alternative to papering fins ?

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Sooner Boomer

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I use Avery Full Sheet Label paper. It is self adhesive and goes on like big decal. Simply cut the label to the shape of the raw fin ,apply the label, break the edges with 220 grit. You can then shape the air foil of the fin and lastly seal the edges with CA. Only takes about 10 minutes looks great painted and holds up well to normal use.
How long is this going to last? I've got stuff (envelopes, computer disks, etc.) that have Avery labels falling off because the glue dried up. This has happened on both porous and nonporous materials. Maybe the odds are that the rocket will get lost before the glue goes bad...
 

fallingrocket

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I been using Avery full sheet label paper on my fins as well. I first tried it on an Alpha and it worked great.....I've just finished papering a Quest Harpoon and it turned out quite good too. My next project is an Estes Bullpup 12D that I'll start today. I'm hooked on labels!
The labels are a great Idea. Unfortunately the ones I saw that were anywhere close to big enough were nearly 20.00 a pack. The sheet I left over night looks very good. The extreme glue sticks seem to be ideal. I tried to pull one corner of the paper off and it wasn,t coming off without some effort. Once the fin is cut and the edges CA,d i think it will be permanent. Its also nice and smooth and flat, So far I am liking what I see.
 

fallingrocket

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I did that on a rocket once as a teenager. At a club launch that had a aesthetic judging aspect, the judges looked at my "unconventional" means of finishing the fins and took points off for it. Apparently, trying to be innovative don't always pay off. But I agree, this is a great alternative in practical terms. A light ply fin with a mass-relief cutouts, covered in transparent or translucent heat shrink would look pretty good. It would give a retro or steampunk look.
Yup I think it could look awesome. I will def give it a go If i can find some smaller pieces to try. I dont want to buy a whole roll but maybe they sell smaller pieces for patching. I think a fin framed like the rudder of an airplane with braces across the inside with transparent film could look cool as well.
 

TopRamen

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When I used to paper fins, my preferred method was to rub Titebond II into the wood, then apply the papers and set them under a stack of books for a day or two. The TBII soaks into the wood and paper and creates an incredibly rigid structure. The edges other than the root edge would get sealed with the super thin CA.
The wood glue would be messy and a real PITA if I had not seen Tim Van Milligans Video on papering where he mentions the importance of having a wet towel on the bench to wipe your fingers on.;)
 

JohnRE

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WBPU (water based polyurethane, also known as water based satin floor varnish or you can buy the really expensive 'custom' products if you wish) and glass or carbon tissue.

or...

for a variation of paper covering CA soaked followed by modeling tissue bonded with PVA or Aliphatic.
 

asennad

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Don't use a water based glue. I use Gorilla Glue spread thinly on printer paper. Clamp between a couple of boards of MDF using clamps and use wax paper to prevent sticking. Once dry and edges sanded - seal the edges with CA.

Perfectly smooth, strong and straight fins every time.
 
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fallingrocket

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20150409_110144.jpgHere are the wings for my f19 night fighter. They were done using the glue stick method with regular printing paper. Turned out very well I think.
 

ballistic_trep

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How long is this going to last? I've got stuff (envelopes, computer disks, etc.) that have Avery labels falling off because the glue dried up. This has happened on both porous and nonporous materials. Maybe the odds are that the rocket will get lost before the glue goes bad...
TBH, I'm not sure how long it's going to last. I followed the instructions as laid out by other members and in other threads on this site. I'm using the "fold over" method so the leading edge is papered but the outer and trailing edges are treated with a coat or two of CA and sanded to remove excess. The end result with paint is very nice aesthetically. If the glue actually did let go....I'm not so sure that it would be noticeable....with the CA keeping the edges secure and coats of paint stiffening the paper somewhat.
 

BABAR

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One trick if you buy balsa sheets (usually I have 1/16" or 1/8" thickness by 6"x36" inches) is to use spray adhesive on the wood and then use a roll of paper to cover the whole sheet. Can do both sides at once. Make sure everything is smooth and place between two flat boards with weights to dry overnight. Now you have a 6 x 36 inch sheet of prepped wood to cut your fins out any way you want. Make sure you keep track of the fin grain orientation (ask me how I know this!) because once the wood is covered you can't tell, and obviously makes a difference with strength of fins.

