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silver solarfilm

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Andy Joyce21/10/2019 19:05:05
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67 forum posts
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Can someone please explain the trick of covering open structures using silver solarfilm.

Using a travel iron which I wrapped the sole plate with an old hankerchief but still ended up with marks on the film surface.

Aware some will say buy a dedicated film iron but personally cant see the difference as both have a flat stainless sole which is heated.

Also found the film very reluctant to stick down on the hardwood parts so gave these a pre-coat of PVA.

Anyway, open to suggestions before attempting the next wing panel.

 

Edited By Andy Joyce on 21/10/2019 19:17:26

will -021/10/2019 19:46:49
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573 forum posts
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Hello

It's been a while since I used the silver solarfilm, but I don't recall it being all that hard. I think I used a covering iron - this probably gives better control.

Marking is usually due to over heating it. Ply/hardwood is always much harder to get solarfilm to stick to regardless of the colour. Sometimes it's easier to get it to stick down if you heat it up in place and then rub it down with a soft cloth. The hard surface of the wood and the hard surface of the iron don't comply enough to get good contact/adhesion.

Peter Miller21/10/2019 20:55:13
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10253 forum posts
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Balsaloc )They still have it in stock, I just bought some) is reccomended for ply

Cuban821/10/2019 21:11:20
2758 forum posts
13 photos

When I first started using Solarfilm over forty years ago, I used a travelling iron because the dedicated covering irons available were very expensive, so much more than today. I found solarfilm difficult to use and rarely wound up with a decent finish. Eventually, a reasonably priced covering iron became available (still twenty quid or so, from Irvine IIRC - quite a bit in the 80s) and finally I got some decent results.

Do yourself a favour and get a proper covering iron, just the simple non-electronic type is fine and I reckon your covering problems will be solved. They're easier to handle, meaning you can control the application of heat to where you need it so much better and are much less awkward to use. They come with a non-stick surface and fabric sock (baby cotton socks as replacements are cheaper and work as well). I never had good results from a plain steel sole travelling iron, you really need the non-stick surface - keep the sole spotlessly clean with a soft cloth and meths. Learn to set the temp correctly and I reckon you'll be fine.

Tim Hooper21/10/2019 21:48:14
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2863 forum posts
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There was a bad batch of silver Solarfilm produced some years ago. Wouldn't stick down for love nor money.

Is this new stock?

Tim

Robin Colbourne22/10/2019 12:34:27
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430 forum posts
6 photos

Tim,

Are you absolutely sure the bad stuff was definitely Solarfilm? There was a company called K&C who used to sell their ends of rolls of a similar product at Sandown and other shows, and amongst that stuff certainly had rolls which wouldn't stick, or peeled off very easily (writing from bitter experience...).

Talking to Derek Hardman AKA 'Mr Solarfilm' at a show many years later, he said he was often received the blame for the results of this other cheaper product, as it was by then no longer on the market, so people assumed if they had some that it was genuine Solarfilm.

Robin

Bob Cotsford22/10/2019 13:20:09
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8029 forum posts
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I've had old 'tex that didn't want to stick, I'm pretty sure that the adhesives used do lose their stickability (is that even a word?indecision)with time so bad rolls could just be old stock.

As for silver, I've never had much luck with it as any high spots (eg ribs, spars etc) get highlighted as blemishes. Maybe I'm just heavy-handed, maybe a heat gun would work better?

will -022/10/2019 16:51:51
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573 forum posts
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You say "highlighted" I say "automatically weathered"

that way I can convince myself I meant to do it that way.

ken anderson.22/10/2019 17:27:31
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8452 forum posts
773 photos

I've also had problems with old solarfilm that wasn't keen on carrying out its mission in life(sticking down)..

ken anderson...ne..1....old solarfilm dept.

Bob Cotsford22/10/2019 18:08:26
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8029 forum posts
444 photos
Posted by will -0 on 22/10/2019 16:51:51:

You say "highlighted" I say "automatically weathered"

that way I can convince myself I meant to do it that way.

I like the way you think!laugh

Andy Joyce22/10/2019 19:21:34
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67 forum posts
18 photos

Yes it definitely is Solarfilm, purchased about 2 - 3 years ago. Do also have some very old silver solarfilm which must be 10 + years old and that suffers also from the same problem in terms of its inability to stick down to hardwood and surface marking. Given the poor results so far, will now purchase a proper film sealing iron more because the lead on the travel iron is now showing signs of wear and tear but have little faith that this will solve the issue. However I may be proved wrong!

If I ditch the 10m roll of solarfilm, what fabric covering does anyone recommend given I date back to good old days using fabric and shrinking dope in the 60's for all models greater than 60" wing span. Model that I am working on is a 1/4 Flair Tiger Moth which will use a GF38 petrol power plant.

Andy Joyce22/10/2019 19:42:14
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67 forum posts
18 photos

Well taken the advice given and have now purchased a digital prolux PX1363GB iron. Will report on how it performs in due course.

RottenRow23/10/2019 23:07:45
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12 forum posts

Andy,

I'm a bit confused here...

You say you are having the problem using silver Solarfilm, then in your last but one post go on to ask about fabric covering. You also say that you are covering a 1/4 scale Tiger Moth.

The fabric covering from the Solarfilm company is Solartex (or rather was..). Are you sure the product you are using is not Silver Solartex??

Silver Solartex definitely marks very easily, much more so than any of the other colours they made. It's got something to do with the silver finish that lays on the surface. Even with a proper sealing iron it will mark where you press down onto wing ribs, or any other part of the structure, unless you are very careful. Silver Solartex has a slight sheen to its surface but is not glossy.

Silver Solarfilm (the shiny stuff) has the silver colour in the adhesive (ie underneath the plastic film itself) and doesn't mark any more than any other colour in my experience.

Brian W.

Andy Joyce26/10/2019 16:32:16
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67 forum posts
18 photos

Sorry yes it is solartex.

New digital iron arrived today so gave it a quick go. Certainly it is a lot better than my travel iron but the solartex still marks if the iron is held to aggressively to the airframe to get it to stick down. Using a dab technique seems to work far better then sliding the iron back and forth.

bert baker26/10/2019 16:54:34
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1452 forum posts
304 photos

Do remember Solatrex is a painted fabric.

And like most paints it goes soft if you heat it..

Balsaloc is your friend, and recommended for overlapping joints

Andy Joyce26/10/2019 17:29:23
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67 forum posts
18 photos

Will go digging into my paint cupboard as sure I purchased some balsaloc many months ago.

bert baker26/10/2019 17:50:42
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1452 forum posts
304 photos

A little goes a long way.

Don't apply it like you would with paint,

you want to avoid it building up into a thick layer

Just wipe a little thin scim along where you need it

I use sponge to apply it

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