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Completely New to Balsa, LOTS of Questions!

OutaTime FPV

Well-known member
#1
So I’ve been in talks with a gentleman who’s willing to sell me a 106” Extreme Flight Demonstrator for a very reasonable price.

The only caveat is that it’s not covered. He has the correct covering film and it’s already pre-cut to size, but to be perfectly honest with you I’ve never covered a balsa plane.

So my first question would be how difficult is it to cover a plane? I’ve seen videos and have plenty of experience with foam planes and mini quads and flying balsa planes, but I’ve never covered one myself.

Maybe I should also get something to practice on?

Any input is greatly appreciated.
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#2
So I’ve been in talks with a gentleman who’s willing to sell me a 106” Extreme Flight Demonstrator for a very reasonable price.

The only caveat is that it’s not covered. He has the correct covering film and it’s already pre-cut to size, but to be perfectly honest with you I’ve never covered a balsa plane.

So my first question would be how difficult is it to cover a plane? I’ve seen videos and have plenty of experience with foam planes and mini quads and flying balsa planes, but I’ve never covered one myself.

Maybe I should also get something to practice on?

Any input is greatly appreciated.
I highly recommend using ultracote. It's what EF used to cover their planes. It is really easy to use, just take a heat gun to it once you are done to get the wrinkles out. You can always send me pics through insta and I can help ya.
 

Bricks

Well-known member
#3
It is like anything in this hobby the more you do it the faster and easier it gets. If you have some scrap covering around play with it get the feel of how it stretches when heat is applied. Use it to get your iron the right temp. Most coverings have there own temp that they like to be aplied with and get good adhesion to the surface. Take your time and plan out how and where the pieces go, try and keep all seems towards the tail on the fuselage.

It is not terribly hard just take your time as you have said you have watched a lot of videos so you have a good idea of how to apply the covering.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#4
Depending on how big of a hurry you're in to get working on THIS plane, you could also look for an old plane somebody is getting rid of (victim of a crash, as example) to practice on. Strip the old covering and invest in some new stuff just to get the feel for it. Covering big areas is typically fairly easy, but the small pieces and seams (base of the stabilizers, as example) present their own challenges.
 

vhandon

Active member
#6
Two thoughts when i comes to working with balsa and more specifically covering.

1. You will get the best results if you use the tool designed for the job. A decent heat gun and iron designed for covering will improve your results and make the job more enjoyable.
2. Its just balsa. If you make a mistake cut it out and redo it. Same thing with covering. If you make a mistake, remove it and try again. I know there are some coverings that are becoming rare and hard to come by. Don't use those until you are comfortable with the process.
 

TooJung2Die

Well-known member
#7
Covering an airplane is not hard. I did my first one a very long time ago using Monokote and a clothes iron. I was really happy with how it turned out. What is hard is getting it perfect without any wrinkles. You're lucky, you have YouTube and dozens of videos showing you how to do it.
 
#8
There is an old (well.. I remember when it was new at least) vhs transfer on YouTube of a Monokote tutorial. It covers a lot of ground. My only complaint is that I've had trouble using their method for covering wings with Parklite. The idea is you tack down corners and then middle spots to first stretch out the covering before adhering it completley. With lightweight films, I find that the tacking points pucker and the film adheres to itself making creases that wont come out. I've had better luck just working from the root to the wing tip instead.

Monokote Tutorial