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MonoKote, problems taken care of?

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Old 06-07-2004, 09:29 PM
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newbieT
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Default MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Hi all,

I'm just rounding out my first kit and was wondering about MonoKote. I read here on RCU that MonoKote had gone downhill somewhere along the way, that it wouldn't shrink properly and the adhesive wasn't working properly. I had used it in the past (10+ years ago) minimally to patch an ARF I had then with amazing results. Before I go buy my coverings, is MonoKote on the green? Also, I've seen Ultracote mentioned in various places as an alternative to MonoKote. I couldn't find Ultracote on TowerHobbies (my primary store) and didn't see any in the LHS. Where is everyone getting it from?

Here's a pic of the plane (Pt-40, as if you couldn't recognize it)
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Old 06-07-2004, 10:21 PM
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halflight
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Horizon Hobbies, Champaign IL distributes Ultracote. It's now listed as Hangar 9 Ultracote. Really good stuff. Their site www.horizonhobby.com
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Old 06-07-2004, 10:38 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Curious, where did you hear that monokote was going downhill? Have used both mono and ultra/orocover and they each have unique properties. If you are comfortable with mono from past experience I would start there. Orocover/Utracote will stick a bit to your work wehn you lay it out ( can be VERY handy) and shrinks up nicely like mono. One major advantage to mono is in laying graphics over the monokote. Really easy to make graphics out of mono stick with windex then light heat or acetone. Doesn't work as well with ultra.

My $0.02

Eric
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Old 06-07-2004, 10:41 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

grumpE - I'll be damned if I can find the posts, there was an entire thread on the performance of MonoKote here...I'll see if I can find and post appropriate links.
Thanks for the input.

Halfight - Thanks for the shop, if I decide to go that route, looks like the place to go, appreciate it!
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:35 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I found the two-page thread:
[link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_1811458/mpage_1/key_monokote/tm.htm]Bad roll of monokote?[/link]
I realized just now that I should've posted there [sm=rolleyes.gif]
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Old 06-08-2004, 12:46 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

A couple people allegedly had "problems" with Monokote, I think it got blowed out of proportions. I have used MK for 20 years, still using it. Answer this....what brand do the world champions use??? Monokote does take practice, if one is not willing to take the effort for a great job, then use Ultracote.

Bob
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:32 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I've used both. And both are not the same.
I prefere Ultracote to Monokote for a bunch of reasons.

But this argument / debate is open to interpretation, as teh modellers are split pretty even.

As for the choice the pros use at TOC, I beleive they don't buy the stuff, but are given it, hence why they use it over any others. I beleive that monokote is slightly inferior to UC, but they have teh market share, a loyal following, made sure they are on almost all ARFs, and a HUGE advertising budget (thanks to Great Planes, Top Flight, and of course, Tower!).. so guess who'll you'll see mostly..

Like McDonald's; get your name out there, and in young / 1st timer's faces, they'll know you, no one else...

that's my take on it.

Best advice for NewbieT is to get whichever he perfers, and go for it. Next plane, get the other kind... and see for yourself.
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:45 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I've never used ultracote, so I can't say anything negative about it, but I do like monocote; It does take practice, but IMHO it is well worth leaning to use. When you finish covering your plane, take some automotive spray wax, and wax the plane then buff it with a soft cloth. It seems to keep the monocote looking new longer, and it gives the colors some depth. It also makes it easier to get the castor off after a day of flying. just my opinion
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:02 AM
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ben beyer
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Since this is your first covering job, go with ultracote. Monokote may have better color but it's a pain to work with in my opinion and I've had no problem with ultracote. I'm about to build an airplane now and I'm using ultracote on it. Nice job on the PT-40, i would've done a bolt on wing but with you probably learning how to fly, rubber bands may be the way to go.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:05 AM
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Mike in DC
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

The gist of the previous thread was that different MK colors behave differently, and in particular, white does not shrink nicely the way others do. Baxter contributed to the thread earlier, saying send any bad MK back to Great Planes Support, but did not offer any response to the complaints about white.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:17 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I started building and covering planes before MonoKote was even invented. When it came out, it was a Godsend compared to silk and dope. Then, in the late 60's or early 70's, they improved it, and it was even better. That was 30 years ago, and it is still basically that same product.

