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Author Topic: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator  (Read 758 times)

Offline Steve Berry

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Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« on: April 25, 2021, 05:51:24 PM »
I've been on this forum for years, bouncing from one train of thought to another. I've started and stopped a few builds, mostly due to no real place to build since my sis-in-law and nephew have been living with us for a while, using my building room ''. I've also been keeping busy doing a bunch of designing and watching a small library of Windy and Stunt Hanger videos (thanks Sparky!).

Well, I have decided that of the builds I have going, and kits I have in my possession, I'm going with.....a Tom Dixon Tutor Too. It's simple to put together, and with the foam wing already sheeted, should be a quick build. I'll be converting it to electric.

I have a pretty good idea of what to get for the conversion - Okie Air 3D-printed motor mount, either a Cobra or Badass motor, probably some Zippy batteries (at first). I could use some suggestions on the rest of the electronics, but that'll be under the electric forum.

My concern is the finishing of it. As much as I'd love to do a silkspan & dope finish a la Windy, I just don't have the resources for all of that (the dope itself - when did it get so expensive??, spray gun & compressor, thinner, etc). So, my plan is to go with Ultracote. Back in the day I was okay with a Monokote finish, not award winning, but not the worst out there either.  If it was just that, wouldn't be a big deal. Here's the rub - the foam wing doesn't have a spar, so the strength will be in the skin. I was thinking of running some carbon tow from tip to tip with Zpoxy finishing resin, wrapping it around the bellcrank post (did I mention a suspended bellcrank? no, well, I just did) in the process to help spread the load, and placing 2 or 3 ellipses of increasing sizes over the high point center section, centered on the bellcrank post, as well.

That seems to be how Windy did it on some of his foam wings, and I figured if good enough for him, should be ok for me, too. I know about the sanding (sand, sand, sand, check it, sand some more, sleep, keep sanding),, all the way up to about 320 grit to get it nice and smooth & level. I'm just not sure where to go from there. I've though of using MGS epoxies, but they are more expensive than I'd like, at this time. So I guess keep using Zpoxy finishing epoxy. I've also been kicking around the idea of glassing the entire wing to help add strength while hopefully not adding too much weight.

From there....what? I don't necessarily want a paint finish, but if that's the best way to go at this stage, I'd like to know. I want a serviceable finish that won't stink and will be fairly quick to apply. That's why I'm thinking Ultracote. However, I don't want the carbon tow or the fiberglass reinforcement to show right through the covering. So, paint or Ultracote? if Ultracote, what is the proper prep sequence for this application?

Thanks, and see y'all on the circle.
Steve

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 07:01:32 PM »
My latest planes are done with plastic iron on films.  I use Poly-Span or doctor paper under the iron on on the wings.  No more dope finishes as I use the spray on paints like Rustoleum and ACE Hardware spray cans.  Even graphics using leftover plastic covering(would say mylar but I was told once mylar is not the correct term). D>K
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Offline Avaiojet

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 07:17:30 PM »
My latest planes are done with plastic iron on films.  I use Poly-Span or doctor paper under the iron on on the wings.  No more dope finishes as I use the spray on paints like Rustoleum and ACE Hardware spray cans.  Even graphics using leftover plastic covering(would say mylar but I was told once mylar is not the correct term). D>K

Glad you moved away from dope, after all it's 2021.

"Aerosol" cans, great not having to purchase spray equipment, mix paint then clean everything for each color.

It's catching on but slowly. John, I think if you try Krylon you'll be please with how it sets up, plus you can add trim colors the same day.

Krylon color chart at CFC Graphics vendor's corner.

All my models are Krylon except for one LE trim color.
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Offline Steve Dwyer

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 07:53:16 PM »
I don't know I just can't get comfortable using spray cans. I use DC 540 for primer in a spray can but beyond that I'd prefer a compressed air spray gun to apply anything. I haven't found a spray can that doesn't occasionally spit or works well when used in a near inverted position for those hard to reach areas.

After spending hours detailing and prepping for a finish who would want spit marks? Cans are just too risky in my opinion, I'll stick with the dope and adjustability of pressure and volume. It isn't all that burdensome to set up, mix and clean up, just have ample Acetone available for clean up. And by all means wear a respirator no matter how you are applying airborne paints with solvents, our lungs were not designed for them you'll live longer!

Steve

Online Brett Buck

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2021, 08:05:24 PM »
I don't know I just can't get comfortable using spray cans. I use DC 540 for primer in a spray can but beyond that I'd prefer a compressed air spray gun to apply anything. I haven't found a spray can that doesn't occasionally spit or works well when used in a near inverted position for those hard to reach areas.

