differences in Dacron

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KWK

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I'll try to cover the fuselage of my Rans starting next month and will need to buy fabric. Any significant difference among the brands, eg PolyFiber, Superflite, etc? If it makes any difference, I'm not set on the paint system but plan to try PolyFiber's practice kit later this month and see how that goes.

I see Aircraft Spruce has a no-name uncertified medium weight. The fact they don't have a set width leaves me to think it's whatever they can get cheapest, which doesn't seem like a good buy.
 

challenger_II

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Covering an aircraft is time-intensive, and expensive, no matter which way you jump. I would recommend using known-quality merchandise, such as Poly-Fiber, or Ceconite brands.
I have had a couple of planes that were covered with Superflite products, and they didn't hold up well. Other folks mileage may vary.
 

don january

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Nice Med fabric does good for me. I think the sealing and coat preparation is the most important thing but you don't want that on cheap light fabric either. My jt;1 is going Poly Fiber along with Toner.
 

TFF

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There use to be manufacturing differences 20 years ago but now there is only one fabric. Once Ceconite and Polyfiber merged they stopped making both. I don’t know which one won out. I thought Superfite used Ceconite. They stamp them different but same material.

I covered my plane in uncertified and was fine. The difference is it’s not as wide and there was a very small blimish in mine about every 10 ft. 20 ft biplane wing made no difference. It could have been easily put on top of a rib. It also was not meant to be a show plane; I was trying to cut weight so it’s in two coats of Polyspray and two coats of Polytone Nevada Silver; same color. I barely sanded anything. It was meant to be budget as much as lighter.

Picking certified is easy. I wanted to try the other.
 

Turd Ferguson

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The fabric is we use to cover planes is generically known as polyester.
Chemist call it polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Dacron is a trademarked name that belongs to DuPont. If you have Dacron, that just means DuPont made it. It's still PET.
Ceconite is also PET. Like DuPont, the company wanted it's own proprietary name.
PolyFiber is also PET. Like DuPont, the company wanted it's own proprietary name.

Uncertified means it was rejected for that purpose. May be blemished but doesn't necessarily mean it's bad.

The biggest difference in covering systems is coatings. That's also where a lot of the money for covering goes, which is why enterprising homebuilders have come up with alternatives.
 

KWK

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I just came across this at Stewart's:
The main difference between Ceconite and Superflite is the thread count in the weave. Superflite 102 fabric has a higher thread count and therefore a finer weave and is a little lighter. This allows Superflite fabric to be worked around curves and tight areas easier. Ceconite has a lower thread count and is a little heavier and therefore has a stiffer characteristic. Some people like this because it will lay straighter on a large area such as a wing or fuselage, and it has a stiffer feel when complete. In general, we prefer Superflite fabric.
I wonder if the weave affects the ability of PolyBrush to penetrate as intended? (Superflite is the less expensive fabric.)
 

TFF

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Right now supply is a big issue. I know there was none of the uncertified available In medium for a few months. Superflite also might have a stockpile and can ride the price for a while
That first coat of polybrush is somewhat like painting a screen door. I don’t know what superflite primer is like.
 

Jim Chuk

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I've used the uncertified medium weight Aircraft Spruce fabric on several planes with good results. I used the polyfiber system for the chemicals and it is an easy system to use. I would do it again. Width of the fabric is 70". JImChuk
 

Dominic Eller

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What type RANS is it?
Keep it as light weight as possible.
Our S6S is Ceconite with super flight paint. When it’s due a recover it will be Oratex to shed a heap of weight. The 600 weight cloth will be roughly 1/3rd of the weight of what we have now!
 

KWK

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It's an S-20. For now, we're covering only the fuselage. We have the metal wing kit, but that was a very early production wing kit and we may end up scrapping it (QC was abysmal).

A possible problem with Oratex (and Hipec) is when it comes time to recover. The glue is permanent. You'll be taking the tubing back to bare metal, but that may be necessary regardless. I wouldn't put either on a wood airplane.
 

Dominic Eller

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I’ll have to run some test pieces to confirm but from what other users have reported as their experience, it’s just a case of heating the glue to this correct temp for removal.
 

KWK

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... it’s just a case of heating the glue to this correct temp for removal.
At OSH a few years back, I asked the North American distributor about removal. He told me the glue loosens only a few degrees before the dacron melts. To quote the manual I received at that time:
... it will be difficult to remove, and any removal may be necessary by mechanical means, which will probably lead to damaging the fabric.
If you've heard otherwise, please point me to it. Everything about Oratex sounds good except that glue. Thanks.
 

KWK

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Okay, I've located an older copy of the Oratex factory's manual, dated 2015. It says the glue layer will fail near 300 F. Dacron melts closer to 500 F. So, I'm not sure why BAF said it was unlikely to work.

I'll look further. Thanks again.

appended: Here's removal of Oratex with a heat gun. With careful control, the guy was even able to reuse a chunk of the fabric. His whole, long thread is pretty interesting. I have to say, playing with PolyFiber looks safer for a beginner like me.
 
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