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Solartex Questions??

Old 10-02-2011, 06:57 AM
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LargeScale88
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Default Solartex Questions??

I've been covering airplanes for years in Sig koverall and dope, coverite fabric, ultracote, monokote, etc. I recently found out about solartex, and wanted to give it a shot. I have a few questions though before I buy it.

1. Can it be painted?If so, what paint? Primer? Does it have to be sealed like koverall?
2. Can it be sanded with a light grit sandpaper?
3. How tight does it shrink up?
4. Is it durable? Will it hold up for years of flying?

Thanks Much!

Jason
Old 10-02-2011, 08:51 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

ORIGINAL: LargeScale88

I've been covering airplanes for years in Sig koverall and dope, coverite fabric, ultracote, monokote, etc. I recently found out about solartex, and wanted to give it a shot. I have a few questions though before I buy it.

1. Can it be painted? If so, what paint? Primer? Does it have to be sealed like koverall?
2. Can it be sanded with a light grit sandpaper?
3. How tight does it shrink up?
4. Is it durable? Will it hold up for years of flying?

Thanks Much!

Jason
1- yes, just about anything (Painting is not needed but it's a good idea IMO)
2-sure, but you'd only be sanding the paint you put on it,, you really can't sand the bare fabric,,it will fray
3-Very tight,, you'll see
4-I've had in on the control surfaces of my kingfisher for 15 years, painted with K&B epoxy,, all I've ever had to do is hit it with the heat gun and it shrinks back up tight (see gallery)

Another plane in my gallery is Royal Stearman,, that was also Solatex and K&B epoxy,, that held up great too,,, Great material,,pricey but worth it.
Old 10-02-2011, 08:58 AM
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Gray Beard
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

My old trick to using it is to cover then shrink then I set the plane out in the hot sun {summer} then take it back in the shop and shrink it again. I do that a couple of times until it no longer sags. From then on it doesn't sag again. It doesn't require any prime to paint, the weave holds the paint. You can use any type of paint you like on the covering. Just depends on if your going with glow or gas. Good stuff, easy to work with, makes you look like a pro.
Old 10-02-2011, 12:12 PM
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Rodney
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

I have never had to reshrink Solartex. I live in a hot climate (Florida) and prefer Solartex (Colortex and Worldtex are the same as Solartex other than available colors) over all other fabrics as it is so easy to work with, shrink well and is very durable.
Old 10-02-2011, 12:30 PM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

I don't know if it being on a float plane (moisture) or I didn't pull it tight enough when I installed it, but is does loosen up on the Kngfisher,,Not out in the sun like ARFs but over the non flying season it loosens just enough to need a quick blast with the heat gun to tighten it back up.. Not a big deal at all.
Old 10-02-2011, 02:19 PM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

Solartex is the best stuff I had ever worked with besides Ultra. But then again I haven't used the Coverite Fabric Covering yet, I heard that was good as well and a little bit lighter. scale only 4 me is right, unsealed we have to hit it with heat to make sure it stays tacked down after a season of sitting. No big deal though, because I have to do that with all my shrink covered aircraft to some extent anyway.

My last build using unsealed Solartex:

http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_10038870/tm.htm


Pete
Old 10-02-2011, 02:48 PM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

What the others have said about SolarTex, PLUS it is lighter than Coverite fabric and (IMO) holds better
than Coverite.

One thing I do suggest though - If you use a glow or gasoline engine, give the plane a clear coat. SolarTex
tends to hold the dirt and grime. The clearcoat makes cleaning MUCH easier.
Old 10-02-2011, 07:04 PM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

ORIGINAL: Campy

What the others have said about SolarTex, PLUS it is lighter than Coverite fabric and (IMO) holds better
than Coverite.

One thing I do suggest though - If you use a glow or gasoline engine, give the plane a clear coat. SolarTex
tends to hold the dirt and grime. The clearcoat makes cleaning MUCH easier.


Cleaning Campy isn't a issue with Solartex if we get on it right after flying. I have no stains or oil on mine, maybe because I make my own cleaner? I run only glow for now and hope to run gas in the near future.

