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Many of you sly builders out there have found various products which have been especially useful in different areas of your construction project. We'd like to hear about them. As an effort to start the ball rolling, we'll show you a few we have already found:

STITS MICRO-PUTTY - Sold by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, this is a lightweight (5.5 lbs/gal) filler material mixed with a cream hardener. Micro-Putty sands easily with little or no dust. It cures rapidly (about 10 minutes), so is useful for quick fill work in a localized area. Don't expect it to last long enough to dab spots all over the project due to its quick cure time. Working consistency is somewhat thick, but is easy to spread and its zinc chromate color sets it apart from surrounding areas so you'll know where to sand.

ULTRALITE and DYNALITE - Sold at auto part or paint supply stores, these two are good, light (7.5 lbs/gal) fillers which are less thick in consistency than the Stits (about like cake icing) and take slightly longer to cure, which allows you to cover more area. Also easy to sand.

TUNGSTEN BLADE for STANLEY SURFORM FILE - This new product was initially available in hardware stores only as a promotion with the purchase of a new file, but is now appearing as a separate item. The blade is a solid metal strip (unlike the perforated Surform) and is impregnated with tungsten chips that cut the devil out of epoxy and micro. We've used them in both medium and coarse grits and find they last about 5-10 times longer than comparable grit sandpaper.

PNEUMATIC AIR FILE - Made by Chicago Pneumatic Co., this compressor powered sanding device is great for contouring canard curves and the like. You can use it similar to your spline but with much faster results. It is excellent for sanding Feather Fill as you start your finish work. This tool is about 15-3/4" long by 2-3/4" wide and runs with a rapid back and forth motion. You must have a compressor to run it, however. Check the Sears tool catalog. Price is about $80-100.

DFL-1 SPOT PUTTY by DITZLER - In dark gray or red oxide is very good for filling pinholes and shallow areas during the final finish. Virtually no shrinkage. Beware of some spot putties (i.e. Duro) which dry quite fast and don't allow much squeegee time to properly spread the material.

NEW WAVE CANOPY SYSTEM - New Wave Aircraft (RD #1, 530 Church Rd., Avondale, PA 19311) has introduced its new canopy system for the Quickie and the Q2 which incorporates the "sliding" system with unobstructed entry, eliminating any rail interference when entering the aircraft. It also allows for stable partial opening of the canopy for ventilation while taxiing or waiting in traffic. The canopy opens 24" and springs allow for smooth action in raising or lowering. The mechanism is made from aircraft quality aluminum 6061-T3 and the complete system weighs 24 ounces. Kit comes completely prefab for immediate installation and is priced at $75.00 plus shipping collect (PA residents add 6% tax). Dzus clamps for canopy latching can be included in the kit for an additional $6.00.

RAIN-X - Several months ago, this product was receiving a lot of attention as a possible solution to rain-induced performance degradation. QBA obtained a sample of RAIN-X and ran some informal tests to see what made it so special.

Admittedly, we didn't know what to expect when the bright yellow bottle arrived. The contents were quite watery and had the distinct smell of rubbing alcohol. When exposed, the fluid evaporated rapidly. Treating a surface is quite easy - simply apply with a cloth and buff off the light haze with no visible residue left behind. After reading the manufacturer's promotional literature ("amazing qualities", "seeing is believing", "space-age development", etc.) we half-expected water to literally spring off our test pieces. Although our drenching did not produce a display of jumping water drops, what did occur was quite fascinating. The water beaded up just as on a waxed surface, except that it had almost no affinity (stickiness) for the RAIN-X surface. Droplets ran away at the slightest breath of air, acting very similar to the way mercury scurries around after you break a thermometer. These results seemed very encouraging and we could envision a treated aircraft wing having its rain droplets blown off in the same manner. Our dynamic tests were to give us some different opinions, however.

It was decided to use the editor's sports car as a test vehicle and to treat only half of the raked windshield with RAIN-X.

The first shower experienced was rather brief and of light intensity. As expected, droplets zipped off the RAIN-X glass at a rapid rate while the other side showed large drops inching across, leaving little "snail trails" of smaller drops behind. Within seconds after entering clear air, the RAIN-X portion was completely dry while its counterpart still had tenacious splatters all over.

The second rainfall encountered was considerably heavier and lasted for several minutes. Unlike the previous experience, each drop is replaced in rapids fashion after it moves away. A closer observation showed that upon impact at high speed, the single raindrop "explodes" into a half dozen smaller droplets. (By comparison, drops on the untreated glass stayed relatively intact upon contact.)

The user is now faced with a decision. Is it better to have hundreds of tiny blips continuously running across the surface (treated) or a fraction as many amorphous blobs moving rather slowly (untreated)? As you might expect, neither option would be as good as a completely dry flying surface. Without testing under actual flying conditions, there is no way to predict what benefit (if any) can be realized by any individual aircraft. From an aerodynamic standpoint, there is theoretical evidence pointing to less lift degradation from a surface similar to the RAIN-X conditions. (See CANARD PUSHER, Oct. 1982) However, these results are HIGHLY dependent upon a well-contoured surface.

We also found a couple of disadvantages using the RAIN-X system. First, the carnauba wax found in most car polishes is completely dissolved by using RAIN-X. Therefore, any paint protection afforded by normal waxing will have to be disregarded. Second, we found the treatment to be somewhat temporary and last for only 2-3 weeks before rejuvenation was required. On a 100+ MPH airplane, it would be expected that rain and bugs would erode the film even faster.

From our brief review, it appears that RAIN-X would be satisfactory in those areas where brief showers are a way of life. The rest of us would probably find the repeated applications and slight benefit too much of a bother for only occasional rain confrontations. (Easier just to do a 180 and fly elsewhere.) For those who would like to test RAIN-X, it may be purchased from QBA member Ed Parker (243 E. Mutton Hollow, Kaysville, UT 84037) for $8.20 per 7 oz. bottle (two for $14.40), postage paid. Even if you eventually decide not to use RAIN-X on your airplane, you can always use the product for its original intention - your car windshield.

You can order a PDF or printed copy of QuickTalk #12 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.