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Old 08-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
payne9999
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Default Ultracote Parklite vs. Doculam experiment

I hate paying so much for Ultracote Parklite and other coverings. Two rolls plus shipping from Hobby Lobby is about $40.

I was covering my Cessna 172 with white parklite and found there just wasn't enough on the roll to finish. I have a 1000 foot rol of doculam that I use for scale projects and I remembered hearing you could paint it from the adhesive side and it would still attach. I wanted the shinny finish of the Ultracote in this case. For other scale projects I want the finish of dead flat paint so I paint the doculam from the outside (a whole other disscussion).

So, I painted a peice of doculam from the adhesive side. I used Krylon short cuts white paint because I have been experimenting with that as well since it adheres to doculam like glue.

Well since the "short cuts" paint goes on so opaque (it is exceptional paint and has very high solids) it went on quick and light. It bonds as if there was no paint on the adhesive and looks just like Ultracote and other films. Of course it has all the other advantages of doculam like shrinking nicely and holding tight without sagging.

I am in covering nervona. This means I can make my own ultrcote-like materials with my own custom colors. Also, with a little planning I could fix some panels of doculam to a work board, mask out a pattern, apply the first color, remove the masking and apply the second color and have a perfectly painted 2 or 3 color graphic and have it protected by the other side of the film.

The Krylon paint is fairly cheap and comes in both spray cans and bottles. However, I think any decent hardware store spray paint (or paint in a can with an airbrush) would work with this technique if you can get the color you are after. Adhesion is not an issue when you don't have to paint from the outside!

I covered one aileron in reverse painted doculam and one flap panel in Parklite. When I set them next to each other I cannot tell the difference!

Dave
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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I use the Krylon short cuts paints too, it works very well, i also like the Testors spray enamel paint too, its foam safe and looks great, Yea covering material is expensive, i use the econo coat from tower hobbies and that seems to work good too, and its inexspensive,

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...C=QAATOP&P=0&S=

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...1p?&I=TESR2457


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Old 08-13-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Neat trick Dave!

Im going to have to give that a try

I think I need a signature.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:46 PM   #4
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I went to buy more paint and several other brands work as well. So, for about 25 cents (literally) worth of Doculam and about $10-12 in paint I can do a three color paint job and make some of my own trim tape. I don't have to worry about a running out or scrounging scraps for repairs down the road. My 1,000 foot roll is right there in the shop.

For some reason it looks quite opaque when painted from the back side than Parklite or Solite. And....Doculam does not scuff from the monokote irons, I don't even use an iron sock. So-Lite scuffs up easily and sticks to itself when it touches. I abandoned So-Lite after the first 2 rolls because of this and because it is nearly impossible to remove from the liner. The LHS doesn't carry any of the lite films so I don't have to wait for shipping now.

Actually, I think the full size hardware spray paint cans could easily do two planes and the doculam can make 166 rolls of 2 meter long DIY Solite/Neilson Lite Film/Solarfilm/Ultracote.....$40-50 for 1,000 feet of .003" thick doculam.

Also, the doculam goes around compound curves like a dream. On some aircraft the side, back and top windows can be made from it since it turns clear when it is applied. It makes great thin windows that look like old plexiglass. Also, because Doculam sticks so well it makes great flap and aileron hinges.

With some careful masking you could do checker patterns or reproduce just about any type of simple graphics.

With the costs of raw materials to build, I am starting to look elsewhere for alternatives like:

1. Clear styrene from packaging for windshields
2. Multi-colored electrical tape for outlining windshields etc.
3. ABS plastic signs from the variety store for panels and covers
4. Miniature screws, nuts and blind nuts from the hardware store (Du-Bro really jacks the price up for a package of screws)
5. Cable ties, wiring and heat shrink from the electronics store (again Du-bro charges 10X the cost for silly heat shrink).
6. Bulk Velcro from the hardware or fabric stores.
7. The various uses of Doculam!
8. Spider line from the fishing store for pull-pull control surfaces or for binding music wire together
9. Building a vacuum forming machine from a cheap shop vac!
10. Blue foam from Home Depot to make wing tips and carved fairings
11. Sample paints computer color matched from Home Depot for painting doculam. The sample 1/2 pints are $1.98...

I even made a tail boom for my heli with a high strength aluminum knitting needle. You can't tell the difference except it is stronger than the E-Flite part and 1/3 the cost.

What about other suggestions for alternate materials?

Dave
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #5
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PS: The "Short Cuts" Krylon paint still seems to be somewhat better. It just seems to have more pigment. I am going with it as my preferred paint.

Some of the others work OK but don't cover as well. Also it helps to wipe the Doculam clean with some alcohol or some solvent before painting.

Dave
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #6
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Just don't try to iron the Doculam over the blue foam. I tried it, but it melted.

Do you have any issues with the paint coming loose when you heat the Doculam, or with it leaving gaps when the Doculam is stretched around a wingtip, etc?

Some other alternative materials include using poly can lids (i.e., coffee can, raisin, chow mein noodle) for switch mounting plates and skids. You can usually find a plastic that approximates the color of your model. Another use for the lid materials is to use a hole-punch to make a batch of little discs. Stick your t-pins through the discs and use them as pin vises (you may need two discs per pin, depending on the thickness of the plastic).

Be careful with plastic containers (such as the ones chocolate Easter bunnies and Spektrum recievers come in). Some of those plastics will bend easily enough to make windscreens, but will then become brittle and crack. I've had to replace high-wing monoplane windscreens because of this.

By the way, you can iron Econokote, etc., on top of Doculam, even if you've painted the Doculam on the outside. Just watch the heat and keep the iron just hot enough to set the adhesive on the low-temp film.

