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Painted wing, stabs and advanced graphics

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Old 12-14-2015, 11:38 AM
  #1
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Default Painted wing, stabs and advanced graphics

I have been meaning to do a thread on fully painted wings, stabs and some advanced painting methods for some time. I will show how I use a plotter (vinyl cutter) to create paint mask. All graphics will be painted. I will also show how to do some trick, double beveled graphics. I am currently doing a build on a CA Models Austral bipe. I will not be doing a build out thread as this has been done many times on RCU and will focus on light weight coverings, computer generated graphics and painting. U.S. readers may have seen some of my work in the NSRCA K-Factor. One of my planes was on the cover of a recent K-Factor. One thing to be aware of is I am not overly obsessed with weight. Yes I do as much in my power to control weight, but I am not looking to save 2 or 3 grams. One thing I do is fly extremely light weight batteries the allow me some latitude in weight gain from painting. I am currently flying F3A Unlimited 4,600's that are 8 oz. under Zippy Compacts (and they are light).

OK, let's get going. The first issue is what to cover the sub-strait (balsa) in to give the best and lightest surface. Light weight fiberglass has been around for many years and makes a very nice surface to paint on. The problem with fiberglass, is as the paint continues to cure and shrink, the glass weave will be visible (telegraph). In the worse case, you can even feel the weave. I have tried several different methods and have settled on silkspan as one of the easiest to apply that will give you a glass smooth finish. It's important to understand the issues you will deal with in silkspan versus glass cloth. In working with fiberglass, we have to fill the weave to create a smooth surface. With silkspan the issue is filling the wood grain under the silk.

A bit about silkspan. Silkspan has been around for years and has primarily been used on lightweight open frame models (free flight, etc.). Silksapn is not actually 'silk", rather a paper material that looks like tea bags. The big problem is availability. Sig and a couple of other companies have discontinued production. I am buying mine from Easy Build Models and the weight of material they sell is perfect for our use. I have some older ultra light material that is very hard to work with.

http://www.easybuiltmodels.com/parts.htm

On an average sized mono we are going to be adding just a few grams of silkspan. The real weight comes in later if we aren't careful. I apply silkspan with water based MinWax Polycrylic. Being water based, the odor is eliminated, but creates other issues to deal with.

http://www.minwax.com/wood-products/...tective-finish

A quart will do several planes. You want "clear gloss", More on that later.

I will be using all House of Kolor paints and clear. Their paints are not inexpensive, but are superior for the type of work I do.

http://www.coastairbrush.com/categories.asp?cat=745

Pictured is some of my work to give you an idea of what we will be doing.

Patrick (Pat) Harris NSRCA District 8 DVP
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Old 12-14-2015, 12:09 PM
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Some more pictures of my stuff. I will be doing a double edge graphic on the new plane like the one in the pictures.
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Old 12-14-2015, 01:23 PM
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OK, here we go. I will be covering the tops of both the wings and stabs with silkspan. The bottom surfaces will be Ultracote. I do this for several reasons the first of course being weight. Second it saves a huge amount of work and third I can put on ultra bright orange that I can see.

I sand all the surfaces with 220 at this point. I don't spend any time on the bottoms as they will get dinged and wet in the finishing of the top surfaces. I have done several silkspan jobs and find the biggest issue is grain showing up after the silk goes on. Normally I fill the grain after the silk goes on, but I am using a different approach this time and it works great. After sanding I applied a medium coat of DAP Fast N Final Lightweight Spackle. I work it into the surface with a credit card. Allow the spackle 24 hours to dry. If you try to sand it sooner, it just balls up. After its dry, I dry sand it with 220.
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Old 12-14-2015, 01:28 PM
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This is what it looks like when it's first applied and after sanding.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:54 PM
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I'm interested in the vinyl masks. All of the how too, with good useful detail, will help me.

I also was unable to source silkspan in the ultra light grade that I prefer. Actually any grade, not just the ultra light.

