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Tape instead of paint?

#1
So it looks like FliteTest is phasing out the white foam kits. That's a bummer but not not a huge shock. Still, I'm not a huge fan of the brown stuff. I've had de laminating issues with my one brown FT plane and it's rather labor intensive to paint.

How many people use colored packing tape instead of paint? I can only imagine how much stronger a foamie would be if it were wrapped in a layer of packing tape, but how much weight does it typically add? Though the extra weight could be overcome with more power, but that might not be the best scenario for a mighty mini plane, especially the new SE5 and DR1.

Any wise advice for a newbie foam builder? Thanks
 
#2
I'm no "wise builder," but I tend to spray paint my planes for a few reasons:
- It weighs less. The general idea being the lighter it is, the better it flies.
- It looks better. Spray paint can be any color, and tape is usually rather limited.
- Cost. Tape can be really expensive if you cover your entire plane.
- Ease of use. This isn't really a big deal, but it's usually easier to spray paint than use tape.

On the other hand, I usually just use tape to do a few stripes on my planes before I maiden them.
It makes it look much better with only a few minutes of work.
Hope this helps!
 
#3
I've gone from locally sourced materials, having to tape the whole plane to the new FT WR boards. To fight de-lamination I coat the edges with a small amount of glue, scraping of the excessive glue. I also have a special jewellery iron that my wife uses, works great on the edges too.
 
#4
I certainly prefer to paint, but I HATE all the prep sanding you have to do to the brown foam before you paint, and even then, you have occasional flaking of paint because you didn't sand enough.
 
#5
I've gone from locally sourced materials, having to tape the whole plane to the new FT WR boards. To fight de-lamination I coat the edges with a small amount of glue, scraping of the excessive glue.
I've done that a lot, but I still had issues. I probably just got some foam from a bad batch, but it was enough to make less interested in putting a lot of detail into a paint job.
 
#6
I mostly use color packing tape and it really doesn't add that much weight but has some issues. I have used paint and it has drawbacks too. So here are my pros and cons.

Pro Tape: Added strength,Waterproofing, Many colors, no fumes, no over spray,Low cost, (12 roll rainbow pack $21.00)
http://www.tapeplanet.com/Rainbow-Pack-Carton-Sealing-Tapes-2-in-x-55-yds-p/opp20crain2x55.htm

Con Tape: Doesn't contour around curves, Over lapped edges changes color (gets darker), hot glue will not stick well to it. Application time, wrinkles at times

Pro Paint: Many colors, Waterproofing, Cost??, Takes any shape, Application time

Con Paint: Can melt foam, fumes, overspray, prep time, runs, no added strength

On cost I have to think paint is more expensive in the long run, I painted a viggen and it took a can of paint to get the color right. $6.00 a can So 4x6 is $24.00 and the tape is 12 rolls for $21.00 and that will do many more planes, I have done over 20 planes with my 12 pack so paint cost more in my experience.

I have omitted weight from the list as I have not weighed a plane pre tape and pre paint and post tape and paint but My thought process is Tape adds weight and paint adds weight but unless you are doing a really small plane I would think it is really negligible weight. A can of paint is 12 oz it's going somewhere!

I like paint but the major drawback for me is winter build season I have a unheated garage and paint doesn't work well at 40 deg F. And the wife would kill me if I painted in the house!

For me tape is the better option.

Here is my recently finished night flier and you can see the tape color issues and the wrinkles but 100 feet out and up I don't see anything wrong! ;)
IMG00049.JPG IMG00061.JPG IMG00062.JPG IMG00045.JPG IMG00048.JPG
 

Coleman

New member
#7
So far iv'e been coloring the planes with those big sharpies, and then covering all the exposed surfaces of the wing, fuse, and tail in packing tape. I really like the shine it gives the plane and when the sun glints off the body in flight. During crashes it keeps the foam from tearing and gives the plane quite a bit more durability than an un-taped plane.

photo 1.JPG

My FT Mustang has the tape treatment and weighs 580g as seen here, with no battery and not including that landing gear you see. I run an e-max GT 2215/09 and a 9x6 prop, which is what i would run on an un-taped FT swappable of this size. The tail section here is made of Elmers board adding a little weight too. This thing will absolutely rip so I don't think you really require a bigger motor to accommodate the weight added by the tape. (wish i had weighed before taping) Long story short, I get 10-12 min flights on 3s 1500mah weighing 100g which is acceptable to me. Honestly, i believe the plane could weigh a bit more, i would like to see it maintain its speed better coming out of dives and penetrate better in general.

photo 2.JPG

The Sharpie takes a long time and the tape process isn't incredibly quick either, so plan to invest a bit of time if going the tape route. The process is really kind of soothing for me.

