Application Tipz                                   Printer Friendly Version


--First, A word about Isopropyl Alcohol--
RotorGraphics recommends that you use 70% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol to clean and degrease your plastic parts and to wet the adheasive side of the graphics so you can slide them into place during application.   DO NOT USE 90% Isopropyl or 100% Ispropanol OR any other fluid or solvent.   For application, you may use a commercial sign vinyl application fluid which you can obtain at your local sign supply shop.

--Second, a Word About Smoking and Open Flames--
Don't.   Really don't.   You're going to be spraying 70% Isopropyl Alcohol around here Einstein.   While not wildly flammable, it is NOT a good idea to smoke while spraying this stuff around.   Open flames also include furnaces, water heaters, stoves, etc.   Find a place to do this that is room temperature but is well ventilated.

--Pre-Application Cleaning--
To maximize the service life of your RotorGraphics vinyl graphics, it is essential that the application surface be clean and oil free. Even brand new HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) canopys may still have a silicone mold release compound on the surface so always follow these cleaning steps:

1) Using original Dawn dishwashing liquid, soap the part up well inside and out. Rinse.
2) Using a mild abrasive like Comet or Boraxo, scrub the application surfaces lightly. Rinse.
3) Repeat step one. Rinse Well. Dry using paper towels.

Fins only require a good double degreasing using 70% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol.

--General Application Tipz--
First off, relax dude. Using our 70% Isopropyl alcohol from a spray bottle "wet" application method gives you plenty of time to place and adjust these vinyl graphics for position. If things are not going well, and you sense that the vinyl is drying out, just lift the piece off and re-spray with alcohol. Once the graphic is in position, it is important to squeegee all the fluid out from under the vinyl. Support the canopy firmly from underneath and use a balled up bit of paper towel to squeegee out the excess fluid. Methodically, squeegee from the center of each graphic out to its edges. You should be spending AT LEAST 10 MINUTES squeegeeing each large piece, gradually increasing the squeegee pressure that you use. On thin canopies, use two or three folded paper towels as a supporting surface on the inside of the canopy while you squeegee. Failure to squeegee properly, will result in trapped air-bubbles later.

NOTE TO SCEADU AND FREYA OWNERS: The Sceadu and Freya canopies make the squeegeeing task more important because they lack the "pebble" finish that the Thunder Tiger and Century canopies have. This pebble finish acts as a vent network allowing some excess moisture to escape. Without this pebbling, you need to be VERY attentive to the squeegeeing task.

ALSO...it is important that you choose a well lit workspace to work in. You can do a much better job of squeegeeing if you can see the SUBTLE signs of trapped fluid beneath the vinyl.

--Dealing with Air Bubbles--
Inadequate squeegeeing of the vinyl can result in air bubbles appearing within two weeks of application. If this happens, just take a new #11 hobby knife blade and pierce the outside edge of the bubble at a shallow angle. Then squeegee the bubble starting from the side opposite from the slit you just made.

--Application of Lettering--
If your graphics kit comes with any lettering as part of the design, this lettering is always applied last, after any panel pieces. To prevent lifting of the freshly applied panel sheets, its a good idea to let the canopy sit for 24 hours prior to the application of any lettering. Be sure to clean and degrease the target application area with Isopropyl first. Flip your graphics sheet over and locate the "Application" tape affixed to the back of the sheet. Peel this tape free (it should release easily) and set it aside, adhesive side upward.

Newer kits are being made with all lettering blocks surrounded by a rounded corner box line which permits faster coarse weeding of the excess vinyl. You will need to lift (or 'weed') this "bounding box" and discard. To do this, work from one corner and remove diagonally SLOWLY. If any of the lettering starts to lift from the backing sheet, use a finger or hobby knife blade to release the lettering from the excess bounding box vinyl and lay it back down onto the backing sheet. When this happens, it is almost always because the adhesive on either side of the cut is sticking together and is not a problem with a cut in the vinyl itself. If there are any islands of vinyl left within the lettering, use the point of your hobby knife at a shallow angle near an edge and lift the island free and discard.

