How To Cover

Discussion in 'Giant RC Plane Forum' started by Tired Old Man, Mar 31, 2013.

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  1. Mar 31, 2013 #1

    Tired Old Man

    Tired Old Man

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    Revy said he would start a thread on this topic, Aussiesteve said he sucked in this activity, and others have provided evidence of their skill in this subject. Looking through the various threads I did not see anything specific to the often dreaded task of covering a plane.

    Covering is what makes them distinctive. In this day of ARF's where all look pretty much the same the ability to recover to obtain individuality is nice to have. It's also the final part of the repair process. Those that build get to cover a bare airframe for the first time, which does require a little skill, but more importantly...patience and the right tools.

    This thread if for all to participate in. Show what you know and can do and teach others how to get the job done. Have fun while you're at it!

    I'll work at learning how to turn this thread into a "sticky".
     
  2. Mar 31, 2013 #2

    Tired Old Man

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    I wish I had pictures to cover the subject, but covering is actually not that difficult. The secrets lie in cleaning all the wood before starting, down to using a tack cloth to pick up what a blast of air or vacuum doesn't. From there it's about starting from back to front to have the seams lay in the correct orientation, cutting large enough to have something to pull on, tacking corners while tugging on the covering to minimize wrinkles and slack, adding more tacks in a "torque" type pattern to keep things uniform, use just enough heat to tack, a little more to nail down a seam, and a heat gun to shrink.

    Layering colors is similar but where possible remove as much of the underlying covering as you can, leaving at least 1/2" of the base for an overlap. When placing a layer that fully covers a bottom layer, use a film of dish soap and water on the base layer to allow positioning of the top. Then use an old credit card or rubber spatula to squeegee out bubbles and the water film. Let dry for 24 hours, lay a cloth like a dish towel over the top, and pass the iron at a low tack temp over all of the cloth to stick everything. If covering over a lot of solid wood, make a whole lot of pinholes in the wood to release trapped air. Of course you light sand and dust after that before applying covering.

    Ultra Coat is now easier than Monokote but keep a lot of new blades on hand fro trimming, or be real good at blade sharpening. Coverite is easiest of all but is more of a fabric than a film. China films have a tendency to be a real PITA and lack consistency in adhesives and shrink. Silkspan/silk and dope are still great covering products.

    The less you use an iron the fewer the number of scratches you'll get. ALWAYS use an iron sock of some sort, and when they start to discolor toss them and get a new one.
     
  3. Mar 31, 2013 #3

    Flatspinjim

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    Great topic! I've been covering for a long time and I'm ok at it, but always looking for tips. Would love to be able to cover like Kenny Lauter.(sp)
     
  4. Mar 31, 2013 #4

    siko_flyer

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    Here is a kit built(original) Ultra Sport 40 I was working on until 5 years ago when I bought my first gs plane.Strangely enough it now resides in my closet.Can't bring myself to let it go,perhaps I will finish it one day.Biggest problem I have with these small planes is my eyesight is not what it once was.Can't really tell in the pic,but the white is outlined with a metalic silver pin stripe.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  5. Mar 31, 2013 #5

    Revy

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    JezzLouizz, I'd start one but I haven't any covering arrive yet for the new scratch build. ;)
     
  6. Mar 31, 2013 #6

    siko_flyer

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    I'm pretty good at covering,but would like to get better at cutting out patterns.I do straight lines like scallops pretty good,but the curves kill me.Would like to see tips\tricks for that,video would be cool:thumbsup:
     
  7. Mar 31, 2013 #7

    Revy

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    I sketch right on the back of the covering with an ol fashioned lead pencil and my Steadtler eraser when I can. One wing half at a time. After the first side is cut out, I flip that piece of backing over and outline it with pencil or marker on the fresh piece's backing. That way you have a mirror image.

    That is how my Ulti's covering was done. ;)
     

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  8. Mar 31, 2013 #8

    Tired Old Man

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    Poster board and drafting tools like French Curves and similar work really good at setting up designs. A 24" x 36" sheet of white poster board, a good erasure, and a soft lead pencil provides quite a bit of free space for originality. After the shapes are done use a very sharp #11 Exacto blade to cut them out. Don't hurry, but don't have a wavering hand either.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2013 #9

    Revy

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    Have a few blades handy!! ;)
     
  10. Apr 1, 2013 #10

    siko_flyer

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    That's sweet Revy:thumbsup:
     
  11. Apr 1, 2013 #11

    Languid_Virago

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    I would say also invest in a flexible curve, you can get them from drafting shops in a variety of lengths.

