Flush Panel (aka) Butt Seam Application Instructions.

You must first read all preceding application instructions before you start; primary instructions are not repeated. These instructions may appear to be short hand and incomplete unless you read the preceding instructions. As always, we’ve found that a little forethought, patience and practice will permit you to achieve a realistic finish on your scale project.  

© self adhesive aluminum is pressure sensitive and must be applied with burnishing pressure tools for proper adhesion.

This is a butt seam aluminum panel application photo essay. Mr. George Maiorana and Joe Rafalowski contributed these digital images. Review your photo documentation to identify type
of panels on your airframe. It's common to find lapped and smooth seams on a single airframe designed prior to the early 50’s.

We illustrate covering molded-in panel lines and smooth surfaced fiberglass airframes. This process is identical for covering a fiberglass cloth covered wood airframe and desire to apply flush cut panels. We begin with photos of Joe Rafalowski's BVM F-100 turbine powered jet with molded-in panels.

Example #B1.

Example #B2.

Example #B3.

Beginning with example B1. BVM's F-100 like the full size incorporates molded in flush seam panels. Unlike smooth skin fuselages, molded in panel lines do not require drawing lines on model surface. Butt cut panels do not require an installation sequence. All panels and hatch locations should be considered prior to beginning. (Access hatch examples later).

Example B2 shows 1 inch 3M Fine Line© tape laid along the outside perimeter of panel with a 1/64th to 1/32nd inch overlap "inside" the molded panel line. While it appears to be “0” overlap the overlap is within the molded panel line surrounding the “to be covered panel”.

Example B3 shows © cut about 3/4 inch larger than panel area to permit easy positioning & fast application. After initial burnishing with index finger working from center to edge of panel, use © fibrous burnishing tool point to burnish against hard edge of taped along panel perimeter. Trim excess and lift waste with the tape. Burnish “across cut edge” with fibrous burnishing edge to smooth cut edge. Note: Do not use “finishing pad” or sand paper on © until all panels are applied to the airframe.

Burnish To Hard Tape Edge

Cut then Remove Waste & Tape

Burnish Edge Down Smooth

Flush Panel Application on smooth surfaced fiberglass airframes:

Unlike molded-in panel line fiberglass airframes, built up and glassed wood airframes require the panel line pattern be drawn onto the surface. This process is discussed on the first sheet
of our instructions.

Example #B9

Example #B10

Example #B11  

Example #B9 George Maiorana burnishing new top panel to bottom panel burnished to the airframe in normal fashion. The sharp edge of a cuticle stick is perfect for a good hard edge against an adjacent panel. The ideal method to create flush seam panels is to apply an initial panel as if you are going to do an overlap. Then, after lifting waste and tape, place tape along inside of that panel’s perimeter forming a hard edge against which you burnish the next panel.

Example #B10 shows metal straight edge (available at local home store) laid across intersect between new and installed panel. Many straight edges are backed with thin cork to prevent slipping. Lower edge of straight edge is parallel to newly burnished edge between the panels.

Dipping hobby knife in mineral spirits lubricates edge increasing life of blade and smoothness of cut. Wipe the fresh cut with alcohol to remove mineral spirit residue immediately after making cut. When panel is cut, remove excess and tape leaving a straight line between panels.

Lay cork backed stainless ruler over panel line and draw a line on top of the panel line using a black ink ball point pen. Drawing the pen across the © gently will create the perfect indentation between the two panels.

Example #B11 shows bottom of fuselage as the panel is being applied. The
® Scotch Bright finishing pad included with the AK packaged tools will create a light dusting of aluminum when it is used. If you use the finishing pad before the surface is completely covered, aluminum dust will contaminate the uncovered aircraft surface leaving particles under the aluminum.

Example #B12

Example #B13

Example #B14

Example #B12 shows faux access hatch template taped to surface of smooth fuselage side. Square to adjacent panel lines for best appearance.
Example #B13 shows rounded point of cuticle stick drawn around template perimeter. A ball point pen will accomplish this same effect.
Example #B14 shows faux access hatch panel line being cut for most authentic appearance.

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