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Old 11-25-2008, 02:51 PM   #46
mlstoner
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

This issue is not new. I called Top Flite 3 years ago to complain about defective rolls and to try to find out what happened. Top Flite was happy to send out new rolls but they did not acknowledge that anything changed in their formulation and instead started to go down the "is your iron working correctly" path. Those of us that have used Monokote for many years know that something is different with the product. You can still get a good finish with Monocote but you have to work at it a lot harder than you used to and you may have to get some replaced for color or other quality issues. But they'll do it, happily.

Then there's the color variability and quality variability.... I had one roll where the adhesive layer is grainy and bubbled in part of the roll that I had to get replaced. If you're using it for wet overlays over other Monocote, the underlayment has to be perfect otherwise it shows as a stippled finish. For the large planes I get the 25 foot rolls and hope I can make it without needing more... I do like the overall colors and selection better than Ultracote but it's more tedious now to apply. My finish technique is much the same as has been described earlier.

Hopefully if Top Flite has to return enough product maybe something will be done but like I said, it's been at least 3 years this has been going on.
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:39 PM   #47
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

The proper temperature for MonoKote is just below the melting point of the material, where it will not dull when you apply the iron.

The best way to set your iron is to use a scrap piece of MonoKote and turn your iron 'way up. When it's hot enough to melt the material, start to back down the temperature. When you can apply the material without the finish becoming dull, you have the right temperature. If the finish becomes dull when you apply the heat, it means the material is just starting to melt.

Many problems with MonoKote stem from trying to apply it with a sealing iron set a bit on the cool side. MonoKote has always been a higher-temperature material than other types of covering.

When you apply MonoKote , you must carefully pull out the wrinkles. You can't just lay the material over the area to be covered and start tacking away. You may have to lift and reset until the big wrinkles are smoothed out. Little ones come out when you shrink the material.

When you cover a wing, make sure the MonoKote is stuck to the ribs. If you're using a heat gun, wipe over the ribs with a soft rag or a MonoKote Hot Glove.

Finally, your MonoKote finish is only as good as the surface below it. The quality of your finish is determined by the sandpaper you use up.

The various colors of MonoKote have to have slightly-different formulations of the color/adhesive material. Their reflective properties affect how well the heat is absorbed. Chrome Monokote can be a trial to apply because of its reflective nature. A lot of heat will be reflected, which can make application a bit different.

If anyone ever has a problem with Top Flite MonoKote, they just need to return the unused portion of their material and it will be replaced in full. A photocopy of your purchase receipt will help a lot to help us determine when it was produced. A letter that completely-describes your difficulty with the material should be enclosed so that we know what to look for.

Current-production MonoKote is random-tested to make sure it complies with the company's quality standards.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:16 PM   #48
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by bax
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The proper temperature for MonoKote is just below the melting point of the material, where it will not dull when you apply the iron.

The best way to set your iron is to use a scrap piece of MonoKote and turn your iron 'way up. When it's hot enough to melt the material, start to back down the temperature. When you can apply the material without the finish becoming dull, you have the right temperature. If the finish becomes dull when you apply the heat, it means the material is just starting to melt.

Many problems with MonoKote stem from trying to apply it with a sealing iron set a bit on the cool side. MonoKote has always been a higher-temperature material than other types of covering.

When you apply MonoKote , you must carefully pull out the wrinkles. You can't just lay the material over the area to be covered and start tacking away. You may have to lift and reset until the big wrinkles are smoothed out. Little ones come out when you shrink the material.

When you cover a wing, make sure the MonoKote is stuck to the ribs. If you're using a heat gun, wipe over the ribs with a soft rag or a MonoKote Hot Glove.

Finally, your MonoKote finish is only as good as the surface below it. The quality of your finish is determined by the sandpaper you use up.

The various colors of MonoKote have to have slightly-different formulations of the color/adhesive material. Their reflective properties affect how well the heat is absorbed. Chrome Monokote can be a trial to apply because of its reflective nature. A lot of heat will be reflected, which can make application a bit different.

