke synthetic hair brush. Whatever paint you use, follow the directions. Using solvent-based paint requires adequate ventilation.
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2 comments:

Nathan Mercury said...

Very thorough and meticulous process and documentation. I make mobiles and note that few consumers have the faintest idea of the many steps from design to sale. Well done. Thank you. http://www.jerryrmartin.com

Anonymous said...

I am using aluminum trim material left over from building our house to make the fan blades of the whirligig. Since this material is already painted on one side and primed on the back I assume all it needs is cleaned and painted.