best light covering film... - RC Groups
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Jul 17, 2005, 06:16 PM
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rjarois's Avatar

best light covering film...

fellas, i am building my second kit plane, the first was a big trainer....used ultracote covering. since then i have been doing the "arf" thing. i have a stevens aeromodel groove, i am going to be building. i have no experence or knowedge of the light covering films.....coverrite microlite, solite, solarfilm, and all the others i have seen. my question is is there a better covering from one to the other, as far as ther working property's? any more easy to work than the others? better adhesive qualitys? thank you in advance for any input on light covering films, randy.
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Jul 17, 2005, 11:55 PM
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thanks ollie, but im looking for the experenced model builders to share there real life issues on the different light coverings, i am assuming they all are not the same..... like if some are better to work with, better quality, better adhesive, etc....
Jul 18, 2005, 07:04 AM
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Best Ultralight Covering?

To Rjarois, regarding the coverings, I've used most of them, including SoLite, Nelson Litefilm, Microlite and the non-self-adhesive ones like Litespan and CoverLite. My choice overall is Coverite MicroLite. It has a great adhesive, in fact if you have to remove it for any reason it takes wood fibers with it! It works around mild bends and curves pretty well, but none of the "UltraLites" are as good at compound curves as the thicker "Cotes". For this you have to plan ahead, use 2 smaller pieces instead of one large one, or slit the "wrinkle" and overlap it. Also with the "Lites" there's a more obvious color bleed-thru when a lighter color is lapped over a darker one. Again planning ahead is the solution, Cover ALL the lighter colors first, even if it's not the most convenient method, then the darker ones and cover any color transition with a black or dark color pinstripe.
The most important step is the iron heat setting, on my covering iron it's the lowest possible setting, almost "OFF". The directions are pretty clear on this, but some irons will continue to heat up as they're used, it the adhesive starts to bleed out of the edges turn the iron down again.
Shrinking is a little tricky too, first thing is to hide your heat gun! DON'T use it on the "Lites" or you'll have a melted, warped mess. Turn your iron up about 10% and "wave" it over the covered area. At first it will wrinkle up but let it cool and it will smooth out. Try to "chase" the stubborn wrinkles towards the nearest corner or edge, then gently push the iron across the edge (outward, off the surface) and the wrinkles will get smaller, repeat until they're gone.
Last, clean-up. I use a soft cloth with Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol on the entire plane, wipes off fingerprints, adhesive bleedout, etc. Also when the iron cools, clean it with the alcohol, it tends to pick up adhesive bleedout.
The planes I've covered with the "Lites" include MM "Cessna 180". small E-Gliders, 1/2 size "Old Timers", all built-up stick construction. The MicroLite has held up well, bear in mind none of the UltraLites are as puncture-resistant as a "Cote", they're thinner. Good Luck!! Sky Sharkster
Jul 18, 2005, 08:01 AM
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thank you sky......this was exactly the kind of answer i was looking for from the expert model finishers......coverrite microlite sounds like a good covering. and also i want to thank you for the tips on applying it. peace, randy.
Jul 18, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Be aware, any built-up model that needs repair will need to have a portion of its covering removed..
Jul 18, 2005, 10:08 AM
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Ultra Lite Coverings

Sure thing Randy, glad to help. If you do have to repair or re-cover, peel off the covering as gently as you can, when you get a corner started, bend it back on itself (backwards) and pull slowly. It'll still take some wood fiber, just not as much. Sand the wood smooth and re-cover. Also forgot to mention, the clear backing sheet on theses "UltraLites" is VERY tacky, I take 2 small pieces of Scotch tape, stick one to the color side and the other to the backing side, the tape pieces are adjacent to each other but not touching, pull the tape apart and the backing should come apart. May take a few tries but you'll get the hang of it. Last, for lettering, insignias, AMA numbers, pinstripes, etc. Pick up some poster board ( 6 pcs for $ 3.00 at Office Depot), lay a piece down on your work surface, shiny side up. Let's say you want to make your AMA numbers black, you also want some black pinstripes. Cut off a piece of covering long enough for the 'stripes and wide enough for the numbers. Art store stencils work well for letters and #, the cheap cardboard ones are OK, plastic ones are better but cost more. Now peel the backing off the covering and smooth the covering down flat on the poster board, just flatten out any wrinkles with your hand. Use a brand-new # 11 EXacto blade and the stencils to cut out numbers, letters, yes you can make 2 or 3 at a time. A long metal ruler is used for pinstripes, slice off an end to even the top edge, then just "eyeball" 1/8" stripes or whatever you need, slide the ruler down each time. The covering is so tacky it won't slip, but the tackyness is also why you use the poster board, if you use anything else (except maybe a sheet of glass) it will pick up every loose piece of dust and that will come thru when you cover. Have Fun! Sky Sharkster
Jul 18, 2005, 10:32 AM
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micro film....