    Depending on how comfortable or interested in protecting yourself from raw fuel, the usual automotive base coat colors with a single-part clear is the easy way to go. I am not very familiar with the single-part clear brand names, but it works very nicely, it's just not fuel-proof in most cases. Since it is electric, all you have to do is worry about your flying buddies exhaust.

    Brett

Offline Ken Culbertson

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 05:44:56 AM »
.....all you have to do is worry about your flying buddies exhaust.

    Brett
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Offline Larry Renger

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 07:12:10 AM »
Itís those breakfast burritos!  %^@
Think S.M.A.L.L. y'all and, it's all good, CL, FF and RC!

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Offline Steve Berry

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 11:20:40 AM »
Itís those breakfast burritos!  %^@

That's a whole different type of internal combustion & backfire. Could still leave a smoke trail, though.  :##

Offline Joe Ed Pederson

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 02:50:39 PM »
My latest planes are done with plastic iron on films.  I use Poly-Span or doctor paper under the iron on on the wings.  No more dope finishes as I use the spray on paints like Rustoleum and ACE Hardware spray cans.  Even graphics using leftover plastic covering(would say mylar but I was told once mylar is not the correct term). D>K

Doc,

When you use poly-span under plastic iron on films, do you dope the poly-span before applying the plastic iron on films?  If so, how many coats?

Joe Ed Pederson

Offline Larry Renger

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2021, 08:57:16 AM »
No dope! Read the polyspan under film thread in this paint and finishing series. All is revealed.
Think S.M.A.L.L. y'all and, it's all good, CL, FF and RC!

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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2021, 01:52:36 PM »
Doc,

When you use poly-span under plastic iron on films, do you dope the poly-span before applying the plastic iron on films?  If so, how many coats?

Joe Ed Pederson

The stuff I use most is called Mod-Podge from your local fabric store.  Brush it on the surrounding area you are going to cover and iron the covering down.  Most important, do not seal it before putting the plastic over it.  It is easier to show than write about for me. H^^
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Offline Larry Renger

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 07:12:35 PM »
Again, the whole point is that the film IS the finish and the fiber is a firm base. In the past dope was used to join the fibers into a firm sheet, but with the bonded on film that is not only not needed, nor desirable. Dope would prevent the film from bonding down firmly to the fiber below it and making a composite covering stronger than either.

Dope would cause bubbles of gas under the covering and reduce the bond we are trying to get between the film and fiber.

The whole idea is to create a film/fiber composite that resists heat and abrasion. So far, the results are favorable.

Use just enough adhesive to bond the fiber of your choice to the outer perimeter of the structure. Cover it with a self adhesive film of your choice and then bond the film down to the fiber with a covering iron. The result is practically bulletproof!


If you use transparent colored films the result is beautiful. Looks like the best of an old free flight silkspan or silk covering clear wing. Look in the SLC over polyspan thread for a photo.

Good old Doc and others have adopted this method with great results. And if you use ModPodge for the initial covering job, you never need dope!
Think S.M.A.L.L. y'all and, it's all good, CL, FF and RC!

DesignMan
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Offline Steve Berry

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 08:27:05 PM »
This is all really good info, but still hasn't really answered my question.

I'm thinking I may skip the carbon tow "spars" on the outside of the wing and just go with fiberglass footballs over the highpoint for reinforcement, applied with Zap Finishing Epoxy. A little sanding, and I should be good to go for the next process. But what is the next process? Silkspan applied via polycrylic? Silkspan/polyspan applied via mod-podge with SLC or Ultracote on top?

Keep in mind, this has a pre-sheeted foam wing, which means for all intents, it has all solid balsa surfaces. I want a good, strong wing that won't fold on me, and an easy no-stink finish. Only reason I have concerns with Ultracote is I don't want the fiberglass weave, or the flat hump from the carbon tow (if used), to show through.

My other option, of course, is the same wing reinforcement, use polycrylic to apply silkspan to the whole plane, sand, shoot with DC-540 primer (1 coat, sand, 2nd coat, sand) and go with color with a fuel proof top coat (to protect from others glow exhaust). I just don't want to have to do much painting at this time. I'd like it to be all Ultracote, if possible, since I can do that inside with the family.

Along with the that, I been searching and haven't hit upon the right search terms yet. I'd like to monocote the wing, fuse, and tail feathers, then install them, rather than install them and only then try covering an unwieldly beast. Any step-by-step tutorials on how to do just that? I gather it involves marking and cutting a strip of iron-on covering from the center of the wing just big enough to allow the glue to do it's job, but I've never done that and some instruction would be nice.

