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Painting in the mold

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Old 09-06-2004, 02:56 AM
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AmirN
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Default Painting in the mold

Okay, I'm curious and would love to know how to paint multiple colors with solid edges next to each other in the mold. A great example of this is the Angel's Shadow. I've seen a few of these up close and have flown one and those who enjoy great workmanship, this is one to see.......I believe they use very thin templates for each color and the templates aren't reused.

Here are a few shots:

http://indigo.ie/~nbarrett/NoelPr.htm#ASH1


Thanks,
Amir
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:15 AM
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flanker-RCA
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Hi Amir,
It's simple... just use a "semi-permanent" releases. so you can use adhesives for masking.

so long.
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:07 PM
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davidfee
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Wax works also. You just need to find a wax that doesn't make your paint fish-eye.

-David
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Old 09-16-2004, 02:08 PM
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Ed Smith
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Painting in the mold requires a certain amount of pre-planning. Some things to be aware of. Masking tape must be removed before the paint dries, if not the paint will do exactly what you want it to, it will release and the tape will pull up the edges. Masking tape cannot be applied over paint, the same thing will happen.

For several stripes across the wing as in the picture I would use the following procedure. Mask off and paint the first stripe, remove the tape. The next color needs masking on one side only as over spray will be hidden by the first color. Some soft cloth can be laid in the mold to prevent unwanted paint from settling in the rest of the mold. The third color will be applied same as the second an so on. This procedure ensures that the masking is always being removed from wet edges. When all is dry the Base coat can be applied.

More complicated trim designs and lettering will have to be thought out very carefully.

Ed S
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Old 09-16-2004, 06:46 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Amir,

I'd like to throw in my 2 cents along with the very smart people who have already responded to your post. First off, I agree with ALL of them... they all gave you very good information. There is just one area that seems to have been looked over and as far as I'm concerned is the most difficult and the reason I DON'T paint in the mold.. and that is the CENTER SEAM ... All of my molds are set up to be joined in the mold, all are keyed, and I have special tools to lay down the seam line when I put them together... however.... no matter HOW careful I am... there is no such thing as the "perfect" seam line. I can't tell you the GALLONS of epoxy I have gone thru trying to make this bit of magic happen... but it is a large number. I don't want to bust your bubble and although I haven't seen an Angel's Shadow up close, I just can't see how it will be possible to make that smooth seam/paint line that we all love so much in pattern ships. I have seen a few of the Kange ships and although I consider them of good quality, if my center joints have to look like theirs I will continue to just prime in the mold and paint when it get's out. I wish you the best of luck on this project and if you truly come up with a way to have a "seamless" seam line painted.. I want to know about it !!!!

Best of luck,

Deadstik.....[8D]

aka Dan
Carolina Custom Aircraft
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:29 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

I'm not sure which part of the seam line you're having trouble with. The most important thing, IMHO, is to have really good molds with sharp, good-fitting partline edges.

If it's the lap joint (or other technique)... there are tricks.

What's the problem?

-David (still makes bad seams on occasion)
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:57 PM
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Mike James
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Seams! Aghhh! They're my nemisis, and I think are every mold maker's nightmare.

Anyway...
I assume that since their must be mold release (wax and/or PVA) present, that the best bet would be to spray at least a light clear coat first, so that future masking could be against the dry clear, rather than against the mold release itself? That's how I will be attempting it on some upcoming projects.

Once their's something like the clear in the mold, then everything else, even tiny computer-cut stensils could be applied or masked normally. For softer paint lines, it would be a simple matter to make one "throw-away" fuselage, and cut it up with a Dremel to form physical patterns that fit nearly perfectly into the mold. The small overspray from part to part would blend the color lines.

