Aluminum Foil Paper

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by Gil, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Some more aluminum foil stuff!

    Found the following on the Large Scale Planes site. Good tutorial on aluminum "off the roll" for plastic airplanes (application to paper has limitations).

    I'd be interested in comments. Have fun:

    Best regards, Gil
  2. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Dang!!!! Those planes were pertty!
  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    News & Update

    Time for a short update on the AFP Project,

    The following was brought forward from the C-47B Design posting to refresh everyone's memory:

    "The following thought struck me as I was writing an article explaining how to form Aluminum Foil Paper (AFP) into compound curved objects. Why not put the aluminum on the inside of the printed surface and then form it into the desired result. The only issue that I see is the use of 100% cotton paper for the printed surface (should be ok if it's sprayed with acrylic varnish after printing). I was thinking of trying this on Halinski's F6F-3 just to see how it will work. The reason for using cotton paper is it's the only paper that can stretch enough to conform to compound curves (this was discovered through previous experimental builds). This technique allows the use of AFP in areas where compound curves are important leaving the rest of the model as a normal, per the instructions, build.

    The reason I'm asking this question is to see how many think this is just as important as having a shiney aluminum surface. It will definitely preserve the print detail but will require scannng the surfaces of the those affected sections. Associated frames will also need to be reduced in size to account for the thickness of the aluminum. Using Ron's method of connecting sections before inserting the frames makes this a much more palatable solution."

    The nose skins and formers of the Halinski F6F-3 Hellcat were scanned (400 dpi) and cropped using Arcsoft. The .bmp file was then loaded into Adobbe Illustrator and a new part 122 was derived taking into account that the amount of required curvature for this part of the nose requires a larger radial section than in the original. This took longer than anticipated as I haven't been using Illustrator for awhile and sat around for the most part wondering why commands used for other software applications weren't performing exactly what I wanted in Illustrator...., A slight tutorializing and manual review period led to the realization that I'd become a little on the corroded side in grinding out what at first seems a rather simple part..., Needless to say it's now done and the proof is attached. Note the new 122A part. The part is printed on 24# 100% pure cotton paper. One small annoyance is the manufacturers watermark which if postioned in the wrong place will show through the printed paper under the right conditions. The texture of this media is subtly pleasing. Somewhat along the lines of a freshly starched and pressed cotton dress shirt. The surface will be sealed with acrylic matte varish before being attached to the aluminum foil.

    Best regards, Gil
  4. silverw

    silverw Member

    Hey Gil

    I wondered at your mention of (100% cotton paper), wouldn't that mean that it was , cotton, and not paper?

    What about just using thinner paper, like 80# bond, and let the aluminium be the substamce, and the paper is just the pattern, or am I missing the point?

  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Pattern and decorating surface both...,

    European and American paper were both hand made of "rag" at one time consisting of a mixture of cotton and linen. The advent of using wood pulp to mass produce paper began around 1857. All natural fiber paper is made of cellulose. Cotton is 100% cellulose with wood pulp a distant second. So if you're to be a purist you'd better get cracking on starch'in the linens to be right'n proper....,

    This experiment is for the printed side out test not the shiney side out. Shiney side out doesn't care if the inside paper is wrinkled. Not so for printed side out. One more point is that only areas with compound curves receive the aluminum backing. The rest is built with cardstock as per usual.

    Best regards, Gil

    P.S. In the middle of building the F6F-3 test piece now.
  6. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    News Flash

    A peak at intermediate results..., It's actually going to work! Below is part 122A after forming. Needs a little work on the lower cooling vent but the effect is as planned.

    Best, Gil
  7. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    That is so great, Gil. Please, if you will, turn the piece around and let us have a peek at the aluminium inside. For that's what it is, isn't it?

    And, Gil, do get yourself a tripod for the camera as a birthday present; set the shutter to self-timer, and show us your hands wielding the tools forming those elegant curves. (That's a wish for my birthday...)


  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    You mean like this....,

    I have the equipment, it's just easier to grab the camera and shoot. I've been documenting this build so the camera with tripod was set up and photographs taken per the self timer.

    Best regards, Gil
  9. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Beautiful - now I get an idea of both the technique, as well as the true size of the part. So small, and so deftly worked! - L.
  10. silverw

    silverw Member

    "I think eezz got it" quoth I

    Thanks Gil...
  11. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    F6F-3 Halinski Hellcat Aluminum Foil Paper Nose Experiment

    Hello All,

    Finished the F6F-3 Hellcat Paper Side Out nose building experiment as part of the Aluminum Foil Paper Series. In a word it works, In another word you have to be very careful about keeping the glue where the glue belongs. The photo below shows the first three external skins of the Halinski F6F-3. Reflecting back I realized that only the first two were really required to get the "look". Part 122A needed to be larger in the external outline to account for the additional area needed by the curvature added through the forming process. This in turn caused a trimming domino effect which is to be avoided in cardmodels at all costs. In this case it was OK as it was an experimental build and is not expected to connect to real model. One other small annoyance was the fact that the aluminum should also have an additional backing of paper to allow water based glues to be used in the normal assembly sequence (guess how the glue got where it didn't belong and why). A little water color touch up, OK a whole lot of watercolor paint was used to touch-up the glue fell swoops (at least I resisted the urge to use MEK to clean up the glue globs otherwise I wouldn't be posting this!). I'll be including this in the article that this experiment interrupted.