Now if you want to paint over Solartex you will need to seal it first I was told.


Pete
Old 10-02-2011, 08:13 PM
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Gray Beard
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

How many people clean a plane right away after flying?? If it isn't clear coated then it will stain sooner or later and it makes clean up a bunch easier. I have tried it with and without clear coating. The coating makes it an easier clean job. We all make our own cleaner. ST does not require any coatings or primer to paint. Mater of fact the paint clings very well without any type of coatings. Due to the weave sometimes the paint will flow under the mask though. Great stuff!!!
Old 10-03-2011, 02:27 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

ORIGINAL: Gray Beard

How many people clean a plane right away after flying?? If it isn't clear coated then it will stain sooner or later and it makes clean up a bunch easier. I have tried it with and without clear coating. The coating makes it an easier clean job. We all make our own cleaner. ST does not require any coatings or primer to paint. Mater of fact the paint clings very well without any type of coatings. Due to the weave sometimes the paint will flow under the mask though. Great stuff!!!

We'll see. So far I have no stains or oil residue and I just got one season under my belt with the plane. I am one of those who cleans their planes after every flight. It's part of the fun! Plus my wife would kill me if I brought a oil dripping, bug ridden plane in the house.

Now I'm a little confused because I've read from a few that it is better to seal before painting. Maybe it's because they were thinking it's better that way just incase we needed to mask the paint?



Pete
Old 10-03-2011, 03:39 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??


ORIGINAL: Gray Beard

How many people clean a plane right away after flying?? If it isn't clear coated then it will stain sooner or later and it makes clean up a bunch easier. I have tried it with and without clear coating. The coating makes it an easier clean job. We all make our own cleaner. ST does not require any coatings or primer to paint. Mater of fact the paint clings very well without any type of coatings. Due to the weave sometimes the paint will flow under the mask though. Great stuff!!!
Maybe it's just me but I've seen very few folks not clean a plane after a day of flying. That's what makes crashing less traumatic you save a step (and some paper towels)
Old 10-03-2011, 05:47 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

Most clean before they take the model home,, not everyone cleans after each flight,, you're arguing apples and oranges here
Old 10-03-2011, 06:18 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

I've found that the "magic sponges" will remove the oil spots from gasser's when cleaner alone won't. Even on unsealed ST.
Old 10-03-2011, 06:20 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??


ORIGINAL: scale only 4 me

Most clean before they take the model home,, not everyone cleans after each flight,, you're arguing apples and oranges here

Yes, I clean before I go home after a evening of flying. If the oil starts to get messy on the plane ( which it does ) then I'll wipe the plane down a little. When I'm at big events either local or abroad I clean after each flight.

I fly sport scale warbirds, so I try to keep my planes clean. The only pain is I have so much detail on them I like to tell people, " The more Detail, the more to knock off when cleaning." Everyone has at least one plane they baby-right?

Because I know that unsealed Solartex is known for staining and or getting dirty, I take extra care in keeping my Fokker Dr1 clean.


Pete
Old 10-03-2011, 08:17 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

Some soiling and staining actual adds character to some of the planes, i.e. the Fokker Dr1 is a prime example and other war birds for sure.
Old 10-03-2011, 09:36 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

I fly with only one person that cleans the snot after each flight. We aren't speaking about the end of the day. I can't even pick up one of my glow planes at the end of the day unless the snot is cleaned off. The weave will pick up dirt and oil unless sealed, just the nature of the beast. I don't bother sealing if it's a gas powered plane. When it gets nasty looking I just clean with acetone. No, Acetone doesn't remove the color, ST is some pretty tough stuff. I like it for a lot of reasons, one is it doesn't flash in the sun like plastic so I can see the plane better. I'm thinking next time I build a stunt plane I should use Tex. Really good stuff.
Old 10-03-2011, 02:58 PM
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stevenmax50
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

If you wanted alot of detail on your color scheme, would you put down a base color solartex and then mask and paint similarly to a Koverall paint job?  I guess what confuses me is that I am reading that solartex is better if you paint it.  But doesnt it come already painted???  Can you get it in a base white?  And does it require a primer at all?
Old 10-04-2011, 02:57 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

Solartex comes in natural, and colors. I prefer to seal the colored version.

