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Flite-Metal

Old 09-13-2004, 10:38 PM
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Default Flite-Metal

I'm attempting to finish a quarter scale with "Flite-Metal" covering [sm=drowning.gif] and having a lot of trouble laying it down without bubbles or stretch marks. Has anyone out there worked with this stuff before and if so can you give me a little hint?
Old 09-14-2004, 09:04 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Despite anything you may hear to the contrary, FliteMetal (or any similar aluminum tape for that matter) are not easy to work with. Applying it consistently and well is definitely an acquired skill. The key seems to be to apply it in the smallest possible (for your aircraft) panels beginning by sticking it down in the middle and then rubbing outward in a circular motion.

At least that's the theory. To be honest I have never successfully applied this stuff without wrinkles to any compound curve. Usually though I have been able to minimize the wrinkles and pop and burnish the air bubbles. Good luck with your project.
Old 09-14-2004, 09:46 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Joe Grice is probably the guy with the most experience with Flite Metal. I had a chance to see him aplying some. He uses various tips of felt on sticks. he proceeds to rub the matereal on, starting from the center and working slowly outward. I have seen him do a really compound curve, and you just need to work it on slowly.
I hope this helps.
Rusty
Old 09-14-2004, 08:58 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Flite-Metal is best applied following our application instructions packaged with each product packaging and within our web site... http://www.flitemetal.com

Now, with that said, there are a few issues which must be addressed because Flite-Metal's stretch is unique among the many aluminum foil alloys out there. I will post a series of suggestions and processes which should answer all questions you have expressed about wrinkles.

Typically, the cause of wrinkles is invoking stretch when stretch was not needed. Once stretched, you can not undo the additional amount of aluminum you have "created". I will take the time to explain a few reasons wrinkles occur by describing how they can be avoided.

The larger the airframe, the easier it is to apply any aluminum foil to the airframe. This is because there is less compound curve on the airplane.

1): In all cases there are more wrinkles created trying to cut down 12" width Flite-Metal to 6" width instead of using 6" to cover a panel. We explain why on our web site. http://www.flitemetal.com

2): In all cases, Flite-Metal should be applied with your index finger as the initial method of application. The next step up is to use our fibrous burnishing tool's side to gently apply Flite-Metal. The last step up is using our acrylic burnishing tool to accutely stretch the aluminum into tight crevises and fillet areas.

3): Always use 3M Fine Line tape to mask off the perimeter of each panel. Lots of folks use 3M Painters Tape. This is not the same tape. Why? 3M Fine Line tape is a hard edged polypropelene tape which provides a sharp crisp edge against which Flite-Metal is gently burnished using your index finger, fibrous burnishing tool, or as described above, our acrylic burnishing tool. 3M Painters Tape is a relatively soft edged tape with an excellent flow coated acrylic adhesive which serves to seal the edge of the soft tape preventing paint wicking beneath the tape to create a really good seal. This tape can be used to mask off the perimeter however, 3M Fine Line provides superior results in less time with less physical work.

4): Indentifying the mean foot print of each airframe panel is easy. Purchase a 1" wide flexible plastic ruler from either an artist supply, Office Max or Depot in the drafting dept. When uncoiled, the ruler is placed on its thin edge across the masked off panel. Holding the ruler between your index finger and thumb, rotate the ruler to observe the greatest contact patch of the ruler as it is rotated.

When the greatest contact patch is identified, begin applying Flite-Metal along the center line of the patch shape and slowly work outward from the center in all directions in a circular pattern to "gently" apply Flite-Metal. Because you are applying Flite-Metal in a relative parallel pattern to the greatest contact patch, you are applying from the highest point in the panel across to the lowest, all around it. This effectively eliminates stretching Flite-Metal. Slope of the so called lower area surrounding the larger contact patch is gentle and if you follow our instructions to not overly burnish Flite-Metal to the surface...wrinkles won't appear. Less is always more with respect to burnishing.

5): Stretch & how to invoke it. In all cases, stretch must be worked from Flite-Metal in all directions proportionally to preclude more stretch in one direction than another. Pressure applied to Flite-Metal should always be kept to a minimum. It is possible to stretch Flite-Metal in excess of 25% of its area mass. Larger panels naturally stretch more than small ones...use of 12" width sheets should be kept to a minimum as our 12" packaging is designed to accomodate an absolute need for panels wider than 6". Actually there are very few panels on any design that will require 12" width. Yes, you can "smurge" multiple 6" widths into a single contiguous panel. Sanding with 150 / 200 / 320 / 600 in that order on a bias to the panel intersects will result in a single panel appearance.

