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Covering a foamie in Aluminum foil

#1
I'm studying up on techniques (cutting, gluing, etc) before tackling my first project, the Storch. (bought quick kit and power pack)

In the meanwhile, this week I built a non-flying foamie for my daughter's project on Amelia Earhart...a Lockheed Electra in foam, and covered in aluminum. It turned out looking more like a fat Cessna Bobcat..but the kids loved it. I covered it partly with reflective duct tape, and the rest in aluminum foil. Then it got me thinking, why is this not more popular with foam r/c's? I did a search for this and did not come up with much, I found a flitetest article on a P-51 bu that was about it. The foil is so lightweight and it makes the airplane look so much more...real? Any thoughts on using foil?

https://www.flitetest.com/articles/swappable-p51d-mustang-based-on-ft-spitfire
 
#4
it will also block your rx signal causing your plane to crash. just saying...

me :cool:
Actually it won’t.. The signal goes through aluminum without issue. I know a new guys who have big alumuinum coved Warbirds, and it works fine without any reciever issues. Carbon is the main killer, and will block off RF from a reciever.
 

jaredstrees

Well-known member
#6
I think the real reason you don't see it much is that it is hard to work with. It takes a lot of time and patience to get aluminum or aluminum tape to look right without lots of wrinkles. I used it on a baby blender. No interference problems (and you can always hang the antenna wires out of the aircraft if you are concerned) but getting it to go on smooth was a chore.
 

willsonman

Builder Extraordinare
Mentor
#7
I've been researching this a LOT lately for my current build (see link in my signature). No radio issues and the biggest issue is the foil application substrate. To get a smooth finish you need to have a hard substrate. This generally means that you need to apply glass using epoxy. The foil takes a lot of patience to apply onto curved surfaces but it will stretch and therefore you have to plan ahead. I tried applying it to bare balsa and the grain was visible. I applied it to glass applied with WBPU and filled with primer (wet sanded) and the result was better but there were tool marks from the burnishing tool to make the foil lay flat. This means that the surface was still too soft. These were just experiments.

As this topic is not well-documented on any online venue I've come across (RCG, FG, RCSB, etc.) I plan to take my lessons-learned and write up an article covering the topic comprehensively. I'll also cover techniques I'm trying to learn to polish the aluminum.
 

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kdobson83

Well-known member
#11
Wouldn't the alluminum foil be easily scratched/cut? Like on belly landings and hanger rash? Painted foam board kinda resists scratches for the most part but I would think the alluminum foil would scratch up a little easy.