Once the lettering is weeded, cut the block of lettering free from the backing sheet a lay it lettering upward on a table top. Cut a length of application tape to match this block of lettering and apply it adhesive side down to the face of the lettering. Burnish the tape down to the lettering with a plastic spoon or your fingers. Then, gripping the application tape, peel the lettering away from the backing sheet. Now, holding the tape strip taughtly parallel to the surface where the lettering goes, use the translucency of the tape to help position the lettering before letting it come into contact with the surface. WARNING! Vinyl to Vinyl contact is often difficult to peel back up, so align carefully! Should the adhesive grab too soon, a quick yank usually works better than a slow, controlled peel. Once the lettering is down on the desired surface, burnish it down with a plastic spoon or similar tool. Now peel the transfer tape away slowly at a shallow angle. If any of the lettering comes up, lay the transfer tape back down and re-burnish.

--Century Hawk Sport--

Generally, the Hawk Sport ProSeries kit is pretty easy to apply, but there are a few tips to pass along here.

First, you must mount the canopy first to the heli. once done, remove the grommets and the forward mounting bracket and set aside. It is also easier to apply this kit with the windscreen removed.

Like the Sceadu and Shuttle kits, the main body panels are positioned EXACTLY along the edge of the windscreen support lip. Use plenty of Isopropyl so you can position these parts accurately.

The bottom piece is easier to apply if you drench it with isopropyl and fold the six "legs" back over the broad center section. You will find alignment marks that indicate the center line of this part. Align these directly over the molding seam. This part is spaced 1/8" from the bottom rear edge of the canopy. This part will pucker slightly around the middle. Use a heat gun sparingly to warm and contract the vinyl.

Because Century does not pre-locate any of the canopy holes, we cannot space the patterns around these holes like we do in other kits. Once your vinyl is on and you're ready to mount the canopy back on the heli, you must use a NEW #11 hobby blade and a circle gauge to cut spacer rings around the canopy holes. Use LIGHT pressure on the knife. The hawk canopy is very thin in this area. See the photo for reference.

--Handling Stripe Edge Lifts on Starz-N-Stripez Applications--
The large stripe on the Raptor 30/50 V1 and V2 kits will sometimes lift in the negative curve portion of the canopy's shape. To remedy this, use a Hobby heat gun and warm the lifted vinyl section for a few seconds. You want to put enough heat in to the area to soften the vinyl, but not to shrink it. Then, using a balled up paper towel, burnish the vinyl down firmly. When done, you should be able to see the canopy's eggshell finish thru the vinyl. If not, heat it some more and re-burnish. I have found after doing several of these canopies now that it is normal for the vinyl to lift within hours of initial application, but I have found that using the heat method just described results in a permanent bond. I have had one of thes canopies on a heli thermo cycling in the back of my car now for a few months with no sign of lifting.

--R30 V1 Starz-N-Stripez--
When removing star peppered parts from the backing sheet, it is important to lift these up VERY SLOWLY. Pulling these up too fast will result in tears or stretching of the vinyl around the stars. When squeegeeing star cut parts, it is important to use more of a high pressure "Rolling" blotting motion around the star cutouts.

The Starz-N-Stripez kit is the first kit to feature a new piece of top deck vinyl that extends the color all the way to the end of the nose. Apply this part using the wet method but only squeegee down the portion that is in contact with the body. Allow the front edge of this part to hang loose above the body. Using a heat gun from about 8-12" away (gentle, warm heat) spend about 2 minutes evaporating the moisture out from under this overhanging vinyl. Once dry, burnish down the center section first then the left and right side using the dart cuts to overlap.

The red stripes are placed as follows, smallest to largest:

Smallest - Align pre-cut hole over mounting gommet hole in canopy. Apply using Wet Method.

Medium - Align the upper (along the body chine), aft (to the rear) corner of this stripe exactly 5 3/4" from the rear edge of the canopy along the chine line. OK to use the wet application method.

Large - Align the upper (along the body chine), aft (to the rear) corner of this stripe exactly 11 1/4" from the rear edge of the canopy along the chine line. THIS PIECE MUST BE APPLIED DRY. Position and anchor the top edge along the body chine and burnish gradually downward from the top, firmly with your thumbs (I'm assuming you have thumbs...). Use a heat gun SPARINGLY to seal down any edge puckers.