If anyone ever has a problem with Top Flite MonoKote, they just need to return the unused portion of their material and it will be replaced in full. A photocopy of your purchase receipt will help a lot to help us determine when it was produced. A letter that completely-describes your difficulty with the material should be enclosed so that we know what to look for.

Current-production MonoKote is random-tested to make sure it complies with the company's quality standards.

I most have bought all of the rolls that were between the random tested ones. I got two rolls of marron with scratches down the middle. I got rolls of black from two years ago that had lots of small bubbles all over them, sent them back and did in fact get new ones from tower but they had the same defects. Never had problems with monokote and used it exclusively for years but it has changed in the last five years or so.
Temperature has changed as well but that I can deal with by learning what temp each color will set at on a scrap piece of wood. Scratches and defects I can't do nothing about, I can't keep sending rolls back.


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Old 11-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #49
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

If the covering looks like the pigment has grains of sand in it, or it's full of small circles that look like burst bubbles, we need to see it. It's not supposed to look like that. Some covering a few years ago went out with those difficulties. You can tell the material is bad if the backing sheet falls right off. It should stick to the pigment until you peel it off.

Again, we'd like to know when and where it was purchased so that we can try to track down when it was made.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:27 PM   #50
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by bax
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If the covering looks like the pigment has grains of sand in it, or it's full of small circles that look like burst bubbles, we need to see it. It's not supposed to look like that. Some covering a few years ago went out with those difficulties. You can tell the material is bad if the backing sheet falls right off. It should stick to the pigment until you peel it off.

Again, we'd like to know when and where it was purchased so that we can try to track down when it was made.
PM sent.

My rolls looked normal. The backing sheet was difficult to remove. The wings are sheeted so the covering was stretched from one corner to the next then sealed along the edges. The material was stuck to the wood using a heat gun on maximum and pressed in to the wood using an oven mit. The entire surface was gone over twice with the heat gun and oven mit to make sure there were no bubbles.

The 25' rolls were purchased from Tower on Sept. 19th.

FYI
I purchased two 6' rolls of older stock True Red Monokote (I look for the old price tags with the less expensive price) from a local hobby shop and produced expected results. - It sticks very well.

Last edited by Unbalanced; 11-26-2008 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:36 PM   #51
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

I have had the very same problem and have since bought up a lot of Monokote on E-Bay, RCU,RC Groups and RC Canada and differrent sites and always ask how old the covering is and guys are surprised because they think I want fresh stuff but no I'm buying up the old ? Don't know what they changed but something is definetly different? My .02 Worth
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:15 PM   #52
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Bax - I was able to get it to stick better but only with high heat (like you suggest) and some pressure from the iron. The problem was, the higher the heat, the more the covering sank into the wood showing the grain. At this point it was stuck but it looked less than smooth. So my choices were a nice mirror finish that was not bonded well or a well bonded grainy finish.

The Monokote of a few years back would tighten up with higher heat and look like a mirror finish. It would also be bonded so well that you could never cleanly strip it off. In fact, you could slap it on poorly and have a bunch of wrinkles and still manage to make it look good just by applying more heat. I just sold a 20 year old plane that was covered in Missile Red Monokote. It looked better than any of my recent projects even after sitting in un-airconditioned attic storage for years.

I sent 5 rolls back (some partial some unopened). Hobbico can test them out and see. I wouldn't take the time to even write this if I didn't like Monokote. That's why I'm hoping something can be done. Until then, I'll use Ultracote.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:17 PM   #53
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by Extra nuts
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Not to get off topic here but do yo you use it where the bond takes place or around where the bonds takes place. Reason i ask is it feels kind of waxy and extremely slippery after its applied. Im guessing you use it to prevent adhesion where you dont want it?.
We use the plexus MA 310 where the bond takes place, however we make sure that it is not anywhere that prime or topcoat needs to take place because the finish will pop loose from the Plexus with time.

