I used Interlux Pimekote and Perfection for the paint. Here was step by step process.
1-Sand all old paint off until you reach chromate coat (this should be yellow or green color) if mast was properly painted the first time. In areas with corrosion
, you need to sand down to bare aluminum. If no chromate, sand all the way to bare aluminum.
2- Now you need to etch the aluminum to take the paint. Paint will not adhere directly to aluminum. You need Alumaprep and Alodine. You can purchase
this fairly inexpensive at any auto body shop. Alumaprep will etch the aluminum and Alodine will create the first protective coat bonded to Aluminum. Paint adheres very well to Alodine. (Wear protective everything, this stuff is nasty toxic, suit, resperator, gloves, eye protection). Brush on with foam or good quality brush and do not let dry on aluminum. Rinse and repeat as per product instruction. Do entire mast and boom. Make sure you mix accroding to product label exactly.
Now to Paint
3- We used Primekote for 3 layers. Cheap
rollers did not work well and always left parts of foam behind. We have a 56 foot mast and 17 foot boom. We used 3 GOOD QUALITY rollers per coat. Once the roller starts to breakdown, change it out. Roll on with 3-4" foam roller and tip with a dry 3-4"roller. Make sure you lightly sand between coats with 300 grit sand paper.
4- We used Interlux Perfection for the final 3 coats. Same as the epoxycoat, use good quality rollers. Sand between layers (lightly) only removing any high spots. The finish product should be just as good as sprayed.
Some ideas to keep in mind. While I am typically a hands on person, if I had to do again I would have had a local paint shop do the job. The quote I recieved was for $200 to media blast with walnut or gypsum agregate (not sand) and $800 to spray any paint I wanted. The time it took me to do this entire process, about 100 hours over 1 month, I would happily pay someone else $1000 and have my mast back in less than 4 days.
If that is not on option, remember; The paint process will look terrible until your 5th or 6th coat of paint. You want to do small light layers and gradually build to a nice even finish. Also, keep on eye on the humidity level and dew point especially with that last 2 coats. If the dew point drops or humidity gets above 60%, it will not be a good day to paint. This will take away the finish when curing and leave you with a dull chalky coat.