Shrink Wrap Wings !

Discussion in 'Tube and Fabric' started by Greg Mueller, May 22, 2008.

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  1. May 22, 2008 #1

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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    I found this company that sells 7 mil shrink wrap film in sizes 14' x 128' and larger. It comes in clear and white. If you could figure out a technique for taping it (3M VHB tape?) or other wise sticking it to the wing, you might have a cheap fast way of wing covering.
    Watch the demo video. This stuff is amazing!

    http://www.shrinkit-inc.com/index.html
     
  2. May 23, 2008 #2

    WileEZ

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    I wouldn't use shrink wrap, main reasoning being they are not puncture-proof!

    I've used shrink wrap like the one you pointed to to wrap boats for the winter, to take them off, all I have to do is punch a hole with a sharp object and the shrink wrap will tear EASILY! Then I just wad up the shrink wrap and dump them in the dumpster.

    So while flying, last thing I want to have happening is a bird strike puncture the wrap or have a preexisting hole in the wing and have it tear.

    The web site you pointed to doesn't say anything about puncture resistance or tear resistance.

    If there is a rip-stop shrink wrap then I'll be far more interested in it.
     
  3. May 23, 2008 #3

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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    That's why I'm thinking that you would use the 3M tape to tape it down on each rib. Like the Lazair or the Invader. I think the stuff they used was only 2 mil
     
  4. May 23, 2008 #4

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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  5. May 23, 2008 #5

    Dana

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    The Lazair used Tedlar (a polyvinyl flouride film from Dupont), not shrink wrap. I don't know that much about it but I'm pretty sure it has much better tear strength than shrink wrap, and better UV resistance as well.

    -Dana

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul."-- George Bernard Shaw
     
  6. May 23, 2008 #6

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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    Yep
    But if you read the info on the webpage (specially the second one) they claim it is rip and tear resistant and has a UV resistant additive.
    I think it's worth looking into and not just dismissing it out of hand, yes?
    I don't know much about it either, that's why I'm exploring the possibilities.
     
  7. May 23, 2008 #7

    WileEZ

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    Well, I'm inclined to look at this some more. The web sites state that the material shrink about 25 to 30% so some careful planning is needed.

    It might be worthwhile to build several frames and maybe a mock up of a wing and a fuselage and then shrink wrapping them.

    With two smaller frames, wrap one a little loose and the other tight. Set them in the sun, somewhere down south like in Florida, south Texas, Arizona or southern CA. See what effect the sun has on them over a period of time, say a year or so.

    In the meanwhile, on larger frames, shrunk properly as per manufacturer instructions, test the shrink wrap ability to resist punctures using a variety of tools such as awl, screwdriver, box cutter, etc..

    On the wing and fuselage mock-ups, see what is needed to successfully cover them without warping or damaging the mock-ups.

    What is needed here is information. Right now I suspect there's maybe some interest in this by others, but it's a case of "you first" and seeing what resulted!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  8. May 23, 2008 #8

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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    Exactly what I was thinking.
    I'm going to call the company and see if I can get some samples.

    I read in one place where the shrinkage starts at about 200°, so I'm hopping the direct sun will not get to that point

    (Well maybe not a year)
     
  9. May 23, 2008 #9

    JMillar

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    The sun issue is more degradation than actual shrinkage I think... how are the polymers of the plastic going to react to (UV) irradiation. It may say UV resistant, but what's that really mean? What percentage of strength is left after a year?

    Also, anything transparent is going to lead to major thermal cycling inside the wing - greenhouse effect. That might also mean condensation could be a problem.
     
  10. May 23, 2008 #10

    Greg Mueller

    Greg Mueller

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    I am now sorry I mentioned it.

    If I could erase this thread I would

    If I do come up with something, I sure won't mention it here

    List owner, please erase this thread
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  11. May 24, 2008 #11

    Dana

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    Nothing wrong with suggesting new ideas for discussion.

    -Dana

    Southern DOS: Y'all reckon? (Yep/Nope)
     
  12. May 24, 2008 #12

    Jman

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    Greg,

    I don't think anyone was attacking you personally. I think it's just a matter of looking at all of the possible down sides. I for one would find it interesting if you were able to get some samples and test it against some of the negative possibilities mentioned here. If it turns out to be suitable, then you have contributed something great. If it doesn't than the forums did what it was supposed to do in helping to identify possible unsafe practices. Let me know what you think.
     