6): Floating aluminum onto the masked off panel... After masking off your panel with 3M Fine Line Tape squirt the panel with Windex a couple of times then lay Flite-Metal onto the surface and position it prior to burnishing with your index finger, soft burnishing tool or acrylic burnishing tool.

7): Panels require less than one minute to apply in 98% of all cases.

8): Joe Grice, George Maiorana and Terry Nitsch all apply Flite-Metal in the same way...per the instructions. Finishing the surface of the applied Flite-Metal is completely different between all three. The common action to all three is they knock down the applied Flite-Metal with 220 and 320, then 000 steel wool wiped across surface of each panel perimeter in a single direction to reconstitute the natural aluminum grain.

9): Patience, practice and gentle process application of pressure will assure successful application of Flite-Metal.

10): Everyone develops a rythum and personal style with respect to applying and finishing Flite-Metal. That in itself has evolved as part of the fun in the application experience. At least once a month I receive an email containing a look what I discovered or why don't you tell everyone about such and such. In fact many of these work their way into our application and finishing instructions after we beat on them to be sure it works consistantly with little to no real extra effort.

For example: George Maiorana came back to me early on with the suggestion to use mineral spirits as a lube for a hobby knife blade to extend its useful life. Instead of consuming 25 to 30 blades per project, this can reduce the number of blades to two or three.

Hi Bob:

I am considering producing a DVD on the application and finishing of Flite-Metal. Perhaps this winter when Jami my daughter is caught up on her productions we'll put something together. It would include the above examples plus I'd show how to cover fiber glass cowls, chin turrets, fillets, and transitions from vertical surfaces.
Old 09-14-2004, 09:47 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Ed,

I would love to see a video on the application of flitemetal on compound curves, both convex and concave. I would also like to see different methods of finishing as well. I have had moderate success for my first attempt, but these are areas that I am having difficulty transferring words to finished product.

Any thoughts of doing a flitemetal application/finishing video? If so, put me on the list.
Old 09-14-2004, 10:44 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

I hope that helped explain the process of avoiding wrinkles. While it is impossible to avoid wrinkles completely, the above processes explain how best to apply our product to achieve excellent results. Ultimately, practice, some patience and an acquired "feel" for when Flite-Metal stretches assures a 100% accurate application of Flite-Metal to your airframe.
Old 09-15-2004, 01:03 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Thank you for the insight. Now I can get back to the garage and practice what you preach as it where. I'll keep you guys in mind when it's completed. Thanks again.... John
Old 09-15-2004, 05:54 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Skul,
Follow Ed's directions and take your time till you get the feel for it. I am finishing up my Smith B-17 in Flite Metal and it took a bit to get to know the stuff and understand just how to do it. I'm still not Top Gun quality, but I can get panels on with no wrinkles now and it looks great.

For me the whole trick was to slow down and learn the process. Then it went much better and faster later on. Once you get a good portion of the model covered and stand back and look at it, you will be amazed at how good it is going to look!
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Old 09-18-2004, 02:52 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

This was my second effort with this stuff. Only small wrinkles etc but people say it looks more real and "used" . Anyhow I'm pretty satisfied with the stuff. (just the cowl - the rest is U-cote)
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Old 09-19-2004, 06:53 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

I'm going to finish my DC3 (Ziroli) with Flite Metal this winter hopefully.I'm at the sheeting stage now.It will look like the avatar on the left.I'm wondering if I have to completely cover it with FM or just the unpainted areas on the lower fuse and wings.
Old 09-20-2004, 12:53 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Steve, great subject choice (from a fellow Canuck! ).
Last winter i built a small TF P-47 and used FM for the first time. Took some getting used to but i'm very happy with the final results...so happy in fact that i'm in the midst of a TF P-51B that will be partially covered in FM, then a larger AT6. You only need cover the exposed areas with FM. Some folks like to do the entire plane so that it can be authenically weathered afterwards.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:17 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal


ORIGINAL: skul I'm attempting to finish a quarter scale with ''Flite-Metal'' covering [sm=drowning.gif] and having a lot of trouble laying it down without bubbles or stretch marks. Has anyone out there worked with this stuff before and if so can you give me a little hint?
Here is the entire process in a step by step animation which shows the proper way to apply Flite-Metal:


Old 06-15-2011, 04:24 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

I have to agree with post #2 abufletcher Sorry I know it`s my error but tried and tried over & over but resorted to other means to do what I wanted. It`s a very good product if you know how to work it.

