Is there a secret to applying masking tape around a body tube??

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Hank1986

Member
I would like to apply a couple "rings" of 1.41 inch (36mm) masking tape around a body tube in order to mask it during spray painting. Haven't started yet, but I am wondering if any of you know an easy way to get a perfect, circle of tape around the tube. Thanks in advance.

neil_w

Marginally Stable
TRF Supporter
Wrap a piece of paper (card stock even better) around the tube, easy to get straight. Use it as a guide for the tape.

Hank1986

Member
Brilliant! Thanks Neil. I was fearing my stripes would look like the ones on a Christmas candy cane.

neil_w

Marginally Stable
TRF Supporter
Brilliant! Thanks Neil. I was fearing my stripes would look like the ones on a Christmas candy cane.
I don’t always take the time to do this properly, have made my share of cockeyed stripes.

dr wogz

Fly caster
Oh, and use good quality tape (frog, tamiya, etc..) so you don't get bleed-under.

another alternative to that, is to mask off where you want, then either shoot a layer of teh base coat or clear coat to seal the tape edge..

I've also used electrical tape (patted on my jeans to de-stick-i-fy it.. and some others have used a material called 'Frisket Film' (but that takes practice!!)

The other alternative to paint is coloured vinyl.

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Oh, and use good quality tape (frog, tamiya, etc..) so you don't get bleed-under.
This is key if you want good results.
The "typical" Home Depot/Wallmart masking tape does a really crappy job of sealing the edges and keeping the paint from bleeding over. Basically, cheap masking tape doesn't mask. Cheap tape also needs to be removed quickly, else it is liable to bind to the base coat paint, and lift it upon removal.

FrogTape is better, but more expensive.
Scotch clear tape can also work really well, but doesn't stick as well.
Tamiya is the best, but yet more expensive.

It may not be worth the time, but a heat gun sometimes helps in taking the tape off, so the paint does not come with it. Also, taking the tape off slow and steady.

SkyFire

Well-Known Member
+1 on Tamiya tape for the edges; it's the best! It helps to burnish the tape. Then painter's blue tape, paper, etc. for the rest.
I shoot a small amount of base coat first to insure no bleeding of the top coat.
Remove tape 30 minutes or so after spraying the top coat.

dr wogz

Fly caster
And try not to mask nose cones!! On most NCs, the paint barely adheres! If you do mask it, you'll likely pull the paint base paint up!

SkyFire

Well-Known Member
And try not to mask nose cones!! On most NCs, the paint barely adheres! If you do mask it, you'll likely pull the paint base paint up!
That is true with polypropylene nosecones which are the common type. In order to get paint to stick to them they need to be first sprayed with a plastic adhesion promoter like this;

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
What neil_w said works a treat. That's how I did it too.

BABAR

Builds Rockets for NASA
TRF Supporter
Mylar tape also makes great circumferential stripes, no painting required!

And they are shiny so help in finding rockets in bushes and deep grass

dr wogz

Fly caster
That is true with polypropylene nosecones which are the common type. In order to get paint to stick to them they need to be first sprayed with a plastic adhesion promoter like this;
View attachment 446775
you are 100% right. not an easy thing to find though!

I do need to up my game a bit!

Nathan

☢
TRF Supporter
I measure from the end of the tube and make light pencil marks to use as a guide for applying the tape. For best results don't use ordinary blue painters tape. I use 3M green precision tape.

SkyFire

Well-Known Member
I measure from the end of the tube and make light pencil marks to use as a guide for applying the tape. For best results don't use ordinary blue painters tape. I use 3M green precision tape.

Nice!

prfesser

Slightly off-topic, but for polypropylene nose cones I wet-sand (little bit of Dawn in the water) thoroughly with 320 wet/dry paper, rinse thoroughly with water followed by isopropyl alcohol, 91% or the pure stuff, not 70%. I hang the nosecone upside down and use a dropper to apply the isopropanol, allowing it to run down to the tip where a paper towel can remove any remaining alcohol.

Once the alcohol has completely evaporated and the vapor has dispersed, a propane torch is run quickly over the entire surface---it generates reactive species that hold the paint better. Paint as soon as possible after the torch.

