Applying Monokote or Ultracote Heat Shrink Film to rockets

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ECayemberg

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Prompted by a request by DeeRoc in the Viper Family thread, here's a quick "How To" apply model aircraft Heat Shrink film in rocketry applications in video format. Most commonly, you find Monokote (Top Flite) and Ultracote (Hangar 9); both work well though apply and shrink a bit differently than one-another. I use both; again they both work great albeit differently; there are a few other less common options out there as well.

I did not invent this technique, nor do I pretend to know it all.:cool: I have been covering r/c planes and consequently rockets for the last 20+ years. Personally, I find covering paper/wood rockets significantly easier and faster than the more traditional filling, sanding, priming, and painting. Almost exclusively, I cover Loc rockets instead of painting them.

One added benefit is that a properly shrunk film adds strength to the airframe/structure while adding very little weight. Paint generally weighs more and adds no strength to the object.

This is an uncut, unedited, impromptu documentation of the covering process. It ain't pretty, but hopefully it's informative. If anything, it's convinced me to begin an exercise program again!:shock:

Covering a Tube

Step 1: Prep airframe, Determine length and circumference, cut film
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpWVd4MUtOa1dJdE0/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 2: Peel backing, wrap around airframe
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpcU45a1BYbm5sZFk/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 3: Tack
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpVWhadW13OWZucnc/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 4: Finish tacking. Seal the seam!
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpMVNzZEpKdG5XbEU/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 5: Shrink (using Heat Gun) Note: it is possible to cover a tube without using the Heat Gun. It is more difficult, time consuming, and produces less stellar results, in my opinion.
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpZW1rTWpob1c2SUE/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 6: Finish shrinking using the Heat Gun, Iron down the surface, Iron the tube ends
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpYW9vb3lZdnJOU1E/view?usp=sharing[/video]

Step 7: Trim Ends, Holes
[video]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpUC1Fd2VDRE1OUXc/view?usp=sharing[/video]

That's it! Though I didn't rush, that tube was completed in 3 songs on the Radio, or about 20 minutes. Adding trim, mult-colors, etc. adds to time and complexity, but is still relatively easier than masking and painting. I enjoy painting as much as I enjoy covering; the intention here is to simply provide folks with an alternative method of adding color and shine to their rocket projects. Enjoy!
 

dhbarr

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Hey this is great stuff, thanks!
 

DeeRoc29

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Very cool, Eric. Thanks for taking the time to do this. This looks stupid easy compared to painting. Have you ever had the MK start to peel off after a few flights? Do you cover fin cans, too? Also, you mentioned Ultracote, which do you prefer?
 

ECayemberg

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Hey this is great stuff, thanks!
You're welcome! Thank you!!!:)

Very cool, Eric. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
You're very welcome; you caught me at the perfect time!

This looks stupid easy compared to painting.
Agreed! And I like Painting too!

Have you ever had the MK start to peel off after a few flights?
No, but here's some additional thoughts on the question. I usually don't push film covered rockets past mach. I think they'd do just fine under most conditions, but there are some considerations.

Seams: Vertical seems shouldn't be a concern so long as they're sealed. Seams horizontal to the airflow require more consideration. For example, in this thread/post, note how the leading edges are wrapped around and over the other side's covering: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?44833-No-Thunder-a-little-bit-different&p=428710#post428710

Maintenance: I'd say they require no more maintenance and care than a painted surface. After 5 to 10 years of wear and tear, you may decide to touch up or repaint a painted rocket. Similarly, after the same period, you may choose to go back over an existing covering job with a heat iron and/or gun, patch up, or recover. I've yet to fully recover a rocket or r/c plane.

Holes: The only time I've experienced a hole in the covering is with No Thunder's fins. The leading and trailing edges are open bay between the down and the fin plates. Landings at Bong subject the fins to sticks, trees, bushes, devil trees, etc. I've had a few pointy things puncture the gap, which I patch with a small square of Monokote or just clear 3M tape.

Do you cover fin cans, too?
Absolutely. Didn't make sense on the Mother Lode, but in most cases if the body is covered, so are the fins. Check it out: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?44833-No-Thunder-a-little-bit-different

Also, you mentioned Ultracote, which do you prefer?
For rocketry, I'm honestly impartial. For planes, I prefer Ultracote. Both are equally effective, apply basically the same, and look equally as good. Ultracote is maybe a bit more user friendly...but that's over open bays and around complex curves of planes. For straight body tubes and fins, flip a coin, watch for the best price, go for the whatever makes the most sense.

