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Old 02-18-2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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Foam Core Wing Sheeting

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Just wondering what methods and products that builders are using for balsa sheeting there foam core wings.

I don't have access to a vacuum sealer, so that's out. I was thinking of making a 'wood press' with 3/4inch plywood and a number of bolts surrounding the wing structure. I've seen this method used somewhere in the RCGroups forum...

As far as laminating products go, I've read that standard 15min and 30min epoxies aren't the way to go. Not sure that I'd want to use 3M's Super 77 for this application (works good for foam/foam interface though). What about Gorilla Glue scraped along the sheeting using a plastic card? If that's no good, what sort of Laminating Epoxy Resins are readily available to the Canadian consumer?
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

Lee Valley Tools carries it.

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Old 02-18-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

I have no experience in this feild so Im just asking....
Whats wrong with Capenters Glue. You know the Yellow stuff that sticks to foam and wood.

My understanding is you cover the wing top and bottom with glue and then apply the skin and put the entire thing back into the foam Negatives that the wing came out of. Add waight on top and let sit over night.

Im about to skin some foam aswell and would be interested in what the more experienced builders are doing.

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Old 02-18-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting


I have not done this myself, but I heard modellers talking about covering the balsa and foam with carpenter's glue, let it dry, then iron the balsa to the foam.

Perhaps someone else can confirm if this works, or perhaps you could try a test piece.

Hope this helps.


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Old 02-18-2010, 02:39 PM   #5
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

The best person to ask is "Tbrum" Trevor Brum over in the giant scale forums page. He is constantly building big Cardens
And is does this all the time. He has a few differnet ways of doing it.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:52 PM   #6
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

Either finishing resin 1 hr stuff, we're not in a hurry, or carpenters aliphatic resin glue works well. You don't need to do both sides at once. Put the core in the bottom shell and make sure it's lined up perfectly on a flat surface like a hollow door. You don't need to smear glue over the whole surface. Put the glue all around the perimeter in a bead. Then use a sawtooth pattern from the leading edge to trailing edge poured on in a small bead with about 4 or 5 in. separation of the sawteeth, depending on the size of the wing. Put the top sheating on then add the weight. Stacked books work well. I use the vacuum bag bit but if you don't have that, the weights work well. Next day, do the other side. There are other methods but this is what works for me.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:10 PM   #7
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

I have tremendously limited experience with this, but I can tell you that I literally just finished sheeting foam cores for a Sig Ninja that I am elecrifying. I used a spray on contact adhesive and if I was to do it again, I wouldn't. Perhaps once one gains more experience the result will be more favourable, however, I found it difficult to ensure even coverage on the foam by spraying the adhesive.

When you glue your sheeting together, be careful when using CA. Too much CA and you will have trouble sanding the joints. I have seen pictures where the sheets are simply taped together and then glued. Anyone here try that?
I didn't vacuum bag, but wish I had. Putting the cores back into the saddles worked OK, but I do have a slight warp in the wing. There's no way out from that now, so I'm stuck with it. I'm not entirely sure where the problem was, but I think it is avoidable by bagging and applying a vacuum.

I remind you that I am a definite newbie at this, but if I had to do it again, I would use a finishing epoxy and bagger.


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Old 02-18-2010, 04:28 PM   #8
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Smile Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

I have done several foam core wings. The tape method is used to join sheeting together . Sig core bond was used to apply sheeting to cores and then placed back into negatives with weight over night. MAKE SURE YOU STIR THE CORE BOND WELL BEFORE BRUSHING IT ON. Core bond is a contact cement. ONCE DONE THE WINGS WILL BE VERY STRONG. tOM
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

Make up the wing skins first. Check that the edges are the same thickness. Tape the edges together along one face. Open them up apply glue along the edges. Close them, wipe off excess glue and tape the seam on the other side. press the join together to prevent a step along the seam. Let dry. when dry remove tape.

Always skin both sides of the core at the same time. I always use epoxy resin. Apply resin to skins and "Squeege" it on evenly. More resin is more weight. Apply and align the skins to the core. Sandwich this assembly between the blocks from which the core was cut. Rest weights on the top of it all. IF possible a flat board about the size of the core on the top would ensure an even weight distribution over the core. If not available distribute the weights as evenly as possible over the assembly.

Next time you do it get a vacuum bag. It is so easy.

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Old 02-18-2010, 05:02 PM   #10
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Re: Foam Core Wing Sheeting

I've used just about every method described above and a few that were not.
My personal favorite is 1 hr aero - lite epoxy thinned out 50% with isopropyl alcohol , brushed on both sides, aligned in the negatives & weighted down on a solid core birch door. Built countless wings this way, never had a de-lamination & if you spread the glue evenly/carefully the weight is minimal.
Spray/brush on contacts allows quicker build time but greater chance of error when applying sheeting.
Miss the old school pattern plane days. LOTS of building back then. Built many pattern birds sub 7lbs c/w retracts & pipes.
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