Workbench Essentials: Reinforced Aluminum Tape

Oct 18, 2011 3 Comments by

It’s been a while since my last rummage through the tool drawer, so I figure I’m overdue.  This time around I’ve picked one of my very favorites: reinforced aluminum tape.  I know that doesn’t sound very interesting or glamorous, but give it a chance and you’ll be sold.  I promise.

Foil tape is really only useful when it comes to polycarbonate and “milk jug” bodies, but because just about every RC out there has some type of plastic shell on it no hobbyist should be without a roll… or five.  It’s great for insulating plastic body material from hot exaust pipes – just line the inside of the body where the pipe touches and you’re done.  Have a full-fendered vehicle like a sedan or short course truck?  Put a strip of tape around the insides of the fenders to keep your tires from wearing through.  Your $60 custom paint job will thank you for it.

This do-it-all tape is also excellent for reinforcing post and antenna holes.  Just ream your holes as usual, cut off a generous square of tape, and place it over the hole on the inside of the body.  Grab a nice sharp hobby knife and carefully cut out the part of the tape that’s covering the hole.  It will prevent the paint from being rubbed off by the body retainers and helps prevent cracking.  As an added bonus, foil tape also does a great job of silencing that annoying rattling sound that all plastic body shells make.

So, it’s just tape, right?  That must be all it can do.  Nope, it still has one more trick up its sleeve.  It is arguably the most perfect substance in the world for installing LED light kits.  Put down a layer of aluminum tape around the inside of the headlight, glue or servo-tape in your light bucket, and back it with more tape.  Just like that you have a neat and durable light kit install with absolutely zero light leaks.

If your local hobby shop doesn’t carry reinforced aluminum tape, just ask them to order some.  It’s a few bucks a roll and is available from a number of manufacturers, including HPI and Tamiya.



Featured News, HPI, Tom Ross

About the author

I got my first RC car way back in 1985 - a Tamiya Wild One - and have been involved in the hobby ever since. I've made every mistake in the book and loved every minute of it... Well, except for that one nitro engine I could never get to run properly. I've bought and sold more vehicles than I care to count, from cars and trucks to planes, helicopters, boats, and more. I'm a dedicated basher, certified bench racer, and collector of random tools. My very favorite part of the hobby is fixing things I've broken.

3 Responses to “Workbench Essentials: Reinforced Aluminum Tape”

  1. Christopher Oswald says:

    Great stuff Tom, the aluminum tape is indeed a great tool box and workbench item. Good points on those light leaks with light kits. Nothing can spoil a scale build more than undesired light under the chassis and glowing through the hood.

    This stuff does have a hundred and one uses, but just a small safety note….. use caution when cutting… “mind the fingers and don’t try taring off a piece like masking tape” this may go without saying for some but I figured i’d mention it.
    Happy taping fellow RC Car Action enthusiast’s

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Chris! Yes, that’s definitely a good call to avoid trying to tear this stuff with your fingers – it’s tough stuff! A good sharp pair of scissors will do the trick nicely though.

  2. 10bob says:

    Excellent tip and piece of equipment! Never used it before but will be investing in a roll or several!

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