Small note: for Loc 7.67" tubes in particular, the width of Monokote is enough to provide a full wrap around the airframe wheras the ~3" narrower Ultracote won't produce a full wrap with the width. But, Monokote edges have to be trimmed whereas the Ultracote comes pre-trimmed. See, each has their benefits and losses. Both are great!
 
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JoeG

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+1 Everything that Eric says!!

I did a tutorial many years ago for Rocketry Planet but mine was just still photos. The video is much better. Thanks Eric.

A couple of things to keep in mind. When covering rather than painting it is much easier to cover individual components than it is an assembly. Way easier to cover the fins, then the booster tube then glue everything together. You can even cover the aft centering ring before you glue it in. So, when covering often the finishing is first rather than last. It's just easier that way. Just a different way to think about building. Deciding if you are going to cover or paint before the build starts will determine your order.

Also on complex color schemes where you are putting different colors on the same tube, which are very easy to do with covering (especially if you have a vinyl cutter) start at the rear and work forward. The seams should overlap from the front to back so the wind and drag forces the covering to stay against the body tube and not peel away. If you are traveling at 300mph and some air gets under a horizontal seam the rocket could de-cover itself pretty quickly.

I too think Monokote or Ultracote are good. I tend to use Ultracote since it has a larger heat range for shrinking. You can shrink it in stages if you are concerned about covering or if you have a particularly stubborn spot you can increase the heat and slightly and usually take care of it.

One more thing to emphasis that Eric brought up but needs repeating. Make sure you attach the film to the tube. It may look smoother when it is just shrunk with the gun but it will last longer, resist tearing better, and make the tube stronger if it is stuck tight. Also you will have less wrinkling later on in temperature fluctuations.

Sorry for butting in Eric.

My L3 rocket was (and still is) a LOC tubing original design with Monokote only on it. No fiberglass anywhere on the tubes. I didn't even have fillets on the fins. It flew on an M1297 with no problems. Since then it has flown several times all with M's and the largest being an M2000. Still no problems with the tubes or the covering.
 

rstaff3

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That's a cool tutorial, thanks. Doing a whole tube is the easiest application of the stuff. I'd like to see techniques to get it on fins, how to fillet nicely when the stuff is already on the tube, etc. I haven't done that much and those issues caused me some grief.

Monokote seemed to hold up pretty well. The only issues I has is at the vertices at the bottom of the fins.
 

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Should you fill the tube spirals before covering?
 

ECayemberg

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+1 Everything that Eric says!!

I did a tutorial many years ago for Rocketry Planet but mine was just still photos. The video is much better. Thanks Eric.

A couple of things to keep in mind. When covering rather than painting it is much easier to cover individual components than it is an assembly. Way easier to cover the fins, then the booster tube then glue everything together. You can even cover the aft centering ring before you glue it in. So, when covering often the finishing is first rather than last. It's just easier that way. Just a different way to think about building. Deciding if you are going to cover or paint before the build starts will determine your order.

Also on complex color schemes where you are putting different colors on the same tube, which are very easy to do with covering (especially if you have a vinyl cutter) start at the rear and work forward. The seams should overlap from the front to back so the wind and drag forces the covering to stay against the body tube and not peel away. If you are traveling at 300mph and some air gets under a horizontal seam the rocket could de-cover itself pretty quickly.

I too think Monokote or Ultracote are good. I tend to use Ultracote since it has a larger heat range for shrinking. You can shrink it in stages if you are concerned about covering or if you have a particularly stubborn spot you can increase the heat and slightly and usually take care of it.

One more thing to emphasis that Eric brought up but needs repeating. Make sure you attach the film to the tube. It may look smoother when it is just shrunk with the gun but it will last longer, resist tearing better, and make the tube stronger if it is stuck tight. Also you will have less wrinkling later on in temperature fluctuations.

Sorry for butting in Eric.

My L3 rocket was (and still is) a LOC tubing original design with Monokote only on it. No fiberglass anywhere on the tubes. I didn't even have fillets on the fins. It flew on an M1297 with no problems. Since then it has flown several times all with M's and the largest being an M2000. Still no problems with the tubes or the covering.
Thanks Joe! No need to apologize; great additions!!! I'm not THE pro, I'm just sharing as requested. Awesome notes!

That's a cool tutorial, thanks. Doing a whole tube is the easiest application of the stuff. I'd like to see techniques to get it on fins, how to fillet nicely when the stuff is already on the tube, etc. I haven't done that much and those issues caused me some grief.