You might consider using Esaki Japanese tissue. The latest set of wing panels for my Delta have both surfaces finished in two layers each, carbon tissue (bottom) and Esaki medium (top). The panel is larger than most at 470 squares. Weight gain of the two layers just about ready for primer, has been 35 grams. Of course primer and paint will add 60-75 grams, because of the yellow (worst covering color we have)

Reason for the two coverings is first the wing is built up from sticks and was very light (210 grams), so much so I wanted some resistance to poking fingers through the skins. The two layers added a lot of strength to the balsa skins.
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:03 PM
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Matt,

I will do what I can to help. In fact one reason I am taking the time to do this is because of all I have learned from your post over the years. I even went the carbon route like you did on one of my builds. I find I add so little weight with the medium silkspan, I don't use the ultra light stuff. I think I may only save a very few grams on a bipe wing. I have been thinking about the tissue you used as you have mentioned it before. The reason I went with silkspan in the first place was due to you. For that, i thank you.
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portlandflyer View Post
Matt,

I will do what I can to help. In fact one reason I am taking the time to do this is because of all I have learned from your post over the years. I even went the carbon route like you did on one of my builds. I find I add so little weight with the medium silkspan, I don't use the ultra light stuff. I think I may only save a very few grams on a bipe wing. I have been thinking about the tissue you used as you have mentioned it before. The reason I went with silkspan in the first place was due to you. For that, i thank you.

Thanks, I can use assistance with the graphics and masks. I bought the last set of masks from Kirby and that was almost 100$, ouch. If I can make them myself, heck the cost becomes nil.

Ultra light silkspan is a tuffy. Try using a very light mist from a fine spray bottle but don't get it dripping wet. It becomes impossible to work with when wet but not terrible when just misted. I figured out how on the last set of stabs for the Delta that I built from sticks a couple years back. Still, I found it best to tack the perimeter first and let the paper dry first. It becomes drum tight making bedding a cinch.

For wings, medium grade is the proper one to use. Silkspan takes some filler coats....

I found the Esaki Jap tissue at Sig which they call Plyspan (not polyspan which is a spun polyester). At 2$ a 2'x3' sheet it's rather inexpensive. They sell all grades at 2$ a sheet. The medium is very nice. Lays down easily especially when misted and far easier to work with when wet. It takes some effort to rip it when wet. I think I like this material the best so far. The heavy is like rebar in strength but at 2- 2 1/2 mil thickness is like putting on fiberglass and you get no weight benefits. It's lighter than glass but not much.

Try doctor blading the paint directly onto the paper. Doctor blading is the age old technique we used to use with epoxy and glass. It results in a smoother surface and reduces the work load (less brushing and paint needed)
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:06 PM
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Yep, there are lots of ways to do this stuff. I will be showing one of them, but it works exceptional for me.
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:54 PM
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Next step is to fix any blemishes NOW. Number one rule to a glass like finish...fix it when you see it. Don't rely on the next step to hide or fix a blemish...in fact it may make it worse.
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:13 PM
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Next step is extremely important. The downside to using a water based product like Min Wax is potential warping. If the silkspan is being applied to a balsa/foam sheeted wing you likely won't have a problem. I did two Proteus builds with Dave Snow built up wings and learned the hard way. On the areas that had large bays, I had some rippling of the surface. On the second Proteus, I controlled it and didn't have a problem.

The way I control it is to use two or three thinned coats of lacquer. Lacquer sanding sealer will work as well. On this build, the only area I used lacquer was on the ailerons. Trust me. if you don't seal the ailerons, they will warp. Ailerons may still warp just a bit even if they are sealed. If they do, I put a coat of Min Wax on the back side of the surface, weight it and it will be fine.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portlandflyer View Post
Yep, there are lots of ways to do this stuff. I will be showing one of them, but it works exceptional for me.
Yup, you're absolutely right. Several ways to do the covering. It's what a guy is comfortable with that counts.

Same thing for builds. If the build has adequate strength and the quality of the surfaces is excellent, what difference does it make what the rib spacing is or the former spacing in the fuse?

