Pre-printed paper wraps discussion

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,798
Reaction score
727
For those who have used printed wraps on models, I'd like to get some feedback on what you’ve used and how well it worked out.

If it was some adhesive-backed paper, and if so, the source (if you know).

If it was not adhesive backed, was it applied with a spray adhesive, simply taped on, or anything else?

What about issues with the paper swelling with humidity and wrinkling, regardless of type? I’ve even seen non-paper wraps (like mylar) that end up getting wrinkled, not because the mylar swell, but the paper body tube swells with humidity then shrinks back with lower humidity, but the mylar wrap had been stretched by the tube and did not shrink back so it wrinkled.

Main reason I ask is that for the shuttle kit I’m trying to come up with, I have been thinking of pre-printed wraps for the SRB’s. The SRB’s will be BT-55 in diameter. Decals for the SRB wraps just would not be practical for a kit with tubes that big.

- George Gassaway
 

chanstevens

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
1,117
Reaction score
1
Main places I've used paper wraps:

Roachwerks LJ-II--pleased with the wrap/effect. Pros=adds detail and markings that would be extremely hard to pull off otherwise, and due to the design/positioning, there was no "bump" evident from the wrap. Cons--flat/no 3D effect for some details that were obviously drawn 2D but reflect 3D things. Applied with 3M spray-on.

Apogee Saturns--each have a couple paper wraps, used 3M, no issues, though it's been so long since I built them I don't remember much about what worked/didn't work, and relied heavily on Tim's great video instructions.

Zooch kits--I'm on the fence about these. I love the fact that they add excellent detailing, greatly simplify the finishing (most models are single color paint scheme plus wraps, maybe minor hand brush detailing). I don't like the major "bumps" that the cardstock wraps cause in this scale. Overall, though, these aren't kits for scale purists, so the bump should be no big deal, and for $20-30, it's an excellent value. I applied all with very thin bead of white glue.

The main tip I'd offer on using paper wraps is to coat the entire paper surface with the adhesive, not just the edges, and especially if using white glue, go with a super thin film. What I do is actually try to rub all the glue off with my fingers, then quickly apply the wrap. Any extra glue winds up wrinkling and looking terrible.

I strongly prefer white glue to 3M spray, because I at least have 1-2 seconds to slide or adjust it.
 

Marlin523

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
728
Reaction score
0
I have built rockets with body wraps and have found them easy to apply. I use 3M spray adhesive - photographers use this stuff. I stayed away from white glue because I didn't think I could get as even a layer. When I paper fins sometimes this uneveness caused bumps.
 

gpoehlein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,564
Reaction score
13
I've built a few with paper wraps - mostly BT-5 downscales of larger Estes rockets. The largest I've ever done is BT-50. All mine have been created and printed on my own computer.

Alignment is, for me, the trickiest part. I draw a line down the entire length of the tube and use that to align the wrap. I use a VERY thin layer of white glue - I've always had more trouble with the 3M spray adhesive's overspray than it's worth. To apply the white glue to the wrap (not the tube), I squeegee it out with a used iTunes gift card - this makes the coat super thin and even. By making the coat really thin, it keeps it from making the paper wrinkle. I also use a heavier, semi-gloss presentation paper - seems to help keep the wrinkling down. Once the glue has dried, I've never had any trouble with wrinkling due to humidity or any other problems - the models look great!

The biggest problem is potential peeling at the corners and edges (where the glue seems to dry quickest and before application is complete). You might have to take a bit of glue on a toothpick and tack down any wayward corners after the fact.
 

Marlin523

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
728
Reaction score
0
You are definitely right about the overspray mess
 

Zack Lau

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Messages
538
Reaction score
1
I've found glue that shrinks will actually distort a large body tube like BT-101, making it impossible to smoothly attach a paper wrap with perfect alignment. Fortunately, white glue works well with acceptable shrinkage. My Acme Spitfire was done with 8.5x11 Avery self adhesive paper--I think it turned out well but I did have issues with the fin edges. The body wraps turned out great.
 

gpoehlein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,564
Reaction score
13
You are definitely right about the overspray mess
Yah - actually, not only is overspray a problem (I'm not sure how, but it actually gets on printed side sometimes!) but most of the time I've had the stuff come out of the spray nozzle a little clumpy and gloppy - so I actually get more bumps with 3M spray than with white glue.
 

Micromeister

Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Lifetime Supporter
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
15,074
Reaction score
49
Location
Washington DC
I've used a number of different Cardstock, paper and very thin styrene wraps over the years George.