I have yet to paint a DTFB Plane, but am definitely interested in trying it. Will the paint cover areas of hot glue? Will the paint adhere to a strip of packing tape if one is on the outside of the plane? Also, will tape stick if applied after the plane is painted?
 
#8
I certainly prefer to paint, but I HATE all the prep sanding you have to do to the brown foam before you paint, and even then, you have occasional flaking of paint because you didn't sand enough.
I built a mini-scout and sanded it before building. That went pretty fast. I haven't painted it, yet, so I won't know for sure.
I avoided sanding areas that were not going to be seen, but I wasn't too careful about it. The main thing I wanted to avoid was having to sand after the build when it is easy to break something or miss a spot.

I also use Elmers white glue (school glue) to harden the edges. I also wipe the excess. I've heard you can sand the result and create a nice rounded edge, but I haven't made a serious effort with this, yet. I've tried a lot of other glues, but they are either difficult to work with or heavy or both. If I get a little white glue on the board itself, I just spread/wipe it until it's barely visible. This is on WR foam from kits.

Mike
 
#9
Up until a point, weight just means higher speed landings. However, I covered a Sea Otter in vinyl and made it so heavy it won't fly reasonably. Well, never from land. Maybe it would take off from water.

Mike
 
#10
Great planes and interesting ideas everyone. Thank you. I'll experiment with the Bloody Baron brown foam kit that I have yet to build. To be honest, the introduction of the brown foam and the extra sanding and painting involved has depleted my enthusiasm for getting too detailed with FT planes anymore. I'll direct that energy to my warbird ARF kits. I'll build the Bloody Baron with the colored tape strictly for orientation assistance and to keep it from looking like a brown blob in the sky. It should be an interesting experiment. I'll practice with scrap pieces to see how different tape directions affect the folding of the foam when building the wing and fuse. I'm sure some styles can done before assembly, and others will have to be applied after the fact.
 

Gryf

New member
#11
Colored packing tape can look surprisingly good if you butt the edges together so there's no overlap. It's a pretty tedious process, but worth the effort if you're finicky. Like me. ;-)

Gryf
 
#12
Thanks Gryf! I don't mind the tedious work. Masking and taping the foam is also tedious, and I probably apply and remove enough tape in my painting process to cover the plane completely anyhow, especially when I have to apply a base color to cover the brown foam. If I know the tape method will help the structural integrity and protection and also give me a permanent non flaking color scheme that pops in the shiny sun, I'll gladly take that extra time. =)
 

fliteadmin

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
#13
Hey guys,
After chatting with chad, our expert painter ;) , he has informed that the best way to paint the BROWN WR Foam Board is...FIRST off there is NO NEED to sand the foam if you dont want to! You can cut this step out all together if you go about it in this fashion...
__ Apply continuous light coats(2-3) and as always different paints have different dry times in between coats, but just be sure its dry before adding 2nd or 3rd coats and then wait about 24 hours for it to DRY completely and you should be good to go! If you have any other issues wth this then please keep us posted!

Hope this helps and please inform us if this does in fact fix the problems...ENJOY!

Blessings,
Stefan
 
#14
Hey guys,
After chatting with chad, our expert painter ;) , he has informed that the best way to paint the BROWN WR Foam Board is...FIRST off there is NO NEED to sand the foam if you dont want to! You can cut this step out all together if you go about it in this fashion...
__ Apply continuous light coats(2-3) and as always different paints have different dry times in between coats, but just be sure its dry before adding 2nd or 3rd coats and then wait about 24 hours for it to DRY completely and you should be good to go! If you have any other issues wth this then please keep us posted!

