Shrink Wrap Wings !

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Fred in Wisc

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I just made a lightweight enclosed trailer (19x7 approx. and I can wheel it around by hand) for my ultralight and wrapped it in 7mil shrink wrap. That stuff is way tougher than you might think, and it doesn't shrink until about 275 degrees. I found it much easier to shrink consistently with a propane gun rather than an electric one. But the propane also increases the chance of a burn through and do over. The tope is REALLY sticky and onec heated, seems to make a very durable attachment. I think there is some real potential in this experiment.
 

proppastie

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The tope is REALLY sticky and onec heated, seems to make a very durable attachment. I think there is some real potential in this experiment.
As I understand airplaneaddic got stuff from E-bay, no brand name... what about the tape?...is it a brand name,...link? is it the same stuff with filaments... does it shrink? do you put it on after you shrink the fabric and it does not shrink. same questions to Fred, brand names,... links.... etc. if possible
 

Fred in Wisc

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Sorry, haven't been online much lately. Got the standard tape from Dr Shrink, 4" width.

I'll get some pics up. Basically took a heavy duty boat trailer (for stiffness rather than weight capacity), decked it with 1/2 plywood and 2x4's 24" OC. Then made the outer walls and roof from 1"x1.5" (actual size, cut a 2x4 into 3 slices) pine fastened with screws (it's going to need a little flex when towing so I figured glue wouldn't work real well) and extensive cross bracing to keep everything square. It's light enough that I can lift the tongue (maybe80-100 pound tongue weight) and wheel it around by myself.

So as not to derail the original discussion in the thread, I'll start a new thread under General Experimental Aviation Questions.
 

airplaneAddict

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I just made a lightweight enclosed trailer (19x7 approx. and I can wheel it around by hand) for my ultralight and wrapped it in 7mil shrink wrap. That stuff is way tougher than you might think, and it doesn't shrink until about 275 degrees. I found it much easier to shrink consistently with a propane gun rather than an electric one. But the propane also increases the chance of a burn through and do over. The tope is REALLY sticky and onec heated, seems to make a very durable attachment. I think there is some real potential in this experiment.
How did the shrink wrap hold up going down the road?
 

Authmion

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So, reading through this, Would love to hear how everything's been going with the shrink wrapped poor boy? This makes me want to try this when I decided to build something. (considering the Texas Parasol). Was thinking Oratex orignally, as I dont like the idea of painting, and having it weigh a ton...... Every little pound counts!

I have been checking out the MATO site you have posted, and bookmarked it for the future! Would love maybe a detailed write up with pics on how to cover the wing like that.
 

Fred in Wisc

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airplaneaddict, it's more for storage than for transport. I wouldn't want to go too far or too fast with a trailer this big and light. It's been through some pretty dang extreme weather though and come out very well. currently just stashing a RANS S4 in there until I have time to rebuild it.
 

choppergirl

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If airplaneAddict's Poorboy is still holding up by the time I get around to covering my own plane, I may just try it myself, which will give us a second test plane to see how it holds up over time. Definitely venturing into the realm of experimenting. How fast does it age and degenerate vs fabric systems, how well will it resist tears, how well does it patch, and how well will it hold paint on...?

At under $100 to cover my Volmer, I can't argue with it as an experiment. It would keep me way well under my $999 target... I budgeted a whole lot for fabric covering. This would be more like, $600 total to build a 3 axis plane. I've worked with heat shrink before (not the boat stuff) and like working with it. Store it in a completely, absolute dark building.

Tempted to just buy $10 worth of the stuff as a sacrificial experiment to see what it's like working with the stuff... cover my rudder, and start throwing golf balls at it as hard as I can, testing various paints on it, and anything else I can think of... or any other test you guys can come up with to throw at it... mounting it in the back of a truck and take it up to 80mph+... and drive around with it regularly at 55mph... leave it out in full direct sun and the weather all the time... real world stress testing vs. number calculating... test the stuff to destruction (the covering, not my rudder frame), I'll replace it anyway, it's just a test.

Someone go liberate ten bucks out of their wives pocketbooks, in the name of science... ;-) I'll probably have lots of left over, so for me spending a stamp, I could mail square foot samples out to anyone in the U.S. that wanted a piece to do their own fiddly farty tests on... stretched over a home made picture frame.
 
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proppastie

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Well I was thinking that it is spring going down to the boat yard and getting stuff removed from boats getting ready to go into the water (dumpster diving) Would want to weigh it, pull it, and leave it in the sun. could care less about the paint, unless it will protect from the sun, but not sure would stick very well, but worth a try. There are spec for real fabric, you might want to look up even if you are testing it, because you need to compare it to something. ( you can not disobey mother nature (physics) up there and expect to be around for the liberty)
 

Fred in Wisc

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CG- message me your address and I'll send you a chunk for testing and stuff. I've got the 7mil blue, I think I have a few decent sized leftover chunks around.
 

choppergirl

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I cross posted a link to this thread to the Facebook Ultralight Aircraft Pilot group, where someone posted that had an Avid C they needed recovered, and I said I was intrigued about trying boat vinyl for my own plane...

Where I work all of our boats come from the factory in this material. With one of our coastal boats I'd have enough material to do 100 aircraft.

But don't think I'd risk using something that hasn't really been tested by time.
This is what Homebuilding Airplanes is all about - (Calculated) Risk is our Business


Nobody would be flying today, if lots of people hadn't tested lots of new things in the past that weren't proven at all, and taken calculated risks.

I seem to recall before there was Painted Ceconite, the proven system was something called... Doped Fabric... and before that, linen, silk, and paper.
 
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proppastie

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Test the glue/plastic interface, large face pop rivets or rib stitch, ..... maybe do the same for light weight aircraft fabric. Was early homebuilt used Mylar, really strong stuff until there is the slightest rip, was not a happy ending. That being said I think it is doable for Dorthy,.. lots of contact cement, copy fabric technique carry the fabric around LE and spars. Might want to take a test panel down the highway at 120. you will need a strong frame for that.
 

BBerson

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Probably work one or two years. Dacron and latex paint will last 15-20 years and not much cost difference, especially if you figure your labor value.
 

BBerson

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I have seen Ceconite (heavy Dacron) and aircraft dope last 25 years with minor maintenance touch up in Alaska.
Latex is unknown. Depends on the quality, I think some brands have a warranty of twenty years on homes.
It depends on how much flexing.
I painted a windsock with yellow latex to test the paint adhesion. Of course it cracked and flaked off in less than a year. But that was extreme flexing in constant wind.
 

proppastie

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any reports on outside storage in Alaska for Oratex?

This all seems very interesting from an economic standpoint, I think about the shrink wrap and contact cement, but then if it needs to come off, I would bet it is a pain to remove the glue for the next cover.....or do you just sand it smooth and paint the new glue over the top. If it is a different process with special glue it might be a lot of work to remove the old glue.
 
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