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Filling Spiral Seams: Yes or No?

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TangoJuliet

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I'm debating whether or not I want to make the effort to fill the spiral seams in my BT's on the Estes sport models I've been building recently.

They're not being built to sit on display for hundreds of onlookers a mere few feet away, they're being built to fly! But... I do intend to finish them to look like the face-cards in the packaging so that someone who might be interested in taking up the hobby can recognize a model when they go looking at the LHS or other online retailer to buy one for themselves. The exception would be for scale models of course, which I may want to enter in a competition with. In that case, seams would certainly get filled.

That said, where do you stand? Do you fill seams on sport models? On all models, regardless?
 

rharshberger

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Usually but not always...

I like to build models more than fly them (they do get flown, I don't care for static only models) so I tend go give them the full seam filling treatment. This is a personal opinion type question that you have posed, and we have number of people on both sides of the aisle on this one.
 

TangoJuliet

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Yes, I knew I was posting a personal opinion type of question, but I wanted to get a feel for the consensus of opinions regarding this additional step.
 

samb

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Consensus ? On TRF ???

:rofl::rofl::rofl::wave::rofl:

My 2 cents.... Fill 'um.
 

Flyfalcons

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Depends on my mood, sometimes I just want to get through a build quickly and sometimes I deem a sport model worthy of the extra effort. I will say, that I've never regretted filling the spirals once the model is complete. After doing a Polecat build with about six feet worth of 4" diameter open weave fabric, I'll never bitch about tube spirals again.
 

NAR29996

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Sport Models: probably not.
Scale Models: definitely yes.

I try to do it enough that this skill is not lost.
 

fyrwrxz

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Yep -big or little. Sonotube is no fun at all, but looks good.
 

KenRico

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I would say yes !

There is nothing like seeing a smooth , fiished model big or small . It is not a big investment in materials either ...I get alot of mileage out of Elmers Wood filler, spot putty, epoxy fillets and a denatured alcohol finger .

Do one , and decide if it is too much time . I usually apply wood filler slightly diluted with water to the tube spiral with finger or brush - sand next day ..will also take a pass on the fins with either a paper/CA round or tape the root edge seal and primer ..and do first round of sanding then .. takes a little trial and error to see what works for you .

After you build a 'colored' fiberglass model ...you look at the price difference another way .

Kenny
 

TangoJuliet

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From the responses so far, the "Yes's" outweigh the "No's" considerably. I've already been using diluted CWF (or a similar DAP product) on all of my fins. Filling the spirals wouldn't take much more effort, I just couldn't decide if it was really worth it. The seams are so miniscule, I just thought a decent layer of paint would hide them.
 

samb

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From the responses so far, the "Yes's" outweigh the "No's" considerably. I've already been using diluted CWF (or a similar DAP product) on all of my fins. Filling the spirals wouldn't take much more effort, I just couldn't decide if it was really worth it. The seams are so miniscule, I just thought a decent layer of paint would hide them.
There's your answer then. Consensus is overrated (in some things, and eight replies isn't much of one :)), do however feels right to you.
 

Woody's Workshop

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I vote yes as well.
I fill mine with Titebond II, then give the whole tube 2 coats.
Sand it down smooth with 220 and put the fins on.
After the MMT goes in, I give the inside of the tube a coat to help protect it from the ejection charge.
Overall, it's a stronger tube and on hard landings you get less kinked tubes.
 

Fred Garvin

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Personally I only fill them if the BT has really deep ones. Most of the recent and past kits I've built have very smooth tubes, and with a couple sanded coats of high fill primer and good paint. You have to look really close to see the spirals if at all.

So, my answer is no, unless they're really deep.....unless you're counting the primer and paint as "filling" the spirals? I guess it could be said that my painting technique "fills" them.
 

Micromeister

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I'm debating whether or not I want to make the effort to fill the spiral seams in my BT's on the Estes sport models I've been building recently.

They're not being built to sit on display for hundreds of onlookers a mere few feet away, they're being built to fly! But... I do intend to finish them to look like the face-cards in the packaging so that someone who might be interested in taking up the hobby can recognize a model when they go looking at the LHS or other online retailer to buy one for themselves. The exception would be for scale models of course, which I may want to enter in a competition with. In that case, seams would certainly get filled.

