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Old Mar 08, 2015, 01:06 PM
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21st Century vs. Top Flite covering iron?

Which do you guys prefer between the two of these? I like to use Hangar 9 Ultracote...
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Old Mar 08, 2015, 04:02 PM
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the 21 century iron has really nice temp control but that stupid shoe shape is totally freaking useless IMO, especially the way the bottom angles up at the tip. after trying to use it just once i butchered the thing and made a new shoe that has a sharp edge all the way around. but i didn't stop there, i also put a little handle right on top of the shoe.....and separated the electronics section from the new handle with a couple of feet of cord. works good but the cable is kinda stiff so next time i use it i'll probably just chop the cable right off and heat it by setting it on top of an old clothes iron turned upside down....cordless covering iron.

....if it ain't broke fix it 'till it is...
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Old Mar 08, 2015, 04:49 PM
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21st century here too. You can tack down ultracote well with it set at 225F. I set it a bit higher if I am covering a sheeted area. I also use higher temp for monokote. Parklite uses slightly lower temp than ultracote.

However, the "temp" is not necessarily accurate. Test it out and see what works for you. I, personally, don't have a problem with the shape of the shoe. I really should use a sock over it too, but I never remember when I am at the hobby shop or online shopping.

I never used the TF iron, so I have no firsthand knowledge of it.
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Old Mar 08, 2015, 11:12 PM
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It seems a lot of people have complained about the shape of the 21st Century...wondering if I should just go with the Top Flite
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Old Mar 08, 2015, 11:26 PM
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Haven't used the 21st Century iron before, but my Top Flight iron has been with me for the past 37 years or so and hasen't failed me yet. Works well with Ultracote and low temp coverings. I stopped using Monokote 30 some odd years ago and gave away my stash after I discovered it turned brittle with too much exposure to sunlight, amoungst other issues it has that I didn't like.
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Old Mar 09, 2015, 08:01 AM
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After my old Top Flite took a dump I bought a 21st Century. The new Top Flites aren't made like they used to so I tried something different. I use 2 irons at different temps so I bought a second. Regardless of which one you go with buy yourself one of those little pocket thermometers to help set your temp. Follow the directions that came with the covering for setting the proper temps.
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Old Mar 09, 2015, 01:29 PM
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Hmm...so I see a lot of people complain about the shape and profile of the 21st Century iron. I have used the Top Flite iron myself and it seemed great. I am a bit skeptical of the 21st Century.
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Old Mar 09, 2015, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CC268 View Post
Hmm...so I see a lot of people complain about the shape and profile of the 21st Century iron. I have used the Top Flite iron myself and it seemed great. I am a bit skeptical of the 21st Century.
It looks nice...
I can see how the way the nose/tip being up turned like the bow of a boat would make it a little inconvenient when trying to get into corners and such.
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Old Mar 11, 2015, 04:58 PM
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I wouldn't own any other iron other than a 21stCentury. I actually like the shoe. I used the "TopFlite" style of iron many years ago... theres many on the market that have a very similar style shoe like the TopFlite... Royal comes to mind also for that style shoe..

When Coverite came out with thier 21stCentury iron(probably over 20yrs ago now).... I bought one and never looked back. I've been using film covering for well over 30yrs, and have had some knock-out farely complex schemes.... all done with the 21stCentury iron. I honestly think it has alot to do with the temp/thermostat stability... which is better then anything on the market right now in my mind.

I'm on the third one now, and each one has lasted several years... and if it went out today, I'd go buy another one. I might be the odd one out here on this iron, but I come from the days of using my wifes clothes iron.... and I think I'd rather use the clothes iron then any TopFlite, or any other square shoed iron.. as there isn't much diff in them.(PS.. I can get very good results from a clothes iron too..haha.).. Thing is, I can easily afford any of them... so money is definately not an issue for me.
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Old Mar 11, 2015, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGrant View Post
I wouldn't own any other iron other than a 21stCentury. I actually like the shoe. I used the "TopFlite" style of iron many years ago... theres many on the market that have a very similar style shoe like the TopFlite... Royal comes to mind also for that style shoe..

When Coverite came out with thier 21stCentury iron(probably over 20yrs ago now).... I bought one and never looked back. I've been using film covering for well over 30yrs, and have had some knock-out farely complex schemes.... all done with the 21stCentury iron. I honestly think it has alot to do with the temp/thermostat stability... which is better then anything on the market right now in my mind.

I'm on the third one now, and each one has lasted several years... and if it went out today, I'd go buy another one. I might be the odd one out here on this iron, but I come from the days of using my wifes clothes iron.... and I think I'd rather use the clothes iron then any TopFlite, or any other square shoed iron.. as there isn't much diff in them.(PS.. I can get very good results from a clothes iron too..haha.).. Thing is, I can easily afford any of them... so money is definately not an issue for me.
Do you use a sock on the 21st Century? If so, what kind?
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Old Mar 12, 2015, 09:09 AM
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The original iron designs were borrowed from the photography industry. Heat activated tape was used to mount photos and the iron generated the heat. The 21st Century iron is a big improvement over that design. I find the shape to be well thought out and it does hold the temp.

I use a sock on my irons. I've used the ones Tower sells and a couple of years ago a couple of local women would show up at the swap meets selling excellent cotton socks for about half the price. They worked the best. I have one left and unfortunately they don't appear at the swaps anymore. I've heard tell cotton baby socks work well and may give those a try.
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Old Mar 13, 2015, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CC268 View Post
Do you use a sock on the 21st Century? If so, what kind?
I use a stock sock for shrinking and such about half the time if that....

I use a bare iron for sealing, as I found the iron seals much better with no sock.. and I can take advantage of the shoe shape ...

I've also found as some others have that newer Monokote doesn't adhere like the old stuff... but with a bare iron, and higher heat, I really have no trouble at all.. I just have to be careful not to scuff the film... and/or the iron.

The socks definately don't last in my experience though... so once I burn through one, I just grin and "bare" it until I get to the hobby shop.

I've not tried a baby sock.... and I'm not sure it would allow enough heat to get the results I like... apparantly others use those with success.... I on the other hand seem to do fine without.

Trim solvent on the other hand is a must... That stuff keeps everything clean including the shoe on the iron.... and Monokote sticks like no other with it... great stuff.
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Old Mar 15, 2015, 08:32 AM
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Being cheap I've always used a white athletic sock. Push the Top Flite iron all the way in and twist the upper part of the sock around the handle. Never had an issue.

Trey
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Old Mar 15, 2015, 09:12 AM
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I bought the 21 when they first came I still use them For me they just work better
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Old Mar 16, 2015, 09:42 AM
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I have both the large and small Coverite irons and they work very well. I use a sock but I've stopped buying them from the store. At the moment I'm using a discarded cotton t-shirt with safety pins. I'll probably get a couple dozen socks out of that. After it's used up I'll probably switch to cotton baby socks.

Clamped to keep my hands free.




Not pretty on the back, but who cares?




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