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Old Mar 30, 2015, 03:40 PM
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What tools are needed to cover a airplane?

I am getting near the of my first kit and I need to cover it. I have a covering picked out but I am not sure what tools I need. I was planning on taking the plane to my club and seeing if I could get some help covering it. I'm just not sure where I need to go from here and I was hoping to get some advice. I messed up this is not a scale plane
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Last edited by Matthew0; Mar 30, 2015 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Wrong category
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 07:05 PM
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Mo problem. Most of us build sport planes as well.

The real question is which covering are you planning on using? The tools required depend on the covering being applied.

If you're using an iron-on, you will need a sharp blade and a sealing iron of some type. Most of the iron-ons are hard on the edge of your knife, I often use a single edged razor blade they're sharp and cheap. I don't mind using 2 or 3 on a covering job. A hot air gun is also useful if the project is large enough. Be careful with it you can easily burn a hole in the covering if your not.

For a tissue and dope covering, the tools are the same sharp blade and/or a fine sanding block to trim are tissue once its dried in place. I've only done 2 or 3 tissue jobs so if others have a more complete list here they should jump in.

Other tools you will fine useful are a couple of straight edges, I have them in various sizes ranging from 12 to 48", and a good grain free cutting surface. I use either a steel sheet or a piece of tempered glass. I prefer the glass since it doesn't scratch as easily, but the steel sheet is larger.

I'm sure that as you progress you will find other tools that you like.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 07:07 PM
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what covering do you have in mind?
Tools /Techniques vary... Widely... dependent on the Covering type.
Esaki Tissue is a helluvatot different than Monokote.. which in itself is also very different from Doculam.
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 07:51 PM
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I was looking at the solar film from mountain models. It is an iron on covering. I have a hair dryer but I am not sure if that is hot enough. Is a sealing iron any different from a regular one?
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Old Mar 30, 2015, 08:44 PM
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You are right the hair dryer won't get hot enough. If it did, I'd have burned off what little hair I have left. What you need here is more of industrial hot air gun.

If normal iron is one you use to iron your clothes, then yes, a sealing iron is different.

I would suggest that you go to either www.tower hobbies.com or www.horizonhobby.com and look at their collection of covering tools. I really like the 21st Century iron from Tower, but still have the older style Monokote and Black Baron irons. Both styles will work well if you follow the directions that come with the covering.

As Bare pointed out, all of the different coverings are different. Monokote is different from solar film which is different from Coverlite, and so on. We all have developed favorites over the years and tend to stay with what we know. Over the last few years I have tried to experiment with different materials and have success with most of them if I stayed with the instructions.

Good luck

Tom
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Old Mar 31, 2015, 12:33 AM
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Hi, Matt.

Good cutting tools are important too. A brand new X-Acto balde or fresh single edge razor work great. For long straight cuts a good sharp pair of scissors can be a great help.

Cheers!
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Old Mar 31, 2015, 02:40 AM
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You can get enough heat from a normal clothes iron for Solarfilm, the problem with it is that it's a bit big and heavy to use on lightweight balsa models. But I did use one for a year or two before I bought a proper sealing iron (which is much easier to use).

You can do the shrinking using just the iron but a heat gun is useful. Hair dryer isn't hot enough but a paint stripping heat gun can be used if you're REALLY careful (don't get it too near and always keep it moving).

The proper modelling versions of those tools aren't really vital but they do make things a lot easier.

Steve
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