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Oct 05, 2002, 06:19 AM
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Martin Hunter's Avatar
Well, the big feature of this picture is my one-screwup-per-wing screwup. The air was blue for a bit I had my hand on the overhanging covering and picked up the wing. TEAAAAR! Oops. I'll fix that later I'm cutting the excess away from around the fuselage opening in this pic too, by the way.
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Oct 05, 2002, 06:23 AM
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Martin Hunter's Avatar
Use your iron and the same rolling motion to lay that nice, neat 1/8" overhang onto the back side of the wing. If you get minor little wrinkles, you can lightly and carefully rub your iron the direction you'd like to pull the covering and most often the wrinkles can be convinced to go away.

As a wing operates more efficiently with a slightly turbulent airfoil, we're going to leave the wrinkles on the wing. Well, OK, we'll get them out, but later! For now, let's tackle the thing that all men fear the most - the ghost of christmas future! Er, I mean - the wingtips!

At the spar location, pull the covering straight down and make it tight. Tack 1/2" section against the wingtip itself.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:24 AM
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Pull the wingtip section of covering at the trailing edge tight (well, as tight as it will go anyway) and tack it there as well.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:26 AM
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Work your way back along to the spar location, tacking as you go. Again, if you get excesses of covering (and you will) don't force it down. We'll deal with that in a bit. Work your way forward from the spar, always pulling the covering not so much at an angle but straight down.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:26 AM
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... last spot - forward on the wingtip.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:28 AM
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You're left with a wingtip that looks like this. Wow is that ugly. You can even say that to yourself. It helps your ego if you say something like "I've seen some ugly wingtips, but I sure can make one that's even uglier than all the rest!" Then give yourself a pat on the back for such an accomplishment.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:32 AM
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There are no times in this I will say you MUST do this or you MUST do that, but I highly highly recommend you use a heatgun for the wingtips. It can be done just as nicely with an iron on a higher setting, but the heatgun will cut your work time down to 1/4 of what the iron would take. Here's my method.

Before continuing: The solite heatgun pledge

(repeat after me)

While using my heatgun on this solite, at no time shall I put it closer than one inch from the covering or hold it over any one spot for more than 2 seconds, lest the covering part.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:34 AM
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The magic of the heatgun. Here's your wingtip. As you're hitting the tip with heat, make sure to continue pulling down on the covering directly below where you're heating. That way, the edge you tacked down won't want to creep or pull up. Also, it keeps your hand nice and warm on those cold winter nights.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:37 AM
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Trim the wingtips on the bottom per the same method as before and take a look at your iron. Point at it and say "we're going downtown" then crank that heat knob WAY up. Well, a lot anyway. OK, hardly at all. I move mine from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 for ideal shrinkage.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:38 AM
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Rolling both sideways and around the tip, work your excess 1/8" overhang into the bottom of the wing. You'll be amazed what that little bit of extra heat does to the covering, as most or all of the little tiny wrinkles will come out.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:39 AM
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Ta da! Invisible seam.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:45 AM
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Now using your favourite shrinking method, hit the wing. Shrink that puppy! You might want to repeat the solite heatgun pledge to yourself before doing so. Chanting it while using the heatgun might work too. Work your way from root to tip and back again, but don't expect all the wrinkles to come out on your first pass. If you have a stubborn one, make circles around it, and shrink the covering bordering it. That usually helps to get most of the major ones out, and then you can hit the wrinkle itself directly to tighten it up.

If using an iron on a higher low temp setting (per my above pic) you can hold it on the covering indefinately. Temps on your irons will vary, but play around with a scrap piece of covering on wood to check what the melting threshold is. After holding the iron on your area to be shrunk for a few seconds, pull it away and you should have a nice tight finish.

As a point of interest, I did the iron shrinking method on my Pup and heatgun on the Cessna. The pup I had to reshrink once, and the Cessna has stayed tight as a drum. When I did reshrink the pup, I did so with the heatgun and now it's staying tight. Thus, I use the heatgun a lot.

Here's the wing "before"
Oct 05, 2002, 06:46 AM
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Ignoring the mysterious change in light quality, here's the "after". For those of you that have already noticed, the indent in the leading edge is where my fake landing lights are. I'll cut that area out later.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:47 AM
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Now let's fix that tear... I'm only posting how I'll do this as it can be applied to patching a fixed or cracked wing.
Oct 05, 2002, 06:49 AM
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I like to cut the covering back to the closest structure. The only exception to this is if it's a very large open area that I've got a small hole in (ie, burn hole). However, the less visible, the better.


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