In the early 90's, I tried Ultracote for the first time. I still use MK on occaision, but given a choice, I'll take UC every time.
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:38 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I appreciate the feedback from everyone. My interpretation of this thread is that ultracote, although it may have fewer color choices, is a better choice for a newb like myself for a first covering job. I've seen some posts of guy's first planes and the coverings they've done on it. In particular [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/I%27m_so_excited%21__I_finally_finished_it%25/m_1804336/tm.htm]this one here[/link]. That guy did an excellent job. In no way do I expect to come remotely close to a covering like that, but I would like an even covering that doesn't have to be the best, without a nightmare for my first shot. The only experience I have is doing patches, which I'm sure is _nothing_ like covering an entire plane...so for my first go at it I guess I'll give ultracote a shot! Hey, maybe I'll never look back...Thanks again guys!

Oh, and btw, the patches I did were with white MK and the results were amazing...but that was MK overlapping MK and not on any exposed wood, make any difference?
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Old 06-08-2004, 10:25 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Do you have a colour scheme thought out? the example you offer is a nice one, but not one I would reccomend for a 1st time flyer.
(Black & Red can make teh plane look smaller than it actually is, and black especially, can turn into a tiny spec in the sky! not to mentin certain orientation problems!)

Remember, go slow. take your time. Let the iron do teh work (heating & secureing the coveirng). You might also think abotu an extra roll, so you have 'extra' just in case!!
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Old 06-08-2004, 10:34 AM
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newbieT
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Color scheme...hmm, yes my wife took the liberty of working one up with my instruction on contrasting top wing/fuse with bottom. I have no trim ideas, just solid blue, yellow and white (those were her choice). Originally she joked about making it Circus Pink, which she thought I'd mind but when I came back saying it's a fairly popular color and I wouldn't mind so long as it's not 100% solid pink, she tucked her tail in and went back looking at more colors. I don't think she put any thought into the location of the colors, but just that they went well together. I was trying to decide what would be best to see while flying, with the blue on top, white on bottom and yellow trim over the blue and a white fuse, or blue trim on yellow, dunno...haven't worked it all out yet, blue, white and yellow may not even be the final choice. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:06 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

ORIGINAL: ben beyer

Since this is your first covering job, go with ultracote. Monokote may have better color but it's a pain to work with in my opinion and I've had no problem with ultracote. I'm about to build an airplane now and I'm using ultracote on it. Nice job on the PT-40, i would've done a bolt on wing but with you probably learning how to fly, rubber bands may be the way to go.
Thanks and yes this should be considered my first plane so I went with the 'A' wing type (more dihedral) and opted for rubber bands to secure it. I have a lot of RC experience, excellent hand-eye coordination and fairly good eye sight so I suspect flying will be a shoe-in for me. I was tempted to make the 'B' wing and do bolts, but when I bought the kit I had made a firm decision this was going to be an all out trainer, no frills, no nothing. The only downside I guess is it'll fight in aerobatic type maneuvers which doesn't bother me. When I move onto more difficult flying I'll get another kit to support that kind of flying. I just wasn't going to take any chances with this one, I'm takin' my time and doing everything by the book, as far as I see it anyway
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:14 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

nuwbieT If I might offer sugestions on covering a first plane..... My preferance is span wise stripes on the top of the wings and tail. And cord wise stripes on the bottom. With this pattern its very hard to confuse up from down.
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:57 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

