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Old Jun 03, 2014, 11:18 PM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
Joined Sep 2008
2,657 Posts
New Product
Digital Skins for the JW

***Digital Skins build log here***

I have been testing digital skins for the last 6 months in all sorts of extreme conditions to arrive at the ideal combination of materials and I am almost ready to offer the skins to the public. The skins are designed to fit the JW60. The best method of deploying the skins is to go on top of laminating film ("New Stuff"). The DS guys typically use 5 or 10 mil lam film. The VTPR and frontal crowd use much thinner. The skins stick to lam film, monokote, goop, 3m, fiberglass, paint and basically any stable and smooth surface. Since the skins telegraph the texture of the surface below, it makes the most sense to install on a prepped surface, but if you don't prep it still works. Done correctly, the skins look like a fancy in-the-mould paint job. Digital skins are nothing new since they are based on vehicle wrap tech. My version is a heavily tested combination of materials custom cut to precisely fit the JW60 for a quick and easy installation.

Some of the testing has been UV exposure to the Sun for months, sea air exposure, salt water exposure, repeated submersion, high airspeed (493mph! thanks Spencer), even crash testing at 165mph.

I produce the digital skins in house, including the digital artwork. They are produced on large format commercial equipment. The films are of US origin.

The plane pictured below is a JW UL that I built this weekend. The skins contain 5 colors. The value of the skins will be in potential cost savings versus buying (in this case) 5 rolls of Monokote, time savings since you apply 1 layer and you are done, repairablility since the skins are removable, visible proven color schemes, and potentially more speed from your Dub.

I covered the wing using the "Taco Method", in other words the laminating film wrapped the leading edge so there are no ridges to disturb the airfoil. The digital skins are produced as 1 monolithic sheet per wing half so the that you wrap from the top and around the leading edge onto the bottom of the wing, thus preserving the airfoil. The effect looks like it was painted in the mould.

Photos:
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Last edited by Aerogance; Jun 19, 2014 at 09:29 PM.
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 12:56 AM
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Nice work.
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 01:03 AM
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Looks great Aaron!
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 01:09 AM
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Joined Jul 2005
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That is a great product Aaron! Great that you can utilise your work with the new JW business
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 08:14 AM
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Aaron, any idea yet on how much the skins will add to the cost of a kit?
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 10:03 AM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
Joined Sep 2008
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The price is still up in the air (pun?). I believe it will be in the $50-$75 range. I plan to offer skins for the wing, tail and fuse.
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Pacific Palisades, CA
Joined Jul 2004
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Those look amazing, almost too pretty to fly! Colors look very vibrant and saturated.

Curious how fuse skins would work given the variations in how we each shape them.
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Old Jun 05, 2014, 12:53 AM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
Joined Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by screamin' eagle View Post
Those look amazing, almost too pretty to fly! Colors look very vibrant and saturated.

Curious how fuse skins would work given the variations in how we each shape them.
The fuse is easy to cover with the skins. They are precut to the profile of the fuselage so there is almost no trimming. They work with any variation in how the fuse is shaped. The more you shape the fuse, the more the skins overlap.

The colors are incredibly vibrant because they are outside the "new stuff". I maidened the plane in the first post and was blown away at how visible the colors are. Everyone that has seen the plane comments on how perfect the skins look.

Here is a photo of one of the wing skins laid flat in the sun which shows how bright the colors pop:
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Last edited by Aerogance; Jun 05, 2014 at 01:05 AM.
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Old Jun 05, 2014, 01:14 AM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
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Digital Skins - Before and After

Here is a before and after sequence of a JW UL using the new digital skins:
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Old Jun 05, 2014, 09:59 AM
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United States, CA, Anaheim
Joined Aug 2005
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Hell yea!

Aaron:

This looks like the next step forward in getting from opening the box to flying! Great idea! For folks with limited building skills like me, the more you can pre-fab the better we'll like it and the more we'll order! I know I would pay a premium to have the fuse pre-shaped as well...

Best of luck in your new venture, I have no doubt you will be super-successful!


Mark
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Old Jun 06, 2014, 05:27 PM
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_Sloper's Avatar
Parker Mtn / Valencia, CA
Joined Feb 2006
779 Posts
Awesome, they look so clean and smooth!

I suck at building and covering but this should make it pre fab fun and easy.
I remember John from Parker a couple months ago talking to me about it as he did one or Tim did and I thought it was really cool. Nice to see you got a print shop set up to make them! I want some for sure. A really cool new way of building and design for EPP models.
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Old Jun 06, 2014, 07:32 PM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
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Thank you Mark and Joe! It was 1 year ago when I conceptualized the skin idea and now it is a reality. I can't wait for you guys to see it in person.
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Old Jun 07, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Parker/Weldon

Aaron:

No more flying until you get this done!


Mark
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Old Jun 09, 2014, 08:12 PM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
Joined Sep 2008
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Digital Skins on display this week only!

The JW UL with Digital Skins is hanging at Marty's Hobbies in Thousand Oaks, CA this week. Stop by if you are in the area and check it out. I have been doing durability testing on this model so you can see the wear and tear I have put on it.

Some notable testing is repeated high speed landings into bushes, multiple landings on a dirt road, a 65mph top turn crash into a sage bush (stiff branches), hangar rash, and I even hit a rock with it. The skins are looking fantastic after the abuse, and most damage WILL buff out! Yep, the skins are polishable and can be wet sanded / polished if one should so desire.
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Old Jun 09, 2014, 09:31 PM
JWs are Shear Fun!
Aerogance's Avatar
USA
Joined Sep 2008
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Crash testing of the new Digital Skins

Before building the JW UL pictured above, I put digital skins on my old Mako 48 (the airframe record one). Originally covered in flouro orange / yellow monokote and topped with 5mil new stuff, the colors had faded to mostly light orange and yellow. The plane had become hard to see so I tried adding some stripes on top but it didn't help much. This was a perfect opportunity to see if the new Digital Skins could spruce up an old bird that was looking tired.

Long story short, I wiped off the dirty old wing with alcohol and applied the Digital Skins right on top of the old new stuff and hinge tape. No problem, the skins adhered tenaciously. I took the plane to Weldon to test the skins and it was like flying a new plane, so visible and "freshly painted" looking. It didn't last long when at 165mph the rotor got the best of the Mako and flipped her straight into the back of the hill.

When I retrieved the plane, I found that the control horns had snapped, the pushrods had bent, one aileron broke free, the wing-to-fuse joint had ripped and the plane just simply looked like crap. The digital skins were totally scuffed up and torn where I spanned the hinge tape. But upon closer inspection, I found that the damage was nominal because other than replacing 2 control horns and adding a little goop here and there, the airframe was fine (spar survived yippee). The scuffed-to-hell exterior wasn't a problem at all because the digital skins are replaceable.

Tonight, I peeled off the skins and took some shots for the record:
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