Steve

Offline Joe Ed Pederson

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2021, 10:12:36 AM »
The stuff I use most is called Mod-Podge from your local fabric store.  Brush it on the surrounding area you are going to cover and iron the covering down.  Most important, do not seal it before putting the plastic over it.  It is easier to show than write about for me. H^^

Thanks, Doc.   I'm familiar with Modge Podge.

Joe Ed

Offline Joe Ed Pederson

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2021, 10:23:57 AM »
Again, the whole point is that the film IS the finish and the fiber is a firm base. In the past dope was used to join the fibers into a firm sheet, but with the bonded on film that is not only not needed, nor desirable. Dope would prevent the film from bonding down firmly to the fiber below it and making a composite covering stronger than either.

Dope would cause bubbles of gas under the covering and reduce the bond we are trying to get between the film and fiber.

The whole idea is to create a film/fiber composite that resists heat and abrasion. So far, the results are favorable.

Use just enough adhesive to bond the fiber of your choice to the outer perimeter of the structure. Cover it with a self adhesive film of your choice and then bond the film down to the fiber with a covering iron. The result is practically bulletproof!


If you use transparent colored films the result is beautiful. Looks like the best of an old free flight silkspan or silk covering clear wing. Look in the SLC over polyspan thread for a photo.

Good old Doc and others have adopted this method with great results. And if you use ModPodge for the initial covering job, you never need dope!

Thanks, Doc and Larry,

Last year I covered a Skyray .35 with Sig Lite Silkspan and gave it three coats of dope before covering with Ultra Coat transparent red.  I also spread Sig Stix It over the outline of the wing before attaching the film over the silkspan.   It has stayed stuck.   Does look nice, as Larry mentioned.

It is good to know the dope is unnecessary and could cause problems.  Also good to know that the use of Modge Podge eliminates the need to dope the wood before attaching the Polyspan.

Joe Ed

Offline Mike Alimov

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2021, 03:56:40 PM »
Here are my thoughts, based on recent experience helping my boys build their Nats airplanes (electrics, profile):

- Sheeted foam wings have enough strength in the wood sheeting alone, IF (IF!) joined together properly.  I would expect that Tom has provided an internal slot in the foam for the customary lite-ply spar.  Join the two halves over the spar (glue applied to the spar, of course, and bellcrank/pushrod installed inside).  This should be done in the cradles/schucks to maintain alignment.  When dry, run a 2" wide strip of fiberglass tape over the entire center seam using laminating epoxy.  When cured, this assembly by itself should be strong enough to withstand flight loads and not fold.  Any type of covering will further reinforce that.
- From here on, I would go with a heat shrink covering on wing+flaps and stab+elevators, while doing a Rustoleum finish on the fuselage.  Here's why.  Fuselage typically has some compound curves, hard-to-reach places, and areas with plywood (nose doublers, for example).  It is much, much harder to do a decent Mono(Ultra)cote finish on the fuselage than it is on wings and tail.
- For heat shrink covering, I would pick Monokote over Ultrakote any day.  Yes, I've used both.  The best written and illustrated source for high quality Monokote covering is a book by a Toledo-winning master Faye Stilley called "Covering R/C Airplanes".  Available from Amazon and possibly elsewhere.  Worth its weight in gold.
- Fuselage: sand everything going from ~220 grit down to 600.  Spray two coats of Rustoleum primer.  Next day wet sand with 600.  Spray Rustoleum (see a recent thread with my comments).  Let dry for 2 days. Done.
- Mark fuselage/wing joints on the Monokote, and melt 1/2" diameter circles spaced out by 1/4" in Monokote using low-power soldering iron. This should provide enough glue area to join wing and fuselage.
- Glue wing/tail to fuselage, using prepared alignment jigs, using epoxy.  Remove excess with Q-tips.  When cured, mix epoxy with microballoons and make fillets.

Hope this helps.
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Online Brett Buck

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2021, 04:06:06 PM »
This is all really good info, but still hasn't really answered my question.


  Since this is sheeted foam, you can do what I did -

Carbon mat adhered with nitrate dope
Klasskote White primer
spot-fill any pinholes with polyester filler (Bondo, etc) - in TINY amounts, you should see barely-visible red dots
Klass Kote color of choice
2-part automotive clear

   An alternative is to replace the KlassKote color with automotive base coat color; do that, and you are in the Phil Granderson/Jim Aron territory. Klass Kote is nice, and Jim used the primer on his airplane, but the automotive colors are a lot easier to deal with, cover better, and a lot easier to clean/safer for the gun. The downside is it isn't remotely fuelproof, so if some fuel gets underneath the clear, you are in trouble. That should not be a problem with electric, and I will probably use House of Kolor base coat next time on my electric.

