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Covering Recomendations

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Old 03-04-2004, 10:44 AM
  #1  
wsudrick
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Default Covering Recomendations

Sorry to do this guys.
I've been trying to search for this information for a while and just ran out of patience. There have been many posts about the good and bad of different types of covering. I'm ready to cover my Midwest Aerostar and would like to use quality materials and tools because this is a very addicting hobby and will be building more in the future. In your opinion what is the:
Best looking....
Simplest to apply.....
Most durable.....
Easiest to repair....

Thanks in advance for your reply's

Wayne
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:09 PM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

All fim covering is essecially a polyester film, with colour and glue sprayed on teh back.

The differernce between them is really a personnal choice. You have to try different ones, untill you find one that suits your working styles.

Monokote is exetnsively marketed, and because of that, I'll wager they have the lion's share. Is it better than others out there. I don't think so.

I persannly prefer the Ultracoat line over Monokote, only because i find it is thinner, dosen't 'off-gas' or bleed as bad as Monokote does. It is easeir to lay down, and work with. Sealing the edges of Monokote, can cause you to go ballistic, as you then need to buy their 'solvent' to clean your iron and plane, because of the amount of goo that oozes out.

I find that Monokote is thicker, dosen't stretch as easily, and it wrinkles faster.

Cover this airplane with one brand, and cover the next with another. After a few planes, you'll have made a decision on which is better, for you, your personnal choice.

I should add, that they all have 'standard colours', although Monokote do have a paint line, to match the covering. A plus.. Ultra coat do have checkers, and silver dots.

They are all about as durable as the next.

And they all repair the same, another technique you'll soon be learning! It usually involves jsut ironing on another piece to cover the ding / hole / cut..



(Another question, is asking who makes teh better hamburger. I prefer Wendy's, but Macdonalds are every where. An Burger King, well, ...)
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:10 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Ok, here are the pros and cons of the BIG TWO - Ultracote, and MonoKote:

MK has more colors, so if there's a particular color you want and UC doesn't have it, You'll need to use MK (Or paint)

As far as which looks better, for the life of me, I can't see a difference.

For endurance, UC feels slightly more "Rubbery" while MK feels more Plastic. For this reason, MK is also more brittle.

But the biggest differences are that MK's adhesive sticks more permanently than UC, (This can be a good or bad thing - more on that later) and UC shrinks more.

Since UC Shrinks (and stretches) more, It is much easier to make it go around curves (Like Wingtips).

Now, let's talk about the adhesive: Neither one seems to hold "Better" than the other once applied, but MK's adhesive is more permanent, while UC's can easily be reheated and removed. As I said earlier, these can both have good points and bad.

First let's see why this is good for MK and bad for UC: Eventually, wrinkles will appear (With any iron-on covering). With MK, all you have to do is hit it with a heat gun, and you're ready to go.

But with UC, you need to be careful when reheating near the edge of a piece of covering. It's adhesive is designed to soften with heat. Combine that with the fact that it has a hight shrink rate, you can easily pull the edges away from their original position.

This problem is very simply solved by avoiding edges with the heat gun, or keeping a wet towel handy to cool the edges with.

Now, let's see why this is good for UC and bad for MK: When covering, If you don't align the piece exactly right, you can simply reheat it and remove it, with MK, once it's stuck, it's very difficult to remove. But here's the thing that sold me on UC: there's another type of wrinkle... The one that got "Ironed down". This is where - in an area with a wrinkle - the adhesive side has touched itself (See Pic). They are usually very small, but once you get one with MK, it's there for life, no amount of heat will pull it away from itself.

However, with UC, the combination of the softer adhesive and extra shrinking power, just keep running the iron or heat gun over the area, and the wrinkle will disappear
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:55 PM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Thanks for the info Gentlemen, you have been a great help. I've also read about "Filler" being used. I'm kind of a perfectionist but given the nature of shrink covering is filler needed?
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:35 PM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

I have never used the plastic coverings. I’m sure they’re wonderful and I’ve seen excellent examples and some not so good jobs at the field. However I started many years ago with silk and dope, then nylon and dope, and now use Sig Koverall and dope. It’s a mess, takes a special workspace that can handle the fumes, and is a bit more trouble overall. But once on, it never wrinkles in the sun, it is incredibly strong and puncture resistant, never peels at the seams, lasts practically forever, after the crash can be easily repaired to look like new, and it looks more like an airplane rather than a plastic model. It’s not for everybody but you just might like it.