Several Estes & Centuri Saturn models, as well as a few other kits with cardstock or styrene corrugation wraps. Little joes, Orions, etc.

I prefer white glue or carpenters yellow glue on cardstock or paper as it does give a little wiggle room as the wraps are applied.
For Styene or mylar wraps my preference is brush on weldwood contact cement. applied with help from a sheet of wax paper. I've used this method with cardstock wraps with good results but it's smellier and a good bit less forgiving so it's mostly reserved for plastics to wood/paper.

Adhesive backed vinyls and mylars are best applied with a wetting agent. If done correctly without handling the edges much they can be as permanent as either of the two glued on applications above.

Personally I use 3m spray 77 at work almost daily in the art department but limit it's use on most model project. It's messy, has a tendency to lift if not really well burnished down along the edges and almost always transfers somehow to the outside of the intended application area.
 
Last edited:

hcmbanjo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,365
Reaction score
197
I have had problems with the 3M brand being "gloppy" too.
I've been using and old can of the Duro brand spray adhesive. It sprays better than the 3M and is much cheaper.

Before trying to lay the wrap, apply some clear coat to the printed side. Test your clear coat on some pieces scrap left after cutting. There is usually some printing on the sides of the sheet.

An alignment line is always drawn down the entire length of the tube.

The printed side of the wrap is layed down on a piece of cardboard at least few inches wider than the wrap. To hold the wrap down, I make small "rolls" of masking tape with the sticky side out. I lessen their tackiness by pressing and lifting off my jeans a few times. This gives the tape enough grip to hold the wrap down and won't pull off the print. With the printed side held down flat, there isn't any chance of getting adhesive on the wrong side. After spraying you can throw the cardboard backing sheet away, it'll be sticky and useless.

While some builders will spray both pieces to be joined, I just spray the wrap. With spray on one piece, I can remove the wrap and reposition if necessary.

If both sides were sprayed it would work like contact cement. Once you set it down, the contact cement grabs tightly. You never have a second chance to get it right.

The only disadvantage to this method is the very ends of the wrap won't have enough adhesion to hold them down. I put a little white glue on my knife blade and push the glue under the ends. Clean paper is set over the glued seam ends and then burnish down. Check back and add white again if needed.
 

MarkII

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
8,250
Reaction score
20
Like Greg, I have used paper wraps for cardstock rockets. I bond them by spreading a THIN layer of white glue onto the reverse and then rolling them on. Works without a hitch, and there is no lumpiness or unevenness. I pre-curve the wrap by rolling it several times around a cylinder that is smaller in diameter than the target tube. I also draw an alignment line down the side of the tube so that I get the leading edge on straight. I do a few practice rolls with no glue to make sure that the wrap fits properly without either an overlap or a gap, and to be sure that it goes on straight. Then I go for the real thing. I keep a slightly damp cloth right at hand so that I can quickly wipe glue off of my fingers so that I don't get gummy fingerprints on the wrap. The damp cloth also comes in handy for wiping off any glue that oozes out, but only if the print on the wrap is waterproof. I keep dry paper towels right at hand for wiping up otherwise. If you are careful with spreading the glue, you won't get very much if any oozing. I rarely get any. (It takes a little bit of practice, but you'll get it quick enough.)

I prefer to use Aleen's Quick-Dry Tacky Glue; it doesn't soak into the paper as much as Elmer's does. To spread it on, I apply a bead all along the edge of a craft stick or a soft plastic putty spreader, and then draw it across the paper. If you put glue onto the paper and then try to spread it around, you can get "wet spots" that can result in either wrinkling or a less-than-smooth surface after you roll them. Whenever possible, I put a mandrel inside the tube, and then apply the wrap while rolling the tube across a smooth, clean surface, applying light to moderate pressure all the way. This insures that pressure is applied evenly all across the wrap and to prevent air bubbles from being trapped under it.

I have had more trouble with self-adhesive plastic or Mylar, mainly because I can't use these techniques as easily with them. And don't even get me started on spray-on adhesive...

MarkII
 
Last edited:

Dr.Zooch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Messages
2,123
Reaction score
14
George- I have a great deal of experience with all of the above and have done a lot of testing with same. Currently all Dr. Zooch kits wit paper wraps are using plain old GP 110# card stock bought at Sam's club. I tell all builders to use regular white glue around the edge of each wrap to apply.

