Shrink Wrap Wings !

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Build some test frames and cover them with it. Do some pull tests, tear tests, peel tests. Compare with standard fabric. Then decide if you think it's safe to use on your plane, and let us know how it works.

I suspect both the strength and longevity will be significantly inferior to fabric.

Dana

clanon

Well-Known Member
This dude used a Greenhouse Israeli covering on his first plane:

Something like this :

SOLARIG

PS: And a FIAT 1.4lt car engine on it (~500 flight hs on it)

Doggzilla

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
FYI, just about any material can be custom ordered online. I was looking at nylon, and was stunned to see several hundred different types available, and each available in rip stop, UV resistant, and other forms. I am absolutely positive that if you shopped "by the yard", you could find exactly what you need. Looking up any fabric by the yard tends to return a much large number of results.

That said, If I was you, I would sew or adhere on some mixed fabrics for "rip stop" protection, which is normal in all aviation fabrics. Rip stop nylon is commonly available, but rip stop shrink wrap, probably not. You would want to add on something yourself to make sure it was secure. I would add some extra nylon underneath, then either bond or sew it after shrinking.

Not the entire skin, just near where it meets supports. That is where it is more likely to tear.

JamesG

Well-Known Member
Adding a rip-stop or anything to a heat shrinkable film is very difficult. By nature, the reinforcement is going to have less contraction if any at all, which means the material will bunch around it. And I don't see how it could be possible to realistically add rip-stop under an already shrunk covering because you'd have to remove it, which would destroy it. Even overlaid would be tricky to get it to bond and remain tight to concave curves. And what is your adhesive going to do to the strength of the shrink film?

If you could figure out a reinforced rip-stop shrinkable film, there are LOTS more applications than just airplane coverings and you'd be able to afford something more than a rag (bag?) -wing ultralight...

don january

Well-Known Member
Log Member
This plane wing is covered with Century 21 super coverrite and its fabric and strong but you better have your check book out to cover a 20 ft. wing.

Streffpilot

Well-Known Member
Build some test frames and cover them with it. Do some pull tests, tear tests, peel tests. Compare with standard fabric. Then decide if you think it's safe to use on your plane, and let us know how it works.

I suspect both the strength and longevity will be significantly inferior to fabric.

Dana
Dana,

you forgot your quote after your post. I look forward to them and usually agree!

delta

Well-Known Member
A tarp will shrink and has some rip stop incorporated if you can stand the weight...

goldrush

Well-Known Member
If it is of interest, I covered the fuselage of my Ultralight equivalent in 1.5 oz Ripstop nylon... as used by the Kiting fraternitee in roder to save weight.
Biggest problem was finding a suitable adhesive, as ripstop nylon is a low surface energy material.
After many aborted trials suggested by 3M and other manufacturers.....etc etc... I found that although some adhesives worked ok for a while... they then gave up.. and the fabic "fell off!. sometimes within a few weeks:-(

Finally I used good ole Ceconite "new Super Seam" (Same as the Poly fiber offering)..... not fallen off yet after 3 years.

However, although it is ripstop, to my mind it is only a partial solution.... in practice a small hole can suddenly tear over a large distance. a heavier weight such as Parachute material at 2 0z may be better.

Ripstop does heat shrink, but at a slightly higher temperature than Ceconite/Poly Fiber and also it seems to shrink better in 1 direction than the other.

From the sales literature, it appears that "vinyl wrap" type material bonds ok to a hard surface, but not so well to flexible?

Has anyone found out which "Oracal" Belite uses, or indeed specifically if it is applied over Poly or not?

Last edited:

skeeter_ca

Well-Known Member
It would be cool to be able to have the underside of a wing covered it a clear material. Inspections would be a whole lot easier and it would look cool seeing all the structure inside the wing. Wonder if you could use it just on the underside then use a fabric or Oratex on the topside.

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Although the integrity of the top is more important than the bottom, the bottom is still important and still lends strength to the wing, so a strong material is still needed. Remember too that a clear bottom will expose the underside of the top surface to some UV radiation.

skeeter_ca

Well-Known Member
Of course...................................but it would look cool.

Well-Known Member
I've covered the tail feathers using boat 7 mil shrink wrap and 2" shrink tape...the rudder has been outside in the weather and is just fine...covering the ailerons now...I use a 1500w heat gun to shrink it...painted trim with Rustoleum...Oratex is great until you price it...pix here

MATO

Well-Known Member
It doesn't shrink

Well-Known Member
shrink the boat shrink wrap...use boat shrink wrap tape for rip stop...I beat a test piece with a metal ruler and it just punches holes...no ripping.

blane.c

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Maybe you could just write the shrink wrap company and tell them you are already flying around in a shrink wrapped plane, let them tell us all the reasons it is or isn't a good idea?

spaschke

Well-Known Member
Did you tape the tube first then put the wrap over the tape? I would think that like normal covering, it would protect the shrink wrap from any sharp edges.
Have you figured out the weight difference from Oratex or poly-fiber?
I have to cover my mini max and this sounds intrigueing

spaschke

Well-Known Member
I have done a little research, comparing 1 brand of shrink wrap with oratex for use on a mini max or US ultralight. The shrink wrap, like oratex, would save time and weight over traditional coverings that need filling and painting.

