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Old 12-24-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Covering the rounded surfaces

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I've been trying to monokote my Zlin (old version). The front is rounded and despite several attempts to monokote it wrinkle-free, I end up with wrinkles. I tried to breakdown the covering into smaller parts but still the rounded and a bit crocked upper surface of fuselage is comes out with wrinkles, not big but noticeable. I'm new to this. Can cover good on straight surfaces but this is really a problem for me. Have wasted almost half of my monokote sheet. Can someone share his/her ideas so that I can save the rest at least ?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:27 PM   #2
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

Cut the peice larger then you need. Monokote needs to be pulled tight to get the smooth finish. curvesbcan be tricky. Do you have a heat gun or just an iron.
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

Despite it's tough seeming consistency, aceplant00 is correct. Most heat shrink covering has some give. It does take a bit of effort, and a lot of tape, to make the covering conform to contoured surfaces.

One thing I do first is to make a pattern from waxed type wrapping paper then transfer that to the covering. It not only gives a more accurate scheme, it reduces waste. If this is not available one other option is the backing used for prior covering jobs.

When tightening down the covering, start at the center and work outwards, pulling the edges and fastening them down with tape. You will be surprised how many of the wrinkles you will be able to eliminate with this method. It works best with outside curves, but can accommodate slight inside curves as long as the heating does not loosen the bond there and pulls it away.

Once the wrinkles are removed as much as possible start sealing the outside periphery of the intended covering area. As aceplant00 suggested and pulling tight can create, you may end up with some extra. You need to work JUST to the intended line using lower heat than normal to promote as much hold as possible with minimum shrinkage. You can end up just short, but under no circumstances go beyond. Only once the entire outer edge is fastened can you work to shrink the remaining inner material. The caution is to again try and stay away from the outer bond as this is what will allow for maximum shrinkage, removal of any remaining excess material and wrinkles and you don't want it coming loose during this step. It is the same when working near seams where material overlaps.

Not sure of Monokote, but I like using UltraCote as it has two primary heat and shrink settings, (it also has a paper backing that can be used for the aforementioned future patterns). The lower is used for bond and minor shrinkage and the higher setting for final tightening and full bond to the surface. Following any final heat application with a wet towel ensures the covering has a good tight fit to the surface until the bond completes. You want to work small areas at a time for that process.

This method works best on bare wood structures. Any sealed surface is a problem as there is no escape path for the gasses generated from the heated bond material. This can and will produce bubbles under the covering. Sometimes hitting the heated area immediately with the wet towel causes them to be reabsorbed enough to press the covering down. You cannot always count on that happening, though, and sometimes have to use the pickler on the surface before applying the covering.

Here are a pair of shots of one of my most difficult covering jobs. What you cannot see is the entire fuse was done with a single continuous sheet except for a small section along the lower bottom aft of the wing. Along with the wing saddle contours, the most difficult part is directly behind the cockpit, where the fuselage changes aspect and tapers both horizontally and vertically to the tail. I likely could have continued using that single sheet but at the time did not want to press my luck.
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:58 PM   #4
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

Thank you guys. Will try on your guide lines. I do have the heat gun and iron but using only iron. Keep sending in any more tips.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:47 PM   #5
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

This might help you a bit.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:39 AM   #6
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

Qamar: I cover compound areas with monocote in a similar fashion as shown in the video above. I am surprised that the instructor is not wearing a glove on his left hand to protect it from the heat. Also, it is good idea to somehow have the structure that is being covered fastened to a surface so it will not move around easily. Often I use weights to do this. (you can see his plane moving a bit in the video. Try to avoid this.) The techique, which takes a bit of practise, is to heat and pull down on the covering in just the right proportions. Always remember to be extra careful when covering an open space as shown in the video. It is easy to burn a hole right thru the monocote. Work slowly and take your time. Also, be careful when you trim off the excess covering after completion. Use a new blade and again, take your time. It is a shame to screw everthing up with a poor trim job. Good Luck - John M. p.s. Cougar's work is what you are striving for but it will take a lot of practice to get that good. . .
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:23 PM   #7
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Re: Covering the rounded surfaces

OK. Today I finally did it with a 95% of accuracy. How I did it, 1st if cut back plastic of previously used covering to get an exact cut of the covering that I want to apply on the rounded surface. I cut the covering according to the plastic and taped it tightly when it has to fit in (on the rounded surface) and wrinkled out as many wrinkles that I can. The I started tacking the ends with the iron. I made one mistake while doing that I accidently tacked one of the wrinkle (that was the only mistake I made). Then with the help of the heat gun started shrinking the taped covering starting from center. This gave me a much much better result. With a little more practice I think I can avoid mistake that I did this time in future. Once again thank you guys.

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