# Converting Sail Cloth a/c to standard fabric covering?

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#### Dana

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
I would seriously suggest you stick with the original style sails, for several reasons:
• Drilling holes to rivet the ribs to the spars will weaken both the spars and the rib ends.
• Shrinking the fabric is likely to warp a structure not designed for such tension.
• Ultralights tend to get bent from time to time. It's a lot easier to remove the sails, make the appropriate repairs, and slip the sails back on, than it is to strip and recover with doped on fabric.
• Sewn sails usually have zippers appropriately placed for inspection and service of internal components like aileron linkages, etc.
• Sewn sails will be lighter than painted fabric.
Also your list doesn't include the required Poly-Spray (UV protection) and Poly-Tone (color).

#### Doran Jaffas

##### Well-Known Member
Eve
Besides all that, have we checked the cost yet. The OP was put off by the $3k cost of new sails, but will the bill for conventional covering materials and tools plus whatever mods actually any cheaper? Even IF there is a$1,500.00 savings using a different method because of the savings instead of the tried and proven for a given design is not worth the risk.
If he does, he should used a BRS and that alone is more than the sail.
I tell would be aircraft owners if they can't afford all of the expenses that our aircraft require, then they can't afford any of them. Sounds harsh but a good dose of reality to direct them toward safety is better than the possible alternatives.
If using a different aircraft covering is successful I will gladly be rebuked as learning something new is what experimental aviation is all about but please, he needs to be very very sure of the actions he is taking.

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
If you could do it for under a thousand, maybe. The difference between 1500 and 3000 is saving twice as long. It might be a year away instead of six months. It will be a lot safer the way it’s designed.

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Sail cloth is not finished, and less finish even the higher priced one would be less expensive.....

#### deskpilot

##### Well-Known Member
G'day Rob.I'm in the same position as you with my Truster type T84. Had it gifted to me because the Dacron sails were rotten. It's been stored for over 11 years but all is well except the sails. A full new set cost about the same in Aussie dollars so I'm experimenting with a cheaper way to re-cover the Flying surfaces. I'm using cheap dress making materials for my experiments. Initially I used Lycra as it can be stretched to fit any shape. My initial trial was just a piece stretched over a wooden frame, the 'painted' it with polyester resin, The result was a very tuff, pliable and fixed colour sheet, a 'little bit heavier' than the original size piece of Dacron. As Lycra is somewhat expensive I redid the experiment using Chinese silk which is very cheap and lighter than Lycra. This failed as the procuring heat of the resine destroyed the silk in that it lost all it's tension. My next test will be using a lightweight cotton but will have to wait until the weather here in South Australia warms up a bit. In the meantime, I'm working on making the wings foldable. BTW, my original wings had tubular ribs insert into pockets sewn into the wing skins.
T84 Thruster (not mine)

Trial comparing Dacron(lower) with resin impregnated Lycra. This test failed as I got separation between first and second layer of resin. You can however see the potential. A little heavier maybe, but smoother and therefore less draggy and ready coloured.

Doug

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Sail cloth is not finished, and less finish even the higher priced one would be less expensive.....
.I do not know how heavy your existing cloth is so the links may be for too lite material.

#### Doran Jaffas

##### Well-Known Member
If you could do it for under a thousand, maybe. The difference between 1500 and 3000 is saving twice as long. It might be a year away instead of six months. It will be a lot safer the way it’s designed.
I have been around Aviation all of my life. Or at least as far back as I can remember. I took my first airplane ride at 4 and have been a licensed pilot for 36 plus years.
Though nothing seems to change it still surprises me to see people that want to do it in a different way than the engineers have. Sort of reinventing the airplane and making the same, sometimes fatal
G'day Rob.I'm in the same position as you with my Truster type T84. Had it gifted to me because the Dacron sails were rotten. It's been stored for over 11 years but all is well except the sails. A full new set cost about the same in Aussie dollars so I'm experimenting with a cheaper way to re-cover the Flying surfaces. I'm using cheap dress making materials for my experiments. Initially I used Lycra as it can be stretched to fit any shape. My initial trial was just a piece stretched over a wooden frame, the 'painted' it with polyester resin, The result was a very tuff, pliable and fixed colour sheet, a 'little bit heavier' than the original size piece of Dacron. As Lycra is somewhat expensive I redid the experiment using Chinese silk which is very cheap and lighter than Lycra. This failed as the procuring heat of the resine destroyed the silk in that it lost all it's tension. My next test will be using a lightweight cotton but will have to wait until the weather here in South Australia warms up a bit. In the meantime, I'm working on making the wings foldable. BTW, my original wings had tubular ribs insert into pockets sewn into the wing skins.
View attachment 98466 T84 Thruster (not mine)

View attachment 98467

View attachment 98468

View attachment 98469 Trial comparing Dacron(lower) with resin impregnated Lycra. This test failed as I got separation between first and second layer of resin. You can however see the potential. A little heavier maybe, but smoother and therefore less draggy and ready coloured.

Doug
there are many books written about different materials that would save you a lot of time. If you enjoy building and enjoy exploring without the knowledge of others then have at it. Me being a lazy type and very cautious I'd rather err on the side of caution and take other professionals advise.

#### wsimpso1

##### Super Moderator
Staff member

I am accustomed to \$5k in materials to recover a Cub or other LSA, which is why I questioned the cost save theory. Is this gadget a third to a half of the covered area of a Cub? If so, then this will save some money over a new set of cover from the factory.

We seem to be missing Poly -Spray - a couple coats of silver will keep UV in sunlight from quickly destroying the polyester fabric. We can skip color top coats to save weight.

Billski