newbieT,
I have used both monokote and ultra cote on several models. Monokote does tend to have a glossier look to it and brighter color. But IMHO ultracote is hands down easier to work with it doesnt seem to wrinkle as easy, has great shrinking qualities, and is generaly easier to work with. I think this might have somthing to do with the fact that ultracote is polyester based and therefore breathes better. That last part is my observation and may be completly off base but that has been my experiance. But if you have a lot of patience or are proficient at covering monokote can produce superior results.
Thats what it comes down to: Ultracote is easier to work with, but Monokote can yeild superior results.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:22 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Great guys, thanks so much for the input. I think the covering is going to be UC this time 'round cause I just don't want to screw that up after the time I spent on the plane itself. I do have a lot of patience, but I'd like good results with my newb exerience. So I think it'll be UC...as for the design, I'll go over the colors with the wife and make some different patterns on the top/bottom as suggested. I'll get pics when I finally finish it so you guys can see the results, either way.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

yes thank you too, i am going to use ultracote on my RV-4... yellow and dark blue and then on the bottom of the wing a black and yellow checkered since ultra already has a pre made checkered form =D

~Matt
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:58 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I think the main reason UC is easier to work with is that it has a MUCH lower working temp.

Experiment on an unimportant piece of wood at first and get a feel for how much heat, stretch, properties, etc., before the start on the plane. This is also a good place to find out exactly how long you can linger on a piece before it melts under the iron!

In working with Monokote, I found that it glues down at a little over 3.5 on my Hobbico iron, and shrinks at about 4.5-5.0, depending a lot on whether you are using a iron cover (I have no idea what those numbers equate to in actual temperature). I recommend the iron cover for initial work, but take it off for sealing the edges and any work requiring contortional gymnastics (be sure to let it cool down first or you will melt a hole in your newly applied covering!)

The best way to find the optimum working temp for Monokote is to heat your iron until it will just begin to boil water after a few seconds when you put a drop on it. If it just sits there or boils away quickly, you are either too cold or too hot.

I basically boils down to your individual likes/dislikes. I've used both and will mix and match depending on the particular application.
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Old 06-10-2004, 08:50 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Excellent info, I hadn't even thought of the various temperatures of irons. What about heat guns? That's probably a function of distance. It seems everyone is using irons, which is fine, but what about over the ribbed surface of the wing where there's no support, I'd assume to use the gun on that?
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Old 06-10-2004, 09:58 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Actually, for best application and drum-tight shrinkage, your sealing iron must be just below MonoKote's melting point. Many people don't use enough heat, and so have problems with it. If the iron will dull the finish, it's still a bit too hot. My sealing iron can get hot enough to melt a hole in the material with just a touch, when it's at max. Max shrink temp is 270-350 degrees F. This will boil off a drop of water VERY FAST. Don't rely on any water drop test. Use a piece of scrap to test the iron.

Many heat guns also don't get hot enough to do a good job of shrinkng. MonoKote will tend to relax a bit with heat and then shrink. If you don't have enough heat, the covering will bag and shrink slightly. Put it in the hot sun and it will bag again. Most problems in using MonoKote most likely stem from using tools that just aren't hot enough. With tools at the right temperature, MonoKote goes on easily and shrinks nicely.
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Old 06-10-2004, 11:53 AM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

Cool, if you're right, Bax (and it's likely you are), then I should be able to use MK with a good iron... All this is becoming confusing, I can't decide which way I'm going to go, now. I still think what people have mentioned about UC being a bit easier, at lower temps and somewhat sticky to begin with may make my job easier first run around...ugh, I'll let you guys know which way and how it went. Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-10-2004, 12:02 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

As far as heat guns go, I covered for many years without one. But ever since I tried one, I'll never cover again without it.

PS See if you can borrow one from a club member!
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Old 06-10-2004, 12:15 PM
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Default RE: MonoKote, problems taken care of?

I am no expert...but, the owner at my LHS told me that Ultra Cote goes on pretty well at 175*. It does not shrink at this temp, but the glue is activated. I finished covering my Somethin Extra a couple of weeks ago and for my first time, the 175 temp seemed to work well for me.

Also FWIW: I liked using the Ultra Cote, and will use it again on my next kit.
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