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Help needed with film covering

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Julian Murch27/06/2019 17:00:02
35 forum posts
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I am nearing completion of an electric power Calder Craft Primary and have just started covering with film. Obviously read all the instructions but the finished result is disappointing and not even. I have stripped off the first attempt and started again but still not fully stuck down and tight.

Is there someone not too far from me in Dunstable that would be able to spare an hour for me to come over and watch someone close at hand. I have looked at you tube and saw several examples but do not seem to be able to repeat what I saw. I am retired so can come at any tile to suit. Please pm me if you can help. Thanks.

Cuban827/06/2019 17:18:08
2768 forum posts
13 photos

Film covering is a skill that you can't learn in five minutes, so don't get too despondent. What film are you using? Profilm, Solar film or perhaps Hobby king? Is the covering suitable for your model? Are you using a proper covering iron? I know people swear by domestic travelling irons, but I find them awkward to use and wouldn't recommend one, especially to a beginner. Are you sure that you are using the correct temperature for tacking and shrinking? A nice new and sharp trimming blade?

Practice on some scrap sheet wood first, make up a dummy open structure and practice on that before a real wing. Be patient and develop your skill, its really not difficult but as with many practical skills, it does look easy - until you try it.

John Lee27/06/2019 17:26:04
662 forum posts
48 photos

I can't help you in person Julian due to my location in the North West but I would recommend The Solarfilm DVD as the definitive information source of how to do it correctly. Produced by Solarfilm themselves (I think as a videotape) it put me on the right track decades ago, now someone has made it available on YouTube. Runs for about an hour & a half.

Cuban827/06/2019 18:57:20
2768 forum posts
13 photos

First time I've seen the Solarfilm video, very good and still relevant today. More modern film is better able to take higher temperatures so I like to leave more spare film at wing tips etc so I can get a firm grip and then a combination of heat and pulling to shape.

kc27/06/2019 19:44:37
6058 forum posts
169 photos

The Solarfilm DVD is THE definitive work and the man in the video is the late great Derek Hardman himself I believe. ( inventor of Solarfilm etc) His main advice is to start at a low heat and gradually increase heat as needed. Also check heat to start with by the test offcut as he shows.

As Cuban8 says leave a bit of spare all round and especially at the wingtips. Film covering is an art or knack - to get a perfect job is difficult but to get a airworthy job is not too difficult.

Any problems - post a picture to get advice. But better still join a local club and you should get plenty of advice and maybe someone to show you how.

Wingman27/06/2019 20:56:45
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1105 forum posts
405 photos

AND make sure you remove the backing film before you startblush

Julian Murch28/06/2019 10:40:05
35 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks for all of the advice here. I have started viewing the DVD and it looks to be very good. My model has balsa covering at the leading edge and ribs for about one two thirds of the depth so I did tack down as shown in the instructions.

I am using a proper iron - the Prolux LCD a free gift for subscribing to PRM & E. One point there is that the minimum temperature setting is 100 degrees whereas the film instructions show 90 degrees as the low temperature. Would that be a problem.

My first attempt was with Solarfilm and the second with Solarspan 2000 but I will have to return that as the tube looks like it was folded in delivery and there are wrinkles all round that did not disappear when ironed.

I will finish watching the DVD and try again. I am only covering the wings in film as the fuselage is ply.

Nigel R28/06/2019 10:52:46
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3109 forum posts
479 photos

"One point there is that the minimum temperature setting is 100 degrees whereas the film instructions show 90 degrees as the low temperature. Would that be a problem."

I'd ignore the temperature dial on the iron (might well not be very accurate) and do the wrinkle test as demonstrated in the video link. That said, I don't think 10 degrees will make a lot of odds.

All films work the same and the techniques in the old video are all you need.

And practice. A fair amount of practice. Don't be afraid to peel it off and go again!

Julian Murch28/06/2019 11:06:44
35 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks I was not sure if you could peel and try again.

Peter Miller28/06/2019 13:28:23
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10265 forum posts
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10 articles
Posted by Wingman on 27/06/2019 20:56:45:

AND make sure you remove the backing film before you startblush

A few years ago I was asked to refurbish a Flair Piper Cub that had been built by a total novice. WE won't go into the dog's dinner of the construction which was enough to make strong men weep.

When I started trying to remove the covering I found that somehow he had managed to cover the entire model without removing the backing film from the Solarfilm. Somehow the backing film had sort of stuck down to the wood.

It just fell off as soon as I started to work on it. I told Andrew Hardman about it and he was amazed.

will -028/06/2019 13:49:38
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580 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by Wingman on 27/06/2019 20:56:45:

AND make sure you remove the backing film before you startblush

The other thing to avoid is once you have peeled off the backing film, avoid trying to apply it upside down

The adhesive sticks really well to the iron blushblush

Martin Harris28/06/2019 14:26:58
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8881 forum posts
221 photos
Posted by Julian Murch on 28/06/2019 11:06:44:

Thanks I was not sure if you could peel and try again.

Depends on the film you're using e.g. no with Solarfilm and yes wirh Profilm/Oracover although if it's been shrunk significantly it won't work as easily.

Wingman28/06/2019 15:59:21
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1105 forum posts
405 photos

Re iron temp - check your Fs and Cs - my Prolux LCD iron is 100C lowest temp which is 212F - hold the on/off button down for 3 seconds to change from one to the other. I've found the temp readout to be accurate enough..

Edited By Wingman on 28/06/2019 16:00:15

kc28/06/2019 16:48:09
6058 forum posts
169 photos

The Solarfilm wrappers and almost certainly the DVD show a method of determining the iron temperature by allowing a small sample of film to wrinkle up on the face of the iron. Modern film is probably able to withstand a higher temp so should be no problem, however check your iron the old fashioned way.

Cuban828/06/2019 20:13:53
2768 forum posts
13 photos

The wrinkle test is a good start to give you some idea of what's required and Solar film was particularly fussy over how hot your iron was set both when tacking and shrinking. Profilm and Hobby king film doesn't seem to be anything like as critical, although HK won't take quite as higher temp when shrinking. Neither type suffers from loosening off, something that Solar film did no matter how careful you were in applying it.

I've recently used both Pro and HK film and I simply tack at a temp that's just under 100C (moistened finger doesn't quite fizz when applied briefly to the iron) and then gradually increase the temp until I get to a point where the film shrinks well. Health and safety might prefer another method to judge the tack temp.laugh

philip pember08/11/2019 19:57:14
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7 forum posts
9 photos

how do you get backing of hobbyking covering, am struggling tried heat, cutting edge no luck, thanks in advance.

Bob Cotsford08/11/2019 22:26:32
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8032 forum posts
444 photos

Philip, try sticking a flap of sellotape either side in one corner ie one piece on the film and one on the backing. Pull these apart and the film and backing should separate with them.

Julian Murch09/11/2019 08:56:03
35 forum posts
1 photos

I can vouch for that advice - it works well.

philip pember13/11/2019 22:05:18
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7 forum posts
9 photos

thanks Bob and Julian works a treat, only ever used solarfilm before which has edge you can part backing.

Geoff Sleath13/11/2019 23:35:33
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3434 forum posts
297 photos

I usually use the point of a 10A scalpel blade right at the edge or in a corner where it won't matter but I'll try the sellotape method next time. Deciding which side of the film has the adhesive isn't always easy .. until you aply the iron that is. The HK film is excellent however.

Geoff

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