We've started this "painting in the mold" discussion on many occasions, but have gotten few concrete. proven techniques. I would love it if one of these threads really took off. I'll be able to contribute to some testing, starting in about 30 days, but not before then. Maybe some of you with existing molds can try some experiments, and post your results here. (and photos)
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:59 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Dan,

I have never yet seen an invisible seam, either along a fuselage or around the perimeter of a wing. There is always some doctoring to be done when it comes out of the mold.

Ed S
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Old 09-17-2004, 01:36 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Dan:
One thing you can do to help hide your seams is to tint the epoxy you use to make the joint, so it matches (or at least is close) the paint color. Obviously there's still a line... but it's not as obvious.

Mike:
If you spray clear coat in, then try to mask off trim colors, your tape, frisket, etc... will peel the clear coat away from the mold. One of the great things about painting in the mold is that you don't get ridges or raised lines where two colors meet. So, you don't really need the clear coat.

-David
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Old 09-17-2004, 03:12 AM
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flanker-RCA
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Hi David,
You say that wax and adhesive masks work well together?
At begin I tried but wax and adhesive does not go.
In aerospatial or automotive or nautical applications wax and PVA are story.
But if You can speak well how make, I'll very happy to learn.

Ciao.
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:48 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

I think that adhesive tapes (pressure sensitive) will not work with many of the semi-permanent mold releases. Many of those contain silicone oil and are greasy/oily.

However, if you have a mold release wax which has hardened and been buffed to a gloss, then you will have a non-greasy, smooth surface that tapes will stick to.

-David
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Old 09-18-2004, 09:58 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

What types of paints are you guys using? A normal basecoat/clearcoat dries dull without the clear. Some paints are not very hard without the clear. Just curious, I would like to try some painting in the mold and also have problems with the seam lines but my molds are grtting better all the time.

Tom
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Old 09-18-2004, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

When you paint in the mold, your final gloss is determined mostly by the mold surface. A lot of people use catalysed automotive finishes. In Europe, polyester paints (called forgelat) are also popular. For my little electric racers, lately I've been using water based exterior acrylic enamel latex paints.

You can also clearcoat and polish your finish after you demold but, of course, it's nice if you don't have to.

-David
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Old 09-18-2004, 08:14 PM
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Ed Smith
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

What types of paints are you guys using? A normal basecoat/clearcoat dries dull without the clear.
Tom,

The basecoat paint used in the basecoat/clearcoat system you mention has no integrity without the clearcoat. Pretty much any solvent will attack it, including glow fuel. If I am doing a one color finish I still use automotive paint. I use the single stage paint. It still requires a hardener and cures to a hard, gloss, fuelproof finish.

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Old 09-18-2004, 09:00 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Wow guys! At first I got no responses, but logged on today to see a bunch....Thanks, I feel the love now! Well, let me clarify my question please, but first, I do really appreciate the responses, however, I'm looking for the very crisp lines next to each other and a proven technique that works. Not asking for much, am I now ;-) There are a few airplanes out there that come painted in the mold as I described and the Angel's Shadow is one of them. From the info I've gathered from a person fairly well informed about the Angel Shadow's process, they shoot a clear coat in the molds, then they use very thin templates for masking. Each template is used only once and a new template cut for the next plane......Obviously some one in the eastern blocks has had some time to experiment and get it right, I'm curious what that method is. This fellow still didn't share what material the templates are made from, what wax they use, PVA or not. The seams on the Shadow are very nicely done. Still noticeable, but as good as can be executed. One fellow local flier just put a piece of 1/8" trim on it and blended it with the paint, which looked really good.......There is also a German fellow that paints his patternships in the molds and appears to do a good job. May be he will talk :-)
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Old 09-18-2004, 09:30 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Thanks Ed, are you using acrylic enamel? If so doesn't it take a long time to dry

Tom
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Old 09-18-2004, 10:33 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

I am using water-based acrylic latex enamels. They take about 30 minutes to dry. I have no idea if they are fuel proof but, since I fly electric, it's not a major concern of mine.

I haven't tried the automotive acrylics.

