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Old 01-10-2017, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Reinforcing fuselages

Hi all

Wasn't sure where to put this, so apologies if it's in the wrong place.

I'm currently working on putting a Blade MCPX (which will eventually be converted to brushless) and a Skyartec Wasp Nano 100 CPX, both of which are micro helis, into model kits of real helicopters - the usual Huey that everyone and their dog has done before me...

I did this, with an Italeri 1/48 UH-1N kit, last year, with the Skyartec Wasp Nano CPX, but I found there was a lot of vibration and I ended up breaking the tail off twice in what seemed like minor dings (not major crashes), once at the point where the boom starts and once where the tail fin starts. That experiment cost me 2 Italeri 1/48 model kits.

I tried reinforcing the tail boom with carbon fibre rods, thinking that one reason for the breaks is because the tail boom where it meets the fusleage (the point where it cracked) is hollow, but the CF rods wouldn't stick using CA or JB Weld and they made the heli tail heavy...

So, I'm wondering, is there anyway I can reinforce the model kits at certain points and keep the added weight down, without resorting to stuff like fibre glass, resins, or other similarly "toxic" products that need specialist knowledge and equipment or a workshop?

TIA
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In the ancient of days :

SIG Mfg used to provide a product called : Celastic. It was a felt like cloth that was impregnated with styrene.

Sure their where other hobby raw material suppliers that furnished something similar -under other names. Maybe even auto body repair or marine boat repair. Pretty long time ago. A cross application product has got to be out their. Lot of application's.

Essentially : You take the cloth cut it to any shape needed for repair or for molding or maybe to add a wear strip. Uses are pretty unlimited.

You would take the strip : Soak it in acetone or auto thinner - then apply it to any compound curved surface. The styrene in the fabric would be melted soft very /very pliable until the the solvent gassed off.

It then would get rock hard and very strong. Just remember - Solvent reducers melt styrene.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Tenx7r?? I think it's labeled is a great solvent based styrene welder used in plastic model construction. Works great for repair work as it will give you a welded seam that can be trimmed off for a seamless repair. Add in a bit of styrene strength members and you should be good to go. Most LHS have a styrene shapes rack to get the material. Alternatively you can use pieces of the sprue from the model kit.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HeliLust View Post
Tenx7r?? I think it's labeled is a great solvent based styrene welder used in plastic model construction. Works great for repair work as it will give you a welded seam that can be trimmed off for a seamless repair. Add in a bit of styrene strength members and you should be good to go. Most LHS have a styrene shapes rack to get the material. Alternatively you can use pieces of the sprue from the model kit.
Woah, Tenax, that's a blast from the past! Great stuff, but it evaporates right through the lid if left too long.

OP, I think 30 min epoxy and a product called Micro balloons would make a good strong yet light filleting material.

You would have to experiment on some scrap, but you could mix these two into a near putty consistency, then shape it in place thinly as re enforcement.

You may be able to mix acetone or Tenax in if it does not adhere well.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've found a product called Johnny Weld. It's a silica sand that you drip in ca glue. I repair my 230 frame and I reinforce the frame and canopy with it.
Sure is strong stuff.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've found a product called Johnny Weld. It's a silica sand that you drip in ca glue. I repair my 230 frame and I reinforce the frame and canopy with it.
Sure is strong stuff.
The same can be done with the Micro Balloons. Even acts as a CA kicker.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. Unfortunately that all sounds a bit too complicated for me, and doesn't sound like I can do it indoors at the dining room table, or particularly quickly.

Plus I'm in the UK so I'm not sure of availability or cost.

Just a couple of thoughts I've had -

I know I'd have to spray outside, but would plastidip sprayed on the inside do anything useful in terms of preventing crash breaks?

Another alternative I thought of was using pure styrene sheet melted in styrene cement (Tamiya Extra Thin) - that makes a styrene substance that can be used as filler, and can be made as thin or thick as needed - I could put that all over the weak points to thicken them (along with some sprue as mentioned by one of you guys), thus increasing the strength (hopefully, in theory), although I'm guessing I'd just move the weak point on to a place further along the tail boom, unless I spread the filler all down it. But would it also add a lot of weight?
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Essentially you are using the same raw material base substrate:

Literally dissolving: the ABS " acetyl butate styrene " the model's plastic

In any density you desire to work with with solvent.

Toss your sprue's and runner's into a small jar of acetone - small bit's

Reinforce it using a fabric : Such as .05 per oz glass cloth and / or many commercial clothing fabric's - maybe silk ribbon that can be applied laterally internally " say a boom"

Many synthetic fabrics are not attacked by solvent's such as acetone.

Make your melt solution in a sealed baby food jar - when necessary dip your reinforcement fabric into it , then apply - let it gas off - It will weigh very little - the strength will be in the fabric + the resin.

The resin melt solution is a very common procedure when working with such things as wet - temporary plaster mold's that are damp to seal them. It's done prior to lay up procedures when vacuum is used. Keeps the water from reaching the lay -up.


Piece of cake - and made of the original substrate - fused into it
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm guessing then that something like medical gauze would also work. Dip that in the melted styrene and stick it to the inside of the tail boom (also safer (from a health pov) to use than fibre glass)?
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I heard of people using dryer sheets for the fabric after they've been through a dryer cycle.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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How about 2-tube epoxy on cotton cloth?
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