For the natural, I've been painting it with Nelsoms Specialties, or Rustoleum, paints. No primer is necessary. (I do use primer on cowls and pants.) The base color coats seal the surface, so if you use an automotive masking tape (3M fine line) bleeding isn't a problem when masking the trim.

The Dallaire Sportster uses the colored Solartex. It was sealed with Minwax oil based Poly.

The red/blue Spacewalker is painted with Nelson's.

The cream and red Spacewalker is painted with Rustoleum, using and automotive hardener. Both SWs are covered in natural.
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:21 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

ORIGINAL: stevenmax50

If you wanted alot of detail on your color scheme, would you put down a base color solartex and then mask and paint similarly to a Koverall paint job? I guess what confuses me is that I am reading that solartex is better if you paint it. But doesnt it come already painted??? Can you get it in a base white? And does it require a primer at all?
I'm my experience bleeding only becomes an issue when

1- You put the paint on too heavy. It can bleed under the tape on any surface, and more caution needs to be taken with the fabric weave,, it's all in the application, use light misty coats not heavy wet coats.

2-If you are going to paint markings or stripes over the factory colored ST. You'll want to seal or base coat it first, It will bleed very easy on not painted ST,, I learned that he hard way

Good luck
Old 10-04-2011, 05:18 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??


ORIGINAL: OldScaleGuy

Some soiling and staining actual adds character to some of the planes, i.e. the Fokker Dr1 is a prime example and other war birds for sure.
Not to mention a rib-stitched Cub !
Old 10-04-2011, 09:11 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

My thoughts, building a plane is easy, setting up a plane is easy, flying a plane is easy, painting a plane???????? Not so easy. I have painted cars and trucks and been very happy with them. I have yet to paint a plane without messing up the paint job. It's a big mystery to me. I have no talent for design and I stink at it. Give me a brush, gun or can and I can make a plane look like a 6 year old painted it. Two weeks ago I finished painting my new plane, from a couple feet away it looks OK but there are too many mistakes I can see. I keep trying though. This week I have to finish the trim and stripes plus paint the stripes on the bottom. I'm going to give the air brush a try on the bottom and fade the stripes. I do get a bit better job on the solartex for some reason but I usually get some bleeding and not just out of my ears. Base color is easy but the trim work kicks my butt. I keep trying though, someday I may get the hang of it.
Old 10-04-2011, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

You have my sympathy GB. I'm in the same boat. I keep saying someday I'll take the plunge and buy a compressor but it never happens.
Old 10-04-2011, 09:59 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

Augie; I have a big compressor and my paint jobs still look like they were put on with a mop. I had a friend that worked with me on how to paint and as soon as he went home my mind went blank. I don't try much anymore. Mac
Old 10-04-2011, 10:02 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??


ORIGINAL: Augie11

You have my sympathy GB. I'm in the same boat. I keep saying someday I'll take the plunge and buy a compressor but it never happens.
When I was still in Calif I had an old glass door I could use to get the paint thinned and the pressures set correctly so the base coat was a lot better. I wish I would have used it to practice with the air brush. It still wouldn't help the lack of talent. I can't even draw flames and my hands now shake too much for pin striping. I have to mask everything before I paint.
Old 10-04-2011, 10:09 AM
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Default RE: Solartex Questions??

I'll tell ya mac....it's a mystery. Sure, I can use a rattle can and do a decent job on a cowl or wheel pants but that's about it. I did have some luck brush painting with the Nelson paint line and had one job come out really well on a set of Sig 1/4 scale floats. Tried painting some roundels once and they came out looking like a frozen pizza on a fuzzy blue background. If I can't do it with covering-over-covering or striping tape I just call 1-800-Custom Graphics!

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