Primer & Paint Guns

Cover Image for Primer & Paint Guns
Matthew Runo
Matthew Runo

Corrosion is a threat to all aircraft. Living in Southern California near the coast, I want to ensure that my plane is safe from corrosion - at least as safe as I can make it. On the exterior paint protects the aluminum surface. On the inside, it's just primer that protects. This keeps the metal safe, and makes the plane last a lot longer without having to worry about things.

Since I'll be doing this myself rather than having Synergy do it for me, I bought a 3M Accuspray 2.0 system. This was a little more than other paint gun options, but it's seriously easy to clean up after you're done. Because the primer is toxic, and the cleaner for the primer is toxic, and everything is toxic - making things easier to clean means reducing exposure to toxic compounds. I like that, and - it's easier all around. I think the 3M Accuspray system will be worth it, even if I end up not painting my plane myself in the end.

Before I can spray anything, I need to prep the metal. There are a couple of options for doing that. Many people use Alodine, which is now sold as Bonderite 1200. Alodine is super toxic, it contains at least one compound that causes cancer, and is generally unpleasant to work with. It's used by filling a tank and submerging metal. One option I could perhaps look into is having a local metal coating shop do this for me. I do live near some electroplating companies, and it seems like perhaps they might (maybe!) already be set up to do Alodine.

Another option is PreKote. PreKote is not a corrosion inhibitor like Alodine/Bonderite is. It only makes the primer you spray after it stick better - but, I think it's the primer doing the corrosion protection anyway so this isn't so bad. PreKote is also nontoxic, which is a major plus for it.

After the surface prep, it's time to spray corrosion-protecting primer. I'm considering both Sherwin Williams P60G2 and Azko Epoxy. I think the Azko Primer is probably better, but its cleanup is also more involved using compounds like MEK which themselves are dangerous to work with. Both would work, so it might come down to which is more available locally. I don't want to deal with HazMat shipping if I don't have to, and there is a Sherwin-Williams store around the corner. There are also a few local Akzo Nobel distributors locally which would have the Azko primer available. The trick is - will these places sell to me?