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Old 08-31-2011, 06:51 AM   #1
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Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

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I maidened my PZ BF109 and hand launched with landing gear at 80% throttle. I got it up 3 mistakes high. Too nervous to trim and needed more expo. I belly landed with landing gear in a field of oats. Not the worst but the not the best but level and at a moderate speed.

Put a second battery in and hand launched at 80% throttle like the last time. Got about 10 feet and the left wing tip broke off where the aileron servo is located. Came down hard, but no other damage.

I suspect that the previous landing may have weakened the wing. Maybe landing in +18 inches of oats was not a good idea. Who knows.

Here is the question. I don't have any CA, have 5 minute epoxy which I could use but worried about setup time. I heard a lot of good reports regarding Gorilla glue. Seems to work fine on ZFoam. The only negative is clamping time.

What's the best method and glue to repair this wing?
Should I add cf rod reinforcing?
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:50 AM   #2
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

I'd cf strip reinforce it, but do both sides, bottom and cover with tape and paint to blend into the underside (you could use tooth picks at the joint to add rigidity just watch the amount of weight added you don't have too), . Use glue gun glue... hot glue gun... it's soft, and will bend with the wing. (you can smooth it out before it cures with a wet finger) Epoxy would harden too much, and not bend with the airfoil when a load is present. Might break again during a manouvre.

Gorilla glue is really good too, it expands and fills cracks... it expands.. a lot.. so use it sparingly.. do a test on some other foam with it and you'll see the reaction.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

When you use the Gorilla glue, it will expand out though the joint. Normally I would use green painters tape over the joints, but in this case I am not sure if it will pull the paint off the foam.
The tape stops the expansion of the foam outside the joint area.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

use your 5 minute epoxy. works just fine on foam airframes. you should see some of the damage after some of the stryker sorties at our club field. those guys couldn't function without 5 minute epoxy.

gorilla glue expands too much IMHO.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:56 PM   #5
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

Sounds like you're in the learning stage, and so am I after about a 35 year break from the hobby. My primary learning tool has been a PZ Corsair, and it's had a few repairs all done with regular epoxy & lightweight fiberglass cloth to reinforce the area. It won't look that great cosmetically but it does add strength. You can apply it over the existing paint, and the colour will show through but be off a bit in shade. Depending on the location of a break I'd be inclined to add a stiffener or 2 inside the wing using carbon fibre rods or doweling etc (about 1/8" or 2-3 mm).

This may help a bit re my method

Re your hand launch here's my procedure which I use on the Corsair, a PZ T-28 Trojan & an E-Flite Apprentice. Full power, and I throw them almost vertically up. The Corsair & Apprentice just climb at about the angle I throw while the Trojan climbs at a reduced angle but it's still climbing giving me time to get my hands on the sticks & get it high enough to reduce power & trim them as needed. Landings used to be in the tall grass but as of a couple of weeks ago I now land in an area I've mowed even though the ground is very rough. There's lots of tall grass around my little runway, along with tall milkweeds which are hard on the LE of foam wings.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:56 PM   #6
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

Gorilla glue and toothpicks inserted diagonally into the wing so it passes through the break from one side of the wing to the other works best. You can also substitute bamboo skewers for larger breaks that require more stiffness than toothpicks can give. If you angle it right, only the little bit sticking out is visible, which you naturally cut flush so it is virtually invisible.

As for gorilla glue- if it expands TOO MUCH, then you used TOO MUCH. If you learn to use the right amount, the expansion is predictable and manageable.
One neat trick I learned with Gorilla glue, is the tape thing- cover the joint with tape and the GG will expand to be flush with the tape joint leaving it almost flush with the surfaces. For areas I cant use tape, I stretch a plastic bag across the break after I gorilla-glued it and joined it together, then stretch a rubber band over the parts to hold the plastic bag on, and then stretch the plastic so it is lying smooth over the joint. Just like the tape, the foam will expand flush against the plastic
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:55 PM   #7
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Re: Wing repair - Need your 2 cents

I've been experimenting a bit with adhesives & Z-Foam. Couple of the local guys have been saying to just use the 5-minute epoxy, and forget all that other stuff. Me, I like to see how things work...

So here's what I've tried, and my thoughts (all 100% IMHO):

- Regular CA: works OK, does not attack Z-Foam. I've heard it WILL attack the foam in the elevators & rudder though (it's different stuff). However, styrofoam doesn't have much (any) moisture, which CA requires to function. So drying is slow. Would not use this in the field, when I want to get airborne again quick.

- Foam-safe CA: Same as regular CA. Shouldn't attack the foam in the tail.

- Gorilla Glue: Great end result, but too slow for field use.

- Hobby shop-grade 5-minute epoxy: The guys were right, this is great stuff for fast, strong repairs. Drawback is epoxies are... unhealthy, so gloves are required. Also, on a hot day you have less that 5 minutes before it hardens (good and bad!).

I also tried some alphetic glue I picked up at the LHS. Very slow drying... until I got impatient and added a drop or two of CA (more likely the CA grabbed the moisture from the glue, and did it's thing).

One other thing - from past experience, the hardware store/department store varieties of epoxy are junk. if you go the epoxy route, get some Z-Poxy or whatever your local hobby shop carries.

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