     Brett


Offline Steve Berry

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2021, 07:30:17 PM »
Here are my thoughts, based on recent experience helping my boys build their Nats airplanes (electrics, profile):

- Sheeted foam wings have enough strength in the wood sheeting alone, IF (IF!) joined together properly.  I would expect that Tom has provided an internal slot in the foam for the customary lite-ply spar.  Join the two halves over the spar (glue applied to the spar, of course, and bellcrank/pushrod installed inside).  This should be done in the cradles/schucks to maintain alignment.  When dry, run a 2" wide strip of fiberglass tape over the entire center seam using laminating epoxy.  When cured, this assembly by itself should be strong enough to withstand flight loads and not fold.  Any type of covering will further reinforce that.
- From here on, I would go with a heat shrink covering on wing+flaps and stab+elevators, while doing a Rustoleum finish on the fuselage.  Here's why.  Fuselage typically has some compound curves, hard-to-reach places, and areas with plywood (nose doublers, for example).  It is much, much harder to do a decent Mono(Ultra)cote finish on the fuselage than it is on wings and tail.
- For heat shrink covering, I would pick Monokote over Ultrakote any day.  Yes, I've used both.  The best written and illustrated source for high quality Monokote covering is a book by a Toledo-winning master Faye Stilley called "Covering R/C Airplanes".  Available from Amazon and possibly elsewhere.  Worth its weight in gold.
- Fuselage: sand everything going from ~220 grit down to 600.  Spray two coats of Rustoleum primer.  Next day wet sand with 600.  Spray Rustoleum (see a recent thread with my comments).  Let dry for 2 days. Done.
- Mark fuselage/wing joints on the Monokote, and melt 1/2" diameter circles spaced out by 1/4" in Monokote using low-power soldering iron. This should provide enough glue area to join wing and fuselage.
- Glue wing/tail to fuselage, using prepared alignment jigs, using epoxy.  Remove excess with Q-tips.  When cured, mix epoxy with microballoons and make fillets.

Hope this helps.

This helps, tremendously. Exactly the type of info I was looking for. Thanks.

  Since this is sheeted foam, you can do what I did -

Carbon mat adhered with nitrate dope
Klasskote White primer
spot-fill any pinholes with polyester filler (Bondo, etc) - in TINY amounts, you should see barely-visible red dots
Klass Kote color of choice
2-part automotive clear

   An alternative is to replace the KlassKote color with automotive base coat color; do that, and you are in the Phil Granderson/Jim Aron territory. Klass Kote is nice, and Jim used the primer on his airplane, but the automotive colors are a lot easier to deal with, cover better, and a lot easier to clean/safer for the gun. The downside is it isn't remotely fuelproof, so if some fuel gets underneath the clear, you are in trouble. That should not be a problem with electric, and I will probably use House of Kolor base coat next time on my electric.

Brett

I may do this exact thing on my next one. I just need to get set up for spraying paint first. Unless....I use polycrylic instead of nitrate dope, and use the spray cans of auto paint. Minimize the smell so the wife is happy, and minimize the wallet impact.  Thanks for the info and a workable process.

Steve

Online Brett Buck

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Re: Hello, my name is Steve, and I'm a procrastinator
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2021, 08:07:38 PM »
This helps, tremendously. Exactly the type of info I was looking for. Thanks.

I may do this exact thing on my next one. I just need to get set up for spraying paint first. Unless....I use polycrylic instead of nitrate dope, and use the spray cans of auto paint. Minimize the smell so the wife is happy, and minimize the wallet impact.  Thanks for the info and a workable process.

Steve

   You are welcome. I would note that if you are going to use film over your sheeted foam wing, *there is nothing else required*, just put it straight on the wood. It takes good technique and nerves of steel (because on mistake and you might have to start over), but otherwise it is very satisfactory, the point that one of Bill Fitzgerald's airplanes (David's dad, unfortunately no longer with us) looked like the very best dope job ever, and several of us have gotten 15 points at the NATs with a just Monokote over balsa.

    The technique is critical and very demanding (I posted the technique I use, which is very similar to that used by Bill F and Gary McClellan back in the day), but done correctly it looks like it was made of molded plastic. I *would not* recommend trying to put film over a fuselage - just paint it - but for the wings and the tail it is perfectly acceptable and admirably light.

     Brett


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