Really stupid question

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by andrew ferguson, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Despite my status as 'extreme veteran' or whatever it is, i am very inexperienced in card models. So far the ones i have made had no armature or whatever you call the skeleton that you make for most card models.

    So, i am contemplating making my first airplane and will have to use the formers that make up the planes skeleton and then skin the wings and fuselage etc with the colour printed pieces.

    So, here is the stupid question part. How do i glue the external skin parts to the armature/skeleton i make? There is almost no surface area for glueing to. The model i am contemplating is rather large and it seems to me that glueing the surface of the wings, fuselage etc to the skeleton/armature will be both difficult (how do i hold the parts in place for hours while the glue dries?) and also won't be very strong once it does dry, because of the small surface area for gluing, which is basically just the edges of the formers.

    It can obviously be done, but i am a bit perplexed as to how to best proceed.

    Help appreciated. :)
  2. formers

    well i would use double thickness formers ...but what do i know i'm new at this too :grin: :grin:
  3. barry

    barry Active Member

    Most models have a 1mm thick former but the joining of the skins is either a strip glued inside the skin or butt jointing the formers together have a look at Bowdenja's last threads and the current one on NOBI's A36 by milenio3 why not follow his build the A36 is free.
  4. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    If you are using white glue it takes about 30 seconds to one minute to dry. :D If its taking longer then you either need to cut it with water or put it on much thinner (or both)

    It "dries" by the paper sucking the water out of the glue almost immediately when pressure is applied.
  5. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Not a stupid question at all.

    Even without strengthening the formers, the edges of cardstock glue and hold nicely. You have to be more careful in the method you choose to clamp/hold while it sets.
  6. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Let me assure you that there is no question, however "stupid" it may seem, that someone else hasn't asked, when faced with their first paper scale model. The question you ask is one that we've all had to answer one way or another.

    Following some of the build threads here will answer many of your questions. If you tell us what kit you're building, it might help us to give you more specific advice.

    No Worries,
  7. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

    I use battens, strips running fore and aft that provide a surface to glue to.

    Here is one of my fusalages without the skin. You can see the for-to-aft battens. The tail has battens that are the same shape as the skin, but the center is cut out. The batten goes on without wrinkles with the center cut out. And the skin doesn't wrinkle because the batten holds it stretched. Yes, the tail surface is a compound curve, and so is most of the fusalage surfaces.

    I use CA to attach the skin because, to look right my skins should be under tension. If the glue takes any time to dry the skin will relax and look flabby. I use Gel Control Superglue.

    I think of it as stretching the skin and I work as if I were stretching canvas over a frame for painting. I start at the middle(central line of the fusalage) with a dot of glue and hold the piece in place with a damp rag. I work work outward doing a dot on one side and then one on the other making sure that each dot holds the tension of the skin. The damp rag helps with getting the skin to conform to the compound curves of the frame.

    The bottom part of this fusalage has a hole in it because at the time I was figuring out how to get the landing gear to retract and made some messy post printout changes. ;-) Ripping the model to make things fit often works.

    Attached Files:

  8. popala

    popala Member

    Also, you don't want to press the skins too hard to the formers, or you'll end up with "cow ribs". This is especially easy to do if you use too much water based glue, causing the paper to soften and sink a little.
  9. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    This may sound a little odd on face value, but it might help if you can get a book on basic welding techniques. The methods of making joins are the same for paper and glue as for metal and welding rod...just lots less dirty, and lots less painful if a bit of the "joining material" drops into your lap. Same goes for reading a book or two on sheet metal fabrication (tin-bending 101, as we called it at Cal Poly). The real trick of white glue is using as little of it as you possibly can....on paper, more water-based glue is definitely not better. In the case of joining "eggcrate" formers, it helps if you can cut them so they are interlocking, rather than just butted-together pieces. And, if you think the framework joins still aren't strong enough, add some gussets (little triangles)....both braces the joint from bending and gives you more effective gluing area. Another trick I sometimes use is to cut the formers somewhat undersize, cut thin strips of cardstock or heavy bond paper (about 1/8th to 3/16th inch wide), and then glue the strip around the edge of the former to make it look like an I beam in profile. Again, this both strengthens the part against bending and increases the gluing surface for the skin parts (very similar to what Lizzie was talking about). When doing that, don't worry overly about making the piece too undersized (within reason, of course) can easily wind on multiple layers of the gluing strip until the overall size gets built up to being a perfect fit. The critical part is trying to make sure the amount you trim from the former is everywhere uniform, or the former outline will start to distort.
  10. Mechanic

    Mechanic Member

    I have yet to build an airplane,but one thing that have done on other models, and I can't remember where I got this tip, but I keep a hot iron handy when I'm building. A small amount of white glue on both parts to be joined acts just like hot glue and bond almost instantly with the application of heat and a little pressure. And it works even when the glue is almost dry.
  11. sjsquirrel

    sjsquirrel Member


    My experience has been as mentioned above - a double thickness of cardstock takes glue and holds the skin surprisingly well. Something else to keep in mind is tacky glue - I use Aleene's Easy Flow Tacky Glue. It's thicker than typical white glues so it stays where you put it, and dries very quickly.

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