    Best regards, Gil
  12. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Success! - L.
  13. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Gil

    I've been watching this in amazement, the whole thing is just outstanding mate.
    Keep plodding on with it and I can't wait for your "How to" write up.

    Fantastic stuff

    In awe of a master

  14. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Courugated Metal

    Hello All,

    This has been on the agenda for some time. It's an easy and can't fail technique for making corrugated metal in various pitches depending upon scale requirements.

    Evergreen Scale Models, Inc. of Woodinville, Washington manufactures a number of modeling styrene sheet products and is readily available in the U.S. The styrene sheet halve pieces used in the photograph below have been cut from a 6 inch x 12 inch sheet of item number 4528, Metal Siding with 2 mm spacing and is 1.0 mm thick. Evergreen offers the metal siding in 1, 1.5, 2, 2.25 and 3.125 mm spacings which will match just about every scale requirement.


    Take a piece of tooling aluminum (0.005 mil dead soft aluminum) and place between the two sheets. The sheets are alingned so that the ridges mesh. The sandwich is then placed on top of supporting surface (cork matt shown) and burnished with burnishing tool (the back of a teaspoon will suffice). A little beeswax lubricates the sheet styrene easing the burnishing task.

    The result is shown on the left ( it's got a few dings from not leaving well enough alone).

    What's nice about this technique is the ability to turn out perfectly formed metal sheets just perfect for a Junkers J-52, A 50 Junior, Tin Donkey or Ford Trimotor.

    Enjoy, Gil
  15. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Aluminum Foil Paper Revisited

    Long Awaited Episode of The Quest for Aluminum Foil Paper.

    Every once in awhile enough collective experience from various experiments gels together to yield something useful...,

    One problem that has remained a tough nut to crack is the tendency for paper to curl and wrinkle when exposed to water and water based products. This has prevented the use of water based adhesive products to bond paper sheets and other sheet materials together. Most resort to using 3M "77" spray adhesive for this with good results. Unfortunately it doesn't bond aluminum foil well. The key word is "well". It does bond the foil and yes, the foil will fail before the bond. The issue is workability and surface defects. I won't go into all the details but the end product's surface detail was sub par and the bond turned out to be too inflexible for small radius detail (wrinkle developement). Another problem that really proved to be a show stopper was the inability to apply large areas of foil to the paper surface.

    Two discoveries changed this situation into a very pleasing result. The first is that coated paper is fairly impervious to the effects of water based adhesive products. The second is that Aleene's "Tack It Over & Over" adhesive when thinned with water makes a very credible contact cement for foil to paper. The thinned cement is applied to both surfaces and allowed to completely dry which is indicated by it turning from a milky white to clear. The kitchen aluminum foil panel is first prepared by flattening and smoothing it shiney side down with cotton cloth, paper towel, or chamois on a very clean glass smooth surface. The foil will tend to curl which can be taken out by flipping it over and rubbing the other side a few times in the affected areas.

    Lay the aluminum sheet carefully onto the coated paper sheet beginning at one end. Use a small sash brush to press the foil onto the paper avoiding the formation of any creases. Turn the paper and foil composite over on a clean glass smooth surface and lightly work the back of the paper with burnishing pad used to flatten the foil earlier. Work from the center to the outside using a circular polishing type of motion. Turn the composite over and work out any wrinkles that might have formed in the process. Hopefully there won't be any that can't be rubbed out. The surface can be polished using 0000# steel wool. Make sure to stroke it in only one direction which is generally lengthwise. Set aside for at least 24 hours to allow the glue to become stronger.

    Coated cover stock can be found at paper dealers that cater to printshops. Aleene's Tack It Over & Over is available at most art supply stores in North America. If you are in Europe or Asia and have a different brand or substitute that works the same let us know. Aluminum foil used is off the roll used in the kitchen and was not treated in any way except being cleaned with alcohol prior to flattening.

    Below is a small test panel of the above technique. Next step is how to print on the aluminum surface followed by surface detailing techniques.

    Till then, then...,

  16. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Cropped Detail


    Attempted adding panel lines and rivet detail to the above panel..., needs a bit more of practise before it's ready for the standard repetoire. As the picture was being prepared in Photoshop the idea occurred to me that with a little additional work that this could be used as fill pattern for pseudo aluminum printing.

    The panel lines are too heavily engraved with the backside tip of a #11 scalpel blade. The rivet detail was completed using a tuned up pounce wheel.
    Also took a piece of 10 mil acetate and cut a thin srip approximately 20 cm long and 8 mm wide. One side was coated with thinned Tack It glue and allowed to dry. This was then used as a tacky back guide for engraving on curved surfaces.

  17. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Photoshop Aluminum Fill Test Panel


    Processed the above image into a Fill panel in Photoshop. Filled a 640 x 480 panel with the results. Is this enough evidence to continue?

  18. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Following this with some awe... - L.

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