Shrink Wrap Containment for Buildings and Construction - Pro-tect Plastic & Supply, Inc.
priced smallest rolls available

Construction Industrial Shrink Wrap
flame retardant, uv protection
12 mil .065lb/sf $.21/sf 10.5mil .056lb/sf$.16/sf
9mil .049lb/sf $.14/sf boat wrap - white and blue available 7mil .035lb/sf$.084/sf 5.04oz/yd

2"x60yds 9.5 mil seam tape $8.50 white 4" & 6" tape available I could not find the similar breaking and tear strength specs for the wrap. I am assuming it is less than any common cloth ---------------------------------------------------------------- TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS / DOWNLOAD SOLARIG™ 172 DATASHEET Parameter Units Specification Cloth Weight oz/sqft 5.1 ± 5% Thickness mil 8±1 Breaking Strength lb/inch ≥84 Elongation at Break % ≥20 Tear Strength lb ≥33 Light Transmission % 88% Diffused Light % 60% ± 5% Direct Light % 28% ± 5% Thermicity (Lower is better) 20 UV stability Years of warranty 6 years ----------------------------------------------------------------- Oratex 6000 .31 - .35lb/sf about$91/yd 2013 72.22/yd or $8.03/sf including tape Tensile strength lengthwise: Min. 1300 – 1600 N/50 mm Tensile strength crosswise: Min. 1100 – 1400 N/50 mm Breaking extension lengthwise: 12 – 20% Breaking extension crosswise: 12 – 20% Tear propagation load lengthwise: 26 – 32 N Tear propagation load crosswise: 28 – 34 N 600 .20 - .27lb/sf estimate of$50/yd or $5.56/sf including tape Tensile strength lengthwise: 750 – 1050 N/50 mm Tensile strength crosswise: 650 – 950 N/50 mm Breaking extension lengthwise: 10 – 18% Breaking extension crosswise: 11 – 20% Tear propagation load lengthwise: 18 – 24 N Tear propagation load crosswise: 16 – 22 N commonly used fabrics, fillers, and paints systems can be heavier by 20lbs or more than oratex according to this poster on Wings Forum &bull; View topic - Oratex: Re: Oratex Postby cmcgeary » Wed May 01, 2013 7:45 am I've also been researching this stuff. It comes in 2 weights (600UL and 6000). Still trying to do a direct strength comparison between it and convention fabrics like Ceconite. Given 90 sq yards of material, plus trim tape costs, etc., I estimate ~$4500 to cover in 600UL and ~$6500 to cover in 6000. Folks on the Supercub site are saying to figure on$5000 in materials to cover a Supercub in Polyfiber.

Finding accurate material weights for conventional fabrics was difficult, but Brian over at Supercub.org did some painting and weighing. According to him, 3.16 oz Polyfiber with PolyTone & PolySpray weighs 6.3 oz/sq yard covered for UV only. Painted white, you're up to 7.6 oz/sq yard. Someone else weighed the same fabric with Stewart Systems Grey at 6.4 oz/sq yard. 600UL weighs between 3 and 3.5 oz/sq yard depending on color. 6000 weighs 4.2 to 4.6 oz/sq yard. So, if you cover the SuperSTOL like the Sun'n'Fun bird (2/3 UV silver, 1/3 Red & black paint, all 2.7 oz Superflite), you end up with about 35 lb of covering. Cover the bird in Oratex 6000, you end up at 26 lb for the heaviest color. If you cover all in the heaviest Oratex 600UL, you end up at 20 lb.

Since my Dad and I want to build the SuperSTOL we have on order in my basement, and we don't want to gas ourselves, our wives or the cat, the Oratex sounds great! It's a 35 minute drive to the airport (my alternate build site). I'll save the difference in cost in gas alone. Now, I just have to figure out how much of the plane we can safely cover in 600UL.....

Yes, the more you spend, the better material you get.
for my slow little mini-max, I will use ~38yds fabric or wrap.
I estimate $2500 to cover it in oratex 600 in 2016. the boat wrap only comes in large rolls, 1400sf for the smallest. Thats 155yds. But it is only$118 plus shipping for a 14'x100' roll (no mid-wing seams). Add 2 rolls of seam tape and their spray glue to pre-tape the ribs and edges. I'm at about \$150+ and 12lbs. a little heavier than Oratex at about 10lb, and not nearly as durable, nor colorful. a Polyfiber with PolyTone & PolySpray would be just over 18lbs if you know what you are doing. Even heavier with latex paint. I could sell the remaining wrap or keep it for recovering. I would prefer oratex, but for this inexpensive build, I just can't justify the extra cost.
Since it has been used on an ultralight before with good results, I would try it. I may have to recover in a few years worst case. but at that price I am still ahead.
I wouldn't use it on anything that flys over ~90mph or weighs more than 500 or so pounds until more test have been made. I think a good test would be to make a frame, cover and test it. In the winter i can get up to 75mph winds near the foothills west of denver, that would be a good test also. I have a door frame that would be a perfect test bed. I have some left over polyfiber to test with also. I will have a closer look at their glue before using it, but it sounds like it is formulated for use with this wrap.
I guess I have talked my self into at least testing the wrap.

Last edited:

Well-Known Member
They won't like it because of liability...here are pictures of my covering my PoorBoy ultralight so far...

MATO

I'm covering the top of a wing half now...pictures in a few days