-David
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Old 09-19-2004, 07:02 AM
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Ed Smith
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Tom,
The paint I use is an automotive urethane paint. I am using I.C.I. Autocolor. What I like about this brand is that the Primer, the Single Stage paint and the Clear Coat all use the same hardener. I am sure that other manufacturers have equivalent products. I can get The I.C.I. brand from a local supplier.

The paint and the clearcoat are dry to the touch and dust free in about 30 minutes, although I would not handle them too much at that.

Ed S
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Old 09-19-2004, 08:04 AM
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Mike James
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

How about some photos of your painting in the mold results, guys?

I'm interested in all the chemical information, but would love to have a look at your work, too.
Good thread... Maybe we'll get some good information this time.
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Old 09-19-2004, 10:52 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Hey Mike,
Well, I haven't done anything as flashy as the pattern ships mentioned in this thread, although I'm pretty sure Ed has done some fancy stuff. I can post a couple pictures of pieces I've done. One is a canopy for a little pylon plane and the other is a pylon wing with feathered (not taped) edges between colors. Hopefully Ed can post some pretty pictures.

-David
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Old 09-19-2004, 01:16 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Those are nice, David!

I hope everyone who's done painting in the mold will post photos and info. It would help us all.
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Old 09-19-2004, 02:55 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Here is few of my creations.
First is painted mold for my racer. The black color in the middle is in the mold, but it's otherwise gray.
Last one is taken just before bolting halves together.
Paint is forgellat and I used paper (painter) tape for masking.
/Antti
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Old 09-19-2004, 07:51 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Hi y'all

I guess I need to git one o' they there digity camery thangs!!

Ed S
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:42 AM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

Here was my first attempt at painting in the mold. Since this was the first part I pulled, I used PVA so I had to feather the edges rather than a hard line. The paint turned out great.

I'm using KlassKote from www.klasskote.com it is a reasonably priced 2 part epoxy paint (Very similar to the old Hobby Poxy Paints). It is fuel proof without clear, and dries in about 2 hours.
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:49 PM
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Default RE: Painting in the mold

ORIGINAL: AmirN The seams on the Shadow are very nicely done. Still noticeable, but as good as can be executed. One fellow local flier just put a piece of 1/8" trim on it and blended it with the paint, which looked really good
Its been a while since I was into pattern stuff but Im familiar with the Shadow (or at least the ones being produced 3-ish years ago assuming they havent changed much). As nice as they are, from the fuse seaming perspective it is pretty ordinary quality if you compare most any high performance glider or electric models out of europe or eastern block these days. In fact, there is no requirement for any touchup on these models as youve described. The Shadow fuse is no different in terms of seaming operations other than it is a glass/balsa/glass composite sandwich is it not? That means he is trimming the (thicker) composite sandwich along the flange line & may be accomodating a bead of adhesive in there in addition to an overlap reinforcement layer on the inside. Not sure, just guessing.

The super tight 'almost perfect' joint is mostly controlled by crisp, sharp, matching mold edges along the flange & accurately trimming the composite material in the same plane as the flange. You also have to paint the mold cavity & a bit of the flange too. But in practical terms a super sharp pointy mold edge is kind of hard to maintain on a mold made of composite materials (tooling epoxy etc). It doesnt present much surface area for releasing agent & is structurally a bit fragile when de-molding. So it can get chipped & generally degraded over a series of pulls or just normal polishing & mold tuneups. The typical surface coat epoxies are very strong & abrasion resistant, but also a bit more brittle. Anyway, the ever-so-slight mold flange radius shows up as a slight positive 'bump' on the mold flashing of the part itslef. When that flashing is dressed to conform to profile, it can take some of the thin paint layer off to expose the epoxyglass beneath it. The smaller the flange radius, the smaller the imperfection. Structurally it still fine, just aesthetics.. If you are lucky & have access to CNC aluminum/metal molds, they are that much better in terms of maintaining the edge (and many euro molds are made that way).
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