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Sign Vinyl

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  • Sign Vinyl

    OK, so I admit it is time to put the dark blue vinyl I have on my Ventus wings and I'm apprehensive. Done as much research as I could and I think the best way is the wet method. Hope to cover the entire center panel in one go. That would mean a 5' x 9" piece to apply single handed. What are your tips to do this, is it best to wet it all out and work form the center of the panel to the tip and the root or should I start at one end and work to the other pulling the backing off as I go? Or is there another method that is normally used? Trimming for the leading edge is another concern to make a nice even cut. I'm open to all suggestions, since I've have only done smaller PSA applications before.

  • #2
    I would definitely use the wet method with lots of liquid on both the wing and the vinyl. Cut the vinyl an inch or two oversize then trim after it is thoroughly dried. I use a credit card (or hotel card key) inside a sock. The sock prevents the card from scratching the vinyl. Start in the center and work outwards in a fan pattern like is shown in directions for applying UltraCote to a solid surface.

    One trick for a straight leading edge cut is to lay down some thick masking tape (blue tape is thicker than the normal stuff) on the top half of the leading edge with the edge of the masking tape where you want to cut. Then apply the vinyl up to and over the masking tape. You can use a fingernail or credit card to get the vinyl pressed up to the masking tape such that you can see the ledge it forms. This gives you a line to cut by but is still more or less freehand. If someone has a better method I would sure like to hear it. I hate that part of the process. Although in reality, unless you really screw up no one ever notices small deviations.
    Rick Shelby
    Team Horizon


    • #3
      Thanks for the idea of the tape. In that line I have never very good a free hand cutting. The reason I asked is I'm looking for good proven ways to apply it. On some of my TD ships I have applied Monokote trim using the wet method with multiple strips to make stripes up to about 20". I trimmed the TE with a single edge razor blade on those after they have dried.

      To trim the LE on those composite ships I over lapped the LE and let hang over until it dried. Then when dry I take a fresh 320 grit wet or dry sanding block and sand downward (away from the main field of the trim) where I want the "cut" line until I just cut the trim. One has to be careful to sand only through the trim material though. It can leave a smooth even transition to the trim on the LE if done well. Also, sure wouldn't try it on a wood LE.


      • #4
        I find that it's easier to apply the vinyl in chordwise strips so that you're handling smaller pieces. Using 24" wide vinyl it's also more effective/economical in the use of the vinyl. Starting at the root I match the long edge of the vinyl to the root and cut the leading edge angle to match, cutting the trailing edge to allow a little hanging over. Once the fluid has been squeeged from under the vinyl you can trim the trailing edge with a new single edged razor blade, using the bevel of the edge to keep from gouging the trailing edge of the wing and cutting only on the down stroke so you don't lift the vinyl off the surface of the wing. The hardest part is getting the next strip firmly against the first one, but the liquid under the vinyl lets you slide things around so that it's not too hard to accomplish. The biggest worry is stretching the vinyl, which often causes the matching edges to shrink away, leaving a bit of a white stripe. When I come to a servo cover I just leave a white stripe the full width of the chord. If you're really fussy you can cut an opening for the servo cover, but that's just another thing to try and align, and after all it's on the bottom of the wing and you're doing this for visibility and not a scale feature.