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Nov 04, 2019, 02:06 PM
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Covering film issues


I learned a VERY valuable lesson over the past 2 weeks - cheap covering isn't worth it.

About 2 months ago, one of the club members acquired a Gentle Lady from an estate donation, and gifted it to me since I was getting into slope soaring. I noticed that there were some splits in the covering on the elevator and vertical stabilizer, so I figured I'd do some patch work and re-cover those sections with new covering so I would have a better control surface.

My father had bought a box of covering film in various colors a few months back at an RC swap meet. It was lightweight, opaque, and he thought it would be great to use in some Stevens Aeromodel planes that we had purchased, so he gave me a roll of orange Coverite covering film, which he thought would match the orange that I already had on the Gentle Lady.

My initial thought was to just patch the covering, but 2 things changed my mind to instead re-cover the entire panels:

1) The orange Coverite coating had a more yellow tint to it, making it a bit brighter and lighter than the original covering;

2) Upon cutting away the split covering, I discovered breaks in the balsa, which needed gluing. Fortunately, they were very clean breaks, right at the glue joints, so it was simple enough to tack them and glue them back together.

After stripping off the old covering, repairing the breaks and sanding/filling/cleaning the balsa in preparation, I cut out some sheets of the Coverite to apply to the vertical stabilizer. I tacked it down, stretching it as best I could to eliminate as many wrinkles as I could before going back over it with the heat gun to shrink it down - and that's where I ran into problems.

It turns out that the Coverite film had a very low heat range for adhesive. This stuff wanted me to set my iron to 220 degrees F for adhesion, and 250-275 for shrinking, according to the instructions. That was at almost the bottom end of the Hangar 9 sealing iron I was using, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I set the iron for 240 degrees F (I had a sock on the iron), let it warm up to temp, and tried tacking this stuff down, and gave it a shot.

It stuck, so I went back across the edge to seal it, making sure I thought I had good adhesion on one edge. Then I stretched it to the other edge to get as many wrinkles as I could get out of it, tacked the other edges and sealed slowly with a good, even, smooth speed. Once I had it down to what I thought was good, I upped the temps to 275 degrees F on the iron to start shrinking. Absolutely nothing happened; it wouldn't shrink up and get tighter. So I upped it to 290. It then started shrinking, but it also started pulling up at the edges, and wouldn't stay stuck.

I went through half the roll trying to cover sections before I finally gave up and went to the LHS and bought a roll of Ultracote. THAT stuff stuck nicely, and it shrunk down with a quick blast from the heat gun; I didn't have any sort of lifting from the edges where I'd sealed it, either.

So to the end of this whole thing - was it the material I was using being old, or the wrong stuff to use for covering balsa, or was it just the wrong heat range? Or, was it me not applying it properly? Maybe a little of all of those things - but I'll be honest, if I need to cover another model, I'll go buy some Ultracote for its adhesion properties rather than fight with the rolls of odd stuff my dad has on hand.
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Nov 04, 2019, 02:36 PM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar
Buy cheap, buy twice
Nov 04, 2019, 02:57 PM
Registered User
I don't like Ultracoat either.

My brand is Monokote or HK iron on film which I like more than Monokote.

To each his own.
Nov 04, 2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrittinger
Buy cheap, buy twice
That was one of my big takeaways from this. That said, it was in a box of covering material that I think he said he paid $30 for, and it was something like 10-15 rolls of varying colors and opaque/transparent - and he ended up giving me the roll, so I wasn't initially out anything.

My wife was getting annoyed with me trying to use the crappy stuff, because I kept trimming and ironing and fighting with it, and the swearing and frustration I had was not conducive to a good marriage. Had I kept trying to make that covering "work", I might've had to buy jewelry and flowers instead of dinner at the local Mexican restaurant as an apology for my ire.
Nov 04, 2019, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboPilotFL
I don't like Ultracoat either.

My brand is Monokote or HK iron on film which I like more than Monokote.

To each his own.
No problem with that - use whatever works best for you. I just know that I FOUGHT with the Coverite stuff, and finally gave up and went to something I knew worked, even though it meant having to buy something rather than using the stock I had on hand.

I still wonder if it was old material and that's why the adhesion sucked, or if it was my technique/temperature that wasn't getting it to hold with the Coverite brand; I don't know. But I DO know that the Ultracote worked, and I'll rely on it again for my needs. Also, my local hobby shop restocks the Ultrakote on a fairly regular basis as compared to the Monokote, and there's not as good a selection of colors in Monokote in stock, so...
Nov 04, 2019, 04:56 PM
AMA 32832 - SPA L27-VRCS 1138
Dave Swanson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboPilotFL
I don't like Ultracoat either.

My brand is Monokote or HK iron on film which I like more than Monokote.

To each his own.
I always liked MK, but have been won over by Neucover sold by Value Hobby. I believe Neucover is the same as HK, but not certain. I have found Neucover gives a great result with less aggravation than the current stocks of MonoKote.

Here are 3 models I recently built and covered with Neucover.

Kaos 60


Aeromaster


Venture 60
Nov 04, 2019, 05:20 PM
I just want to go fly!
walter3rd's Avatar
ultracoat here. mono in a pinch,
Nov 04, 2019, 09:35 PM
Owner of CFC Graphics
Covered this model so long ago I don't remember? I believe Ultracote.

The lettering and trim is vinyl.
Nov 05, 2019, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avaiojet
Covered this model so long ago I don't remember? I believe Ultracote.

The lettering and trim is vinyl.
My wife told me she wants a Cricut machine for Christmas. After seeing stuff like this, I think we might be getting one, but it won't be used just by her, I'll be using it more than she will. LOL


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