Monokote seemed to hold up pretty well. The only issues I has is at the vertices at the bottom of the fins.
Thank you sir! I will add a video for covering fins when the next build rolls around. A pictorial description can be found in this thread: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?44833-No-Thunder-a-little-bit-different Fin covering starts on post #5. As Joe says, it is important for the seams to be covered from the direction of the airflow; otherwise air may get under which at 300mph+ may mean it flies off!

For fillets, I focus on internal fillets as Joe describes. I usually do a small external fillet of 5 or 15 minute epoxy. It dries clear, blends in with the surrounding covering, and seals any gaps without any additional need for painting, touch ups, etc.

Thanks Tim! Means a lot!

Should you fill the tube spirals before covering?
No need. The covering does a great job bridging the gap over valleys.
 

BABAR

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Fantastic
Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!
 

DeeRoc29

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Hi Eric,

So I'm at the point where I'm deciding how/when to go about covering a 7.67" LOC tubing rocket. I get that it is way easier to cover tubes and fins PRIOR to assembly, but I just can't imagine how it would be possible to not smear epoxy all over the pre-covered body tube at every fin joint. I would rather epoxy the fin can first complete with external fillets and then cover with the monokote, but I can see how that might be cumbersome. Any tips on covering an assembled 7.6" fin can?

Thanks,

Derek
 

ECayemberg

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Yo Derek!!!

Great question! On my Monokoted birds, the external fillets tend to be small and tidy; 5-30 minute epoxy works exceptionally well here because it's clear-ish and blends in with the surrounding colored films. In my experience, it's significantly easier to cover first, then glue in the fins as you mention; being careful with epoxy and sticky fingers! Blue tape and spare rags/cloths help here.

However....

I see your point and certainly think it could be done. I think the main point to consider with covering an assembled can is that the covering likes to seal to something at the corners or edges of the object being covered. In other words, covering ironed to itself is an awesome bond; covering anchored around a corner is a good anchored bond, covering ironed down to bare cardboard or wood in a given bay without going around a corner may be more likely to shrink unpredictably during the heat application process.

So...

If I was going to try to tackle covering AFTER assembly, I'd do things like:

Fins: wrap the edges of the film around the edges and iron to the "backside" of the fins.

Body Tube: wrap the edges of the film around the leading and trailing edge of the airframe, iron down to the edges of the tube, or even the aft centering ring, even if it's temporary.

Fin-Body tube joint: Ugh: this would be tough! The film doesn't like compound curves (I prefer Ultracote over Monokote if you're doing complex curves, fwiw), and it doesn't like to stick to stuff like epoxy. For this reason, I generally cover to the joints, then apply that thin layer of 5/15/30 min epoxy. If I feel like a need a stronger fin-to-airframe joint, extra epoxy goes on the internal fillets.

The good news with Monokoting a rocket is that if you goof up, just peel it off and try again! No need to fill/sand/prime/color/clear like a hosed paint job. With that mentality, it really takes the fear out of the covering process!

I still think I'd recommend covering first, then carefully applying a minimum of external epoxy after covering, but there's definitely more than one way to skin a cat...or a rocket!

Good luck, sir!:)
 

burkefj

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I've been using trim vinyl lately and getting better results, less bubbling, seems to be somewhat porous for getting bubbles out, is more flexible, and you can use a hair dryer to soften go around curves. It doesn't add as much strength as monokote trim or regular monokote but is self adhesive without heat.

For covering over fillets, I'd do a 1/4" or so strip over the fillet, then do the flat fins/body tube pieces in sections. You get more joints but they are hard to see unless up close.

Both of these are covered with trim vinyl that I got from stickershock in 24" by 30"sheets or so. One on the left is over loc tubing with no prep. One on the right is over a foam skinned foam structure. Note the bottom of the one on the right has some small wrinkling, that is trim monokote and not vinyl that I used because I ran out of the vinyl, and it does not handle compound curves as well and unstuck itself in areas, I've since replaced that with trim vinyl and it is perfect.

Frank

titanIIs.jpg
 
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BABAR

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Eric
You mentioned smaller tubes deforming with the shrink of the monokote. Would filling the tubes with engine casings (hopefully being able to push them out after monokote application) prevent the deformation, or would I just be permanently placing casings in the tube?
 

ECayemberg

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I've been using trim vinyl lately and getting better results, less bubbling, seems to be somewhat porous for getting bubbles out, is more flexible, and you can use a hair dryer to soften go around curves. It doesn't add as much strength as monokote trim or regular monokote but is self adhesive without heat.