I am curious about strength added to fins from papering, my gut feeling (not always right) is that if you use liquid glue (wood or paper) to attach the paper it probably significantly strengthens the fins. I am think that with adhesive paper, possibly glue sticks, and possibly spray adhesive, may not add as much strength. Since main purpose in doing it in most cases is to provide a smooth finished surface may not make a difference to most people.
 

foamy

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snip... my gut feeling (not always right) is that if you use liquid glue (wood or paper) to attach the paper it probably significantly strengthens the fins. I am think that with adhesive paper, possibly glue sticks, and possibly spray adhesive, may not add as much strength. Since main purpose in doing it in most cases is to provide a smooth finished surface may not make a difference to most people.
I agree about the strength. If I'm going to paper fins, it's only because they're long and thin and could be easily broken. The fins are rock solid after a wood glue papering. Otherwise, I see no need to paper or cover them at all. Wood filler, balsa sealer and paint does the job as it always has and you will see no grain.
 
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samb

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I agree about the strength. If I'm going to paper fins, it's only because they're long and thin and could be easily broken. The fins are rock solid after a wood glue papering. Otherwise, I see no need to paper or cover them at all. Wood filler, balsa sealer and paint does the job as it always has and you will see no grain.
THIS ! :point:

After my own experimentation, I also came to this conclusion.

Papering to strengthen - yes, please

Papering to fill - not so much

As usual with these things, try every method out there and make up your own till you find what works best for you.
 

fallingrocket

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The wings in the above post that are papered have a bit more flex in them than I was comfortable with. I started thinking about how I was going to add some stiffness ., I tried to peel back a corner of one of the smaller fins and discovered that the paper will tear before the glue let go, so the extreme glue sticks are most def permanent if you use them right. I decided to epoxy over the paper. Using a scraper to apply a super thin layer. It will require some sanding (which I hate) but after only one side was done There was a noticable difference in the stiffness so when both sides are done they should be fine. I didnt pay close enough attention to the grain when I made the wings so the problem could have been avoided with better planning.
 

JeromeK99

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The wings in the above post that are papered have a bit more flex in them than I was comfortable with. I started thinking about how I was going to add some stiffness ., I tried to peel back a corner of one of the smaller fins and discovered that the paper will tear before the glue let go, so the extreme glue sticks are most def permanent if you use them right. I decided to epoxy over the paper. Using a scraper to apply a super thin layer. It will require some sanding (which I hate) but after only one side was done There was a noticable difference in the stiffness so when both sides are done they should be fine. I didnt pay close enough attention to the grain when I made the wings so the problem could have been avoided with better planning.
If you are going to epoxy the paper, you might as well try the light weight (0.5 oz.) fiberglass cloth! It will be thinner, lighter and stronger than glue/paper/epoxy method.

Jerome :)
 

Rex R

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for the most recent set of fins, I used a 1" foam* brush to apply white glue straight from the bottle, an old credit card to 'scrape' excess glue, and a 5/8" plastic rod as a rolling pin to flatten the paper onto the fins. took about 1 minute per side, afterward the fins were place on a cooling rack to dry. 2 hrs later they were dry. the next morning I got out the iron to take out the bend that the balsa had developed in the store(3 minutes per fin). I still have to sand and shape the edges but otherwise they are ready to install :).
*big fins, hi-flyer fins at 290% original size(1/8" balsa)
Rex
 

fallingrocket

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If you are going to epoxy the paper, you might as well try the light weight (0.5 oz.) fiberglass cloth! It will be thinner, lighter and stronger than glue/paper/epoxy method.

Jerome :)
Yes if i had planned better i would have done it differently. Already had the paper on when i realized it didnt reduce flex enough.
 

BABAR

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IMG_4416.jpgIMG_4459.jpgmylar fins (2).jpgMylar Fins.jpgMylar Tape (probably pretty similar to monokote, but a little thinner and only 1 inch wide so has to be overlapped) works in a pinch and is pretty light.
Runs about 10 bucks a roll, but you get a lot.
 

fallingrocket

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Very interesting. I love to see people getting creative with their techniques.Where do you find the tape?
 

caveduck

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You could also consider just applying Monokote or similar material with thermosetting adhesive. It adds a lot of strength, is very smooth and is quick to apply...difficult to paint over though. Another thought would be to glass over the already papered fins with 0.5 to 1 oz cloth (assuming you have a good bond on the paper = wood glue or CA, not spray adhesive) to add stiffness.
 

fallingrocket

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You could also consider just applying Monokote or similar material with thermosetting adhesive. It adds a lot of strength, is very smooth and is quick to apply...difficult to paint over though. Another thought would be to glass over the already papered fins with 0.5 to 1 oz cloth (assuming you have a good bond on the paper = wood glue or CA, not spray adhesive) to add stiffness.
I will def try monokote at some point, mainly because i hate painting. It would be so much nicer to apply that before the fins are mounted. Then i just have to paint the tube which is easier than trying to mask around fins. Especially on anything with wings or strakes. I just need to get my hands on some to try.
 

