At Eko-Tech USA, Inc., we provide step-by-step aid in preparing and applying aircraft fabric filler. The aircraft fabric filler process requires a number of different tools, many of which we supply as an authorized distributor of Stewart Systems. Ensure that several cloths, a spray gun, Ekofill primer and several sheets of 320 grit sandpaper is available before starting this tutorial. The aircraft fabric filler is not an overly complicated process, but is important when giving aircraft a great look and shine. Let’s get started!
View the tutorial video or follow our written instructions to ensure proper application of Stewart Systems EkoFill Filler / UV Blocker / Primer.
Part 1 - EkoFill Fabric Filler/UV Blocker/Primer with Stewart Systems
Step One: Prep Fabric’s Surface
The first step in applying Stewart Systems EkoFill aircraft fabric filler involves getting the surface ready for paint. Make sure that the surface is clear of fingerprints and other debris. This can cause buildup and be detrimental to wing or fabric surfaces. Tape off any items that don’t need to be painted. Cables and other elements of the aircraft shouldn’t come in contact with the paint. Taping them off ensures a smooth painting process without worrying about damaging those components. Use a heavy-duty (18 parts water 1 part cleaner) solution to clean the fabric. An important step to remember is to not have the same cloth to wash as to rinse. Spray cleaner generously across the fabric and wipe away with a clean rag. Rotate the cloth while wiping to get it clean. Follow up by using the second rag and dipping it into a bucket of clean water. Wipe away the soapy residue from the fabric of the wing. Again, rotate the cloth to ensure a complete cleaning. It is important to only dampen the wing and not soak it. This cleaning will ready the fabric for the next step in applying aircraft fabric filler.
Step Two: Apply First Coats of Ekofill Paint (Brush Application)
Before coating the fabric, mix EkoFill fabric filler thoroughly in its container. This ensures that the fabric filler is ready for application which is vitally important. Use a 3” foam brush to apply the first coat to the fabric. Find the wing finishing tapes and begin by painting vertically along those sections. Then proceed to the open parts of the fabric again using the same vertical brush strokes. Next, apply a small layer of paint around the edges of the wing. This section doesn’t require a heavy coat of paint so be sure to apply a thinner layer. To finish, “tip” the paint by changing direction and apply side to side. This isn’t applying a new coat of paint but rather smoothing out the bubbles and surface of the existing coat. Allow an adequate amount of time to dry (Usually 2-4 hours based upon the temperature). Next, apply the second coat of EkoFill fabric filler using the same methods as before. The only difference in the second coat is to start with a side to side brush stroke instead of the vertical method. Still paint the taped edges in a vertical manner. When finished, tip the paint by changing direction by applying in a vertical method. This helps to smooth out the bubbles and surface. Allow the second coat to dry overnight.
Part 2 - EkoFill Fabric Filler/UV Blocker/Primer with Stewart Systems
Step Three: Apply Second Coat of EkoFill Fabric Filler (Spray Gun Application)
After the paint has had time to dry, it is now time for the spray gun portion of the aircraft fabric filler process. Before spraying, it is important to sand away foam particles left from the brush. To remove these particles, take a 320 grit piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the fabric of the wing. This isn’t a hard sand, but merely to remove some of the light particles that could have broken off the brush from the day before. As a final particle removal step, take compressed air and a towel and lightly blow and wipe off the fabric’s surface. Now, the fabric is ready for additional coats of EkoFill fabric filler. Remember to thoroughly mix the filler before pouring into the spray container. Set up the spray gun with a 1.5mm nozzle and set the air pressure around 20 lbs. Even use the gun to spray a couple of test strips on a particle board or other surface to get the motion and application right. It is important to apply the filler smoothly and evenly. When ready, start by painting the edges of the wing fabric first. Then spray a side to side method along the entirety of the wing’s fabric. In this step, a second coat can be applied fairly quickly allowing only a short amount of drying time. On the second coat, switch up the spray direction to apply with a vertical brushstroke method. Again, start with the edges of the fabric and then proceed along the rest of the area. Be sure to spray on the interior fabric of the wing as well. This will protect against leaks or other harmful buildups on the interior of the wing.
Part 3 - EkoFill Fabric Filler/UV Blocker/Primer with Stewart Systems
Step Four: Sand and Re-Apply Additional Fabric Filler Coats
Using many of the same methods, it is now time to apply additional coats of aircraft fabric filler. Before applying more filler, use a hot iron to smooth out the taped edges of the fabric. Next, grab 320 grit sandpaper and proceed to lightly sand the whole wing. Start with the taped edges first. Again, it is important to not sand too hard as this can lead to tears in the fabric. This sanding is to smooth out the coat but the fill coat should still be present. Use compressed air to blow off the sanded particles and wipe away with a clean cloth or towel. The filler application is the same as before when applying to the edges. Apply the first coat in a side by side manner and then follow up with a vertical coat. Allow the filler to again dry overnight.
Step Five: Sand and Apply Aircraft TopCoat
As a final step in the process, the wing is now ready for the top coat of aircraft paint. Using the same sanding method as before, prepare the surface for painting. Be sure to blow and wipe off the surface before applying the final coat. Using a two-part Polyurethane topcoat, apply the paint using the same directional methods as before. After proper application, the fabric will have a smooth and brilliant look.