For covering over fillets, I'd do a 1/4" or so strip over the fillet, then do the flat fins/body tube pieces in sections. You get more joints but they are hard to see unless up close.

Both of these are covered with trim vinyl that I got from stickershock in 24" by 30"sheets or so. One on the left is over loc tubing with no prep. One on the right is over a foam skinned foam structure. Note the bottom of the one on the right has some small wrinkling, that is trim monokote and not vinyl that I used because I ran out of the vinyl, and it does not handle compound curves as well and unstuck itself in areas, I've since replaced that with trim vinyl and it is perfect.

Frank
Right on Frank! Those Titans are GORGEOUS!!!!

I hear you on the using vinyl over fillets; I completely agree that vinyl is superior for this task especially! I have a couple of Stickershock wrapped rockets; they're great as well! As you mention, you gain strength with a Monokoted airframe, but the flexibility of Mark's vinyl (or equivalent) is nice as well.

Monokote vs vinyl:two very different animals that can both produce excellent results if done well!
 

ECayemberg

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Eric
You mentioned smaller tubes deforming with the shrink of the monokote. Would filling the tubes with engine casings (hopefully being able to push them out after monokote application) prevent the deformation, or would I just be permanently placing casings in the tube?
I think that would work great; though I don't think you'd even need to line the ID with anything. The tube shrinks somewhat proportionally to the amount that you shrink the covering. In other words, if you put the covering on fairly taught without a lot of wrinkles, gaps, and inconsistencies, very little shrinking is required to get a smooth, consistent, adhered surface. Even when you do shrink it, you as the Heat Master Operator have the control. An iron will shrink the film much less and more slowly than a heat gun. Tubes without any fin slotting will deform very little; it's the portions over slots that will suck in if you're not careful.
 

DeeRoc29

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Eric, have you applied monokote over glassed airframes? Like glassed LOC paper tubing? You mentioned that it doesn't stick as well to epoxy...

Derek
 

ECayemberg

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Eric, have you applied monokote over glassed airframes? Like glassed LOC paper tubing? You mentioned that it doesn't stick as well to epoxy...

Derek
Never tried it! If it's glass or glassed, I paint it.

I'm pretty sure covering a glass or glassed airframe would work just fine, as long as you have a bit of an overlap of edges when wrapping around the circumference. The Monokote sticks extremely well to itself, so seal the overlap to itself, then shrink down...that covering isn't going anywhere then! Ironing Monokote to wood, then trying to remove it will pull up wood grain...not sure that you'll get the same effect with an epoxy surface.:wink:

Hi Eric,

So I'm at the point where I'm deciding how/when to go about covering a 7.67" LOC tubing rocket. I get that it is way easier to cover tubes and fins PRIOR to assembly, but I just can't imagine how it would be possible to not smear epoxy all over the pre-covered body tube at every fin joint. I would rather epoxy the fin can first complete with external fillets and then cover with the monokote, but I can see how that might be cumbersome. Any tips on covering an assembled 7.6" fin can?
Quick follow up here: I did this very thing yesterday with an assembled rocket just to try it. It worked, but I very much prefer to cover first, then assemble. Way easier, in my opinion.

I'll post a quick documented comparison in the coming days....
 

ECayemberg

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I had a good opportunity to exhibit a few different ways to skin a cat, or Magg, recently. Minie Maggs have long been a personal favorite...it was my third high power rocket back in the day, we drag race them all the time, and they're versatile enough to be flown as a BIG rocket at a little Class 1 (under 3.3lbs) launch, and tough enough to handle big I's and J's all day long. So when the downscales and upscale were released, I was all in!

The scheme we're modeling for the Magg Project is the 1989 Loc Catalog scheme; somewhat of a traditional, bold colored, retro scheme. Regardless of the path, the goal is to make all three Maggs resemble the following trim:

[/url][/IMG]

Minie Magg: Painted

I'll start with the original: the Minie Magg. This particular Magg was a rescue from another long-time rocketeer. It was built quick, stock kit, no frills, launch lugs, and a lawn dart on the first flight. So it's a rebuild from the forward centering ring, up. Cut it off clean, added a new tube, faired and filled. I'll spare you photos of the step as most people know how to prime and paint a rocket (and that's not the focus of this thread). Considering the three color scheme, with two colors being on the airframe, the filling, priming, painting took a period of 1.5 weeks of on and off "work". Completed photo later in this post....

