Finalizing everything on the plane for the final trip to the airport in a week or two.  I'm keeping it bare aluminum for now and only painting the fiberglass (doors, wing tips, etc) parts, probably at least 2 years until I get my amphib floats built and installed then I'll paint the entire thing. 

I don't want to go as far as polishing it, but would like to keep it fairly clean but insane gleaming is not necessary! :)  Wiping everything down with acetone to remove the sharpie writings and markings leaves a lot of streaks.  Worse thing I've found it some bird crap on the wing tops from a stupid humming bird that always winds up in my garage and that sh!t is a bear to get off if it sits for a while!  It etches right in!!! :(

Anybody got tips for cleaning the bare aluminum?  I've got some heavy duty aircraft cleaner from the old days that is a great degreaser but anybody have any tips on removing streaks and such?  Waxing it is probably a bad idea since any that remains will screw up a future paint job, but maybe not.  I've used some great wax removers in the past so I might still consider it.

Any tips appreciated...



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Car wax, cheap and readily available, should protect the aluminum surface before you paint it. Select the wax that is good against bird dropping.


Alumiprep 33, a cleaner and conditioner,  Removes oxidation, chemically etches aluminum surface, prepares for painting and welding.

I'm leaving my 701 "white' (raw) except control surfaces, slats and cowl, paint is weight.  I definitely do not agree with Champs wax idea, with all those rivet heads, you'll never get it all off.

Cheers,,,,,,,,,,,  Lynn


lumiprep 33, cleans and conditions, removes oxidation, chemically etches, prepares for painting and welding.  Follow instructions and rinse well.

I'm not painting my 701 except control surfaces, slats and cowl, paint is weight.  I definitely don't agree with Champs wax idea,  too many river heads, you'll never get it all off. 

Cheers, good luck,,,,,,,,,,,  Lynn

Hmm! From my limited experience, MEK and acetone are pretty good cleaners.


It leaves streaks behind that won't come off no matter what!  Don't know why but it only gets "so" clean with this stuff.  You can even still see some sharpie writings in the metal, almost like it etched in... :(

Avoid like the plague anything with silicone in it - since a lot of lubricants also have silicon, be precise applying any near surfaces to later be painted. My painter told me it's near-impossible to get the silicone out of the bare aluminum and it will ruin a paint job - he even bans WD-40 and similar lubricants from anywhere inside his paint shop - says the aerosol can drift around and eventually wind up where you don't want it!



I'm going to try some Alumiprep 33 (Yay HazMat fees...cry) and see how that works. I don't plan on wiping it on the graphics but if this stuff touches the vinyl letters accidentally will it wreck them?  Thinking acid is not good on lettering even if mine are high end ones?

I did mine over my N numbers, cheap ones, with no affect. Rinse completely before it drys!

Cheers,,,,,,,,,,,,,  Lynn

Mark...go green!! Eco Etch which is made by Stewart Systems is a completely non toxic product that does exactly what alumiprep does but is much easier to use because you can just hose it down the drain. After diluting it and letting it sit on the aluminum for a period of time, you then scrub the surface with a marroon pad and you're left with a beautiful, sparkling satin finish. They recommend pressure washing afterward but I used my home hose and everything came out great. Finish off by sealing the aluminum to avoid fingerprints etc...Everbriteis a good sealer....but I agree w John make sure there are no silicones in it:

Eco Etch:

My order of Alumiprep 33 just arrived from Spruce yesterday! LOL  I'll see how well that works out.

I'm leaving mine bare too. I want to be able to clean it without leaving any kind of residue. Washing with detergent? How about getting bugs off the leading edges? What does the military use, say, on C-130's?


We use plenty of airmen and the appropriate amount of motivation. Cleaning material choice just determines how fast it happens. PD-680 is a good cleaner though.


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