That said, where do you stand? Do you fill seams on sport models? On all models, regardless?
I know it is a personal choice:
Back in the dark ages (60's) I didn't always worry about filling the body seam lines or balsa grain on my sport flying models. That said: After building my first Scale model (Saturn-V) those nasty seam lines and open balsa or basswood grain just bothered me so much I had to do whatever was necessary to eliminate both from view.
Way back when I started with green and white squdron putty, then tried light weight ceiling spackle, balsa dust in Elmers White glue, Pactra Balsa filler (NOT Sanding sealer- it doesn't have the solids to do much filling). Then in about 1983 discovered it was possible to use a CHEAP Grey, Brown or Black Sandable Auto Primer to completely remove the body tube spirals and any balsa or basswood grain with 3 to 6 wet primer coats.
My method is to spray 3 heavy wet primer coats over the entire model waiting about 3-5 minutes between coats. Once the 3rd coat is applied the model is allowed to outgas (dry) overnight or so (use the Sniff Test to determine if the coats are dry). Once dry sand with 240 grit sand paper until the surface is completely smooth. If bare wood or cardboard are encountered before all the seams & grain are gone. Repeat the 3 coat process using the same method. allow to dry then sand with 320 girt sandpaper. I always buy the cheapest off brand auto primer I can find. Currently I'm using Wal-Mart ColorPlace Grey sandable primer. I buy in 6 or 12 can lots to get the price down even more (currently .89 per 12oz can). with this method I usually get 1 or 2 standard size rockets from a single can, as many as 8 or 10 Micro models from one can.
Many people have to ask of my models are standard model rocket cardboard and balsa or all plastic as there are NEVER any seams or grain showing:)

Long story short: Since about 1983, YES I always fill seams and grain on all my rockets regardless of size.

001-sm_Saturn-V 100th scale_05-17-70.jpg


009b3_Interceptor 3pic comparison(128dpi)_08-12-06.jpg


150a-sm_Hobby Goblin on Pad_05-14-94.jpg


344-sm_Micro Bat_06-20-08.jpg


672a-sm_Orion (Kc-8) Decaled & Complete_02-10-08.jpg
 

Mugs914

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Agree completely with John. I'm too OCD to NOT fill seams and wood grain! :p

I differ a little in my method in that I have always used some sort of filler on the balsa bits before shooting primer, more out of habit than anything. I think I'm going to try straight primer on my next build.
 

OverTheTop

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Always for me, but I am a bit of a perfectionist. Personal choice. I don't make judgements on people who don't :)
 

Woody's Workshop

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Using just primer on the balsa parts to fill the open grain, I have found, will show up under different circumstances.
If in the sun on a hot day, it will swell.
Cold days, it shrinks.
Same goes for the red laquer automotive spot putty.
I use the Elmers wood putty, then give it couple coats of Titebond II.
 

Mugs914

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On smaller stuff I use thin CA to seal the wood bits. Basically forms a plastic coating on the wood. Fumes can be brutal though if you don't have good ventilation.
 

neil_w

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That's a big fat old "yes" for me. Thinned CWF for the spirals and self-stick label papering for all the fins.

My rockets spend far more time sitting on a shelf with me looking at them than they do in the air, so I'll do everything I reasonably can to make them look nice, at least at the time of completion. Once I learned that filling spirals was actually a thing, I couldn't not do it. It's not that hard or time consuming (I've gotten better at it), although some models with a lot of tubes or very long tubes can get a bit tedious.
 

les

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I fill the spirals on all of my rockets. Balsa fins/nose cones either get papered, CA, or F&F
 

kcobbva

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I'm 50/50. Depends upon the time I have, and the urgency to fly.
 

mkadams001

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No on filling spirals on Estes type body tubes. Usually the primer I use takes care of the job good enough. Larger rockets, yes.
 

Spacepirate R

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Yep, personal choice and all that, but I am adding myself to the "No spiral filling" category. I do build and finish my rockets to look nice (Fill balsa cones, paper fins) but I build to fly and that means "landing damage" so they don't stay very pretty for long. Also, I don't like sanding that much and I feel I do enough on fins and nose cones.
 

swatkat

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I used a thicker primer coat and find it fills most tubes in. Then sand a bit and put on the paint.
 

TangoJuliet

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Hans, the BT seam in the photo on your blog is huge compared to what I'm looking at with the majority of the BT's I just worked on. Yes, I would definitely fill that seam! :y:
 

Forever_Metal

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... and self-stick label papering for all the fins.
+1... Thanks to neil and tesh I've had to buy stock in the 3m company with all the self-stick finning i've been doing... Thanks guys... :kill:

For the spirals, if you're gonna fly it at a special event (NSL for example), filler up... For an everyday sport model that's going to get flown crap loads of times and is just the basic 3-5fin and a nose, eh just paint it and go.

While priming the hood for my 360 sprint car, one of the guys at the Autohobby Shop in Pt Mugu asked why I wasn't spending more time on making the hood flawless and super shinny... Told him that no one will get close enough to see the imperfections while the car is going 90-100 down the main straight away.

fm
 

hcmbanjo

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Hans, the BT seam in the photo on your blog is huge compared to what I'm looking at with the majority of the BT's I just worked on. Yes, I would definitely fill that seam! :y:
Well, I had to pick out a tube with a deep seam to make an example.
I think that tube was one of the (Quest-ionable) Quest tubes.
 

milehigh

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Yep, seam filler here (tubes and launch lugs). Back in my early rocketry days in the 70s, I didn't bother to mess with it much, but now, I'm much more into the aesthetic appearance of my models.
 
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