Micro Magg: Covered Pre-Construction

Next up is the 4" diameter Micro Magg. This is covered with Monokote using the technique documented in the initial post: covering the rocket prior to assembly. I used 8 pieces of Monokote film to cover this Magg; pieces as follow:

-1 piece White Airframe Top
-1 piece Red Airframe Bottom
-4 pieces Red fin sides
-2 pieces Black fin sides

[/url][/IMG]

My preferred method, cutting and covering took roughly 1.25 hours. Nosecone was primed and painted black (at the same time priming and painting the Minie and Nano nosecones). All covered and ready for assembly:

[/url][/IMG]

Nano Magg: Covered Post-Construction

The smallest in the family is the Nano Magg, at 2.56" in diameter. I built this one quickly in a hotel room while traveling for work...a fun little critter! I'd normally paint rockets that are already assembled, but Derek asked, so I'll attempt it. I covered this like one would cover a built-up R/C aircraft, covering the joints first, then the larger bays.

Thin strips are cut to cover the fin-to-airframe joint. They are applied using a hot iron.

[/url][/IMG]

A strip is also cut and ironed in place for the launch lug...easier to cover individually than try to do the area between the fins and over the lug all in one piece.

[/url][/IMG]

So far we're at 7 pieces of film applied.

Next, the area between the fins is covered. 2 pieces that surround the launch lug....

[/url][/IMG]

[/url][/IMG]

...and 2 pieces between the lugless sided fins.

[/url][/IMG]

The red on the lower part of the airframe is now complete.

[/url][/IMG]

The fins are covered in red and black....another 6 pieces of covering: one for each side of each fin. Sorry, no photos of this step.

Then on to the white covering, starting with a small piece that's applied over the lug.

[/url][/IMG]

One more piece is applied; a wrap of white on the top half of the airframe.

Covering the Nano after assembly used 19 pieces of Monokote covering. Not prohibitively difficult, but certainly more work than covering first, assembling after.

Summary

All three rockets had their nosecones primed and painted black; all three had the few decals applied after covering or painting.

The 5.5" Minie Magg was painted; taking a little over a week of on and off work. Surface prep took more time here, as there was a bit of filling and sanding to get a nice surface finish.

The 2.6" Nano Magg was covered after assembly, just like if it were to be painted. It took the most work of the three rockets in comparison. Comparative Decision: I'd rather paint a Magg than cover it following assembly.

The 4" Micro Magg was covered before assembly; different than most rocket people would do for adding color to their rocket. Comparative Decision: this method took the least amount of time and work for the three rocket comparison. I'd rather cover a rocket pre-assembly than paint a rocket. I'd MUCH rather cover a rocket before assembly rather than covering it after assembly.

Final Result of the Magg Trio:

[/url][/IMG]
 
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BABAR

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Eric
Sorry if this is a dumb question, I am probably just missing something.
When you do strips to cover acute external angled regions, especially launch lug to body tube, (images 5 and 10) you are using standard monokote (not trim), and ironing it on? My first instinct is that as the monokote shrinks with the heat it would pull away rather than shrink into the angle.
thanks again for all the good stuff here.
Tom
 

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as you iron it on, you essentially glue it in place. It doesn't massively shrink. It can pull away if you leave the heat on, and use a higher heat.. Applying it on a small area, and a convex area, you'll use just enough heat to stick it in place, not an excessive amount to shrink it.. once in ace, and stuck, a little more heat applied to the winkles out get them out / smoothed down.
 

ECayemberg

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Eric
Sorry if this is a dumb question, I am probably just missing something.
When you do strips to cover acute external angled regions, especially launch lug to body tube, (images 5 and 10) you are using standard monokote (not trim), and ironing it on? My first instinct is that as the monokote shrinks with the heat it would pull away rather than shrink into the angle.
thanks again for all the good stuff here.
Tom
Not a dumb question at all! Dr. Wogz nailed it.

A more proper name for Monokote/Ultracote Heat Shrink Film would probably be "Heat Activated Film". As Paul said, the heat triggers the adhesive which "glues" the covering in place without significant shrink. This being the case, one doesn't need to cut the pieces of covering oversized. Hit the film with the iron to lock it in place, then shrink only as much as you like to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles.

I've found the most effective method to be: Iron the film in place. Shrink with a heat gun to remove surface imperfections. Iron in place to secure your smoothly shrunk covering to the surface below. Results should be sweet!

Thanks for checking in, gents!
 