Jim
Old 06-15-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Interesting, you are #2 of all the customers we have had to say you could not apply our product. The first customer
to say that sent his to another customer who applied it within a week to a P-51 and brought it back to show it in the
forum... :^)

Have you viewed our animated application directions above? The issue most people have is they try to apply it across
the panel from a single side. This creates issues and requires greater care and much more time than following the
directions to begin by placing it on the largest contact patch line using your index finger...etc. as shown in the animation.
Sorry your experience was not a pleasant one.
Old 06-15-2011, 07:59 PM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal


ORIGINAL: FliteMetal

I am considering producing a DVD on the application and finishing of Flite-Metal. Perhaps this winter when Jami my daughter is caught up on her productions we'll put something together. It would include the above examples plus I'd show how to cover fiber glass cowls, chin turrets, fillets, and transitions from vertical surfaces.
Hey Ed,

Did you ever got to make a DVD of the application process, i sure would love to get it and see it. I saw your application's animation process, it's pretty good and one will have to be patient and do lots of practice to achieve there goals...

Lower half of my Constellation will bare metal aluminum, i'm going to order Flite-Metal to do both ends and wing body fairings with FM, rest i will do with 4" wide aluminum duct tape also in sections as vertical panels.

Question: How does Flite-Metal adheres to the primed fiberglass skin surfaces?


Old 06-16-2011, 04:40 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

Or maybe some YT tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ite+metal&aq=f
Old 06-16-2011, 05:20 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal

ORIGINAL: Props4ever
ORIGINAL: FliteMetal: I am considering producing a DVD on the
application and finishing of Flite-Metal. Perhaps this winter when Jami my daughter is caught up on her
productions we'll put something together. It would include the above examples plus I'd show how to cover
fiber glass cowls, chin turrets, fillets, and transitions from vertical surfaces.
Hey Ed, Did you ever got to make a DVD of the application process, i sure would love to get it and see it.
I saw your application's animation process, it's pretty good and one will have to be patient and do lots of
practice to achieve there goals... Lower half of my Constellation will bare metal aluminum, i'm going to order
Flite-Metal to do both ends and wing body fairings with FM, rest i will do with 4'' wide aluminum duct tape also
in sections as vertical panels. Question: How does Flite-Metal adheres to the primed fiberglass skin surfaces?
Well, I guess there must be "written words" getting in the way of understanding our application and finishing
directions. Let me ask a question. You generically described your primer on the fiber glass. Considering you
have decided to use 4" Gutter Tape, have you tested the application of your "Gutter tape" to your choice of
primer? We have not had any issues with the broad spektrum of primers applied to our customer's projects
for the last (15) fifteen years.

Each order of Flite-Metal is accompanied by an application and finishing CD containing not only the illustrated
application example, but a complete step by step application instruction in MS Word. The aminated illustration
was producted to more clearly show how...

By this Fall there will be video edited with the animation to show a pair of hands performing a couple of seconds
of each step accompanying the animated example. The total length of this video is about 10 minutes and it will
all be on CD, not DVD. CD video will play on computers, DVD and Blue Ray players without having to be coded
for each region around the world.

The bottom line is the same. Do not over think the application process. If your typical panel (90% of the surface)
is taking longer then a minute and a half to apply, you need to rethink and review our application directions and
animation. Folks its not difficult to do this with the typical panel. More complex surfaces will take you longer.
Fuselage wing fillerts, horiz stab fillets, vertical fin fillets, radomes, and cowls require consideration of the way
you will apply Flite-Metal.

Following our contact patch identification directions will prevent 90% of all problems. I always ask customers if
they have accurate documentation which discloses X number of components for their cowls. If not, I provide it
to them free... :^)
Most people do not have accurate multiple view drawings to know the number of sections
making up the whole of their cowls or nacelles.
Old 06-16-2011, 05:31 AM
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Default RE: Flite-Metal


ORIGINAL: vik Or maybe some YT tutorial http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ite+metal&aq=f
There are YT videos out there now...none of them follow the directions accompanying Flite-Metal...each of them encountering
the same provlems...over and over again...but shown on YT by people claiming to show "the" proper way to apply to models.

These are why we produced the animated illustration of the correct way to apply Flite-Metal. We are not here to interfere with
the creative processes of your modeling project. We have never and will never tell you HOW TO. We simply provide directions
to replicate what we have identified as the fastest, least wasteful method of applying and finishing our products.
Old 06-12-2024, 03:19 AM
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Default Proper Application Of Flite-Metal Aluminum Finishes

Best method of applying Flite-Metal minimizes applicatiton and finishing time while minimizing wrinkling.
Secret is to use the proper application and finishing tools which accompany
FK packaged Flite-Metal. We
provide application and finishing written and video instructions to every customer the same day each &
every customer makes the decision
"For The Look Of The Real Thing"


Last edited by Flite-Metal; 06-12-2024 at 03:40 AM.

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