The picture is one I just finished this week.
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:47 PM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Well, here we go. I agree that plastic film covering generally works fine with smaller planes, and it seems like we've had this same discussion countless times here on RCU. But it is one we never seem to get tired of. Especially when it brings builders who use the plastic film coverings into something "better".
Ok, so here goes...

1. If you really like using iron on covering, which you say you don't, there is one that isn't too bad, it has the look of fabric, which is what I am guessing you are looking for, then there is a really good product out there which all of the scale builders rave about. It's called Solartex. I personally have never used Solartex. I started off like most builders nowadays by using monokote, and then when I started building nicer more scale like planes, I went straight to fabric. However, if you like using an iron on covering, then I would have to say by word of mouth, that Solartex is probably one of the best out there. You use it pretty much like any other iron on covering, but it has a fabric like texture and can be painted with just about anything that will withstand the nitro in your fuel.

2. Then there's Silk. I have used silk before, and have to say it takes quite a bit of practice. But, for those true scale-like traditionalist builders, it is the only way to go. However, it is getting very expensive to use.

3. Then, there's my personal favorite. Koverall. Sig has been making this stuff for... well, forever. And it is a polyester fabric that is very light weight. About 1.25oz/yd. It is sort of a compromise to silk. It is synthetic, so it is much less expensive than silk. Actually it is one of the most affordable out there. I really like Koverall because it is applied just like silk. Here is a basic application process so you can get an idea of how it is used and turns out.
a. First you apply two coats of Nitrate dope to your balsa model framework all over where the koverall will be in contact with the wood, sanding lightly between each coat. (thin it anywhere from 2:1 to 1:1 ratio of thinner)
b. Once doped with nitrate, then cut out the fabric to cover the entire area with about an inch of overlap for good measure. Then place the Koverall over the wood and paint a thin line of Nitrate around the edges so it soaks through and softens the nitrate underneath so it will tack the cloth down to the surface around the edges. Pull it gently smooth so you have no wrinkles. You can even use some small pins around the overlapped edges to hold it in place until dry. Wait until completely dry.
c. This is the nice step. Unlike silk, which requires Butyrate dope to shrink, Koverall does not. Shrink the Koverall over the undoped areas with an iron. Shrink it only as needed, as not to shrink too much to warp the structure, or not enough, thus leaving sags in the open bays.
d. Then you can use the Nitrate dope again to begin applying the sealing coats. Generally two good coats of Nitrate will seal the fabric, but three may be needed, sanding lightly between each coat. When dry, trim off the excess around the edges just like you used to do with monokote, then sand edges smooth.
c. Now you are ready to apply your finish.
1.If you want a fabric textured finish, then you can use colored dope to paint on your design, or you can spray it if desired. If you choose enamel finish with HVLP auto paint or something like Rustoleum, which I use quite a bit because of all the colors it comes in, then lightly prime and paint as you see fit. Butyrate is fuel proof, and is nice in the fact that it is glossy and usually does not require a clear coat finish.
2. If you want a glass-like finish with no fabric texture, then add another one or two coats of Nitrate dope mixed with some talcum powder to fill in the texture. Also what is very cheap to use is primer filler in spray cans. It fills the weave completely, and when sanded gives a perfectly smooth surface. Then you can apply your enamel finish over it.
3.To finish it off, you can apply a coat or two of two-part automotive clear coat with a flex additive to seal the entire plane. This is really a good idea if using rustoleum, which is pretty fuel proof but not infallible. If you used some other kind of finish like latex paints for a camo finish etc, then a clear coat enamel is necessary to prevent from turning your nice paint job into a gooey mess. Clear coats can be gotten in satin or flat for camo finishes.

