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Nov 22, 2012, 02:44 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

Covering nose block with iron-on. - How?

Just wondering, does anyone have a good, trick, or recommended way to cover the nose block on a balsa sailplane with Monokote, etc? I have often painted them, just to avoid an unsatisfactory covering job.

Do you use multiple pieces of covering? Can it be done with just one piece?

For the record, I am using Ultracote.
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Nov 22, 2012, 08:05 PM
Ninja Master
BigSwede's Avatar
There are really no tricks to covering. Just practice, practice, and more practice. Ultracote is great stuff, and you should be able to cover a nose with two pieces depending on the shape, but easily with three pieces, and definitely not with just one. A little more heat than you would normally use on a flat surface, and keep stretching around the nose, then shrinking the wrinkles while the covering is not sealed to the surface, more stretching and more shrinking.
Nov 22, 2012, 10:54 PM
Registered User
Several pieces, stretch and shrink while holding the stretch, just as BigSwede said. Use significantly larger pieces than you actually need. Tack in place along the rear side, leaving most of the film unattached. Heat and stretch while hot and pull the hot film on and around the nose. Tack in place along the line of greatest curvature near the middle of the piece. Keep hot-stretching and tacking outwards towards the edges. Wrinkles will appear in the surplus material, but that doesn't matter, because next you will cut the exess off and seal the edge. It is a bit fiddly and difficult to explain, but practice makes perfect.
Nov 24, 2012, 12:28 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

Thanks guys!

Looks like I am not alone in my nose block covering struggles.
Been putting it off, but, will be giving it a shot shortly.
Going to try to develop a technique. News at 11 . . .
Nov 24, 2012, 01:47 PM
Registered User
rockbus's Avatar
How big a nose cone are you covering? If its a blunt nose cone you can cover a suprising amount with one piece. If its a pointy nose cone like a CR plane then you'll only cover a small portion of the nose with one piece.

What I would do is cut a piece with lots of extra material to grab ahold of - 6 inches extra all around. Use leather gloves to grasp and stretch the covering while using a heat gun. You can feel the film relax as it heats up so thats when you pull it over the curves.

If you screw up just tear off the covering and start with a new piece.

I recall a video of someone covering a wheel pant with one piece of material.
Nov 24, 2012, 01:59 PM
Surf's up!!
sixty9mustang's Avatar
Here are a couple of videos that may help with the descriptions given in earlier posts. These are wingtips, but same technique can be used for the noseblock.

Covering Compound Curved Surface with Monokote (5 min 3 sec)

Covering Video 4 (10 min 12 sec)

Best of luck!
Nov 24, 2012, 02:57 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

The noseblock in question.

Thanks for the suggestions and the videos.

Here's some pictures of the noseblock.

Looks like a heat gun would be helpful. Don't have one.
Also, will have to attach the nose to the glider fuselage in order to have the leverage necessary to pull the covering around the shape as demonstrated.
Nov 26, 2012, 03:27 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
kzimmerm's Avatar
Interesting videos.... I do much the same thing but using an iron instead of a heat gun. I have a heat gun and have used it often. However when going around compound curves, like a nose block or wing tip I get just as good result with my iron.

The trick is to heat, pull, heat, pull. As you heat you want to work yourself across the surface tacking the covering down as you move along. The pulling action will stretch the covering. The goal is to take your time, pull stretch and pull out wrinkles as you go.

For nose blocks I may use either 2 or 4 pieces of covering, depending on the amount of curve. If you use 2 pieces, start your covering from the sides of the block and work your way around to the top then bottom. 4 pieces may be easier to minimize the amount of pulling and stretching you may need to do.

Nov 26, 2012, 04:06 PM
Registered User
jtlsf5's Avatar
The noseblock shown can be covered with one piece of covering, though it will take some strategic slits to allow it. Start by covering the nose and two sides. Don't try to over-shrink it, just tack it along the lines half way between top and bottom. Now cut slits just about mid-curve top and bottom on each side, from near the tip to the edges of the covering. You end up with four "wedges", two tacked on the sides and two (top and bottom) hanging free. Iron the side pieces down keeping the top and bottom flaps out of the way. You should now be able to iron the top and bottom flaps down with some overlap on the side flaps you did previously. Do them the same way starting with a tack down the center line and ironing outwards.

I've done this on nose blocks that were more highly curved than the picture example, so shouldn't be too hard on this one. In any case, take your time and don't work with too hot an iron or you will overshrink the flaps as you progress.

Nov 26, 2012, 05:26 PM
dwells's Avatar
Hi Alard,

On a box fuse like you have, I would use four pieces all the way out to mounted nose. Do the bottom first and when you get to the nose, pull and stretch like all has said going very slowly. Like JT says, relief cuts in the film is critical to help it conform. Go as far as you can up the curve. You'll reach a point where you just can't get it down without some tiny hairline wrinkles, stop there. Trim the film where the seam will be and try to iron down the tiny wrinkles with a lot of heat. You can sand down the wrinkles if they're rough just where the overlap will be.

Next do the sides the same way but you obviously won't want to sand where you overlap the bottom film. Sand down the tiny wrinkled edge on each side at the top seams before you do the top piece.

Pull and stretch, pull and takes forever but can be done.

Best of Luck,


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