What is key, for me, is the type of ink used in printing the wraps. I only use Epson Dura Brite Ultra. It is fast dry and absolutly will not run when wetted or sprayed with anything. Additionally, since 2002 I have had none of my wraps fade at all.

My shuttles have stopped using the mylar corrigated wraps because small, brief fires that burn in the tubes following ejection melt and deform the wraps.
 

Pat_B

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
922
Reaction score
0
I've had excellent luck using rubber cement applied on the wrap and body tube and allowed to dry. Put some more on either surface and let it dry prior to applying the wrap. It's darn near permanent. I'll sometimes soak in a little CA on the seam. Can't beat the flexibility of rubber cement.
 

Gus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
119
George,

I've done lots of wraps of different kinds and my favorite for personal projects is inkjet printing on Avery full sheet label paper.

But I think for your project I'd suggest what Gordy did with his LJII kit and get nicely printed glossy presentation paper to be applied with 3M spray adhesive. I think Gordy had these done at a copy shop (Kinkos?) very reasonably priced. Their primary benefit for a commercial kit is that they can be applied in a number of ways (whatever the modeler feels most comfortable with) and they are much less likely to smear than inkjet printed stuff.

Steve
 

Bluewise01

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2010
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Hi George,
I tape my pinstripping on clear self-stick lamanent
paper. And divide it into three sections so it's handleable
to apply. Then wrap the booster. It's worked well
and beafs up the tube too. I use the BT-56 tubes,
there a bit closer to scale.
Been flying my 1/100 stack for 15 plus yrs.
Ron
 

stantonjtroy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,114
Reaction score
116
Location
Glen Burnie MD
Like many I've used Avery peel and stick paper. I started with the regular (Matt) finish on a card conversion Thor/Able (downloaded from Nelis paper models) and it worked well. I tried the same method and material for the detail wraps on the Estes Mercury Redstone. I wasn't as satisfied with the look so I tried again useing Gloss peel and stick ( I think it was the Stapels store brand) and this works beautifully. I have to agree with Wes, the inks used are critical. I'm useing an HP1350 printer with HP inks and after two years the MR wraps are showing some signs of fadeing. Don't know if anyone is making archival inks for this printer but that would cure the problem.

Currently I'm printing my wraps on Micro Mark waterslide decal paper. I have a BT-60 based Delta II under construction on which I used this "Full Body Wrap" method and I Love it! It allows crisp color, line and marking detail in a one step aplication. I wouldn't use it for fine scale but for sport scale it's great. I have also used this method on a 3" upscale Mercury Redstone useing an enlargement of the aformentioned wraps for the Estes MR7 and for the External Tank wrap on my sons Estes 1284 shuttle stack. On the shuttle ET I applied the decal wrap (color and details) over the card wrap for dimentional efect. Working with large, thin waterslide decals can get a little tricky but sliding the decal from the backing paper directly to the model seems to work. I coat all the decals with Crystal Clear which seals the inks well, adds a little body to the decal making it easier to handle and provides a measure of UV protection for the inks reducing sun fade.

Here's the Shuttle ET wrap as an example.

Tank Wrap.jpg
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,798
Reaction score
727
Thanks to everyone for your input on paper wraps.

I have not decided what to do for the kit, yet, but I did finally do a cosmetic upgrade to the boilerplate. I painted the ET, and added paper wraps to the SRB’s. I simply taped them on, with the seams facing into the ET.

I will say that I used the easy way to do the painting of the ET without masking the SRB’s, and applied the wraps without trying to work on the seams facing the ET. It was a lot easier to cut them off, paint the ET, do the wraps, then glue the SRB’s back on, than to try to do it the hard way (with the SRB's on). That’s the sequence the kit will use, paint the ET, complete SRBs, and then glue the SRB’s to the ET.

Below is a low-res image of the drawn wrap, with an enlargement of the “LOADED” marking since those show up as rectangular blobs in low-res.


And this rotated view of the left SRB with the paper wrap.



I still have some tweaks to do to the SRB wrap drawings, of course.

Some other pics below.

- George Gassaway

IMG_8758.jpg


IMG_8812.JPG


IMG_8764.jpg
 
Last edited:

gpoehlein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,564
Reaction score
13
Looks great, George! You gotta bring that one with you next time you come up to Holland! :D
 

RockItDad

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
I posted in the "adhesives" thread with a photo of my Saturn V wrap, placed with Zap CA (thickened).

After reading through all the horror stories and such, (as I told my wife) it worked better than I had a right to!
 
Top