great, thanks a lot, like i said, i only covered one plane so far, and that was with the thicker monocote....this new project is bringing out the idiot in me, lols. if you dont mind i have two more questions, sky.....1st is i see everyone using razor blades to slice the film, something bad about using nice sharp scissors? 2nd is i was wondering if the reference material from this site is good and valid for the micro film, thx randy.
how to apply light film
Jul 18, 2005, 12:01 PM
Sharkster- How would you compare Coverrite Microlite to Ultracoat Lite? Thanks, Jim
Jul 18, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Thanks Rjarois,Your help in method of using covering material is very much appreciated.
Please excuse my ignorance in covering materials and the way to do it!But is it that all covering materials used for modeling have their own adhesive?
The Maat grey sunfilm I purchased for my model has no adhesive to it...........But the vinyl paper is a glossy finish sticker(peel and stick) sort,just like monocote I think!maybe a little heavy though,But wonder if this material also heat shrinks.
Thanks again ,but please excuse my lack of knowledge in this covering stuff!!
Jul 18, 2005, 03:25 PM
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rjarois's Avatar
yea john, ya talkin about not knowin about covering..... why you think i started this post, lols. guys like you and i have to hope people like sky post information, with all there covering differences, and so on. all the companys do is tell people ther product is superior. that ther covering is best. i would rather leave that judgement up to the skilled, experenced people that actually build with the covering films to decide whats a good product to use on ther time consuming model builds, peace, randy..
Jul 18, 2005, 04:12 PM
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To Rjarois, Ultralite Covering

To Randy, thanks for the kind words! In regard to the scissors, I've never been able to use them, the blades are too thick to get a nice close cut. Picture a wingtip, just covered, top to bottom; At the bottom, you will have a wrinkled-up bunched mess of overlap. Now take a brand new razor blade (rule # 1 in covering, the sharper the blade, the neater the work), lay the blade flat across the bottom of the wing and with one smooth motion, slice the excess off. You'll be left with a straight, even line, if the bottom is covered with a different color it will have a "Finished" look. One more swipe with the iron to seal the cut and you're done! I use the razor blade for straight cuts and the # 11 for curves and lettering. I guess you could trace the stencils onto the covering with marker and use scissors to cut them out but the stuff is so limp it might not be worth it.
Regarding the "Lite Film" site, the info was useful, especially the part about dust removal, I forgot that. A "Tack Rag" from the paint shop works for me, any dust left on the surface will be a lifetime bump in your covering! The part about turning up the heat to "melt" the covering around compound curves does NOT apply to "Micros" and Ultralites", the "Cotes" have a pretty wide temp tolerance range, the "Lites" have NO range, you just have to anticipate this, cut or slice the wrinkles, or use smaller pieces. Also they say to "Tack, Seal, Shrink" which is correct, but you must cover ALL sides of a piece before you shrink, if you shrink one side, guess what happens? If it's a wing it's called "Unplanned Dihedral". Shrink evenly, a few rib bays on the top surface, turn the wing over, the same rib bays on the bottom, etc. On a fuselage, shrink the left-hand nose, right-hand nose, move rearward, repeat. No "Flying Bannanas" for us! Good Luck, Post a pic if you can, I'd be interested in seeing your work! Ron
Jul 18, 2005, 04:27 PM
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To Blazer, Ultracote Light

To Jim, Hi! I've used the "Ultracote Light" on a couple of planes, a 2 meter E-powered Glider and an MP JET powered Aerobat, about 18 oz RTF. Both used a combination of Transparent and Opaque UC.L. It seems to be a thinner version of "Ultracote" or "Monocote", but still much thicker than any of the "Ultralites". The application temp is higher and you can "melt" it around compound curves which you can't do with the "Ultras". I'd say it's a lighter replacement for normal iron-ons, mainly for heavier construction aircraft, good puncture-resistance, good adhesive. One thing about the "Cotes" compared to the "Ultras or Micros" is the "Cotes" will shrink a lot, they will literally crush a stick-type model. The "Micros" don't shrink nearly as much, which is ideal considering the type of model they're intended for. If you've been around modelling long, here's a comparison; "Micros" are like tissue, Cotes (even the "Light" cotes) are like silk. Hope this answers your question, Good Luck! Ron
Jul 18, 2005, 04:45 PM
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To Flyingjon, Covering material

Hi John! In regard to your question about adhesives, there are a couple of "Lite" brands that don't have their own (heat-activated) adhesive, the names are " LiteSpan" and "AeroLite". They don't come in rolls, they come folded in packets. They use a brush-on adhesive, the brand names are "BalsaLoc" and Balsaright", also some people use 3M Super 77 spray-on. You brush the adhesive on where ever you want the covering to stick, lay the covering over it, then use a sealing iron to activate the adhesive. I covered 3 planes with it before the introduction of the "Ultralites" and "Microlites" but I don't use it any more and I doubt many others do either. It's messy, the adhesives smell bad and no matter how well you seal it the covering "creeps" over time. A couple of good points, it looks more like a traditional "Dope & Tissue" covering than anything else, great for "Old Timer" models, and you can paint or dope over it easily. But it is VERY work and time-intensive.
The "Sunfilm" you mentioned sounds like the "Graphic Trim Sheets" sold by most of the covering makers. This is NOT intended for covering, it's made to add lettering and color trim OVER a covering. It does shrink a little. It has a sticky back which holds it in place without heat. You can seal it better with low heat but then the (colored) adhesive bleeds out and makes a real mess. You're much better off making trim and lettering from the same material (different color) used on the model. Lighter, thinner, less bleedout, cheaper. Good Luck! Ron
Jul 18, 2005, 05:00 PM
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rjarois's Avatar

covering new build..

i will be sure to post some photos as i cover ron, but just so you know i am VERY slow at building, and the window for flying in michigan is narrow, lols i have to get all the time i can flying wile i can, and build when the cold comes. i am gonna really take my time with this build, as im told the stevens aeromodel groove is a lovely craft. one of my friends has one, and it flys so beautyfull its great. his name is daking, do a member serch and check it out, i think he still has video posted of it, well heck ill just post link here....daking SA-Groove also ron i found another site with instruction about working with lite film you recomended......coverrite microlite inst. i am going to use you recomendation with the coverrite microlite, ron. thx agian bud, peace, randy.

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