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Free flight construction question

Old 06-02-2003, 07:53 PM
  #1  
FlyingLocksmith
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Default Free flight construction question

Never built one but it is time to cover w/tissue.
Instructions say use Sig dope to glue, shrink w/ water mist and let dry, then apply two coats Sig lite dope.

Do I gotta buy these two bottles of stuff I may never use again?
Can I thin down some good old Elmers to get same result?

Any info or tips regarding tissue covering appreciated.

(It is a Sig kit- I use the blue tissue paper right? ( )
It has white and blue tissue, although I have not looked real close at the paper)
Old 06-02-2003, 09:03 PM
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Default Free flight construction question

Use a UHU glue stick or equivalent to stick the tissue to the frame. Let dry for about 4 hours and then water spray with a fine mist. You need to let the glue stick dry that long to help limit the water mist softening the gluestick stuff. And keep the water mist fine or it'll soften and lift anyway. But done right it works super well.

If you only fly when it's really really dry outside you don't need any dope. Or get some Balsarite that can be used with other non adhesive covering materials. Put a tablespoon into a small jar and thin it with about 4 table spoons of high quality lacquer thinner and use that. Two light coats only. That stuff is heavy but it does protect the tissue from moisture and it's non shrinking after it's first drying.

I finish all my free flighters with a final coat of this mix over the dope. Prevents aging warps very well.

That model in my avatar is a little 16 inch Bostonian rubber design done using the glue stick and two very thin coats of nitrate followed by one very thin coat of the Balsarite mix. Not a warp that I didn't put in there myself in over 4 years.
Old 06-02-2003, 10:25 PM
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FlyingLocksmith
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Default Free flight construction question

Thanx a bunch for the info. Plan to put some on tonite.
Do I use the blue paper? It will be ok if I don't shrink til the next day?

Don't have any balsarite, as last can dried up after sitting for too long. Will see what happens after I get it skinned.

It has solid sides & bottom of fuse. Do I paper these?

If covering process turns out ok, I would like to build a scale FF.

Have 2/3 of a Guillows Sopwith built, but lost the plastic cowl, wheels and some wood. It has sat for 6-8 years (sigh)

Thanks again...
Old 06-03-2003, 02:10 AM
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Default Free flight construction question

You'll be covering with dry paper so it doesn't matter how long you take to do the job. However you WILL want to wait until it's all covered and the glue stick has dried for the 4 or more hours before you mist the tissue. It'll shrink and if it doesn't do it all at once the warps will be horrendous.

For the fuselage just use the glue stick for about 3/32 along the edges. Don't use any in the center areas that are sheeted. Let the mist shink it tight. Less wrinkles that way.

The Sig tissue is fine. Try to use it so there's a pleasing color scheme. Or go to the LBS and see if they have something more to your liking. The usual cheap craft tissue WILL work with the glue stick method but when you mist it be very careful. That stuff is only one grade better than toilet paper and you know what THAT is like when wet.

Once misted be sure to prop the surfaces up so they get even airflow to ensure it dries evenly or it can warp badly.

Good luck. And I hope you make it to that free flight scale stuff. It's a very fasciating branch of the hobby. I'm on my spare 'puter thanks to my primary one going bad or I'd attach a pic or two of my rubber old timers to help fan the fires.

Please feel free to PM me with anything further if I can help. Us free flighters are a dying breed and we need to help each other out if at all possible. And do a search at google.com for "free flight web ring" to find a whole universe of this hidden discipline.
Old 06-03-2003, 04:09 AM
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kdheath
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Default Free flight construction question

This covering thing can get really involved. I have used the glue stick with fine results. Be sure to get the Uhu purple (permanent) stuff.

Another way ( the one the Sig plans suggest) that I mostly use, is the two coats nitrate dope on the model. Then I have a frame made of two canvas stretchers from the the craft store. I put the tissue between the frames and clamp the frames together. Then mist water or rubbing alcohol on the tissue and let dry. You have preshrunk the tissue. Now cut a piece to suit what you are covering and attach it around the edges with small brush loads of acetone and rub the tissue down lightly, stretching it fairly smooth as you go. Cover the bottom, then the top. You can use fine sandpaper, a razor blade, or an emery board to trim the tissue. Take it sloooowwww and easy for ggod results.

Moisten the tissue again. Pin flat parts down while they dry to head off warps. Even though the tissue was pre-shrunk, if you get it fairly tight, it will shrink nicely and not have the power to cause as many warps.

Then I like to air brush 2-4 coats of thinned, plasticized dope over the tissue. Gives a nice gloss.

I don't care a lot for the tissue in the Sig kits, but it is OK. Good tissue is available from Indoor Model Suppply, Aerodyne, and Thomas Designs, among others. Plus they all have lots of neat stuff for indoor or outdoor FF rubber. The Guillow kits are found all over, but they really need lightening and simplifying to be good fliers. The above dealers plus Peck Polymers, Dare, Campbell, and Herr have some nice kits of all kinds.