Very Large Front Stripe - APPLY THIS PART DRY. Note that this part has two alignment "v" cuts, one on each end, and a small rectangle cut about an inch and a half from the narrow, or body clip end of this part. These alignment marks and window are used to align this part directly over the body's center molding seam line. Just align the narrow end of this part right up against the body clip recess and use the small window to sight the molding seam ans seal down this body clip end. Then, using your thumbs, gradually burnish down the remainder of this part. You will need to apply heat with a heat gun to remove leading edge puckering. If puckering is severe, lift the leading inch and cut 1/2" darts in the vinyl where the puckering wants to fold. Use one of the round cutouts from the small red graphic to cover the rectangular alignment slot.

White Stars - Use these photos a placement guides for the white stars included with your kit. When finished, you should have three stars left over as spares.

--R30 V2 Starz-N-Stripez--
When removing star peppered parts from the backing sheet, it is important to lift these up VERY SLOWLY. Pulling these up too fast will result in tears or stretching of the vinyl around the stars. This is especially true when handlingthe Metallic Blue material in the Ultra-Deluxe kits. When squeegeeing star cut parts, it is important to use more of a high pressure "Rolling" blotting motion around the star cutouts.

The Starz-N-Stripez kit also includes a piece of top deck vinyl that extends the color all the way to the end of the nose. Apply this part using the wet method but only squeegee down the portion that is in contact with the body. Allow the front edge of this part to hang loose above the body. Using a heat gun from about 8-12" away (gentle, warm heat) spend about 2 minutes evaporating the moisture out from under this overhanging vinyl. Once dry, burnish down the center section first then the left and right side using the dart cuts to overlap.

The red stripes are placed as follows, smallest to largest, measuring in a straight line from the rear most point body mid-line chine:

Smallest - Align the upper leading edge 4" from the rear. Apply using Wet Method.

Medium - Align the upper (along the body chine), leading corner of this stripe exactly 10 1/4" from the rear edge of the canopy along the chine line. Use the dry application method.

Large - Align the upper (along the body chine), leading corner of this stripe exactly 15 1/5" from the rear edge of the canopy along the chine line. THIS PIECE MUST BE APPLIED DRY. Position and anchor the top edge along the body chine and burnish gradually downward from the top, firmly with your thumbs (I'm assuming you have thumbs...). Use a heat gun SPARINGLY to seal down any edge puckers.

Very Large Front Stripe - APPLY THIS PART DRY. Note that this part has two alignment "v" cuts, one on each end. These alignment marks are used to align this part directly over the body's center molding seam line. Using your thumbs, gradually burnish down this part. You will need to apply heat with a heat gun to remove side edge puckering.

White Stars - Use this photo as a placement guides for the white stars included with your kit. When finished, you should have a few stars left over as spares.

--R60 V1/2 Starz-N-Stripez--
When removing star peppered parts from the backing sheet, it is important to lift these up VERY SLOWLY. Pulling these up too fast will result in tears or stretching of the vinyl around the stars. When squeegeeing star cut parts, it is important to use more of a high pressure "Rolling" blotting motion around the star cutouts. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE APPLYING A METALIC BLUE vinyl. The metallic blue, while not difficult to apply, is a very soft vinyl and tears easily. The metallic red is much less tempermental. The wet method is preferred for application of all parts in this kit.

The red stripes are placed as follows, smallest to largest, measured along the body's midline chine:

Smallest - Align the upper rear corner 1/4" from the rear end of the canopy. Apply using Wet Method.

Medium - Align the upper rear corner 6 1/2" from the rear end of the canopy.

Large - Align the upper rear corner 11 1/2" from the rear end of the canopy.

Large Front Stripe - Note that this part has two alignment "v" cuts, one on each end. These alignment marks are used to align this part directly over the body's center molding seam line. Just align the front (wide) end of this part right up against the nose line.

White Stars - Use three of the white stars included with your kit on the blue nose piece. One in the center and one on either side. When finished, you should have three stars left over as spares.