I have to say, of the several coverings I have used, thus far I prefer Koverall the most. Mainly because it gives such a nice finish when done right, and it is so versatile in the type of finish you want to apply.
Also, unlike every other iron on covering on the market, Koverall can be doped around the edges to the point where you can gently sand and completely cover all of your seams. It is so neat to see an entire plane covered with a shiny finish and absolutely no visible seams anywhere on the plane. It looks very professional, and has all the guys who have never used it, wondering how you got all that monokote on without any seams. Although a good fabric finish can never be confused with monokote.

Oh, one last thing about Koverall compared to monokote. If you puncture monokote it will tear very easily, like a plastic candy wrapper right? Not Koverall. Koverall is a fabric weave, and it is extremely tough. Way stronger than monokote. Don't believe me? If you get the chance, get ahold of a piece of plain unfinished Koverall, and try to tear it.

I hope all this helps, my fingers are getting tired of typing.


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Old 03-04-2004, 08:50 PM
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Jim Finn
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

I find polyester cloth and dope easier to apply than any plastic film. (Not faster but easier)I have used monocoat and ultracoat in years past and then tried dope and silkspan. Now I use dope and cloth, then paint. Lots tougher and more scale looking than any of the plastic films.
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:28 PM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

You covered things quite well. I would just add that I use a fabric cement made for full scale airplanes instead of nitrate dope for adhering the Koverall to the structure. It is similar, but has a faster "grip". I stick to aircraft dope for the finish. It is light weight and is blended to have the right amount of flex for use on fabric. The other finishes are heavier and may or may not crack over time.

In years past I have doped some fairly large models with a brush, and the results were quite good. However a paint sprayer is a definite asset. Even with a sprayer available I still brush the seal coats of nitrate. It is more effective in working the dope into the fabric.
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:41 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Use Filler!

Another thing I started doing is to mix water and carpenters glue About 3 parts water to 1 part glue. "Paint" the plane with it, let it dry, and then do a final sanding with 400 - 600 grit paper. Makes the balsa Smooth as a baby's behind.
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Old 03-05-2004, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

As you stated, its an addictive hobby. So after all being said you can try the different techniques and products on your next projects. The more experience and knowledge we can get the better we are.
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:49 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

I just finished my first covering job with SoLite (Nelson Film) on a Dandy Sport. I just discovered I'm a klutz or I need more practice. I have 2 wing bays with 4 wavy type wrinkles I can't shrink out.
In the late 1960s I built control line models with tissue and dope. I can't remember any wrinkles then. Maybe it's just my memory though.
I am going to try the Koverall on my next model. A Clancy Aviation Big Bee.
I purchased MicaFilm to be applied with Balsarite. Any opinions on that stuff? Should I try it or go back to doped fabric?

MinnFlyer; I was in North Saint Paul, MN when I flew control line. Didn't fly in winter though.
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:59 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

See my post above.......................! Yes cloth and dope is easier. Not faster............ just easier to get a good job with no wrinkles.
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:01 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

I would go back to fabric and dope myself. I tried monokote, ultracote, and some other stuf before and I just prefer the Koveral since it is easy to use, extremely tough, and one of the most versatile. I also like it over silk because it is cheaper, and is shrunk with a heat gun or iron. Just make sure you have some ventilation. It is stinky stuff.

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Old 03-06-2004, 10:03 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Thanks Jim,
I just wanted to hear it twice before I throw away my MicaFilm and Solite. I'll keep the covering iron for the Koverall.
I have more time than skill.
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Old 03-07-2004, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

21st Century Fabric! (painted) Coverite! Solartex! Koverall!
If using Koverall, apply with aircraft covering glue, available from Spruce Specalties, Wicks Aircraft, ect., way better than dope.

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Old 03-07-2004, 11:11 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

Coverite's 21stCentury iron. That's the one, the only, the best iron you can find IMO. I've used several since the inception of iron on covering, until that one came on the market, and it just can't be beat.

Nothing wrong with any particular brand of covering at all though, I have my favorite, as well as everybody else. I do like Monokote, and others like Ultrakote, and there are a few other brands very decent. Like someone else mentioned though, you might need to try different brands for a bit to see what works best for you.

