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Old Mar 07, 2007, 05:01 PM
MICRO Power KING!
rcwyant's Avatar
TAMPA, FL
Joined Dec 2002
290 Posts
Question
where do you buy microballoons and how do you use it?

Hi Everyone!

I have my new Pico TigerMoth on the way, should be here on Friday, and I am looking to start buying all the equipment I need to build it up on Friday night.

I think I want to use a combination of the GWS glue (for fuselage) and epoxy with microballoons on the other parts. A little CA (foam friendly) here and there.

Where do you buy Microballoons and what is the correct mixing ratio?

I have never used it before.

Thanks
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 06:13 PM
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tommyeflight89's Avatar
Toronto, Ontario
Joined May 2004
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I got mine at the LHS. Greatplanes sells it, so your LHS will most likley have it.
Microbaloons are small bubbles of glass silica that are used to alter the properties of epoxy. It makes the epoxy thicker and lighter, allowing it to form things like fillets etc. Epoxy is normally runny, microbaloons makes it thicker.
You add the amount you desire pretty much. Add alot if you plan on shaping/sanding the epoxy, and a little if you want to thicken it a bit.
It does reduce it's strength though, so don't use it for laminating parts etc where strength is the main concern.
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcwyant
I think I want to use a combination of the GWS glue (for fuselage) and epoxy with microballoons on the other parts. A little CA (foam friendly) here and there.
I tried using microballoons one time. Save your money (it's expensive), as there is no place on the Pico TigerMoth that calls for so much epoxy that you have to use 'filler' in it to save weight.

Let me offer you a tip though for your TM. Don't use the contact cement GWS glue on the fuse. You will regret it, because once you stick the parts together, they stay stuck, and there's no opportunity to aline the fuse halves together after they touch each other.

Here's what I do on all my foamies now.

1) Hand aline the fuse halves until they are perfect and seamless. Once you know there will be no problems alining them, then clean the glue joints really good with regular old Rubbing Alcohol that you can pick for about a buck a pint at any drugstore.

2) Use rubber bands placed at a few locations around the assembled fuse to hold it in alinement.

3) Now, take your bottle of THIN CA and attach those little plastic things that look like hypodermic needles to the bottle of CA. They dispense extremely small quantities of CA through them, and for some reason, the CA doesn't dry inside them and clog them up.

4) Starting at the front of the plane, do an adjustment on a few inches of fuse halves, and wick a small amount of CA into the joint for a length of no more than 1 inch. Dab a rag into some CA kicker and touch the moistened rag to the 1 inch long joint to set it.

5) Work all around the fuse halves like this. Glue 1 inch, then skip 1-2 inches and glue another 1 inch, then skip another 1-2 inches and glue another 1 inch. The end result will be strong as anything.

There is no reason to make a continuous glue joint around the entire fuse. Because there is VERY little stress on the fuse halves at the joint line. In fact, any time you are faced with a gluing job, ask yourself "What is the minimum amount of glue, epoxy, or CA, it takes to do this job?"

If a little glue is good, a lot is NOT always better! When your done building planes like this, you will have LIGHT planes that will float soooooo nicely!!!

Chuck
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 09:06 PM
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New Bern, North Carolina, United States
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Chuck... where were you with this post BEFORE I built my ME 109... she's a pig on the scale... no idea if she is inthe air... been windy for 2 weeks... so no maiden yet...
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 09:27 PM
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podavis's Avatar
Louisville KY
Joined Nov 2004
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I buy my micro-balloons from tiny clowns .

Tower Hobbies sells a large squeeze bottle for something like $4. They are glass and don't weaken the epoxy much. There are microballoons made from other materials like phenolic that are not as strong.

They are useful for thickening epoxy for joining materials that don't form tight joints like foam. I use them for applying kevlar and CF mat that needs to be saturated to envelop the fibers into a matrix, the microballoons help fill the voids without making the matrix too weak.
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 09:34 PM
MICRO Power KING!
rcwyant's Avatar
TAMPA, FL
Joined Dec 2002
290 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFlyZone
I tried using microballoons one time. Save your money (it's expensive), as there is no place on the Pico TigerMoth that calls for so much epoxy that you have to use 'filler' in it to save weight.

Let me offer you a tip though for your TM. Don't use the contact cement GWS glue on the fuse. You will regret it, because once you stick the parts together, they stay stuck, and there's no opportunity to aline the fuse halves together after they touch each other.

Here's what I do on all my foamies now.

1) Hand aline the fuse halves until they are perfect and seamless. Once you know there will be no problems alining them, then clean the glue joints really good with regular old Rubbing Alcohol that you can pick for about a buck a pint at any drugstore.

2) Use rubber bands placed at a few locations around the assembled fuse to hold it in alinement.

3) Now, take your bottle of THIN CA and attach those little plastic things that look like hypodermic needles to the bottle of CA. They dispense extremely small quantities of CA through them, and for some reason, the CA doesn't dry inside them and clog them up.

4) Starting at the front of the plane, do an adjustment on a few inches of fuse halves, and wick a small amount of CA into the joint for a length of no more than 1 inch. Dab a rag into some CA kicker and touch the moistened rag to the 1 inch long joint to set it.

5) Work all around the fuse halves like this. Glue 1 inch, then skip 1-2 inches and glue another 1 inch, then skip another 1-2 inches and glue another 1 inch. The end result will be strong as anything.

There is no reason to make a continuous glue joint around the entire fuse. Because there is VERY little stress on the fuse halves at the joint line. In fact, any time you are faced with a gluing job, ask yourself "What is the minimum amount of glue, epoxy, or CA, it takes to do this job?"

If a little glue is good, a lot is NOT always better! When your done building planes like this, you will have LIGHT planes that will float soooooo nicely!!!

