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Thread: Tips on masking off long straight line down the fuselage??

  1. #1
    supercub's Avatar
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    Tips on masking off long straight line down the fuselage??

    I'm getting ready to mask off the fuselage for the lightening bolt on my project. I know the layout and dimensions, I'm just curious what technique you might use to lay out a straight line down the side of the fuselage. I've snapped a chalk line in the past, but just curious of other or perhaps better ideas. Thanks

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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Spinning laser level. Dunno how to make it not-level though. I haven't used it myself, but have seen pics being used on airframes.
    Gordon

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    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

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    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    Some handheld lasers have a lock feature for a straight line at any angle I use that but I find it’s just a guide, adjust to ‘look right’. A compound curve sometimes looks better not perfectly straight. Stripes on a Cobra taper at the ends but look straight.

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    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    My mechanic described taping a stripe on a Cub as like trying to draw a straight line on a banana. Several sets of eyes help.

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    I use the masking tape, with aim marks at the rear window and tail post. I don't think the original was dead straight - I perceive a slight curve.
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    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    When I put the stripe on my cub I wasn’t going to strip the cowling, just scuff and repaint, so I used the old strips from the pieces behind the boot cowl and made cardboard copies of the bullet and stripes on the cowl. I figured piper would have had a template, same for both sides. They didn’t. The stripe was in different spots on both sides, and left to right the bullet was different shapes. I’d imagine they just masked out what looked right. Plus. You can’t see both sides at the same time.


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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I use a string, then put little pieces of tape every 2 feet or so, with just a corner of the tape on the side where my good paint tape will be...

    if I'm in a REAL PICKY mood, or doing thin stripes, I will find 2" or 4" masking tape and lay that down opposite of my paint tape... wide tape is hard to get crooked... then put my paint tape right along that...

    and as mentioned above, both sides of a cub are NOT the same dimensions as far as where rear windows are.....

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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Jim's Champ 007.jpg 
Views:	108 
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ID:	45388Now don't take this photo as any indication of how much oil is always streaked on my airplane. I think this stripe, except for color, is as close to factory as I could get. And yes, I have seen celluloid templates, but just use the dimensions that Clyde has. This was done by stretching the tape. it does have an up-sweep.

    While I am bragging, that cowl was hammered out of 7075-O in 1966, complete with rolled edges. It survives to this day, 5000 hours later.
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    why not find two people and use a 12 foot one by 4 or something and use a pencil, just find a straight board.

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    PerryB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    why not find two people and use a 12 foot one by 4 or something and use a pencil, just find a straight board.
    That may prove more difficult than drawing the stripe in the first place.....
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !
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    finding 2 people or using a 1x4, i used a 1x4 and it took 2 minutes and turned out perfect.

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    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    I use a $20 laser level from Craftsman. That being said, I'm going to use a newer green laser on the next one...they're much easier to see!! Works great when mounted on a camera tripod. I can get pretty much any angle to get the stripe to lay where I want up front and in back and follow the line between.
    John

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    PerryB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    finding 2 people or using a 1x4, i used a 1x4 and it took 2 minutes and turned out perfect.
    I meant finding a straight board.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerryB View Post
    I meant finding a straight board.
    Exactly my first thought!!!


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    On a T-Craft fuselage side, only after you take great pains to lay out a perfectly straight line for the masking tape, using a laser or dry line, will you find that an actual straight line will appear "not straight". In order for it to look straight it must not be straight. Anyone else ever encounter that?
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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    On a T-Craft fuselage side, only after you take great pains to lay out a perfectly straight line for the masking tape, using a laser or dry line, will you find that an actual straight line will appear "not straight". In order for it to look straight it must not be straight. Anyone else ever encounter that?
    That's common on boats with compound curves. Sometimes you just need to stand away a bit and move the line to what looks right.

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    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    On a T-Craft fuselage side, only after you take great pains to lay out a perfectly straight line for the masking tape, using a laser or dry line, will you find that an actual straight line will appear "not straight". In order for it to look straight it must not be straight. Anyone else ever encounter that?
    Yup! One thing Ive done to help that (just had to on a Bearhawk) is to make sure the laser is the same height as the stripe and level to the airplane, and I set it off at about a 45* angle from the fuselage side. If I have the room, I'll go 90* to the side, but I'm usually doing this in the paint booth, so I'm lucky if I can even get the 45!
    John
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    aktango58's Avatar
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    With a little more tequila, it won't matter


    Watching others with OCD look over planes, the spots people really notice are where lines intercept windows, cowls and edges. Make sure the bolt intercepts the cowl and ends at the same points on each end, have them down the same distance from the windows. Have them the same width, and curves in same area.

    Keeping it off of the cowl looks better in my mind, always hate the way the cowl cheeks look with a stripe gaped out from the boot cowl.

    But as said above, 'strait' is not always the solution on a not so strait surface.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supercub View Post
    I'm getting ready to mask off the fuselage for the lightening bolt on my project. I know the layout and dimensions, I'm just curious what technique you might use to lay out a straight line down the side of the fuselage. I've snapped a chalk line in the past, but just curious of other or perhaps better ideas. Thanks
    What stage of assembly is your airplane? Turn the fuselage on it's side. This will eliminate the issue of the long masking tape sagging as you lay it on. No matter how wide your tape is, over the length required it will sag in the middle.

    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Watching others with OCD look over planes, the spots people really notice are where lines intercept windows, cowls and edges. Make sure the bolt intercepts the cowl and ends at the same points on each end, have them down the same distance from the windows. Have them the same width, and curves in same area.
    N1PA

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    high time cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    In order for it to look straight it must not be straight. Anyone else ever encounter that?
    Yes, the Greeks and the Romans. Look-up entasis.

    A classic example in aircraft architecture is the biplane turtle deck. Build it dead straight and it will appear concave when viewing it from a distance. Entasis will correct the optical illusion.

    Best,

    HT

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