I like the idea of using lacquer to seal the wood. I think I'll experiment with some. It's likely less expensive than what I use.

I'm looking forward to getting info on the vinyl masks.

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Old 12-15-2015, 08:21 AM
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Matt,

I think even hair spray would work just a s well, but haven't tried it. Just something to block the stuff from penetrating.

As you know, painting is a ways down the road.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:19 AM
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Very interesting guys.

I was thinking about experimenting with glassing a set of B.J. Craft wings and painting them for a YS-185 project. My thought process is to do this for structural Longevity of the wings. I've always flown foam core wings either EP or GP and my experience with build up wings and stabs to this point, has not been very satisfying.

Any input?

Thanks'

Bill H.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:54 AM
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Bill,

Matt would have a better idea than I, but I would think doing what he said earlier about putting a layer of carbon tissue down first and then silkspan or glass over that. I used the carbon on one build and it does seem to add a lot of strength. I put it down with dope.

http://www.acpsales.com/Carbon-Fiber-Tissue.html
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:09 AM
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I cover the wings and ailerons at the same time. All of the surfaces that aren't silked receive two to three coats of MinWax. After priming they look like they have been glassed. I use two thin stainless strips to hold the ailerons (and elevators) on. What I use is men's dress shirt collar stays. I would think the plastic would work fine as well. I slip them into the hing slots.

http://www.stiffstays.com/
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:12 AM
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Silkspan cut and ready to be attached.

I weight half of the sheet down so it won't move.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:16 AM
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I then fold back the silkspan over itself to expose about half of the wing and apply a medium coat of Min Wax right out of the can without thinning.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:36 AM
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For my method of applying the silkspan, I do not wet it. Note in the picture the inexpensive foam throwaway paint brush. I use them not because they are inexpensive, but because they have a plastic insert in them to help stiffen them up. What I do is use the brush more as a squeegee to push the material down. You will see in the picture I use the front of the brush and push it forward. I don't brush it down. I hold the silk up with one hand and as I push forward with the brush I just slowly lay the material out flat in front of the brush. Trust me it takes longer to explain it then to do it. I can do a whole bipe wing in less than ten minutes. If any wrinkles show, just lift it back up and push it back down. On this job I had zero wrinkles on one wing and both stabs. I had two little ones on one wing, but is no big deal.

After half the panel is done, just lay the other side of the silk back over on top of the freshly applied material to expose the unfinished half. Repeat the first step and that's it.

As you apply the silk it will go from white to clear. If you see any white areas just apply a bit more Min Wax to wet out that spot. After all the silk has been applied, I come back over it and apply one very light coat of Min Wax over the just applied silkspan. You want to see just a bit of gloss sheen. This tells you the silk is fully saturated and the weave is filled.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:40 AM
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Now I cut the silkspan around the ailerons and elevators to allow the material to lay out flat out on them.

That's it...done. Let the stuff dry 18 to 24 hours.
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:56 AM
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Much appreciated and thanks for the links.

BTW...Beautiful paint work!

Bill

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Bill,

Matt would have a better idea than I, but I would think doing what he said earlier about putting a layer of carbon tissue down first and then silkspan or glass over that. I used the carbon on one build and it does seem to add a lot of strength. I put it down with dope.

http://www.acpsales.com/Carbon-Fiber-Tissue.html
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:47 PM
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My pleasure and thank you.
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Old 12-15-2015, 04:20 PM
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Bill,

Please go to the Classic Pattern forum and look up the thread "A few ideas to chew on". The latest ideas discuss one way to make built up balsa wings. This set of ideas deal with a wing that will look more like a foam cored wing, with minimal to no bay sag.

I don't know how the Park wings are made but I would bet that he uses 1/16" balsa sheeting and a minimum of ribs. That works great for plastic film covers since they hide all the surface flaws.