Zowee, that's a lot!
Old 06-03-2003, 10:49 PM
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FlyingLocksmith
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Default Free flight construction question

My glue sticks are generic OfficeMax three for $1.99. I see now they say washable so I may get something else. Have been waiting to apply covering - completing all else.

Am not familiar w/dope (nitrate dope?)
Use it to glue on tissue, then could I thin it (with what?) to spray protective coating?

Not knowing about tissue, (one side shinier) instinct tells me shinier side out. The grainier side just looks like the side to glue.

What can I use to "lubricate" rubber motor? Instructions say purchase Sig rubber lubricant. What can I substitute or is this necessary?

Trying to keep purchases for project to a minimum, as discretionary funds are woefully inadequate at this time.
(Geez, that was a new way to say I'm poor)

Model building, particularly but not exclusively aircraft , continue to be a most relaxing type of therapy for me.

Thank you for your input.
Old 06-04-2003, 02:37 AM
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kdheath
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Default Free flight construction question

Yep, you want the permanent glue sticks. I suspect that the washable kind might peel in high humidity.

"Dope" is a kind of lacquer paint developed for painting full-size cloth covered airplanes. It comes in two varieties-nitrate and butyrate. The nitrate sticks stuff down better, the butyrate is fuel-resistant for powered models. Sig, Brodak and Aerogloss are the most common brands for modelers. They can generally be found in the little better RC model shops. The small jars will seem expensive, but the stuff will last forever.

Cheaper alternatives I've tried are hairspray(!) and Krylon clear in the spray can for sealing the tissue after shrinking. Not too bad.

Yep, the tissue goes shiny side out.

You really need the rubber lube to get the most from the rubber. Does what it says-lets the rubber slide rather than grab and tear when wound. Sig is fine if you can find some locally. Depends on what you have for hobby shops. Otherwise, go to the drugstore and get some glycerin and green soap (a liquid) and mix 'em up. A little bit rubbed into the rubber is all it takes.

There is a book you should look for-"Rubber Powered Model Airplanes", by Don Ross. The AMA bookstore has it and there are some other sources, I'm sure. Be glad to track down a source if you can't find it. Tells all, shows all, this book. Money well spent.

Also, look up the Flying Aces Club web site. It's pretty neat, and has some downloadable plans and stuff.

Enough for now. Keep us posted.
Kelvin
Old 06-04-2003, 06:25 AM
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Default Free flight construction question

Couple of small bits to add to Kevin's answers.

I find that with today's tissue dope makes a lousy glue as the tissue is so stiff it just doesn't want to stay down. I fondly remember when you could get REAL Japanese tissue that was limp like a wet dishrag and glued down with dope in fine style. For today's crinkly tissues the glue stick, with it's small amount of water in the mix, works much better. Don't worry about the water soluble bit. They all are water soluble including the UHU. That's why I mentioned about letting them dry for a few hours before misting to shrink and keeping the mist very light. Just enough to dampen without soaking. If the glue has had the time to dry it's more tolerant of the mist. I've done 3 or 4 models now using this method with good success other than the one where I learned the hard way about the waiting for 4 hours bit.

Nitrate dope is fine for rubber models. Good lacquer thinner from an automotive paint supplier can be used to thin it. It's not perfect but it works. Only thin enough that you can use in a few days. It may have a reaction over time. A buddy of mine always uses automotive lacquer thinner with good results. I've never tried it myself so that's what the warning is for. Don't use the cheaper lacquer thinner you find in hardware stores. It's not the same. Lacquer thinner is a soup of other solvents and the good automotive thinner is a better blend.

In fact I suspect clear lacquer well thinned would work just fine and you can get that at the automotive painting supply place as well. Ask them about a plasticizer for the clear. This stuff isn't cheap but you'll get a lifetime's supply for simple sub 30 inch models.

But if you can pick up a quart of nitrate at an aircraft supply place that's your best bet. The stuff is as thick as corn syrup fresh out of the can. For stick and tissue stuff you'll need a whole gallon just to thin it for applying to the models. It's definetley a lifetime's supply. Just thin a few ounces at a time and it'll keep longer. If it thickens too far in the can some thinner will keep it going forever.

They don't sell many lacquer'y type hairsprays these days but if you can find it I would imagine it would work fine..... if you can stand the perfume they put into it...

On the green soap bit for the lube. Be sure it's a solution with water rather than a tincture with alchohol. The alky isn't good for the rubber. I've also substituted the new liquid hand soap with good results. I make mine up using 4 parts hand soap (dial is thickest for a little less spattering), 4 parts glycerine and 1 part castor oil. You can get all this stuff at any drug store.
Old 06-06-2003, 07:10 PM
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kdheath
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Default Free flight construction question

Good additions to the thread. I learned the hard way, though, to use the branded thinner for painting with dope. Too many iffy results trying to use lacquer thinner, acetone, etc. Mostly loss of gloss or blushing problems. But certainly use the cheapest stuff to clean brushes, etc.