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Shrink with a heat gun to remove surface imperfections. Iron in place to secure your smoothly shrunk covering to the surface below. Results should be sweet!
Ideally, you're heating it with a heat gun AND rubbing it down with a cloth (and wearing a heat resistant glove). This ensures total adhesion. Especially important with transparent films over wooden sections.

NB: I do a lot of RC flying, and have built a fair number of planes, both for myself and others.. I much prefer Ultracote to Monokote!
 

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Thank you both, gentleman!
 

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For the pre-assembly, it does not look like you use any form of external fin fillets when building. Is that correct?

Also some of the fins root edge glues / epoxies to the tube. Is this done, you do you rely only on the coating to hold the front of the fin inline (prevent any bending / warping?
 

ECayemberg

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Thank you both, gentleman!
:):):) You're very welcome!

Ideally, you're heating it with a heat gun AND rubbing it down with a cloth (and wearing a heat resistant glove). This ensures total adhesion. Especially important with transparent films over wooden sections.
I occasionally use the glove, but re-adhering to the base surface is the reason why you go over the shrunken covering again after using the heat gun. Using the heat gun to shrink and adhere will likely work just fine, but I very much prefer and trust the iron to do the stick-to-the-surface work personally....the reason JoeG stressed that final iron step earlier in the thread.

NB: I do a lot of RC flying, and have built a fair number of planes, both for myself and others.. I much prefer Ultracote to Monokote!
Me too!:D Would've never started covering rockets if I didn't have that bin of heat shrink covering in the basement!:cool: Been flying since the majority of models were kit or plan built (NOT ARF's).

For the pre-assembly, it does not look like you use any form of external fin fillets when building. Is that correct?

Also some of the fins root edge glues / epoxies to the tube. Is this done, you do you rely only on the coating to hold the front of the fin inline (prevent any bending / warping?
Hi Kevin,

Definitely using fillets. For the little birds, little fillets...barely visible. The Nano was built in a hotel room with wood glue and 5 min. epoxy. I'd not personally recommend to build first, then cover...just way more work.

For pre-covered parts, then assembly...such as the 4" Micro Magg, I typically cut the covering just off the fin's edges after applying the covering, so the fillet makes direct contact with the paper airframe.

Epoxy CAN stick to the plastic coverings...rough 'em up with sandpaper prior to bonding. But, you'll have a superior bond to the paper!

-Eric-
 

cavecentral

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Thanks for the response. It was tough to tell from the pictures how you assembled the precovered parts.
 
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dr wogz

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I occasionally use the glove, but re-adhering to the base surface is the reason why you go over the shrunken covering again after using the heat gun. Using the heat gun to shrink and adhere will likely work just fine, but I very much prefer and trust the iron to do the stick-to-the-surface work personally....the reason JoeG stressed that final iron step earlier in the thread.


Me too!:D Would've never started covering rockets if I didn't have that bin of heat shrink covering in the basement!:cool: Been flying since the majority of models were kit or plan built (NOT ARF's).
When applying transparent MK over wooded areas with an iron, you get lines where the iron contacts the film & wood, and that leaves an ugly zig-zagy line. heating, then pressing with a cloth helps seal the film to the wood without the lines / small contact points.

I have a stack of kits in the basement, as I saw the writing on the wall, that [plane] kits were becoming rare back in the late 2000's.. snapped up what I could from garage sales & such.. also have a stack of covering scraps too!! :D
 

ECayemberg

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Updated Hyperlinks below:

Covering a Tube

Step 1: Prep airframe, Determine length and circumference, cut film
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpWVd4MUtOa1dJdE0/view?usp=sharing

Step 2: Peel backing, wrap around airframe
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpcU45a1BYbm5sZFk/view?usp=sharing

Step 3: Tack
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpVWhadW13OWZucnc/view?usp=sharing

Step 4: Finish tacking. Seal the seam!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpMVNzZEpKdG5XbEU/view?usp=sharing

Step 5: Shrink (using Heat Gun) Note: it is possible to cover a tube without using the Heat Gun. It is more difficult, time consuming, and produces less stellar results, in my opinion.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpZW1rTWpob1c2SUE/view?usp=sharing

Step 6: Finish shrinking using the Heat Gun, Iron down the surface, Iron the tube ends
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpYW9vb3lZdnJOU1E/view?usp=sharing

Step 7: Trim Ends, Holes
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-C7O4hoFPXpUC1Fd2VDRE1OUXc/view?usp=sharing
 
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