Remember though, no covering can simply take the place of patience and practice in application. That comes with time, so just learn, and keep at it, and the covering jobs will get much better sooner. Gee, if it doesn't come out like you want.....just fly it for a while......while building another plane. It never ends once your hooked.
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:19 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

I like to use Sig Koverall because its cheap. The problem I have with it is that it freys so much. You try to sand it off and it freys some more. How do you koverall types get around that?
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:55 AM
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Default RE: Covering Recomendations

If you are referring to the edges, I glue mine down, and in the process, leave the frayed edges hang a little. The edges get dope, or glue on them, then I trim them with a razor.
Also, don't get carried away trying to get rid of the fuzzies 'til you've got some filler and primer on it.
If you are talking about sanding through the filler/primer/finish/ect. use a sanding block, light pressure, one direction, not back and forth, and check your progress regularly. If you sand through and fray it, you start your finishing from scratch in that area. Best thing is to not do it.
Practice on some scraps and the process will come to you like anything else. Practice practice practice.

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Old 06-05-2018, 03:31 PM
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Hey guys,,,,

Been doing RC since 71, covered many, flew them all, smash most of them, but enough digressing....

Always used "ironed on" covering with varying degrees of success, but when you have no place to spray, "ironed on" it is. Prepared the surface numerous ways, ( lots of sanding, thinned epoxy sanded, even varnish sanded) again with varying degrees of ease and success, Even tried sealing just the edges, then heat shrink with a gun. Want to try Minwax polyurethane, as a surface finishing prior to the Monokote. Used it on some wood working projects, works great, but am concerned about drying time versus warping due to water content.

Thoughts????
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:42 PM
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No need to do anything to the wood other then sand it smooth down to 400-600 grit and make sure to get it super clean. I use cotton rags to get the dust off and it usually takes 8-10 times over the surface with a clean rag each time to get all the balsa dust off. Don't skimp this step as it is the most important. This holds true with whatever brand covering you choose. My personal preference is Monokote.
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Old 06-06-2018, 02:04 PM
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DGrant
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Exactly what speedracer said. Clean, smooth, fresh wood. Hitting it lightly with a compressor can't hurt either.. but the tack cloth just before covering in any case is your friend.

I covered this plane with Monokote in 2002. This picture was just taken about a month ago. The wood was exactly as has been described, with nothing on it. 16yrs and it's never given me any trouble... not even a sag. It's up to you if you want to experiment of course. I've got other planes that are older that are still very intact as well. Just sharing my experience here is all.

My thought is Monokote and films in general don't need a thing except patience to prep them, and practice applying them... and time to learn both. I don't think there's one "magic" cure to getting a good finish from a film covering. Good luck.

PS... I'd posted to this thread back in 2004 about which iron to recommend, and I still stand by that 21st Century iron too.. I've went through a few in those years.. but I won't use anything else.


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Old 06-08-2018, 01:16 PM
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Hi!
Oracover(Ultracote in the US) is much easier to cover with than Monokote and stays on better.Thats my experience from using both for 43 years.

Marutaka DC-3 Powered by two OS FS.26 four strokes. Picture below shows a MK .21 Curare , wing covered with oracover ,fuselage covered with 25g glassfiber and spray painted with 2-part Sikkens auto acryl.

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Old 09-09-2018, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by got2retire View Post
Hey guys,,,,

Been doing RC since 71, covered many, flew them all, smash most of them, but enough digressing....

Always used "ironed on" covering with varying degrees of success, but when you have no place to spray, "ironed on" it is. Prepared the surface numerous ways, ( lots of sanding, thinned epoxy sanded, even varnish sanded) again with varying degrees of ease and success, Even tried sealing just the edges, then heat shrink with a gun. Want to try Minwax polyurethane, as a surface finishing prior to the Monokote. Used it on some wood working projects, works great, but am concerned about drying time versus warping due to water content.

Thoughts????
I've been using brushing grade lacquer from Mautz or Cabot, as a sealer on balsa surfaces before covering. it dries fast, easily sands glass smooth, cures fuel proof and it will accept any covering or paint . you can add paint tints to it or add talcum powder for use on end grain areas. it's pretty much universal.
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