    They have a soft plastic coating so you can't use them easily as a cutting guide, but they are a great way messing about until you find a curve you like, and then that can then be transferred to the covering with a Sharpie. They help with creating a mirror images too. Only downside is they only bend in 2 dimensions.

    I am ok at covering, where I suck badly is overlaying one covering on another, any time the overlap is more than a couple of cms, I struggle with getting rid of the bubbles.
     
  12. Apr 1, 2013 #12

    BRUTUS

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    One of the things I do to make good seams is to pre-cut both pieces and lay them on some covering backing- you know, the clear stuff you peel off the back. I lay the two pieces I want to join down on a very clean surface, on top of the clear backing, sticky side down. I heat the iron just enough to activate the glue, without shrinking the covering. I overlap the covering exactly the way I want to, and slowly tack then pieces together over the clear backing. The glue will let go of the backing when you are done, and you have one piece of covering with two colors. I used this technique when doing a red-bull scheme on a GP 33% Extra 330 with lots of open area on the fuselage and wings. You have to be very careful shrinking the covering, but with an iron and some patience it is possible to make perfect transitions.

    Another note- when you have complex shapes, or repetitive designs I like to make templates out of cereal box cardboard, construction paper, or thin plastic sheets like 2mm coroplast or similar. I've even used clear canopy material in a pinch.

    Here is a repair I did for a client on his electric 89" Slick. I even added some louvers to draw the air through the fuse and over the ESC.
     

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  13. Apr 1, 2013 #13

    siko_flyer

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    Nice repair Brutimus.
     
  14. Apr 1, 2013 #14

    BRUTUS

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    Thanks. I'm not a big fan of the way 3DHS does customer service, but I must admit- motorbox kits RULE! The parts availability is very nice, but for my money, I would go Pilot. Better wheels, free wood parts replacement, and they don't seem to have such a massive following of fan-boys. I LOVE their Chief splinter schemes too... Oh, and to tie it back to this thread- for the cost of material they will pre-cut all the pieces of covering you need to make a truly seamless repair of any of their schemes. Very nice!
     
  15. Apr 1, 2013 #15

    siko_flyer

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    Yep,Tony is top notch.I miss my PRC 260.You also forgot his latest 2 services,he now has new sfg's and if you bought a plane before he had them he will send them to you for free,and he just admitted his wheels weren't up to par and he now has new and improved ones,and again if you own a PRC he will send you the new wheels for free,just pay shipping on each.Who else does those things?The next airframe I buy will deffinately be a Pilot.
     
  16. Apr 1, 2013 #16

    Classclown

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    If you are laying covering over another, and getting bubbles, you are applying too much heat, and keeping the iron on the surface a bit too long.
     
  17. Apr 1, 2013 #17

    siko_flyer

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    Yep.Wait,did I just agree with a Clown:ack:
     
  18. Apr 1, 2013 #18

    Tired Old Man

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    There had to be the one time eventually.......;)
     
  19. Apr 1, 2013 #19

    Classclown

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    But it wasn't at band camp!!!:ihih:
     
  20. Apr 1, 2013 #20

    aussiesteve

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    Only two page and I have already learnt something (the easy way to overlay two colors).
    I am about to strip the (really bad original GP) covering from my U-C-D and recover it.
    Any tips on
    • Easy removal of the old stuff? (I am guessing a heat gun will be my best friend).
    • Covering surfaces that are already hinged together (Rudder, elevators and ailerons are hinged with Robarts on this one and I don't want to remove them if I don't have to).
    • The use of BalsaLoc (I make my own from a PVA based concrete sealer).
    On a covering job I did recently on a profile, I used Oracover / Profilm as the main covering but a lower temperature covering (Toughlon) for the trim bits. The lower temperature made the trim work out better for me (but still not great). I also found a good use for an infrared heat gun - for setting the iron as a starting point according to the temperatures listed for the covering.

    And I'll never agree with the Clown - even when I agree with him, there's a principle involved :biggrin:
     

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