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Old Aug 16, 2015, 05:33 PM
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Question
Covering DTF?

Is there a general consensus here regarding covering Dollar Tree Foam?

I have some monokote laying around and thought better to ask before I heat up the iron. Can I leave the paper on. Might make it easier to remove by just peeling the paper if necessary.
Should I paint it? The extra weight doesn't sit well with what I consider an under powered plane at this point. Although I have no actual evidence to support my doubts. Just feels heavy for the motor I have on it. WE'll see though.
But, I digress here folks. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on this?

Thanks,
Ed
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Old Aug 16, 2015, 05:52 PM
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I build 100% of my scratch-built planes out of DTF . For planes that I want to fly slowly ( light wing loading ) I use DTF with the paper peeled off and add layers of foam where needed for strength . For planes that I want to fly fast I leave the paper on and add the thin Scotch brand packing tape for moisture proofing . I've never painted or decorated any of my planes , so I can't help you there .

Here is a slow flyer made entirely of single layer "paper off" DTF .

Lightweight 40" wingspan FT Old Fogey-ish (2 min 58 sec)


This one is made of "paper on" DTF with Scotch packing tape covering .

Modified Giant Delta (1 min 51 sec)
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Last edited by balsa or carbon; Aug 16, 2015 at 09:18 PM.
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 11:29 AM
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I think the concensus is there is no concensus, but there are lots of options!

My personal preference is paper off, replaced with either nothing (if I want a white plane that is for easy, floaty flying); colored packing tape or Coffee filters and water based urethane varnish (or minwax polycrylic). First, the paper is half the weight of a sheet of DTF (4oz with vs 2oz without), so if you are going to add anything for color, decoration, orientation, durability, (all of which are legitimate functions) starting with bare foam is best. (You can also make swoopier curves with paper off than the faceted bend and fold of paper on).

For maximum durability add, and great skin strengthening, it is hard to beat packing tape. It goes on pretty easy for straight side fuses and wings, can be "enhanced" with a monokote iron to 'wet' the pressure sensitive adhesive to the foam better. It can be formed around edges, and simple shapes with the iron as well. I like the tack of the tape versus the heat set adhesive of Monokote and it's derivatives. Monokote will work if you happen to have it, though - may be a bit tricky to get heat set to fuse the film without melting and re-forming the foam.

If I want to finish the plane with colors other than the 8 or so primary ones in tape, I use a poor man's "fiberglass". The round white Bun style coffee filters take liquids really well, and provide a fairly strong, smooth and imminently paintable finish for most any paint. I will lay a single layer of filters on the entire plane, and add more layers on critical areas like wing LE and around wing mount surfaces, dihedral joints, etc. It's way more 'fiddly' than the tape, but allows maximum color selection. I use the buck a can walmart spray paints, and have used other spray cans for camo designs.

If all you need is color for orientation or decoration, then the apple barrel water based acrylic craft paints available at Walmart work fine - either brushed (carefully to not add too much weight) or air brushed.
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 02:14 PM
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Ayn Rand Sez.............
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Colored packing tape on bare foam. Apply with a monokote iron on 1-1.5 heat setting. The tape is available online on ebay and hobbyking also others.

Oh...what spring said
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 03:47 PM
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Foam is my friend!!!
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I use Colored Packing tape! any color you want, lightweight, waterproofs the plane, I leave paper on one side, and use CF to stiffen key areas, here are a few of my DTFB planes with colored packing tape!

I get my tape from tapebrothers.com
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 07:41 PM
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Very nice gentlemen! I am leaning towards packing tape and decals/stickers. I did try a small portion of monkote on a piece of scrap foam and it did well with my iron on 1.5 and stuck. I may use that to make "stickers and decals:" out of, extremely lightweight.
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 07:44 PM
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The wings, rudder/fin, and stab/elevator are already covered in clear packing tape, so I guess no need to break formation there.
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Old Aug 17, 2015, 08:15 PM
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Foam is my friend!!!
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Permanent marker "Sharpie" works well too! that's what I used on my "Reaper" above!
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Old Aug 18, 2015, 07:54 AM
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Another choice is Doculam, or one of the document type plastic sheeting Something like packing tape but comes in a range of 14/18 in. widths in a range of lengths. I paint on it with no preparation. It's very tough stuff.

Gord.
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Old Aug 18, 2015, 11:43 AM
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Yes, there's any number of ways of going about it. I've started to get hooked on the coffee filters and wood glue method - it reduces the weight of the airframe and provides a paintable and waterproof skin. Just use Titebond II instead of Titebond III - the latter is too thick.

I've also left the paper on and used the oil-based Minwax (not the water based) to seal the paper on and create a paintable surface. It works, but it makes for a very smelly plane for a few days while the Minwax fully cures.

Leaving the paper on and adding colored packing tape is probably the easiest way to get a colored surface and have some level of waterproofing and durability, at the expense of weight. But I've cartwheeled planes built that way with little more than a few creases in the foam.

One of the things I love about DTF is how versatile it is - I'm constantly amazed at what people do with it.
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Old Aug 18, 2015, 05:02 PM
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Here's my Beeker. Built from DTF and covered with lightweight masking paper/Titebond II glue. Painted with Folk Art or Apple Barrel acrylic craft paint from WalMart, then a light coat of Water Based Polyurethane. Final reulst is a nice satin shine. Weighs the same as original DTF with the original paper on.
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