Krylon Crystal Clear is what I was trying to think of the other night. Used on a couple of outdoor rubber models and it works fine. Likely a little heavy, so take it easy with how much you put on.

Thanks for carrying the lube question out. I never did very much of the glycerin stuff. Sig lube is fine. Oddly, I can get it at a LHS that carries little else in the way of rubber stuff besides a few Guillow and Herr kits. There are some really exotic lubes out there, but I can't see any advantage for sport flying. Spendy.

BTW, check out the Flying Aces Club website. If you like Peanut scale, they have a bunch of downloadable plans that are very cool. And free...And if you have access to back issues of Model Builder magazine, each issue had a full size plan in it.

One of the most useful things I have learned is preshrinking tissue. Sometimes I even pre-dope it and use the glue sticks to adhere it. Plus, you can run it through a printer and print logos and numbers and such on the tissue and then cover the plane with it.

Tons of fun things to do for only a little money.
Old 06-07-2003, 10:12 AM
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RobStagis
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Default Free flight construction question

As far as the 'two bottles I may never use again', you should be able to find, if you have a local hobby shop, really small bottles.

I'll tell ya - building with Ambroid and covering with dope bring back memories just with the smell.
Old 06-09-2003, 09:16 PM
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FlyingLocksmith
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Default Free flight construction question

Flew it Saturday for the first time - all went well.

Thanks a bunch for the info. Used the regular old glue stick. Let dry til next evening. Shrunk down real nice. Two light coats of good old Krylon clear. Looks great for first timer, although I have built numerous r/c kits (not ARF) through the years.

Unsure about winding. Instructions say pull out noseblock 5 feet to wind. Geez, I'm afraid to pull t much more than 2 feet, feels like it will break the tiny dowel in rear. Says first flight 75 turns, 2nd flight 100-125, etc.. till 200 turns. Still not that much power at 200 turns. How tight can you wind up these rubber motors?

At 200 turns only getting 100-200 feet flights in calm wind.
This is a Sig Mini-Maxer (lloks like it oughtta really go far) not a scale model.

Thanks again.
Old 06-09-2003, 10:02 PM
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kdheath
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Default Free flight construction question

Howdy! You're a ways yet from having full power in this thing. There are a lot of ifs, but you won't have full power until you have 800-1000 winds or thereabouts. Why don't I send you a Xerox of Don Ross' winding instructions? He covers breakin, winding, braiding, etc. Drop me a line at [email protected] with your addy, and I'll send them to you. Sounds like things are going real well! I have a new P-30 just a day or two from being finished-looking forward to flying it.
Kelvin
Old 06-10-2003, 12:55 AM
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probligo
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Default Free flight construction question

Kelvin, been following this with interest and you and the others done real good with the help.

Is the P30 an own design? If not what are you building? I have built Swallow - four of them thus far - a 256sqin flying wing with the fuse from Windowplane but they tend to be a bit on the fragile side for the weather we get hereabouts. ooopps...
Old 06-10-2003, 04:44 AM
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kdheath
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Default Free flight construction question

This one is a Majestyk from Campbell Kits. Are you familiar with the P-30 contest class? Like a small Wakefield model with limited dimensions, minimum weight. Have to use 9" plastic prop and 10 grams of rubber. Was originally meant to be a competition class for small fields. The Majestyk is an older desigh, but won a couple of Nats. I'm not real happy with the way the M came out, so will likely scratch another one form the plans later. This is the first fairly high performing outdoor rubber model I've done. More indoor and sport stuff.

Can I find a pic of the Swallow on the web? I'd like to see that!

K
Old 06-10-2003, 06:28 AM
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probligo
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Default Free flight construction question

Kelvin, Swallow came out some years back in Model Builder or Model Flyer...one of those smaller mags.

I know the class well and enjoy flying them.

That Windoplane is a challenge if you really want to get competitive. AUW 40 gram (minimum) with a 180 sqin wing.

There have been a series of articles (well 2 so far) in AMI (out of Britain) magazine on comparison of standard, tandem wing, and geared P30's. VVEERRYY interesting. So far the standard layout is still tops, the tandem (two wings of equal area) is the improver.

The Swallow looks a bit like, no make that a lot like a Klingon Space Cruiser. Power is 3 strands of 3/16 and 1200 turns. Gives a motor run of near a minute.
Old 10-03-2003, 10:55 AM
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jessiej
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Default RE: Free flight construction question

I am quite a bit late with this, but STP Son of a Gun makes a good rubber lube.

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