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Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

Old 03-02-2004, 12:31 PM
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RCXPLANES
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Default Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

I am starting a new design project and need some help from those that have found a good covering film that irons on at lower temps for use on Depron foam. I would prefer solid colors but I will use what is available. I am just tired of the transparant thing already.

So if anyone has had good experience with any iron on film on Depron foam, I would like to hear about it. What you used, how you applied it, what to watch out for, where to get it, what color choices are available and so on.

Thanks in advance,

Errol
Old 03-02-2004, 09:19 PM
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Levi_Jordan
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Default RE: Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

Go to the sign shop. Get some vinyl and throw your iron out the window!

There are 2 types. Cast and Calandered. Cast is the nice stuff, thin, flexible, glossy, and good for 7 years! (Like the plane will last that long...) But it is 2-5 time the cost of Calandered.

The Calandered is the cheep stuff, but is thicker, has a duller finish, but is cheep! It is also now available in what they call "Premium"
The premium is just a hair more, but is glossy.

Tons of colors to choose from... much more than our iron ons. I have been using it for years on everything from jets to giant scale.

The only downside is that it is more flexable. Which means it dosn't add much strength. The good thing is you can actually wrap a ball with one piece and have NO wrinkles. Just use your heat gun to pull some stretch out of it. It will even shrink just a little if you need it to.

A 15" x 150' (Foot!!) roll will cost about $45-$60 for the cheep stuff. But go to a sign shop and they'll sell it to you by the yard for $1-$5 depending on the colors.
Old 03-02-2004, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

Levi,
Thanks for that tip. I assume this is the self adhesive vinal used for stickers and such also. I hapen to know a sticker guy here in town. We use the stuff all of the time for race car stickers and graphics and I never even thought of it. The stuff you refer to must be much thinner than standard sticker etuff though because I couldn't imagine wrapping a ball with that. I will check it out tommorrow. A smaller amount of shrink would be perfect for the project I am on to prevent over shrinking warpage.

Great tip. Thanks
Old 03-04-2004, 04:51 PM
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Default RE: Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

I covered a few foam planes with Econokote. It shrinks at a fairly low temp and makes the foam much stronger.

MIKE
Old 03-04-2004, 07:57 PM
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Default RE: Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

Well, I have done some homework and found out a few things about both sticky and iron on vinyl and Deprons tollerance to heat.

I first found out about the difference between Cast and Calandered types of sticky or decal vinyl. These terms define how the stuff is made. Cast is a poured type process while the Calandered is a stretched or spread type method as near as I can tell. Don't ask me about manufacturing specifics now but I can tell you that Cast is 2 mil or 0.002" thick and the Calandered is 2.5 mil or 0.0025 thick. They both come in a miriad of color choices and apply and look the same. Cast is a bit more flexable and corner friendly and lighter per Sq. Yd. To apply you just cut a close pattern, peel and stick as flat and accurate as possible. About 5 seconds with a heat gun on low and it sinks right into the foam and bonds great. When the foam texture shows through, your done. It will only shrink a little bit so apply it as tight as you can, then heat gun to perfection. One caution when using this stuff is that due to the adhiesive always being active, you can stick two opposing surfaces together on say a rudder or elevator. I am wondering if you put a small dab of vasoline or KY jelly on the back of the first installed side, if that would be a non issue. I intentionally overheated a portion and got the results you would expect with overheating foam. although it took a lot more time than I thought it would to overheat. This lead me to try the iron on approach.

I tried both Ultracoat's lite and standard coverings next. With my H9 Iron on 3 to 3.5 either one of these products go right on with no harm to the Depron outer or edge surface, The lite product will shrink a little more than the sticky vinyl but is hard to warp the flat open pannel I was experimenting with. The standard Ultracoat went on with no trouble as well but when it shrinks it is strong enough to put a substantial warp in the small piece I tried. About like a balsa built rudder if you covered and shrunk one side before applying the other side and shrinking in stages from side to side. even at a setting of 3.5 and an extended period of iron time in one place, there was no discernable dammage to the Depron.

My conclusion is that for Depron, any of these covering techniques will work and give you a nice finish. The Ultracoat Lite will be lighter but you have to live with the 5 poor transpearant color choices. The Ultracoat standard will work if care is taken in it's application at the shrinking stage and is comparable to the Cast or Premium sticky vinyl weight and thickness. Ultracoat now has a larger choice of colors than they used too and some patterns as well that aren't available with the sticky vinyl. Both the Cast and Calandered sticky vinyl give the best adhesion to the surface showing the texture more and look the best to me. They are also far easier to apply. There is a wide variaty of colors with these products and depending on the color and grade is cheaper than either Ultracoat product. The Calandered is the heaviest of all of them but is the cheapest as well.

So if you want the lightest possible weight and can stand the ugly look of the 5 transpearant colors, go for the iron on Ultracoat lite. just keep the temp around the 3 zone and be paitent. If you want the best color choice with less shrink for the same weight as opeque iron on with complete ease of application give the sticky vinyl a try. you may keep your iron but use your heat gun more. The sticky stuff does look really nice.
Old 03-04-2004, 08:34 PM
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Default RE: Best Low Temp Iron On Covering For Foam?

GET Nelson Light film...the lightest covering out!!!

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