cvause

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I use Avery Full Sheet Label paper. It is self adhesive and goes on like big decal. Simply cut the label to the shape of the raw fin ,apply the label, break the edges with 220 grit. You can then shape the air foil of the fin and lastly seal the edges with CA. Only takes about 10 minutes looks great painted and holds up well to normal use.
I've been using this for my TLP models and it works great.
 

fallingrocket

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I picked up a pack of construction paper.I wish I had thought of it sooner.Its a wee bit heavier than plane printer paper so it should add a bot more strength and its colored so no painting. I will be using it on my next build.
 

TopRamen

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When papering I liked 110# Cardstock. It's only like $4.35 at Walmart for 100 Sheets.
If you lightly scuff the side that is going to be bonded with the wood with 400 grit sandpaper, it really locks on to the Balsa.
I'm so glad I don't have to paper fins anymore! What a PITA that was!
 

BABAR

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Very interesting. I love to see people getting creative with their techniques.Where do you find the tape?
lots of places. this one I thought was reasonable

http://www.tapebrothers.com/Pro-Sheen-1-in-x-36-Yards-Silver-High-Temp-Mylar-p/psm1si.htm

http://www.tapebrothers.com/Rainbow-Pack-Pro-Sheen-1-x-36-Yards-7-Colors-p/psm1rp.htm

36 yard roll of mylar (that's a lot of tape) for $10.

I also like the tape for detail work. It also covers body tubes pretty well.

The metallic look is nice. The silver and gold give a really great finish (so nice it takes up fingerprints really badly!), so for smaller surfaces this (or monokote) are about as close to chrome as you can get without getting into some reaaaallly expensive paints. I wish the tape was "flexible" like electrical tape, about the only thing that is tough to cover is a nose cone due to the complex curves. Can be done, but I've had a hard time making it look good.
 
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EXPjawa

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After all this discussion, I thought I'd try an experiment with aluminum foil tape that I had on hand. The tape is about .0025" thick, not that different than typical printer paper, and adhesive backed. I think its normally used for duct work. I'm guessing that thin aluminum foil isn't much heavier than loose-leaf paper and glue. I used my fin pattern and cut pieces to fit my Noctua prototype:
WP_003127.jpgWP_003128.jpg

It seemed to stiffen the fins as much as anything else I've used, and was generally easy to apply, though it did seem somewhat prone to denting if the wood underneath is soft. We'll see how well it holds up. It would be kind of neat to cover an entire model in this stuff, especially something like an Atlas or similar.
 

fallingrocket

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U beat me too it. This stuff was also on my list of things to try because its another material that doesnt require painting. It looks great on the model.
 

Sooner Boomer

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I've used foil tape on the leading edges of fins on booster stages. They (esp. minimum dia. builds) seem to get scorched a lot.
 

Stephen Henderson

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I just started experimenting with this. Apogee has a video at:


Sorry if that's already linked above. I'll admit to reading most of what was posted here, but not quite all. The problem I'm running into with my tests is rounding the edges. I can get a pretty damn good looking fin with just copy paper and CA on the edges, simply using Titebond II (my go to adhesive for everything not epoxy) applied with a finger very thinly. My first attempt looks absolutely fabulous.

I saw an idea (somewhere - can't recall where now) about using spray adhesive and using ONE SHEET of paper that would wrap around the leading edge of the fin (rounded bit) which seems interesting, but I don't know a method yet to achieve perfectly straight edges when rounding them, so seems like a bad idea.

I'm excited about this "papering" idea because I've yet to be able to get a good "plastic"-like finish on my balsa fin and I really don't enjoy the seal/prime/paint phase of this whole hobby.
 

dpower

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The wrap around technique works well if done before mounting. Cut the skins larger than needed, then trim the excess. Adhesive label paper works well too, though sealing the edges with CA is usually needed to keep from peeling.
 

Donnager

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I've been considering using water activated gummed packing tape. It can be bought in various thicknesses and with/without fiberglass reinforcement. It may be a little heavy, though.

Anyone tried it?
 

Alan15578

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I've been considering using water activated gummed packing tape. It can be bought in various thicknesses and with/without fiberglass reinforcement. It may be a little heavy, though.

Anyone tried it?
I have used it on body tubes, but never on fins. You probably want to use the thinner 1" tape commonly used by butcher shops and retailers.
 
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