If one wants to "glass n' paint" these wings, it might be a stretch. The rib spacing just won't provide enough support for the sheeting and you will get what Dean Pappas calls the "starving dawg" look. The spacing I use in that build and the sheeting thickness I opted for, produces panels that truly resemble foam cored panels

If you decide to make one from scratch, it's quite a bit of work but it is also very satisfying to see your creation come in at 75 to 100 grams lighter than the foam cored counterpart per panel. And that's all "glass n' paint" because I absolutely abhor plastic film. One thing I wanted to do in that build was to use carbon tissue on the inside of the sheeting. I thought I had the tissue on hand but didn't. One thing certain, carbon inside and silkspan on the outside makes for an extremely effective composite (very light but very strong). And poking holes in the sheeting when you grab a bit awkwardly becomes much harder

Putting it on the outside you have a choice of either filling all of the holes of the tissue which kinda defeats lightness or you can cover the tissue as I have done on my new panels with another layer of paper tissue. Paper tissue, either silkspan or Esaki Jap tissue are much tighter and require a minimum of filling. Light silkspan is the lightest but is also tuff to work with. Medium silkspan has good handling and adds strength.

There are several ways these coverings may be applied. I use nitrate usually but have used MinWax oil based urethane which is slightly heavier and even used the water based acrylic once before on a foam job, as Portlandflyer is here. I like the Lacquer idea he is using to seal. I would use it to bed the covering directly onto the wood....

We can take it off line and chat directly if you decide to proceed

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Old 12-15-2015, 10:20 PM
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After 24 hours
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:22 PM
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Sand edges to remove overhang.
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:19 PM
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Hey Matt,

The B.J. wings are actually built up pretty well with regards to rib spacing, at least my older ones are. My sole interest in doing this would be to go to a YS-185 CDI for 2016s new plane. I think that would increase the longevity of the wings and stabs for a few seasons. I am pretty sure I will go that route, ehhh...60/40, lol. I constantly talk myself out of it, like a ping pong ball on the table.....

I have to start over with the electric stuff all my stuff is either bad or grew legs. I have everything I need for a YS version of the Invitation, a cost analysis will decide the finial outcome.

I will hit you up off line, because I have another home brew project I am working on and that will be fully sheet'd, glassed and painted in one form or another.

Thanks' for the insight.. Happy Holidays!

Bill

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Bill,

Please go to the Classic Pattern forum and look up the thread "A few ideas to chew on". The latest ideas discuss one way to make built up balsa wings. This set of ideas deal with a wing that will look more like a foam cored wing, with minimal to no bay sag.

I don't know how the Park wings are made but I would bet that he uses 1/16" balsa sheeting and a minimum of ribs. That works great for plastic film covers since they hide all the surface flaws.

If one wants to "glass n' paint" these wings, it might be a stretch. The rib spacing just won't provide enough support for the sheeting and you will get what Dean Pappas calls the "starving dawg" look. The spacing I use in that build and the sheeting thickness I opted for, produces panels that truly resemble foam cored panels

If you decide to make one from scratch, it's quite a bit of work but it is also very satisfying to see your creation come in at 75 to 100 grams lighter than the foam cored counterpart per panel. And that's all "glass n' paint" because I absolutely abhor plastic film. One thing I wanted to do in that build was to use carbon tissue on the inside of the sheeting. I thought I had the tissue on hand but didn't. One thing certain, carbon inside and silkspan on the outside makes for an extremely effective composite (very light but very strong). And poking holes in the sheeting when you grab a bit awkwardly becomes much harder

Putting it on the outside you have a choice of either filling all of the holes of the tissue which kinda defeats lightness or you can cover the tissue as I have done on my new panels with another layer of paper tissue. Paper tissue, either silkspan or Esaki Jap tissue are much tighter and require a minimum of filling. Light silkspan is the lightest but is also tuff to work with. Medium silkspan has good handling and adds strength.

There are several ways these coverings may be applied. I use nitrate usually but have used MinWax oil based urethane which is slightly heavier and even used the water based acrylic once before on a foam job, as Portlandflyer is here. I like the Lacquer idea he is using to seal. I would use it to bed the covering directly onto the wood....

We can take it off line and chat directly if you decide to proceed
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