Chuck
Chuck,

Thank you for the killer post here! That is the information I am looking for!!!!

I am sure my LHS will sell CA Kicker. I assume, from your post, that Kicker "kicks" up the set time on CA correct?

Thanks....

any other tips for a TM build? Links?
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcwyant
I am sure my LHS will sell CA Kicker. I assume, from your post, that Kicker "kicks" up the set time on CA correct?
You got it. Just ask for "CA kicker". As for the CA, I like the THIN. They sell medium and thick too.

A good 2 part epoxy is invaluable. Get the 6 minute version. If you are using so much epoxy that it takes longer than 30-45 seconds to apply it to the joint, then you are using too much epoxy. Hang onto the parts as they set up. If you are soooooooo in a hurry to lay the parts aside to let them dry whilst you work on other aspects of the plane, then you're in too much of a hurry to finish the job. And the end result will look exactly like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcwyant
any other tips for a TM build? Links?
Dry fit everything before you glue it. Go through the whole 'process' in real life. If you're gluing a widget to a wodget, then go through the motions of exactly how you're going to accomplish it. Including reaching for the imaginary bottle of glue. It's at this time that unforeseen problems will show themselves. Things like the widget being too long, so that when you stand it up to attach it to the wodget, it knocks the damn tubes out of the florescent light fixture above your work bench.

Last bit of advice is this. There are TONS of threads devoted to the GWS Pico Tiger Moth. In them, you will find every tip and trick in the book for making your Tiger Moth reinforced and strengthened to the point of it withstanding a category 5 hurricane. If you find these reinforcing techniques appealing, then I suggest you simply purchase a block of granite and carve out a shape similar to the Tiger Moth, and heave it. It'll fly exactly the same as the reinforced planes anyway.

Build it stock, build it light, take your time and ask questions when you first find something that confuses you!

There is a good .pdf file that gives a nice build instruction. I'll find it for you. It even includes little side view pictures of Snoopy that you can attach to styrofoam and stick in the cockpit.

Chuck
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 10:27 PM
Fly me to the moon...
Atom1025's Avatar
Sacramento
Joined Jun 2005
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Just so you are aware!!

CAUTION - When mixing epoxy and glass bubbles, wear a dust mask and keep your face away from the balloons that may float up into the air. Although glass balloons are inert, they can lodge in your eyes or in your lungs and cause problems. Handle with care.

A 1lb bag will last the average modeler a lifetime! its only about $8.00.

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...es/bubbles.php
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 11:16 PM
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Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
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To use with CA. Put down a layer of thin CA then cover with microballoons. It should harden fast and the excess will fall off. Just repeat until you have built it up enough. Good for use as filler. I would not use it for a bonded joint. For epoxy I adjust the amount for what I want to do. For just filler I add some then stir, it will look like a thick paste. When you have to many balloons it will no longer wet the balloons and start to look crumbly. Hard to describe but you can see it. I use the slower epoxy for this so there is less heat build up in the mixture. Put it down in layers if it is to be thick. But might be better to put a layer of foam if it is that thick. The actual ratio depends on the epoxy and what you want to do. By weight 0.5 to 1 resin with 1 part microballons will be crumbly and not adhear so well. 1 to 2 resin with 1 balloons is getting smoother and light. Around 3 or more resin to 1 balloons will adhear better but be heavier. Stir easy to break less balloons
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Old Mar 07, 2007, 11:19 PM
MICRO Power KING!
rcwyant's Avatar
TAMPA, FL
Joined Dec 2002
290 Posts
Chuck,

You referring to this one:

http://m-a-e.com/Sub_Pages/Build&Fly...structions.pdf

I have this saved under my favorites...it will be my "building bible"
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Old Mar 08, 2007, 09:02 PM
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podavis's Avatar
Louisville KY
Joined Nov 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atom1025
-...A 1lb bag will last the average modeler a lifetime! ....
Wow, that must be like a cubic foot of micro-balloons. The little bottles Tower sells are 8 fluid ounces and weigh as much empty as they do full, well, almost. I'm on my fourth bottle in 2 years so that 1 lb bag makes a lot of sense.
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Old Mar 08, 2007, 09:24 PM
tic
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New Cumberland, PA. US
Joined Dec 2000
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It's fun to squirt some microbaloons down the back of someone's shirt too... Man will they itch and scratch!!!
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Old Mar 08, 2007, 09:28 PM
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I swear by microballoons mixed with 5 minute epoxy. It's light and strong and easy to work with. I just mix it into the epoxy until it forms a thick spreadable paste. When it hardens it has a plastic quality to it that's harder that epoxy alone and can be used to fill large areas without adding a lot of weight.

Also, use the GWS cement on the fuse halves. Just set them on the nose end on a flat surface and be careful putting them together. It works great.

John..
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Old Mar 09, 2007, 08:57 AM
MICRO Power KING!
rcwyant's Avatar
TAMPA, FL
Joined Dec 2002
290 Posts
Well, unfortunately, I was not able to pick up some microballoons, so I will have to build the Moth without.

UNLESS it can be purchased at a local Home Depot, Lowes or ACE Hardware.

The plane should be here today, and I think I have all my building items...except for the balloons. I plan on using Foam Friendly CA, reg CA, Kicker and 5 min Epoxy (used sparingly) for the build.

Thanks guys!!

URC
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Old Mar 09, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Joined Jun 2001
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Phenolic Microbaloons

If anyone wants some phenolic microbaloons, I just happen to have about 40 pounds of it..... Got about 75 pounds from a government surplus auction about 20 years ago and can't seem to get rid of it all. Gave about 10 pounds to Dave Platt one year at the Perry GA Swapmeet.....
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