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Yes, there are a lot of different filling systems out there. With a lot of
trial and error we all find what works for us. The occasional home builder has
many confusing choices.
> I'm curious if anyone has found a source for the plastic microballons
> that Don Ballets mentioned at Oshkosh.
Don was probubly refering to West Systems 410 microlight filler. This is a
thermoplastic sphere that we get from Lewis marine supply 800-432-2158. All
good marine stores have it but only in small expensive sizes. Especially if you
are building your own wings you need to order a 4 lb box which list for
$174.50. It will more than pay for itself in primer savings much less the huge
reduction in labor and weight.
It CAN NOT be mixed with the EZ poxy or any other resin containing styrene.
We start bulk fill on hand made wings with 3M silica ballons (never use
Quartz). There is art to bulk fills that can save a LOT of sanding. In the
summer their are special tricks for the heat like mixing 5% alcohol in the epoxy
to slow it down. The other is to squegee on one cup of resin before mixing the
"dry micro" so it will stick and not roll off. Power mix about 3/4 gallon resin
with 2 gal ballons real quick and spead like mad first length wise then cord
wise with a 12" metal blade. Now leave it alone once it starts to thicken...you
will only make things worse.
Use long narrow sanders to get off bumps spanwise and short wide ones to
eleminate "waves" cord wise. The secondary fill is usually a mix of 3M and 410
then all the final fills are done with just 410 (never use Polyesters or
laquers). Then use a urethane primer like U-Tech or Mar-hyde and final prime
with white epoxy from US Paints. Furthermore augmentation of your hand sanding
with power can improve results and save sweet if done correctly. On wings use a
good 8" DA ( like a $200 National) but never a 6" DA.
Any suggestions on how we can teach this stuff at the Oskosh composite tent
without making a big mess?