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  13. May 24, 2008 #13

    WileEZ

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    Actually UV degradation may not be an issue. I've worked with shrink wrap to seal boats that's stored outside for the winter. Come spring, aside from the normal dirt, diesel soot and moss and other outdoor accumulation, the wrap still look just as good as the day they were applied.

    There is one boat that's been shrink wrapped and left for four years now at an storage lot, the wrap still looks new, a little wipe with a damp cloth and it sparkle!

    So based on my personal observation, UV degradation may not be an issue. I expect that if the shrink wrap end up being used on an airframe, it most likely will be painted anyway, rendering the UV issue moot.

    As to the thermal/green-house effect, it's really a non-issue as this is the same problem just about all the 'fabric" covered planes face. An easy way to deal with this is just have a suitable placed drain hole, or several, which will also equalize the air pressure within the wing/frame to ambient pressure.

    Greg, don't be sorry, this is an interesting subject and it is very much worthy of consideration and discussion. Other than what I mentioned in other posts in this thread, I'm mainly concerned about "rip-stopping". Let's keep this discussion alive and experiment.

    There are different shrink wrap manufacturers and while one manufacturer's product may not be suitable, another one may be the perfect cheap material to use on light planes. Just need to do some testing and experimenting before you (really "we") put your ("our") butts on the line.
     
  14. May 24, 2008 #14

    BBerson

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    If you could get some shrink wrap with a few polyester threads embedded to prevent rips that might work well. The blue tarps have fiberglass embedded. But fiberglass doesn't heat shrink like dacron thread.

    The threads might need to be bonded to the bottom so it can be glued to the airframe. Not sure if shrinkwrap will stick with glue.

    That shrinkwrap could be used for other things like covering a trailer.
     
  15. May 25, 2008 #15

    Birdmanzak

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    I'm glad this came up.

    I'll be using the marine shrink wrap on my next entry for the Red Bull Flugtag. It should be done in 6-8 months, so I'll report my experiences here.

    I'm not too worried about tear-resistance for my application (after all, it'll be doing well if it flies for 20 seconds) but a possible 'fix' could be a grid or lattice of tape on the shrunk skin to form a sort of 'ripstop' surface. That starts eroding the easy-application and low-weight benefits but it's still worth looking at.
     
  16. Jul 2, 2008 #16

    secondarychaos

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    It would be logical to me that it might have a decent amount of tear resistance built in- Greenhouses, depending on location, can experience a battering of sticks, acorns, tree branches etc.:ponder: If it's made for that, i dont see why it wouldnt have at least some resistance
     
  17. Oct 21, 2014 #17

    2Guns

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    Shrink wrap the plane . I was wondering if a builder used this ap first the covered the SW with a custom cloth say Tarten plad or reflective gold chrome anything ? The base forming with that and mabey foam fill the ribs out and then cover with fabric and paint. Just thinkin.
     
  18. Oct 21, 2014 #18

    nerobro

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    Shrink wrap is strong enough.. I mean, r/c planes use it. The trouble I see is how much stress shrink wrap puts on the frame. it's got a LOT of area to work over, so it can put a lot of force on your structure.
     
  19. May 16, 2015 #19

    airplaneAddict

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    It's been many years since someone talked about trying this...I build R/C models and I am building a PoorBoy Ultralight. I need to finish framing the ailerons, hinge them, mount the wings, and build the struts. I'll be covering this fall or sooner with 7mil boat shrink wrap. I'm used to covering R/C planes, so this should be a natural. I bought shrink tape, and temp-to-perm spray glue. I'll let you know how it goes. Truckers use it going down the road at 60mph to protect loads on flatbed trailers. Bird strikes get taped. The covering won't peel off, it will just have a puncture and some tearing. Anybody ever hit a bird by accident?

    OK you nay sayers, line up :-}
     
  20. May 16, 2015 #20

    Aerowerx

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    Have you looked at Oratex?

    Seems like it is exactly what is discussed in this thread....a heat shrinkable fabric, not a film. Precolored so you don't have to paint.
     
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