Painting The Dome

The inside does not need to be painted, but those who do, claim their Dark Adaptation is better because of it. This is a chemical process the retina goes thru to adapt to very low levels of light. Takes about twenty minutes and is truly remarkable.

Both Krylon and RustOleum make paints for plastics. The Domer is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) like milk and bleach bottles and, one trait this has is, -nothing- sticks to it. Both of these manufacturers claim their products will do a good job of sticking, but only with proper surface prep and applied within proper temperature-humidity ranges.

Others in my eCircle have struggled with painting their domes with mixed results.

This is my version.

I experimented with RustOleum Primer for Plastics on Bleach bottles. In the end, roughing the surface good, then painting it and, here is a tip, wait 4-5 days for it to get really hard. On white bleach bottles, the paint did not come off unless with a metal knife or something sharp.

First off was to squeeze enough room outa the garage so I could get it inside. Friday was supposed to be wonderful weather with rain in the next 4-5 days, so I got the day off.

--That-- feels good. A day off ...

By the way, I was going to spray it with my HVLP spray gun, but, after trying to get the paint stirred up enough, I gave up. Way too many solids that plugged the gun and made a genuine mess for me. I plopped the paint back into the can, brought both to Home Depot and had them shake the pajeebers out of it. When I got back home, I could have sprayed it, but resolved I needed to work it into the surface a bit which rolling it will do. So, I rolled and brushed it.

Btw, PolyDome, the mfgr's of the ExploraDome, now make a version with the exterior in white and the interior molded from black plastic. I talked to them of a sort of "Trade-Up", but paint is alot cheaper.


Here is the Domer inside the garage. (Duuuh)

My neighbor Paul and I picked it up and hauled it in there without problem.

I did take all the hardware off. Just easier to prep and paint if you do.


I propped it up with two tables I use for these kinds of projects.

ie: I do not care if they get paint, grease, oil, dirt on them or if I drill into them.

ps: I do not set on them any longer. Used to have four, now there are three.


Used my Makita sander and 60 grit sandpaper to rough up the surfaces. It was so rough, it felt like cloth felt does. May be a bit too rough, but, won't matter. I probably increased the surface area by a factor of 3x.

After I was done sanding I got high on lacquer thinner - wiping down the surfaces to prep them for paint. R/Oleum suggested paint thinner, but lacquer thinner gives a better buzz and lasts much longer.

When I was young, I helped my father rebuild engines. He tore them down and rebuilt them - I cleaned the parts. After 4-5 hours with parts cleaner my hands would tingle for a couple days. Then, buffing the lead/gunk from the valves? I would wager that lead is part of my weight management failure. Thinner makes the hands tingle too.


And here is the progress. Using a light for the sanding really made things alot easier. Judging the progress by the surface reflection.


I took a scrap roller, cut off 3-4" and used it. Worked fine.


My oh my, this stuff was runny in the First Degree.

In all, I was just shy of two quarts. One for the Domer, one for the floor.

And I forgot how easy it is to clean up when using latex paint. This oil based stuff is a bit tougher. The brush is still soaking.


The finished product after spraying the RustOleum Oil Based Flat Black.

It took one quart with a bit left over.


Inside. Note, I did not care of the lower rim as for the most part, it will be covered up by the wooden ring. The rest adds personality.


The front lower door. I did not paint the upper door that slides up and over the top as, it will not be visible from the inside when in use.


The High Volume Low Pressure spray outfit. I do not know if I would lay down paint on a car, but for woodworking and projects like this, it is really nice as the air pressure is low and it does not blow the paint all over.


The Primer.


The Flat Black.

(The End)