CD
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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Yes, I have had issues with the paint coming off when attaching it. It seems like there si a balnce between how much paint is applied and whether this happens. I think too much paint will stop the adhesive from working and then when it pulls loose there is paint pulled away with it. Also, certain colors like white are harder.

I have had issues with the Doculam bubbling on wing tips, solid areas and curved surfaces but I just press it down with my finger just after ironing it because Doculam remains tacking for a 10 seconds or so and you can often press out the bubbles before it cools.

I have used Econokote as well for graphics. It works well if your iron goes to a low enough setting.

This morning I used the clear plastic tip of an RTV tube for a tail strobe lens.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
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Question: How can you tell a person is a scale modeler?

Answer: By their big collection of oddly-shaped plastic odds & ends they held onto just in case some of it could be used to simulate something on a model.

I was wondering about the paint on the inside of Doculam. I tried it with some yellow, but when I stretched the Doculam around a wing tip block, the paint got thin and streaky.

I've ironed Econokote (and other low-temp 'kotes) on top of painted Doculam, and I've ironed painted Econokote on top of painted Doculam. The key is to watch the temps. It's so much easier now to make custom lettering on the computer, then use the printout to cut out film coverings (glue-sticks hold the lettering to the 'kote, then soak off in water).

CD
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #9
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I buy trim sheets now and double stick tape the graphics on the back in reverse then cut out, peel and stick. I have been doing a similar thing with Econokote graphics.

I wish there was a way to print on film. For more complicated images I find a high resolution picture or copy of a decal set, scale it and then print on water slide decal paper.

Vinyl graphics from folks like Callie Graphics are nice but rather thick.

I want to do a WWII camo paint job with graphics. Next on the board is a ~42" B-25 that will weigh around 22 oz. (if I don't get too carried away with flaps and retracts).


The other way you can tell a scale modeler: If he is at work or out to dinner with his wife and he still has olive drab paint on and layers of CA on his hands.

Dave
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:02 AM   #10
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Nice information. I have a JN 4 Jenny to cover, I think I'll try this.

Paul
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:25 AM   #11
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For making my own stick-on decals, I use Avery 5664 clear laser labels (with a backing of white low-temp film, as needed). They're still kind of thick, but their adaptability tremendous.

People ask how come I have my and my wife's AMA numbers memorized. When you've been cutting the same numbers out for 40 years for mine and 36 years for my wife's, the numbers kind of stick in your mind!

CD
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:59 AM   #12
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I know this is an old thread but I really needed to say thanks for posting about painting INSIDE Doculam. I've got a mess of the stuff that came in my early Mountain Models kits. Never got around to finding a use for it until reading this thread. I wasn't at all interested in painting the outside so now that I see it works even when painted inside I got excited. I even built a small box and covered sections with different brands of paint. A few things I learned was that with my sock covered iron 300 degrees works best for shrinking although it can be stuck down at 200 degrees. Also with only one coat of paint I'm not happy with the opacity. It looks like Solite. Two coats seems to work better and the adhesive still works. I'll post some pictures of the box as soon as I find where my grandson hid my camera.

Joe

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:10 AM   #13
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I found the camera and took some shots of the different colors. Mainly to show that it stuck down and shrunk well. The camera really sucks and doesn't give accurate color but it's all I have right now. At least you can see how transparent the yellow turned one. Maybe one more coat.....

Joe


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Old 09-25-2012, 12:48 PM   #14
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Joe,

I am glad to hear it worked out. I did further experiments and found I had some adhesion problems. Also, ribs and other parts showed thru especially if they were laser cut. If ribs and other former parts are laser cut I would sand off all the burn marks.

What I really want to know is what type of paint are you using?

Thanks,

Dave

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Old 09-25-2012, 06:56 PM   #15
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Dave,

Where were the adhesion problems and do you think it was caused by the paint? Lately I've been shooting my planes with automotive primer/surfacer to use as a grain filler. I sand 99% of it off then give a super light mist coat. It seems to increase the covering bond like using something like balsarite. While I didn't have any problems with the initial painted Doculam application I now have to wonder if the extra paint I used will cause problems later. I'm going to keep that test box on the hobby bench so it gets knocked around and abused to see if it starts to fall apart on me. I'm super happy with the appearance of the double coated white section but if there is a problem I'm sure that's where it will show up.

This stuff is dirt cheap and super tough so I think it's worth working through a few kinks. Too bad I don't like clear planes. I could do a covering job in ten minutes for less than a buck in materials!

Joe

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Old 09-25-2012, 08:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Captain Dunsel View Post
Question: How can you tell a person is a scale modeler?

Answer: By their big collection of oddly-shaped plastic odds & ends they held onto just in case some of it could be used to simulate something on a model.

I was wondering about the paint on the inside of Doculam. I tried it with some yellow, but when I stretched the Doculam around a wing tip block, the paint got thin and streaky.

I've ironed Econokote (and other low-temp 'kotes) on top of painted Doculam, and I've ironed painted Econokote on top of painted Doculam. The key is to watch the temps. It's so much easier now to make custom lettering on the computer, then use the printout to cut out film coverings (glue-sticks hold the lettering to the 'kote, then soak off in water).

CD
One nice thing about Parklite, is that if you're careful to not slide the covering off of the wax paper like backing, you can pencil onto the rear of the backing. It's the only backing that I've ever been able to do this one, as it the only one that is paper like, versus plastic. I used it recently to trace custom lettering printed from the computer. Tracing was done with a pencil, using the the printed templates after they were cutout. The Parklite has a very gummy adhesive that glues down at a very low temp. This was essential, as the lettering was heated down to an already painted surface. Very little heat was needed to iron them down.


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