And if the nose has been held while painting by sliding it into a piece of tubing, don't remove it from the tubing till it's well-cured. Otherwise you can get this:

Gripped painted cone, twisted it (it was a tight fit in the tubing). Lovely fingerprints.

neil_w

Marginally Stable
TRF Supporter
Man, I guess I've been lucky with my plastic nose cones so far, don't think I've had a single paint problem. I'm sure I just jinxed myself.

Are low-powered nose cones equally as troublesome as the larger ones? I'm unsure if they're all the same material or not.

Dane Ronnow

Well-Known Member
I'm unsure if they're all the same material or not.
I've got an Apogee PNC-66A that doesn't have the waxy feel of my other nose cones (Estes NC-80K, for one). It's very much like the plastic used in model kits. Apogee's product page says 'Styrene'. Estes says HIPS.

Not sure if the Apogee cone needs adhesion promoter or not.

SkyFire

Well-Known Member
I've got an Apogee PNC-66A that doesn't have the waxy feel of my other nose cones (Estes NC-80K, for one). It's very much like the plastic used in model kits. Apogee's product page says 'Styrene'. Estes says HIPS.

Not sure if the Apogee cone needs adhesion promoter or not.
HIPS=High Impact Polystyrene
I'd ask Tim @ Apogee. He's very knowledgeable and responsive. Apogee has a feature on their website for questions.

Dane Ronnow

Well-Known Member
I'd ask Tim @ Apogee. He's very knowledgeable and responsive. Apogee has a feature on their website for questions.
I just sent them an email. Thanks!

Pete.D

Ex Rocket Scientist
TRF Supporter
I've never seen the plastic adhesion promoter in a rattle-can, certainly not at Wally world or a hardware store. It's available in auto-body supply shops (for priming bumper covers, which have that same waxy feel), but you have to have a spray gun and a GOOD respirator.

Dane Ronnow

Well-Known Member
I've never seen the plastic adhesion promoter in a rattle-can, certainly not at Wally world or a hardware store. It's available in auto-body supply shops (for priming bumper covers, which have that same waxy feel), but you have to have a spray gun and a GOOD respirator.
I don't know about other areas, but they sell it at O'Reilly Auto Parts here in Las Vegas. $7.49 in a rattle can. OverTheTop Well-Known Member TRF Supporter I've never seen the plastic adhesion promoter in a rattle-can, certainly not at Wally world or a hardware store. It's available in auto-body supply shops (for priming bumper covers, which have that same waxy feel), but you have to have a spray gun and a GOOD respirator. We can get the aerosol cans of plastic primer at local auto parts stores quite easily. Not sure about at the large hardware stores. Pete.D Ex Rocket Scientist TRF Supporter I don't know about other areas, but they sell it at O'Reilly Auto Parts here in Las Vegas.$7.49 in a rattle can.
Thanks, Dane! There's an O'Reilly's only a few miles from my house; I'll check it out tomorrow!

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Mylar tape also makes great circumferential stripes, no painting required!
I have used vinyl material for circumferential stripes, but I still use a wrap of paper to make sure I get the edges in the right position as I stick it down. If using vinyl don't forget to burnish it down, I find a teaspoon works well, before removing the backing paper.

BABAR

Builds Rockets for NASA
TRF Supporter
I have used vinyl material for circumferential stripes, but I still use a wrap of paper to make sure I get the edges in the right position as I stick it down. If using vinyl don't forget to burnish it down, I find a teaspoon works well, before removing the backing paper.
Cool thing about vinyl tape: it stretches (well, some anyway)! So you can mask complex curves, like candy cane stripes or barber poles.

RocketTree

Well-Known Member
+1 on wrapping paper around the tube (long-way-around) and using that as a guide for the tape.

hball55

Well-Known Member
Wrap a piece of paper (card stock even better) around the tube, easy to get straight. Use it as a guide for the tape.
Christ! I just posted a question about applying a decal around the circumference and getting the ends to meet, and here is my answer. Thanks.

hball55

Well-Known Member
I measure from the end of the tube and make light pencil marks to use as a guide for applying the tape. For best results don't use ordinary blue painters tape. I use 3M green precision tape.

Of course, you are the expert master painter. Going to Walmart for the green tape; I get too much bleeding using the blue tape.