Hope this helps and please inform us if this does in fact fix the problems...ENJOY!

Blessings,
Stefan
Stef, thanks for the 411 and congrats on the new offspring. I'll give that method a test on some scrap pieces and see how it goes. I got the aforementioned painting method from a previous Flite Test how-to video (link follows). I might suggest you guys and gals do an updated version with more detail and tips since FT is going 100% brown.

https://youtu.be/ucYGbGHE0Mw
 
#15
OK this interested me so I took a can of spray paint I used to paint the Bushwacker and a Full can and the difference was 6 oz?
Then I weighed 20 feet of duct colored tape and it was (Crinkled Up) 1.2 oz ADD about 20 feet of Clear Duct packing tape at .5 oz and you have 1.75 oz for 20 feet clear and 20 feet colored tape which is a savings of 4.25 oz compared to what paint I used on the Bushwacker.
4.25 oz is about 125 grams which is substancial if your concerned about weight?
 
#16
OK this interested me so I took a can of spray paint I used to paint the Bushwacker and a Full can and the difference was 6 oz?
Then I weighed 20 feet of duct colored tape and it was (Crinkled Up) 1.2 oz ADD about 20 feet of Clear Duct packing tape at .5 oz and you have 1.75 oz for 20 feet clear and 20 feet colored tape which is a savings of 4.25 oz compared to what paint I used on the Bushwacker.
4.25 oz is about 125 grams which is substancial if your concerned about weight?
I'm getting the 3D and the Bloody Wonder this week and One is Brown and one is white so I think I'm going to go with strategic use of Both tapes always thinking about less is better. Of course colored packing tape would probably be about equivalent to the clear packing tape but I don't have colored packing tape on hand.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#17
I tape all of my planes. Some coloured and some not. Firstly try applying the tape on the wings cord wise and not spanwise and you can get it to be wrinkle free. It is also easier to butt the tape edges together. When applying the tape "Rub" the tape into the FB to remove the small amount of trapped air and improve adhesion.

Where possible, especially on fuselages I tape before cutting and folding. When built I run clear tape along all exposed seams and I NEVER have a de-laminating issue. Where FB has exposed edges I definitely cover with glue to seal.

Just what I do based upon materials available here.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#18
Cricut material instead of paint

I started using Cricut vinyl sticker material to add details to my Ft Scratch builds. Cricut sticks well, is fairly light, comes in lots of colors, and its removable!

I just build, Minwax, then add Cricut and done! No more painting, arrrggg, too hard and frustrating after you crash and destroy the plane, all that painting gone to waste...

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&k...vtargid=kwd-6140723984&ref=pd_sl_4wrvpozpet_e

IMG_0106.JPG

IMG_0110.JPG

It could get heavy if you cover the whole plane, but I don't do that, just add some designs and it looks great.
 
#19
OK this interested me so I took a can of spray paint I used to paint the Bushwacker and a Full can and the difference was 6 oz?
Then I weighed 20 feet of duct colored tape and it was (Crinkled Up) 1.2 oz ADD about 20 feet of Clear Duct packing tape at .5 oz and you have 1.75 oz for 20 feet clear and 20 feet colored tape which is a savings of 4.25 oz compared to what paint I used on the Bushwacker.
4.25 oz is about 125 grams which is substancial if your concerned about weight?
I'm getting the 3D and the Bloody Wonder this week and One is Brown and one is white so I think I'm going to go with strategic use of Both tapes always thinking about less is better. Of course colored packing tape would probably be about equivalent to the clear packing tape but I don't have colored packing tape on hand.
The problem with this method of estimation is that not all of the paint sprayed makes it onto the airplane; there's overspray/blowaway. All you can conclude is that the maximum add was 6oz.
 
#20
I bought a large selection of tape from hobby king. I've used paint, Vinyl accent, as well as the colored tape. They all have their pros and cons. I do not yet have any of the FT Foam Board but will give it a try at some point. On it though I think the use of tape will be very limited as the brown will show though most any of the tapes. That said some simple accents with Vinyl would work well and add minimal weight. The right selection of colors could make the Brown look deliberate rather then like cardboard.