--MaxPurple--
Registration and application of the upperdeck graphic is more difficult due to the very grabby adhesive on the Hot Pink compounded by the more flexible nature of the Raptor name graphic cut in the negative.   The solution is to partially support the upper two thirds of the graphic with a suitably sized piece of the vinyl backing paper while you are aligning the lower edge along the logitudinal chine in the body plastic.   Once the bottom edge has tacked down, remove the backing and smooth down from the bottom up.

--Raptor AirShark V1--
Placing the mouth is the only remotely difficult aspect of this graphic set.   Simply place the center red spike downward and position the tip of this spike one and one eighth inch forward of the edge of the body clip recess.   Be sure to use the mold's center line to verify horizontal alignment.   Then squegee from the center of the mouth outward to the corners of the mouth. Reclean and degrease the surface prior to applying the black trim tape surrounding the mouth.   Apply gentle heat from a heat gun to the mouth edging and burnish down firmly.

**** AirShark Update ****
All new AirShark kits are being shipped with pre-cut mouth corners. In cold weather, the pinstripe tape would contract and pull up the corner of the mouth if the canopy was not perfectly clean before application. Apply these mouth corners wet (using Isopropyl) and take your time. If you were one of the 5 people who bought one of these kits prior to this change in design, please contact us for a replacement mouth set.

--Raptor AirShark V2--
Placing the mouth is somewhat easier in the V2 kit because it is split into a right and left half.   Using the canopy's molding center line as a guide, position the mouth half 5.75" forward from the body clip recess as illustrated in the photo. The mouth halfs overlap in the center and each has a forward alignment notch that indexes upon the center line of the mold.  When positioned properly, the forward 3/4" of the body's lower chine will appear somewhat like 3D shark tooth.   Reclean and degrease the surface prior to applying the black trim tape surrounding the mouth.   Apply gentle heat from a heat gun to the mouth edging and burnish down firmly.

--Century Hawk Sport AirShark--
In general, you can follow the instructions for the Raptor V2 kit and use the pictures below as part placement guides.  
For mouth placement, using the canopy's molding center line as a guide, position the mouth half 6.5" forward from the rear bottom edge of the canopy. The mouth halfs overlap in the center and each has a forward alignment notch that indexes upon the center line of the mold.  Reclean and degrease the surface prior to applying the black trim tape surrounding the mouth.   Apply gentle heat from a heat gun to the mouth edging and burnish down firmly.   To apply the AirShark logotype, refer to the "Application of Lettering" instructions above.   Assemble the three piece eye set by applying the white to the black while the black is still on it's backing sheet.   Then apply the red cornea to the eye white.   Then apply the assembly to the windshield using transfer tape.
 

 

--Police and Fire--
These are both pretty easy and fast to do but here's a few tips to speed things along.   First apply the bottom graphic to both sides.   Then add the pinstriping one sixteenth to one eighth of an inch above the top edge of the body chine keeping it spaced evenly from the bottom graphic as you round the front.   Using sissors, trim the right an left sides of each FIRE/POLICE graphic close to the letters and parallel to the italicization of the lettering.   Now placing each word graphic in its intended position, gently slice through the pinstriping about one eighth of an inch on each side and at an angle that matches the lettering's italics angle.   Peel up the short section of the pinstriping.   Now apply the application tape (that masking tape looking stuff on the back of your vinyl sheet) to the word graphic and burnish the tape down to adhere to the vinyl lettering.   Now carefully peel the letters away from the backing sheet and use the application tape's translucency to correctly register the letters before alowing them to come in adhesive contact with the canopy surface.   Burnish the lettering down firmly using the bottom of a plastic spoon before peeling the application tape away at a shallow angle.

--Sceadu Pro Series--
The secret to applying this set is knowing that the edges of the vinyl parts that border the windshield butt right up against the edge of the windshield ridge. This should leave the aft edge of the vinyl about 3/16" forward of the aft edge of the canopy plastic. Also...be extra thorough when squeegeeing the alcohol out from under the vinyl. This canopy lacks the "eggshell" finish that the Raptor canopies have, making it pretty much impossible for any trapped moisture to find a way out. Squeegee methodically.

--Freya Pro Series--
See the instructions for the Sceadu above.


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