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Old Jan 25, 2013, 03:30 PM
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Econokote on EPP covering question


Hi,

This is my first try at covering an epp foam plane. I've strapped it, spackled it, sanded it round and then sprayed a light mist of 3M77 (I read a few posts here on how to do it).

I laid my econokote over the sprayed surface, smoothed it out and have tried the iron at different settings. No matter what I do, I get these odd vertical creases that will not come out. They form once I apply any type of heat, and the more I try to stretch and smooth, the worse they become...

I've covered many of planes in my day with monokote on balsa surfaces and have never had this kind of frustration.

Is there something I'm doing wrong?? Could it be a bad batch of econokote??

Thanks,
F/A
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:15 PM
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You need to spray plane AND film with 77, then let the 77 really dry off. The adhesive will activate with heat from the iron. If you apply the film too soon, the solvent in the glue won't be able to gas off anywhere and you get wrinkles. Also,IME, the film needs firm vertical pressure but no dragging the iron sideways like you can with a woody, otherwise the film stretches, and you get wrinkles again.
My 2c,YMMV etc
Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizzo View Post
You need to spray plane AND film with 77, then let the 77 really dry off. The adhesive will activate with heat from the iron. If you apply the film too soon, the solvent in the glue won't be able to gas off anywhere and you get wrinkles. Also,IME, the film needs firm vertical pressure but no dragging the iron sideways like you can with a woody, otherwise the film stretches, and you get wrinkles again.
My 2c,YMMV etc
Thanks, I'll give that a try.
Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:33 PM
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Does Econocote have a backing? Have you removed the backing?

Ultracote and/or laminating film go onto EPP a heck of a lot better than the alternatives, in my experience.

With Ultracote, a thin spray of 3M77 on the airframe is usually sufficient. None on the film required.

Laminating film doesn't require any stinkin' sprays at all, it just sticks. And is way cheaper than the alternatives. And as tough or tougher. The only downside is the lack of color choice: it only comes in transparent clear.

For either, bond to EPP using an iron set to a temperature around 200*-220*F

Steve
Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:33 PM
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You wrote that you laid the econokote down and smoothed it out before starting to iron. I would not do it that way. You need to iron the covering starting at one end and working your way towards the other end. Also, you need to work your way from the center towards the outside as you work. The covering does flex slightly as it is heated. This means that if you lay the entire covering down and smooth it out (BTW...it looks great before you start the ironing) and then start ironing, the covering will stretch (expand) and it will create wrinkles.

I think I have a video on-line that shows how to iron on covering. Let me see if I can find it for you.

-Paige
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:38 PM
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This video is the method I use to apply Laminating Film. Although they are different products, the method is the same. You work fromt he center to the outside.

On Edit: The process starts at :34 seconds into the video.

BTW - I am a big fan of Econokote. I like that it is about half the weight of regular Monokote and in my opinion, it goes on easier.


Full Throw Elevator Pt. 3 (2 min 55 sec)
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Steve: It does and I removed the backing from it. I'll check on my temps as well. Thanks.

Paige, thanks for the tips. I'll give them a shot.
Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:47 PM
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Econokote is a cheaper version of Monokote. It is thinner and shrinks less.
You should not use Monokote on EPP let alone the cheaper version.
Monokote promotes bubbles and wrinkles supposedly because it off-gasses. I have no proof of the off-gassing, but never use Monokote or Econokote.
Your best bet is Ultracote which is a little more expensive (for a reason!)
When applying heat shrink material to EPP, your goal should be to seal the edges of the area and then shrink the covering tight, much like you do with open-rib balsa wings. Don't kill yourself trying to glue the covering to the foam.It won't work! You need a medium for that. The medium of choice is 3M77 spray adhesive. It will stick to the EPP on one side, and the covering on the other side. On a good covering job, the EPP and the covering never touch.
But make sure you seal the bare EPP with lightweight spackle to seal it and prevent the air trapped in the tiny foam bubbles to expand and migrate to the surface as you apply heat from the sealing iron.
Most of the creases and bubbles you are seeing are from the expansion of the trapped air. You can't get rid of them because the Econokote has no more shrink left in it, and when you apply heat, you are expanding the trapped air which creates more bubbles!

Please be reminded that what I've said above, applies to "heat shrink" material. Laminating film, which others are referring to here, is not a heat shrink material. Laminating film has an application method all its own.
Last edited by MATIN; Jan 25, 2013 at 04:55 PM.
Old Jan 25, 2013, 04:47 PM
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Great vid! Thanks!
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:02 PM
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IMHO - use ultracoat - and forget the rest..... unless you are using solartex and painting....
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:02 PM
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I apply Ultracote, Solartex and laminating film the same way Paige does, working from the center out to the edges.

Steve
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MATIN View Post
Econokote is a cheaper version of Monokote. It is thinner and shrinks less.
You should not use Monokote on EPP let alone the cheaper version.
Monokote promotes bubbles and wrinkles supposedly because it off-gasses. I have no proof of the off-gassing, but never use Monokote or Econokote.
Your best bet is Ultracote which is a little more expensive (for a reason!)
When applying heat shrink material to EPP, your goal should be to seal the edges of the area and then shrink the covering tight, much like you do with open-rib balsa wings. Don't kill yourself trying to glue the covering to the foam.It won't work! You need a medium for that. The medium of choice is 3M77 spray adhesive. It will stick to the EPP on one side, and the covering on the other side. On a good covering job, the EPP and the covering never touch.
But make sure you seal the bare EPP with lightweight spackle to seal it and prevent the air trapped in the tiny foam bubbles to expand and migrate to the surface as you apply heat from the sealing iron.
Most of the creases and bubbles you are seeing are from the expansion of the trapped air. You can't get rid of them because the Econokote has no more shrink left in it, and when you apply heat, you are expanding the trapped air which creates more bubbles!

Please be reminded that what I've said above, applies to "heat shrink" material. Laminating film, which others are referring to here, is not a heat shrink material. Laminating film has an application method all its own.

Wow...I guess I just struck out. LOL
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSD View Post
Wow...I guess I just struck out. LOL
No. You correctly explained your best method for applying Laminating Film!
Old Jan 25, 2013, 05:39 PM
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The best covering jobs I've seen have been done the way Gizzo explained, but they don't shrink the film, they just use a very low heat to activate the 3M77.
Old Jan 25, 2013, 07:04 PM
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BTW, the covering film from Hobbyking is incredibly good stuff too. And really cheap. It's better than Solarfilm (IMO) and can take loads of heat before it crisps up. So it's easy to put lam film over it without wrecking it.


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