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Old 11-26-2008, 11:48 PM   #54
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

I covered an Aeroworks 50cc Yak with Monokote little over a year ago. I can say for sure something was changed. I didn't shrink like I remember it used to plus it didn't seem to adhere as I remember. This plane was the first one I have done in about 5-7 years so I know something was different. I did get in touch with someone who said that the formula was changed due to EPA regs. I did manage to get a good covering job but I really had to add the heat. Mine has stayed wrinkle free for over a year(knock on wood). I didn't have any adhesion problems probably due to the fact that I had the heat up high. I did do a few test pieces to get the feel for covering again and get the heat set right. I used white and dark red on my plane with the white going on easier than the red. The red didn't seem to shrink as well as the white but neither shrunk as well as I remember. Also, you got to stretch the hell out of it so it stays tight. I don't remember having to pull and stretch it so much as you do with the newer stuff. I getting ready to cover a plane for a friend with Ultracote since that is what he got for it. I'll see how the Ultarcote compares to the Monokote. I'm glad I still have some older rolls of skyblue, pink and maroon Monokote stashed away. I've got 2 planes that were covered more than 5 years ago and neither has wrinkled. The last one I covered was my Sig Kougar that was done more than 5 years ago. It was done in all white and it still looks good.
I don't care for the new formulation Monokote. It ain't like the old stuff.
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:05 AM   #55
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Sorry for a long post but if your having Monokote issues you might try this, it helped me big time. I personally prefer Ultracote but I can get Monokote to work fairly well. Some food for thought brought to me from DSP and nobody does it any better than Dave Jones..Here's what he put in my head. No higher grit on a final than 400 grit. All the grain has got to be clean and open. Blow it, Vaccume it and Scrub the heck out of the balsa with a tack rag and continue to use it during the covering process. Tack your piece down with an iron. Pull it, adjust it and keep working it till its pulled super tight around the edges before you start, should look like its covered before the heat goes to it. On 3 of a piece with 4 edges iron the parimeter completely down leaving the 4th side open. Tack down the 4th side in several places again keeping it as tight as possible. On the opposite end thats sealed down hit it one pass width with a heat gun shrinking the covering the width of the nozzle. Immediately hit it with a sock covered iron pushing down working toward the end of the tacked side. If you push the air towards the open end it will not blister as there's no air to expand and you've pushed it ahead to shrink it out on the next pass. Hit another pass with the heat gun where you left off shrinking the covering, again hit this area with a iron. The idea is to shove the adhesive in the open grain giving the monokote something to grab on to. If you do not see the wood grain under floursecent lights its not hammered down well enough. The entire piece has got to be shrunk and stuck, miss a spot and it'll come back up usually as it all cools down. Done correctly it looks like paint in the sun and like ***** under the flourescent lights. It gets easier with a little experience. On Wayne's last build towards the end of the covering job I started to get the hang of the new Monokote and it actually started to look great. Big rolls are better quality and more color consistant. Worked for me..Thanks Dave
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:38 PM   #56
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Hey Walt, that's exactly the process we used - step for step! Jeff has recovered the bottom of the wings now with a new roll and so far it seems to be working right.
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:23 PM   #57
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by CSpaced
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Hey Walt, that's exactly the process we used - step for step! Jeff has recovered the bottom of the wings now with a new roll and so far it seems to be working right.
Just for kicks, I decided to heat and press the covering to the melting point to see if it would stick. I also tried to melt the covering on the overlapping seam.
No adhesion...
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:05 PM   #58
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Dang, I just had the same problem with the stabs of my 40% Cardden Edge. I ended up passing the iron on them several times then I set them in the sun today and I seemed to really help out the situation. I'm gonna give it a day or so and see how much it loosens up. I think this could have been a bad batch of Monocote..... Time to write the company guys... Maybe they could help us out.. LOL!!!
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:42 PM   #59
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by Unbalanced
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Just for kicks, I decided to heat and press the covering to the melting point to see if it would stick. I also tried to melt the covering on the overlapping seam.
No adhesion...
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:04 PM   #60
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Default Re: Monokote - Poor adhesion!!!!

Jeff, that really sucks to hear you have to redo your covering. That plane was looking freaking sweet when I looked at it a couple weeks ago! Hopefully the second time around will look just as good as the first.
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